This Thing is Deep in Finite Absolutes

A talk on cybernetics and techno-paranoia via out-of-control machines in Cold War cinema.

At a time when computers were often associated with systems of military command and control, Hollywood cinema both represented existing beliefs and cultivated new fears about the way technology would shape the future of society. Many films represented computers as a threat to human labour, as enablers of dystopian totalitarian regimes, or as artificially intelligent agents that could send the world into another war.

The talk features short extracts from a number of relevant films from the 1950s/1960s, providing a curious insight into a popularised reading of cybernetics: a pastiche of science-fiction, Cold War paranoia, and the imaginary future of human-machine interaction.