When we talk about technology we always talk about the future—which makes it hard to figure out how to get there. Future histories argues that we need to stop looking forward and start looking backwards. Weaving together histories of computing and social movements with modern theories of the mind, society, and self, O’Shea constructs a “usable past” that help us determine our digital future.
What can the Paris Commune tell us about earlier experiments in sharing resources—like the Internet—in common? Can debates over digital access be guided by Tom Paine’s theories of democratic economic redistribution? And how is Elon Musk not a visionary but a throwback to Victorian-era utopians?
Future histories shows how very human our understanding of technology is, and what potential exists for struggle, for liberation, for art and poetry in our digital present.