A glance through Ariès and Duby’s seminal ‘Histoire de la vie privée’ reveals the influence of technological advance at every point. Architectural innovations reorganised living and working space for individuals who increasingly inhabited multiple distinct spaces (home, workplace, public). Transport technologies made increasingly accessible private and public machines for moving individuals to more places (home, work, public spaces, holidays). Home design, urban design, healthcare, technologies of production (the factory), technologies of energy generation, technologies of reproduction and contraception, technologies of surveillance and social control; and, of course, technologies of communication (mass media: radio, telephone, television, the personal computer, newspapers). The list can be extended almost indefinitely. In different ways, each turned the individual into a consumer, a distributor, a producer; and much of the modern economy is organised to satisfy our desires through use of these same technologies.

Stephen Humphreys (formerly of ICHRP), “Navigating the Dataverse” (ICHRP, 2011)

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