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Paul Edwards, Director, Program in Science, Technology and Society, Stanford University

October 20 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Technology Eats History: Techno-metabolism and Time in the Anthropocene

8417 Social Sciences, 1180 Observatory Drive

Abstract: What we call “technology” today involves intensely concentrated metabolic processes, ingesting and transforming energy and materials on a planetary scale. Techno-metabolism also concentrates and compresses time. Its temporalities include Earth’s deep past (fossil fuels, minerals) and its present (biological primary production). The Anthropocene epoch – with humanity as a geological force – now appears likely to consume, as well, the human future, potentially to extinction.

Bio: Paul N. Edwards is Director of the Program on Science, Technology & Society at Stanford University (where he also co-directs the Stanford Existential Risks Initiative), and Professor of Information and History (Emeritus) at the University of Michigan. He is the author of A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (MIT Press, 2010) and co-editor of Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance (MIT Press, 2001), as well as numerous articles and other books. With Janet Vertesi, he co-edits a book series, Infrastructures, for MIT Press. Edwards recently served as a Lead Author for the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2021).



October 20
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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