Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition
Chapter 33. Automation (Plus the Factory)
← 270 | 271 →
· 33 ·
AUTOMATION (PLUS THE FACTORY)
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
—Thomas John Watson, Sr., (1943) president of IBM
McLuhan (1964) treated the factory, automation, and the computer altogether in Chapter 33 of UM and therefore we will treat each of these media individually and as an overall system.
Content and extension: The content of the mechanical factory is machinery, which extends and amplifies handwork through mechanization. The content of the automated factory is the mechanical factory and computers, which extends the assembly line and manufacturing through computing. The content of the computer is software and data, which extends the mind and the information created by the mind through the storage and processing of data.
Cascade: The cascade is from the hand to the hand tool to the mechanized factory to the assembly line to the computer to the automated factory. But there is another cascade from the mind to the spoken word to the written word and numbers to software and information to the computer.
LOM: Computing and automation enhance control and manipulation of information and processes, obsolesce the mechanical, ← 271 | 272 → retrieve customization, and reverse into information overload and “anarchy via the overlay of bureaucracy” (McLuhan, M., & McLuhan, E., 1988, p. 189).
McLuhan used the category of automation as a catch-all for computers or computing, which has exploded into a multifurcation of...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.