Future Histories

What Ada Lovelace, Tom Paine, and the Paris Commune Can Teach Us about Digital Technology

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Lizzie O'Shea: Future Histories (2019, Verso Books)

336 pages

English language

Published Feb. 28, 2019 by Verso Books.

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A highly engaging tour through progressive history in the service of emancipating our digital tomorrow.

When we talk about technology we always talk about tomorrow and the future -- which makes it hard to figure out how to even get there. In Future Histories, public interest lawyer and digital specialist Lizzie O'Shea argues that we need to stop looking forward and start looking backwards. Weaving together histories of computing and progressive social movements with modern theories of the mind, society, and self, O'Shea constructs a "usable past" that can help us determine our digital future.

What, she asks, can the Paris Commune tell us about earlier experiments in sharing resources--like the Internet--in common? How can Frantz Fanon's theories of anti colonial self-determination help us build digital world in which everyone can participate equally? Can debates over equal digital access be helped by American revolutionary Tom Paine's theories of democratic, economic …

1 edition


  • Computer science
  • Automation, social aspects
  • Digital communications
  • Technology, history