In our time there is a remarkable deterioration in the quality of public discourse and its capacity to illuminate important choices that face society. Clearly evident in the “fake news” and disinformation blather characteristic of Donald Trump’s rise to power, the pollution of political speech contributes to distrust, polarisation and confusion in the USA and elsewhere. Unlikely as it may seem, signs of post-truth disorientation may also infect debates about environment, energy and climate, domains in which science and clear thinking ought to prevail. Is the choice of a new name for our geologic era a case in point?
Prof Langdon Winner is a political theorist who focuses upon social and political issues that surround modern technological change. He is the author of Autonomous Technology, a study of the idea of "technology-out-of-control" in modern social thought, The Whale and The Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology, and editor of Democracy in a Technological Society. Praised by The Wall Street Journal as "The leading academic on the politics of technology", Mr. Winner was born and raised in San Luis Obispo, California. He received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley with a primary focus upon political theory.
Langdon is Thomas Phelan Chair of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Over the years he has taught at The New School for Social Research, College of the Atlantic, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, Harvey Mudd College, MIT and Colgate University. Langdon has lectured widely throughout the United State, Europe, China, and Latin America. In the early 1990s he was research fellow at the Center for Technology and Culture at the University of Oslo, Norway. In 2010 he was Fulbright Scholar at the Complutense University in Madrid and regularly participates in research projects on computers and ethics there organized by his colleague Professor Javier Bustamante.
At present Langdon is preparing a book of his essays, Political Artifacts, and working on a study of 20th century American technology critics and their disquieting insights. His occasional writings on various topics appear in his blog "Technopolis".
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