From Counterculture to Cyberculture

Aux sources de l'utopie numérique, couverture de l'ouvrage de Fred Turner

This conference in English, organized by C&F editions, the medialab (Sciences Po Paris), the Center for Internet and Society (CNRS) and CELSA (Sorbonne Université), took place at Sciences Po Paris on June 16, 2023.

On the tenth anniversary of the French publication of Aux sources de l’utopie numérique, this talk asks what has become of the dreams of a computer-powered utopia that surrounded the early internet.

Many critics argue that corporate social media, ubiquitous surveillance, and artificial intelligence, have destroyed those dreams and brought us to the edge of a technological hellscape. This talk makes a different case. By looking closely at the ways digital media are changing where and how we work today, it shows that key elements of the utopian dreams of the late 1960s have in fact come into being, at least for some. Our challenge now, it concludes, is to use our political institutions to lock in those gains and share them far and wide.

Fred Turner is the Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication at Stanford University. He is the author of several award-winning studies of the impact of new media technologies on American culture, all of which are available in French from C&F Editions. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a LeBoff Distinguished Visiting Scholar at New York University, and twice a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. Before becoming a professor, he worked as a journalist for ten years. He continues to write regularly for newspapers and magazines in America and Europe.