New Criticals

For the Love of Machines


Anxieties about the way that new machines change who we are and how we live are not new. However, such concerns have taken on urgency with the saturation of everyday life with ubiquitous computing and digital connectivity. These technologies are not only supposed to save us time, but also to improve the quality of our lives. So no wonder that people easily form emotional, obsessive attachments to their electronic gadgets, regarding them as vital to their very identity. Technology’s role in the making of masculinity and femininity has been one of my long-standing interests, as has the impact of portable devices such as smartphones on our experience of time. Indeed, I have just finished writing a book called Pressed for Time exploring how it is that we both blame 24/7 technologies for our time famine and turn to them for the solution – what one might think of as a love/hate relationship with machines.