Blackboxing Human Knowledge: The Case of Weaving | Introducing Ellen Harlizius-Klück’s talk at Harvard

In our Project PENELOPE, we argue that, in archaic times (in Greece and parts of Italy), the logic and technology of weaving on the warp-weighted loom was able to represent a pre-scientific paradigm of knowledge-through-order which the emergence of philosophical and mathematical thinking obscured and somewhat relegated to the realm of metaphor. In the course of history, there is another big step of obscuring the knowledge of weavers by claiming that the Jacquard loom was the first to make weaving digital, leading to automatic computation. What does it mean for our concept of knowledge and intelligence when all the decisions made by workers along production are no longer in the brains hands of humans but of automats and international business organisations?

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