Week 2

In his article about the relationship between personal computing and countercultural movements, Turner suggests that the two ideas are linked but that other factors, such as military research, also contributed to the development of the kind of laptops and desktops we use today. While military research and countercultural technological experimentation seem to be at odds, the tension between these two contributing groups is arguably minimized if you think about the difference as one between community and individualism. For example, Englebart thought that a more interactive computer experience would help individuals better address humanitarian problems by increasing a person’s intellectual potential. People like Brand, who came out of the counterculture, were more concerned with how the computer could be used by an individual than with how a computer could be used by an individual for collective purposes. In both cases, however, these people saw the personalization of the computer an empowering tool increasing a person’s agency and capacities. Both groups thought the computer could be used to challenge existing social structures. The “personal computer revolution,” then, has as much to do with how a person chooses to use technology as it does with what a machine itself is capable of.

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