Reason Against the Machine

By Javier de Rivera

Any technological device is the result of a social action, a certain set of relations, interests and motivations that produces it, even if the final result does not correspond to the original intentions of the creators. Mechanisms and devices do not have agency, because they do not have interests and are not embedded in a social structure of relations, they are not ends-in-themselves. If we attribute agency to technological systems we are masking the real human agencies that are behind the system, the real set of relations and interests than enable it. Non-human agency is the way of the reification of social relations of power as taken for granted, unchangeable conditions. The human actor amplifies his power through the production and use of technological devices and systems, and if we free him from his responsibility and his agency behind the device, we are immunizing him against social judgement.

Extract from Human After All





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