Article ID: CBB358997951

The Soul of Technology (April 2022)


On the occasion of the award of the author's da Vinci Medal in 2020, this article looks back to the early twentieth-century origins of the history of technology. Spotlighted are three pioneering historians, Sigfried Giedion, Abbott Payson Usher, and Lewis Mumford, whose writings were important to society and the author's intellectual journey. Their histories, written in the wake of World War I and the Second Industrial Revolution, addressed a question as urgent today as in their time: will the human spirit survive the age of machines? Their shared quest to save the soul of technology took them into the world of machines but also cosmic realms. Their solutions are arguably just as important today, as we confront the challenges of artificial intelligence, humanoid robots, and other digital technologies. Should the current generation of historians of technology be similarly committed to applying the lessons of history to modern technogenic problems?

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Authors & Contributors
Reynolds, Terry S.
Nielsen, Kristian Hvidtfelt
Forman, Paul
Post, Robert C.
Hughes, Thomas Parke
Hentschel, Klaus
Technology and Culture
Polhem: Tidskrift för Teknikhistoria
History and Technology
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Research in Philosophy and Technology
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society
Universidad de Huelva (Spain)
Classiques Garnier
History of technology, as a discipline
Science and technology, relationships
Congresses, conferences, and meetings
Technology and society
Philosophy of technology
Kranzberg, Melvin
Foucault, Michel
Ortega y Gasset, Jose
Mumford, Lewis
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
20th century, late
18th century
United States
Society for the History of Technology

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