Winner made a very interesting observation that solar energy has a “democratic” effect. He mentioned that solar power can be decentralized unlike coal/oil/nuclear energy which are centralized in large factories.
One example of the authoritarian technologies Winner mentioned was the Tomato picker. Technologies that have replaced manual labor jobs such as the Tomato pickers are very common especially during the industrial revolution. Every time new technologies are introduced someone will lose their job as its job description will be obsolete or inefficient compared to machine.
This could also be true for A.I. that are beginning to take jobs from high-skilled labors. From cashiers to Lawyers, why would anyone want to hire a human that is error prone and inefficient (has to sleep) when they could have a machine/software do it better, faster and cheaper. This begin to make me wonder if A.I. technology is authoritarian if whether if democracy can still exist in a future society where computer intelligence is almost as good as human intelligence.
Winner’s article is fascinating to read and I agree with the general idea that artifacts have politics relating to them (see: birth control, television shows, art, etc).
I liked that he goes into the process about machine alter our lives either by someone losing a job or someone gaining a job (those machines can break down).
To me I feel like technology and it’s politics are more about how you use it with except to a few things. It makes wonder if there are have been programs in the past from employers to retain their employees during the transition from a almost pure human labor to a machine-based majority.
Reading Winner’s article makes me recall a guest speaker I had for my Ecology in Design class. The idea that artifacts have political ties is something not often discussed, but easy to see once you start pulling at the threads. Like Eric, the article’s mentioning forms of energy definitely captured my attention. We have seen power struggles over oil create political tension across the globe, but something fascinating that the guest speaker mentioned were the more obscure forms of energy (like solar). He noted that global warming has had positive energy impacts on certain countries, while negatively affecting others. He even suggested that if countries (such as the U.S.) “intervened” to change the condition of the climate, it could be viewed as an act of war (even if the changes were beneficial to the environment).
We can also think about the heavy monitoring/limitations that have been placed on countries (like Iraq) concerning their technological developments because they can be perceived as a direct political threat (rather than be viewed as steps forward in technological progress).