Automation Anxiety and the Technological Unconscious

Picking up on the reference to subjectivity implicit in the notion of automation anxiety this presentation considers briefly some possible ways in which one might develop the notion of a technological unconscious – a term with some currency within the social and human sciences – so as to render it productive for thinking about affective dispositions in relationship to developments in information technology. If we can speak coherently about automation anxiety, I would argue, this is because populations have some troubling experience of automation in their daily lives already. Banal though the point may be, it raises interesting questions about how people come to know technology and what we can learn from the troubled relation to it that automation anxiety betokens.

Andrew Goffey is an Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham. He is the author (with Matthew Fuller) of Evil Media, the editor (with Eric Alliez) of The Guattari Effect and (with Roland Faber) of The Allure of Things. He is currently writing books on the politics of software and on the work of Félix Guattari and is doing research on institutional analysis and on the materiality of information. He is also the translator of numerous works in the fields of philosophy and critical theory, including In Catastrophic Times and Capitalist Sorcery by Isabelle Stengers, and Schizoanalytic Cartographies and Lines of Flight by Félix Guattari.