[Book Review] Judith Bessant, The Great Transformation: History for a Techno-Human Future

Ray, Aditya (2020). [Book Review] Judith Bessant, The Great Transformation: History for a Techno-Human Future. Competition and Change, 24(3-4) pp. 388–392.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1024529420905276

Abstract

The Great Transformation: History for a Techno-Human Future by Judith Bessant is an important book that attempts to answer two hugely important questions of our time, namely; i) how do we make sense of the widespread impact of rapid technology-led transformations taking place in the world today, without being overwhelmed by them? And ii) how might we respond to the various social, ethical and moral challenges these transformations pose? In answering these fundamental questions, Bessant weaves together insights from historical sociology, philosophy and cognitive co-evolutionary theory and argues strongly against various ‘determinisms’ associated with visions of our shared technological future. Bessant’s multi-disciplinary approach correctly emphasises the relational and reciprocal link between technology and humans, without factoring out human agency and responsibility. Overall, this book should be read as both a descriptive endeavour and a prescriptive one, which whilst underlining the historical ‘co-evolution’ of technology and human consciousness also emphasises how we may learn from this history and respond to the impending challenges of our collective techno-human future.

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