Date of this Version
The computer revolution is less a revolution in the usual sense of the word than the announcement of a glamorous marriage between two powerful promises in the history of the modern West, the Enlightenment, the impulse to encompass the entire world in a rational system of knowledge, and the Industrial Revolution, the fruit of an ancient impulse to reduce the demands of nature to insignificance. By now we know that some of the fondest legacies of the Enlightenment, such as the belief that the world is fully knowable and that nothing more than rational knowledge is necessary to make us free, are ambiguous ones, but it is still difficult for us to admit that the vision of the Industrial Revolution was naive. In many ways we still believe that utopia is available to everyone who has the right equipment.
Date Posted: 07 March 2008
This document has been peer reviewed.