Technology skepticism

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As a critique of technology (or technophobia or art criticism ) is called a point of view that the current state or the future of humanity by advances in science , technology and research looks endangered or threatened.

Prominent representatives

Prominent representatives of technology criticism include Friedrich Georg Jünger , Günther Anders , Jacques Ellul , and Lewis Mumford . In a broader sense, parts of Martin Heidegger's work and the critical history of technology ( David F. Noble ) can also be assigned to the criticism of technology.

Friedrich Georg Jünger

In 1946, Friedrich Georg Jünger published his technology-critical essay The Perfection of Technology . According to Jünger, there are several illusions associated with mechanization: the illusion that technology is relieving people of work and that they thereby gain free time and the illusion that technology creates wealth.

Technology criticism and technology philosophy

The technology criticism partially overlaps with the technology philosophy . But while the philosophy of technology tries to establish itself as an academic discipline, the criticism of technology is above all a political project. She takes u. a. a central position in neo-Marxism ( Herbert Marcuse ), ecofeminism ( Vandana Shiva ) and in postdevelopment ( Ivan Illich ).

As a social movement

As a protest movement, the machine attackers were hostile to technology in the 19th century.

In the 20th century, technology skepticism in Europe replaced the euphoric belief in progress that prevailed with the boom in the post-war period until around 1975 . Allergies , genetic engineering , nuclear energy , medicine , technology in hospitals and the environment are fields that technology skepticism prefers to address. The goal is not only to focus on the technology itself, but also on the fact that it can never be ruled out that the people responsible for planning, installing and monitoring risky technology will make mistakes.

Up until a few years ago, the environmental movement also had strongly anti-technology elements, which, however, changed into a more positive view through “soft technology”, electronic monitoring of hazards, renewable energies and developments in biology (e.g. waste disposal by bacteria ).

In the wake of the Internet euphoria of the 1990s, the technology skepticism, which in the 1980s (e.g. in the context of the planned census) attached itself particularly to computers, had largely disappeared from public perception in Germany. However, since the beginning of the 21st century it has been increasingly nourished by concern about the increased possibilities of technical monitoring and the climatic consequences of technical action.


  • Jörg Bergstedt , Annette Schlemm and Jan-Hendrik Cropp: Technology: For a good life or for profit? SeitenHieb-Verlag , Reiskirchen 2012, ISBN 978-3867470490 . Download (PDF; 43.1 MB)
  • Michael Adas: Machines as the Measure of Men. Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance. Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY et al. 1990, ISBN 0-8014-2303-1 ( Cornell Studies in Comparative History ).
  • Günther Anders : Man's antiquity. About the soul in the age of the second industrial revolution. 2 volumes. Beck, Munich 1956.
  • Harry Braverman : Working in the modern production process. Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main et al. 1980, ISBN 3-593-32699-X .
  • Rudolf Buntzel, Suman Sahai: Risk. Green genetic engineering. Who benefits from the global spread of genetically engineered food? Brandes & Apsel, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-86099-814-5 ( WeltThemen 5).
  • Cynthia Cockburn: The Rule Machine. Gender relations and technical know-how. Argument Verlag, Hamburg et al. 1988, ISBN 3-88619-372-1 .
  • Jacques Ellul : Le bluff technologique. Hachette, Paris 2004, ISBN 2-01-279211-1 .
  • Andrew Feenberg: Transforming Technology. A Critical Theory Revisited. Revised edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford et al. 2002, ISBN 0-19-514615-8 - Feenberg gives a "coherent starting point for anticapitalist technical politics".
  • Sigfried Giedion : Mechanization Takes Command. A Contribution to anonymous History. Oxford University Press, New York NY 1948 (Eng .: The rule of mechanization. A contribution to anonymous history. ) With an afterword by Stanislaus von Moos . Edited by Henning Ritter . Special edition, licensed edition. Athenaeum, Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-610-00729-X .
  • Ivan Illich : Self-limitation. A political critique of technology. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1980, ISBN 3-498-03201-1 ( rororo currently 4629).
  • Friedrich Georg Jünger : The Perfection of Technology , Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 8th edition 2010 [written 1939, EA 1946]
  • Wolfgang Klems: The unresolved modernity. History and Continuity of Technology Criticism. GAFB - Society for the Promotion of Work-Oriented Research and Education, Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-925070-50-8 ( Serapion. Life and knowledge ).
  • David F. Noble : Machine Striker or Humans' Complicated Relationships with their Machines. Interaction-Verlag, Berlin 1986, ISBN 3-924709-00-9 .
  • Wolfgang Sachs : The love for the automobile. A look back at the history of our desires. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1984, ISBN 3-498-06166-6 .
  • Joseph Weizenbaum : Computer Power and Human Reason. From Judgment to Calculation. WH Freeman and Company, Freeman, San Francisco CA 1976, ISBN 0-7167-0464-1 (German as: Die Macht der Computer und die Ohnmacht der Vernunft. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1977, ISBN 3-518-27874-6 ( Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft 274); numerous editions).


  1. Neil Turbull: At Modernity's limit. Technology as World and Idea. In: Theory, Culture & Society. Vol. 23, no. 7-8, December 2006, ISSN  0263-2764 , pp. 135-150, citation p. 40.

See also