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Learning from Luther: 95 theses about technology

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Abstract—Over 500 years ago, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on a church door in Saxony and then adroitly exploited a new communications technology (printing) to challenge both the theology and the business model of the Catholic church. For decades I’ve been using the same technology (two books, a weekly newspaper column) to explore the implications of the dominant theology of our time — Tech- nopoly — and its business model. One of my current projects involves borrowing Luther’s idea of ‘theses’ — provocative assertions designed to stimulate argument and debate — as a way of fostering public understanding of technology. In this talk I will give an interim report and outline some of the theses.

Bio—Professor John Naughton is an Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson and Director of the College’s Press Fellowship Programme. He is also Emeritus Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology at the Open University and the Technology columnist of the Observer newspaper. He was Vice President of Wolfson from 2011-2015 and until recently was co-director of two research projects at CRASSH on Conspiracy and Democracy and Technology and Democracy His most recent book — From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: What you really need to know about the Internet — is published by Quercus.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Science Society talks series.

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