Introduction

· When McLuhan speaks of automations he is not speaking of assembly line automation or any type of linear automation.

“Mechanization of any process is achieved by fragmentation” pg. 461

“The assembly line has gone the way of the stag line. Nor is just the lineal and sequential aspect of mechanical analysis that has been erased by the electric speedup and exact synchronizing of information that is automation” pg. 462

· For him automation is the same as cybernation.

Automation and Electricity

· Automation is the introduction of electricity and information into al walks of daily life.

For McLuhan, there is very little difference between the advent of electricity and the advent of the Information age.

· Electricity decentralizes everything, making everything accessible at once. This is similar to Alice in Wonderland.

“Time and space are neither uniform or continuous”

· Electricity is similar to our own central nervous system. Everything is connected and information can flow instantaneously to all parts. Humanity now lives a single unified field of experience. While our interpretations are very different, what we experience is similar.

“It is a principal aspect of the electric age that it establishes a global network that has much of the character of our central nervous system. Our central nervous system is not merely an electric network, but it constitutes a single unified field of experience” pg. 460

· What makes all this possible is the fact that electricity is de-centralized. Electricity is produced in one place and consumed in another. This goes agains the assembly line model.

“For electricity not only gives primacy to process, whether in making or in learning, but it makes independent the source of energy from the location of the process” pg. 459

“Such was never the case in the mechanical systems. The power and the work done were always in direct relation, whether it was hand and hammer, water and wheel, horse and cart or steam and piston.” pg. 463

Consequences

· These changes are independent from any social ideologies.

“The electric changes associated with automation have nothing to do with ideologies or social programs. If they had, they could be delayed or controlled.” pg 465

· Automation brings the end of specialization.

“Man is more complex and less specialized than a dinosaur” pg. 470

“Paradoxically, automation makes liberal education mandatory” pg 471

Predictions

· Advent of the consumer/producer.

“for the consumer becomes producer in the automation circuit, quite as much as the reader of the mosaic telegraph press makes his own news, or just is his own news” pg 462

· End of the “job” model.

“This is the new role for men in society. whereas the older mechanistic idea of ‘jobs’ or fragmented tasks and specialist slots for ‘workers’ becomes meaningless under automation.” pg 464

“Uniformly trained and homogenized citizenry, so long in preparation and so necessary to a mechanized society, is becoming quite a burden and problem to an automated society, for automation and electricity require depth approaches in all fields and at all times. ”

“The social and educations patterns latent in automation are those of self-employment and artistic autonomy.” pg 473

· From mass produced to custom-built.

“The custom built supplants the mass-produced” pg 465

· Globalization is a result of the world connected through and electric central nervous system.

“Electric speed up requires organic structuring of the global economy quite as much as early mechanization by print and by road led to acceptance of national unity. ” pg. 466

· Change in the way we view armed forces. This are becoming more specialized.

“Small teams of experts have replaced the citizen armies of yesterday even fasters than they have taken over the reorganization of industry.”

· Machinery that can create everything. Machinery is no longer specialized.

“a tree that can change form oak to maple to walnut as required” pg 469

“With the electronic music instrument, any tone can be made available in any intensity and for any length of time” pg 471

· The old dichotomy between culture and industry(The culture industry – Adorno) end because both now speak the common language of automation/electricity. There is no more specialization.

“It ends the old dichotomies between culture and technology, between art and commerce, and between work and leisure” pg. 459