Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Techno-determinism, temporality and the problem of critique

Pervasive computing is X (although it could be Y or Z).

Good things should be enabled.
Bad things should be opposed.

X is good, so enable the technology.
X is bad, so oppose the technology.

In opposing pervasive computing that is X, one supports those who would enable it to the degree that one is denying the possibilities of pervasive computing being Y or Z (instead of X).

Just thinking about the problem of collusion...

"So, then, how do we analytically separate the possible or impossible inevitability of the future from a [given] case? I suggest we do it by separating the (alleged) inevitability of the future from the inevitability of the present. There is such a thing as the inevitability of the present ... If, then, we want to criticise technological determinism, we should not criticise descriptions when they describe an unfolding of a present, even when that present consists of a long chunk of time, like, say, 20 years ('cars and roads will still be the dominant machinery of transportation in 20 years time'). If, however, we want to argue that a particular unfolding of events is an unfolding of a present time, we have to argue the case empirically. It cannot be assumed. And the arguing may be difficult and uncertain."

-- Lars Risan, The Duration of the Present and the Risk of Not Telling Large Stories

Thx Sam.


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