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Autonomous Technology: Technics out-of-control as a theme in political thought

by Langdon Winner

MIT Press, 1978


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"This study of the idea of technology out of control makes an important contribution to our understanding of the problems of our industrial civilisation. The basic argument is not that some persons or groups promote technologies against the public interest (true though that is) or even that our technology develops in its own way in spite of all our efforts to control it (also true in some respects). Rather, Winner is concerned with a more subtle effect: the artifacts that we have invented to satisfy our material wants have now developed, in size and complexity, to the point of delimiting or even determining our conception of the wants themselves. In that way, we as a civilization are losing mastery over our own tools..."