June 13th 2020


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Covid19: Knowns, unknowns and unknown unknowns

EDITORIAL Reindustrialisation requires a major change of thinking

CANBERRA OBSERVED Labor in box seat for Eden-Monaro by-election

POST-COVID19 ECONOMY Technology Roadmap will put us on a road to nowhere

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Beijing move threatens Hong Kong's freedoms

CHILD SEX ABUSE Royal Commission wilfully ignored Pell evidence

FREE SPEECH Doctor deprived of right to practise for his views

POLITICS AND SOCIETY What's up with conservatism?

LIFE ISSUES A light for life: WA's Lifehouse

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 'The hours have lost their clock'

BIOGRAPHY The other Santamaria brother: Dr Joe

RURAL AFFAIRS Works in view to lower spillway of defective Paradise Dam

HUMOUR MacStuttles Adventure Safaris WA (Registered Trademark)

MUSIC One in a hundred years: Prince

LOCKDOWN CLASSIC TV SERIES Spying by numbers: The Prisoner

BOOK REVIEW Follow-up to a ground-breaking economic history

BOOK REVIEW A touch of grandeur

POETRY

LETTERS

Books promotion page

THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION:
History for a Techno-Human Future

Judith Bessant

$242


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About the book

While artificial intelligence (AI), robots, biotechnologies and digital media are transforming work, culture, and social life, there is little understanding of or agreement about the scope and significance of this change. This new interpretation of the 'great transformation' uses history and evolutionary theory to highlight the momentous shift in human consciousness taking place. Only by learning from recent crises and rejecting technological determinism will governments and communities redesign social arrangements that ensure we all benefit from the new and emerging technologies.

The book documents the transformations under way in financial markets, entertainment, and medicine, affecting all aspects of work and social life. It draws on historical sociology and co-evolutionary theory arguing that the radical evolution of human consciousness and social life now under way is comparable with, if not greater than, the agrarian revolution (10,000 BCE), the explosion of science, philosophy, and religion in the Axial Age (600 BCE), and the recent Industrial Revolution. Turning to recent major socio-economic crisis, and asking what can be learnt from them, the answer is we cannot afford this time around to repeat the failures of elites and theoretical systems such as economics to attend appropriately to radical change. We need to think beyond the constraints of determinist and reductionist explanations and embrace the idea of deep freedom.

This book will appeal to educators, social scientists, policy-makers, business leaders, and students. It concludes with social design principles that can inform deliberative processes and new social arrangements that ensure everyone benefits from the affordances of the new and emerging technologies.

About the author

Judith Bessant is a Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, and Adjunct Professor at the School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. She is widely published and her research interests include policy, sociology, politics, youth studies, media-technology studies, and history. She has also worked as an advisor for governments and non-government organisations. In 2017 she was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) for her “significant service to education as a social scientist, advocate and academic specializing in youth studies research”.


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