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Against Technology: From the Luddites to Neo-Luddism by Steven E. Jones

By Steven E. Jones

This e-book addresses the query of what it will probably suggest this present day to be a Luddite--that is, to take a stand opposed to expertise. Steven Jones right here explains the heritage of the Luddites, British fabric works who, from round 1811, proclaimed themselves fans of ''Ned Ludd'' and smashed equipment they observed as threatening their alternate. Against Technology isn't really a historical past of the Luddites, yet a background of an idea: how the actions of a gaggle of British employees in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire got here to face for a world anti-technology philosophy, and the way an nameless collective stream got here to be pointed out with an individualistic own conviction. offended cloth staff within the early 19th century turned romantic symbols of a wish for an easy life--certainly now not the unique target of the activities for which they turned recognized. Against expertise is, in different phrases, a publication approximately representations, concerning the snapshot and the parable of the Luddites and the way that fable was once remodeled over the years into sleek neo-Luddism.

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Extra resources for Against Technology: From the Luddites to Neo-Luddism

Example text

On the surface, it is sociologically connected with the fashionable interest in old-school or retro styles in other consumer and cult technologies, from driving 1970s cars, to ­ reviving classic video games, to collecting vinyl records, to using quaintly antique-sounding analog synthesizers and underpowered amplifiers, or 1970s- and ’80s-style hip-hop sounds, in a wide range of popular music. One anime-style rock video of a few years ago by The Flaming Lips depicts its diminutive heroine, Yoshimi, battling the “evil robots” in everyday appliances, including a sinister electric blow-dryer.

Thus it was with Bill Joy, a former head ­scientist at Sun Microsystems, prophetic voice in the wilderness, and most recently venture capitalist. His essay in Wired magazine for April 2000, the one cited by Stephanie Mills at the IFG teach-in and by countless neo-Luddites after its appearance, was lavishly photo-illustrated, the first illustration a stark, full-page photograph of the author theatrically dressed in black against an all-black backdrop. 28 What followed in the article was a personal confession.

At one point, Joy tells the story of his life. He had a typical nerdy childhood — reading science fiction, watching Star Trek, building his own telescope. ” He is instead a scientist, he insists, and one who believes that the Industrial Revolution was on the whole beneficial (243). There’s that L word again, so fraught with anxiety. 29 Joy is clearly not a Luddite — not in any simple sense. He was an early developer of UNIX and helped to create the Java programming language. 30 But Joy articulates in the essay, as if for the first time, a profound ambivalence about the consequences of technology.

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