The Internet of Things is coming – Jay B. Nash, 1932

April 13, 2014 § 3 Comments

Jay B. Nash, Spectatoritis, 1932, p. 265:

The machine frees. True. (…) Within our grasp is the leisure of the Greek citizen, made possible by our mechanical slaves, which far outnumber his twelve to fifteen per free man. These mechanical slaves jump to our aid. As we step into a room, at the touch of a button a dozen light our way. Another slave sits twenty-four hours a day at our thermostat, regulating the heat of our home. Another sits night and day at our automatic refrigerator. They start our car; run our motors; shine our shoes, and cult our hair. They practically eliminate time and space by their very fleetness.

(Nash’s book has little however to do with machines, but more with a critique of how modern Americans use their new-found, machine-liberated leisure not in creative ways — but rather by consuming “passively” commercial entertainment, This criticism sounds drearily familiar today. At the time it is part of a whole host of writings that try to look into the notion of a “leisure society“…)

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