Between reading Le Corbusier, writing a paper on Vorticism, and looking at 'the Machine' in my Modern Art class last semester, I've gotten pretty interested in early 20th century writing on the new automatic future. 

Le Corbusier in my opinion got a lot more wrong than he did right, but this letter to the editor from Samuel Butler, published in 1914, has a lot of goofy premises but some uncomfortably plausible ones as well. He basically looks at machinery through a Darwinist perspective, and makes pretty dire predictions about humanity's inevitable subservience to its creations. His solution is to destroy every machine in existence and return to a primeval state. If this is declared impossible, he says, then it is too late and we are already enslaved. Oh well.

AuthorChris Hamby