We are, at this point, used to being told that we live in a “technological age,” and that it is crucial to reckon with the impact of this age on all aspects of our lives. But what is it that makes our age a technological one? 30 years ago, one might have thought of the emerging prevalence of computers for business and government, and 50 years ago the crowning achievement of the Atomic Age, the possibility of manned space travel, or the increasing range of nuclear technologies. Going back further one might have appealed to the infancy of telecommunications, or the rise of industrial machines. Indeed, technology has been part of every form of life, and every age has been “technological” in its way.
Arguably, what is distinctive about the present is the pervasiveness of technology in daily life. How much more do we communicate through the day through social media, and how much of the fabric of our digital lives is digital? How much of our employment is mediated by machines, in every sector? How much of our physical existence is maintained by complicated infrastructure and how much of what we do is under technological surveillance? At this year’s meeting, we want to explore further these modes of the “everydayness” of technology, and others beside.