Technological development is perceived as one of the crucial elements in determining the mode of production, patterns of consumption, and social relations more generally. This one-sided perspective misses that technology is at the same time an inherent outcome of the social relations. It’s clear that technology is not merely a transfer station where inputs are converted to outputs and speeds are increased. The fields in which it is developed and applied make both technology and the means and purposes for which it is mobilised into part of the totality of the surrounding relations.
The recent advances in data processing and artificial research have opened the way for new trends in how we envision class struggle and a future society. Some believe that on account of smart robots the concepts of exploitation and labour will wane in importance, and we will sail forwards in boundless technological optimism. Others believe that the ruling classes’ superiority in weapons technology will render victory in the struggle impossible, and resign themselves accordingly.
Proceeding from this point, our seventh dossier will take up the innovations brought about by technological development and seek their reflections in the class struggle and socialist thought. In this dossier, entitled Socialism and Technology, we will address the role which technology played in past socialist experiments, and the opportunities and challenges posed by existing technology from the perspective of socialism in the 21st century.
We hope that the topics we recommend below and any new questions that you might add to these will result in a rich dossier:
What sort of trends and contradictions do artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic production, and Industry 4.0 bring forth for capitalist society, and what do they promise for a socialist vision of the future?
Do these technologies contribute anything in the context of the ‘planned economy – market socialism’ debate?
Does the situating of a given level of productive forces in different relations of production give us socialism? In the 21st century, what does the interplay between ‘relations of production’ and ‘productive forces’ bring to mind for socialism?
Where does the socialism of the 20th century stand in a social history of technology?
How does capital use technology as a tool in the class struggle against the workers?
What sort of tools do surveillance technology, data-flow control and centralisation become int he hands of capital? Can these elements which strengthen the hand of capital in the class struggle be turned into a weakness?
What sort of political and ethical problems are brought together by artificial (and general) intelligence, smart robots, genetic modification, etc.?
Article submission deadlines: 29th of February 2020 for Turkish articles, articles in foreign languages (owing to the translation period) are due by the 15th of February 2020.
Dossier publication date: 15 March 2020.
We would appreciate if the articles which you prepare fundamentally conform in their perspective, citations, and refernences to Abstrakt Dergi’s publication policies and format (http://www.abstraktdergi.net/yazarlara/).