Article Title

Notions of Progress

Type of Work

Article

Date

6-1-2006

Journal Title

Explorations in Media Ecology

Journal ISSN

2048-0717

Journal Volume

5

Journal Issue

2

First Page

115

Last Page

125

DOI

10.1386/eme.5.2.115_1

Abstract

The question of progress and a concern with relatedness are elements of the same puzzle. The very idea of progress, or lack of it, indicates something about the role machines can play in one’s life. Notions about how technology can be used – to improve, subvert, destroy, extend, or interrogate – reveal the interplay of human and machine. What notion of progress might adequately capture the complex interdependence of human and machine in a way that illuminates our current predicament? To ask whether specific events make things better or worse does not reveal what guides our notion of better and worse, what crucial premises, to quote Robert Nisbet (1979), guide our assumptions. In the twenty-first century, a notion of progress that captures current experience must in some way address randomness, as well as design. We must think again about past and future, about what it might mean to make progress in a world defined by randomness, characterized by uncertainty: a world rich with possibilities and shadowed by dread.

Notes

This document is the author's manuscript of an article published in: Explorations in Media Ecology, vol. 5, no. 2 (2006): 115-125. doi: 10.1386/eme.5.2.115_1

Hamilton Areas of Study

Communication