I am teaching the class Technological Utopias at the moment, which should be relevant ot the interests of all my nerdy/political/paranoid friends.
Here is the course description:
Technological developments have always inspired visions of the future. The introduction of the first automated looms in the 1770s prompted both utopian visions of wide and accesible employment and a dystopia of the complete replacement of humans with these early machines. In turn, visions of the future have inspired technological developments. Information technology pioneers like Vannevar Bush, Ted Nelson and Richard Stallman were guided by ideas of a participatory, decentralized or simplified future when they imagined and designed inf0rmation technology
Even though technology seems to be neutral or apolitical, these visions often have a decidedly political edge. A recent example is Julien Assange’s political vision of a radical cryptoanarchism, which guides his actions as head of Wikileaks.
In class we will examine the cultural dimensions of technological innovation. Moreover, we will trace the politics that shape these innovations. Although we will begin with reading from the early 20th century, we will be focusing on Post-WWII texts such as Vannevar Bush’s As We May Think, Marshall McLuhan’s writing, William Gibson’s Neuromancer and the Manifesto of Philosophic Condition by Anonymous.