Machine Thinking

The Debit Card Cometh – BBC 1969

This remarkable 1969 BBC video documents the forthcoming horror of electronic debit cards – or specifically the problems we will face by putting many tellers and the personnel to reconcile accounts out of work.   While surely impactful for those directly affected by the computers which put them out of work, I think most would agree on balance we are better for the higher efficiency of electronic banking.  Witness smoking in offices and the suggestion of vandalism for non-acceptance of checks.

 

1930s Auto manufactoring

If you can get past the poor title, irrelevant thumbnail and soundtrack that will numb your ears after a while, a wonderful look into auto manufacturing in the 1930s.  An impressive survey of the many skills and processes involved. You’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere such beautiful shots of asbestos dust or men putting their arms or entire bodies inbetween rapidly moving heavy machinery.

 

Machine Thinking

“In 1828 … [t]he Faust legend obsessed artists and writers; in dozens of works they told the story of the modern predicament: in gaining the power of industry, the world was sacrificing its soul. It was not the new machines themselves they feared – there were not yet many – it was machine thinking.”
 – Jonathan Hale, The Old Way of Seeing
Through my projects and other media I will highlight here I hope to capture some of those moments where our thinking changed because what we have changed.  Or, like in the quote, our response to what we can imagine but it yet to come.
One lens to look at us through is that we are the sum of our tools.  Put a computer in your pocket, or have your power go out, and you’re a different person.
Those intersections and moments are what fascinate me – as do the machines themselves. I’m not a machinist or scholar so much of this is new to me, too, but I hope you’ll join with me on my journey.