A quarter century of digital thinking

2022 is the 25th anniversary of the publication of my first book about digital technology, The Weightless World. I was browsing through it today, feeling mildly self-satisfied about its continuing relevance, including being well ahead of the curve in spotting the importance of phenomena such as intangibles, or gig work, or agglomeration patterns.

Quite a nice photo fell out of it too, of me at work writing the book in summer 1996 in a gite in Brittany. (The author photo in the back is scarily young-looking.)

IMG_2176Then, even better, I found on page 23 (UK edition) of this quotation from Marx in Das Kapital which helps explain to myself why my interest in digital and an interest in Nature and social and environmental sustainability are two sides of the same coin and so do form a coherent set of questions to study – sometimes it has felt like riding two horses that are heading in different directions:

Technology discloses man’s mode of dealing with Nature, the process of production by which he sustains his life, and thereby also lays bare the mode of formation of his social relations, and of the mental conceptions that flow from them.” (Book I, Ch 15).

Indeed, many people are I think sensing the links between digital change and sustainability challenges. We’re going to be looking more at these in the Bennett Institute in 2022.

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