By P. A. Taylor
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Additional info for Digital Matters: The Theory and Culture of the Matrix
To summarize the determinist viewpoint: 1 Modern technologies are invariably more complex than a simple tool. 26 Theorizing the im/material matrix: technics triumphant 2 3 A consequence of this complexity is that the user of a technology tends to be conditioned into using the artefact in a particular way. Such conditioning is in turn further conditioned by the fact that the increasingly interconnected nature of technology requires that the use of the initial artefact takes into account many other artefacts and systems of which it is but a small part.
It describes the reduction of the individual and society to functions that can be restructured to better suit the demands of the machine (reverse adaptation). Once these demands have been met, technique sets about reconfiguring those elements of society formerly outside of the machine. Ellul describes technique as the ensemble of means that operate in a technological society, which include: 1 2 3 economic technique: economic practices whose purpose is to facilitate technological progress; the technique of organization: managerial practices that ensure the smooth integration of man and machine; psychological/human technique: the technological environment determines human behaviour.
Share some of the totalizing elements of the essentialist approach in their consistent argument that there is no longer an outside to the new informational order. In contrast to pessimistic, essentialist interpretations of technology’s effects, however, this group of theorists more optimistically promotes Jacques Ellul’s la téchnique 29 the on-going feasibility of political strategies that can subvert such totalization in a digital age. They also claim that the Information Revolution represents a further qualitative change to that originally marked by its industrial namesake.