(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Ideological Technology

The Internet, like so much technology, is an ideological technology. The way our technology operates tells us the ways it’s creators think technology and THE WORLD can or should operate. If that operation appears natural to us, that’s because WE’VE naturalized it.

Mike Rugnetta, “The Internet Is a Conspiracy Theory” (2015)

As with any criticism, the subject is best evaluated as an embedded one–embedded in the culture, the beliefs, the people that produce or perform it. It may be a bit simplistic to imply that the Internet’s creators as having a shared worldview/ideology (though this doesn’t preclude the possibility, especially if one goes back to the Internet’s military precursors…); the Internet, like many other technologies, is a fundamentally evolutionary, iterative technology. Be that as it may, we could still probably safely assume that its so-called creators and their successors have likely shared a common social-power position, given that the techno-entrepreneurial landscape is governed by a relative few.

And yet, the Internet’s evolutionary/iterative character is as much a product of seemingly spontaneous (that is, popularly driven) choices and shifts in opinion/use/performance. Insofar as the Internet is a global technology, a monolithic conception of the Internet is erroneous. However, Rugnetta realizes this in other statements: Not all pieces of the Internet are equally weighted (even though their correlation as such is easy to do, hence conspiracism). The Internet is not a seamless “psycho-geographic” landscape, as he puts it. As in the “real world,” there are hegemonic forces at work in the greater body of “Internets,” and therefore ideological and social power dynamics.


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This entry was posted on August 14, 2015 by and tagged , , .
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