A sweeping history of and meditation on humanity’s relationship with machines, showing how we got here and what happens next
We live in a world made by machines; their development set its beat. This book tells the story of our relationship with machines from humanity’s first tools down to the present and into the future. It charts the causes and courses of technological progress across epochs, revealing its impedances and accelerants, its interactions with capital and ascent to the first principle of the modern era.
Tracing the promise of machines to liberate us from work and want and the accompanies threat of redundancy and subjection from ancient times to our own, Robert Skidelsky demonstrates how our creations not only reflect our ideas and ideals but also remake them. Taking in the peaks of philosophy and triumphs of science, the foundation of economics and speculations of fiction, he undertakes a fascinating intellectual journey through the evolution of our understanding of technology, and what this means for our lives and politics. It is an account that offers an escape from many assumptions about the potential and perils of machine learning and the technologies shaping the world now – and from the risks they pose to the future.
Publisher: Allen Lane
Publication Date: 2nd November 2023