An inquiry in the economic agency of technological automata and automation from Babbage’s Analytical Engine to the recent High-Frequency Trading algorithms. The course investigates two main (economic) notions of automaton: first, the model of a centralised axis of control from post-WWII cybernetics to Google’s planetary infrastructure of computation; second, more generally, the idea of automaton as a recursive replacement of previous divisions of manual and mental labour, looking also at the colonial history of modern automata (e.g. Mechanical Turk) and their present counterparts (e.g. Amazon Mechanical Turk).

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Prof. Dr. Matteo Pasquinelli