Human-built World: How to Think About Technology and Culture

Human-built World: How to Think About Technology and Culture

Thomas P Hughes


To most folks, know-how has been lowered to pcs, client items, and armed forces guns; we converse of "technological progress" by way of RAM and CD-ROMs and the flatness of our tv displays. In Human-Built global, fortunately, Thomas Hughes restores to know-how the conceptual richness and intensity it merits by way of chronicling the information approximately expertise expressed through influential Western thinkers who not just understood its multifaceted personality yet who additionally explored its inventive power. Hughes attracts on a tremendous variety of literature, artwork, and structure to discover what know-how has dropped at society and tradition, and to give an explanation for how we would start to enhance an "ecotechnology" that works with, now not opposed to, ecological structures. From the "Creator" version of improvement of the 16th century to the "big science" of the Nineteen Forties and Fifties to the structure of Frank Gehry, Hughes nimbly charts the myriad ways in which know-how has been woven into the social and cultural cloth of other eras and the guarantees and difficulties it has provided. Thomas Jefferson, for example, expectantly was hoping that expertise will be mixed with nature to create an Edenic atmosphere; Lewis Mumford, centuries later, warned of the expanding mechanization of yank existence. Such divergent perspectives, Hughes exhibits, have existed facet via aspect, demonstrating the elemental concept that "in its sort, expertise is filled with contradictions, weighted down with human folly, stored via occasional benign deeds, and wealthy with unintentional consequences." In Human-Built global, he deals the hugely attractive historical past of those contradictions, follies, and results, a background that resurrects expertise, rightfully, as greater than gadgetry; it's actually at least an embodiment of human values.

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