The term "technodeterminism
," like "utopian" or "wild-eyed socialist," is rarely used by the people to refer to themselves.
This faux-entrepreneurial endeavor has been complemented by an intense theorization of the archive, most concisely developed in the 2001 essay "Survival: Ruminations on Archival Facunae." Deploying in tandem the two sides of her media practice--the entrepreneurial and the archival--Green avoids succumbing to either the amnesia of technodeterminism
or the melancholic quietism generated by the numerous artistic practices of recent years that have responded to technological developments by retrenching in nostalgia and obsolescence.
What distinguishes the modern surveillance-and-control state from its predecessors is technodeterminism
: the use of algorithms, not human beings, to monitor and shape citizens' attitudes and behavior.
In the form of technodeterminism
, this took its most extreme form in the work of Jacques Ellul (1964) who envisioned the proliferation of technological processes as its own kind of manifest destiny, threatening to increasingly reduce the social opportunities for humanizing moral deliberation and decision-making.
A whole literature takes this epiphenomenon as the point of departure to argue in various shades for a military technodeterminism
toward either the modern territorial state, capitalism, or "the rise of the West." See Tilly 1990; Parker 1988; and Downing 1992.
Mixed into the critique, often confusingly, is a thrashing of technodeterminism. It deserves criticism also, but for different reasons.
From my point of view, the main reason to do so is not that they're wrong--more about that in a minute--but that a foolish technodeterminism hides too much about the Net.
If we reject technodeterminism entirely, we will be unable to investigate the effect our technology has on us.
I've been thinking a lot about technodeterminism these days, for two primary reasons.
Second, technodeterminism is quite possibly quite wrong.
The fact that technodeterminism is a false doctrine (#2) has made me feel fairly foolish for my earlier espousal of it (#1).