The Stone Age Electronic Calculator
“The Stone Age Electronic Calculator” (SAEC) is a collaborative wiki website where anyone can participate in developing a manual that can be taken into a wilderness to create an electronic calculator. An electronic calculator is the focus because it is comprised of technologies that form the foundation of a computer based society. A collaborative website is used as a tool to develop the manual as well as a device to examine if modern computational instruments could provide rapid information production in primitive societies.
SAEC positions itself with in a central argument developed by Ted Kascinsky. While he advocates for a revolution against technology, it would be plausible to say such a revolution is actually possible. Kazinscky is emphatic: “the only points on which we absolutely insist are that the single overriding goal must be the elimination of modern technology” he further states that it is claimed “throughout history that technology has always progressed, never regressed, hence technological regression is impossible. But this claim maybe false. ” He points to the difference between “small-scale technology”, used by communities without outside assistance, and “organization-dependent technology”, necessitating social organization. If we succeed in returning to a wilderness it would never be possible to rebuild organization-dependent technology without tools and specialists needed to create the object. The technology would quickly be lost. The SAEC provides an alternative solution to Kascinsky’s problem with technology (there are many others). It is possible to move from an “organization- dependent technology” to a “small-scale technology” through the internet, which rebinds specialization across a wide range of an organization-dependent technology production process, bringing together different cultures and classes in a productive and mutually beneficial activity capable of opening up unlikely discourses. In effect, the internet provides a hybrid of small and large scale technologies, enabling solutions to the socially destructive force of technology Kascinsky did not see – the SEAC is the proto-type of just such a solution.
Excerpt from related text: Primitivism in Egalitarian Art Movements