The Informatization Age (1) Automation

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Translation by AB – May 20, 2023

Translation notes:

1) “Informatization” does not have quite the same meaning in English and in French. However, “Informatization” comes from a direct transposition of the French word “informatisation” that was coined by Simon Nora and Alain Minc in their publication “L’Informatisation de la société: Rapport à M. le Président de la République” which was translated in English in 1980 as “The Computerization of Society: A report to the President of France” (source: Wikipedia). For reasons that we will understand, the word “computerization” is not enough to characterize this Age that we will try to characterize a little differently from the usual way.
2) On the other hand, we have no choice but to translate “informatique” by “computing” (or “computer science”), since the word “informatics”, or something like that, however consistent with that of “informatization”, does not exist in English. The same for the French verb “informatiser”, which have unfortunately no equivalent in English (e.g. to “informatize”) but “to computerize”.
3) For the sake of consistency, the Google Books Ngram Viewer frequency curves correspond to the French terms. We leave it to the reader to complete his or her research and note that our statements remain valid with the adequate English words.

Of course, we would have preferred to keep the root “informat…” everywhere, as in French, but unfortunately English, for once, is less coherent.

If we want to prevent the 21st century from being as bloody (or more) as the previous century, we must start the race between lucidity and suicidal impetus – which implies understanding the practical and intellectual implications of the informatization process.

Michel Volle – 2007 – Prédation et Prédateurs1

Strange alert… In 2023, at the dawn of a global turmoil, everyone can hear this grim warning and feel in his or her own way the “race” between, let’s say, reason and unreason. But in the face of this existential peril, what does the “informatization process” have to do with it? This rather technical term seems to be better suited to an expert’s report or to a somewhat dated corporate strategy than to the fervor of a battle between reason and unreason, truth and fake, liberalism and illiberalism… But if language is usually a slow-moving liquid like glass, it sometimes cracks under the blows of the “business” and of its buzzwords2: the manager, like a rabbit caught in the headlights of progress, must be “agile”; the business model must be “disruptive” or perish; the product must be an “experience” to engage the little that is left of the consumer’s self-being; intelligence is “artificial” and inhabits “smart” objects… The (already!) old term “informatization” has thus suffered the consequences of these linguistic upheavals that escort an economy of permanent change. However, since the 1940s and until today, computing remains the foundation of a technological Age that is far from over3. Nothing will stop it except an unforeseen technological paradigm or a “suicidal” disaster.

We will devote three separate articles to this “informatization”, a word that is still totally relevant, and to the imperative of “understanding its practical and intellectual implications”. The first article here situates informatization in the great history of technological Ages and proposes, above all, a way to understand it. From there, the second article ((2) Process) examines informatization as a process that produces “technical objects” of a new kind and that we can indeed hardly call “objects” anymore. Finally, the third exploration (to come) will consist in an illustration of all this with a very particular example of “automatic medicine”.

Lexicon (1)

At first glance, “informatization process” seems to refer to the passage from something existing to a “computerized” state. We put computers, software, communication networks, etc. and there you have it: it’s computerized. Everything is computerized today, down to the smallest of our objects, our actions, our environments… to such an extent that the informatization process seems more or less complete in 2023. By the way, the peak of occurrence of the word (in the French corpora) is far behind us4:

But the tide of informatization is obviously far from over. This curve only measures the economic and political usage of the word, a very particular time during which informatization consisted above all in spreading computers to all homes and businesses (hence the English word “computerization” to designate this period). But the phenomenon of informatization has many other dimensions, and it is no more achieved today than it was in the 1970s. It actually structures a technological Age that begins with the cybernetic project in the 1940s and lies as follows5:

Since the 2000s, the economic and political connotation of informatization is carried a wave of “digitalization”, which swelled roughly with the spread of the smartphone and will probably run aground just as quickly as the previous one:

The Informatization Age is thus traversed by terms which, in their common usage, insist on the main transformation in progress or to be accomplished. In this semantic game, English often better designates the heart of this “Business Transformation” where French conceptualizes it more. We also notice that the term “digitalization”, finally adopted in French, insists on a double disappearance of the “computer”, first as a power of transformation (the world is now saturated with them) and then as such, since the essential of the computing power is now delegated to these famous “clouds”, invisible, powerful and energy consuming. From now on, there is only the ethereal “digital” that the French sociologist Alain Gras qualifies, like electricity, as a “phenomenal lie6. The word “informatization” has the advantage of not ignoring anything of the lineaments of our Mundus Numericus and its “infostructure” and designates perfectly this process of transformation at work since the cybernetic project of the 1940s, in all its dimensions, including physical.

If it is urgent to understand the implications of this process, we have to admit that we hardly succeed in doing so, whether it is about work, ecology or politics. Thus, we go from one amazement to another, from “buzz” to “buzz”, from bitcoin to ChatGPT, from NFT to electric cars, from social networks to big data… The common language is outpaced, dragging with it political holds, regulations, educational systems and more broadly the understanding called for by Michel Volle. However, “informatization” is the name of a common denominator for all these phenomena. Before attempting to understand its implications, it should already be understood as such7.


In 1976, President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing commissioned the senior functionary Simon Nora to write a report on the development of computer applications as a “factor in the transformation of economic and social organization and lifestyle”. This report, entitled “L’informatisation de la société” (The Computerization of Society) , co-authored with Alain Minc, then an “Inspecteur des Finances”, begins as follows8:

The increasing informatization of society is at the heart of the crisis.

This bold introduction revolves around a somewhat ambiguous verb “to be”. If it formally confirms the relevance of the presidential order (informatization is indeed an important subject), it suggests two equally admissible interpretations: informatization feeds the crisis or informatization just coincides with the crisis. In 1976, the second interpretation was to be preferred, since the crisis that everyone was experiencing in his or her daily life was due to the massive and brutal increase in the cost of imported energy linked to the 1973 oil crisis and its multiple causes (production peaks, the Yom Kippur war, the abandonment of Bretton Woods, etc.) and therefore had nothing to do with informatization. However, the authors wanted to come to a deeper crisis9:

It comes from the conflict between traditional values and the upheavals caused by industrialization and urbanization; in the long term, it calls into question an elitist or democratic distribution of powers, that is to say, ultimately of knowledge and memories. This crisis of civilization will survive the immediate crisis.

Informatization, being placed by Nora and Minc at the heart of this crisis, thus came to participate in a very particular problematization around the theme of the “distribution of power“, an eternal political subject. Let us specify things a little. The upheavals that they attributed to industrialization and urbanization, transformations that had already been going on for a long time but reached their dynamic peak in the 1970s, revealed, according to them, a purely French crisis: that of the excessive role of the state “in a country shaped by centuries of publicly criticized and obscurely demanded centralization”. Thus, moving quickly from the oil crisis to the crisis of civilization and then to the French crisis, the authors seemed to take advantage of the opportunity to put their liberal spin on it. This is how we must understand that if “the increasing informatization of society is at the heart of the crisis”, it is insofar as it offers a solution through a social transformation of a liberal nature, deemed essential.


Until recently, IT was expensive, not very efficient, esoteric, and therefore restricted to a limited number of companies and functions: elitist, it remained the prerogative of the big and the powerful.10

Informatization is this process that must now continue and “in-form” the whole society by deploying “mass computing”. How can this be done? Thanks to the “telematics”, this neologism invented by the authors and designating the interweaving of computers and telecommunications. The telematics must provide in some way the concrete devices of horizontalization of the French society and so lead to shift the “power relationships” since11:

“Telematics”, unlike electricity, will not carry an inert current, but information, i.e., power.

Incidentally, replacing the old word “information” by the more dashing “data”, we see that we are still there. The telematic network is thus the perfect technological double of “the autonomy […] of forces that, seeking to assert themselves, encounter obstacles, and first of all the State itself”. Of course, the authors did not suggest to liquidate the State, but to give it the means to regulate a more liberal and horizontal system, to delegate, in a way, a power of transformation that it does not know how to exercise, in order to finally have weapons comparable to those of the United States in a competition that escaped France (this too has not changed). IBM was thus designated as a prototype of risk12:

[The orientation of public authorities] must take into account the renewed challenge of IBM: yesterday a machine manufacturer, tomorrow a telecommunications trustee, this company is pursuing a strategy that leads it to set up a transmission network and to control it. It will then encroach on a traditional sphere of state power: communications. In the absence of an appropriate policy, a double alienation will take shape: with respect to the network manager; with respect to the American databases, whose access it will facilitate.

All this seems to be a long way off today, but there were already problematizations that are still in force today. Only the terms have changed. It is no longer IBM but the GAFAMs; it is no longer the network but these are the terrestrial, marine and satellite networks; it is no longer just small individual computers or large private computers but smartphones, clouds and connected objects… And above all, “the big and the powerful” are now bigger and more powerful than ever, whether they are giant companies or authoritarian states, far from the liberal dream promised by the informatization of the 1970s or the libertarian utopia of the Internet of the 1990s.

The French telematics gave the Minitel, a beautiful idea caught up by a fundamental character of the process of informatization: this one rests on a technical and financial private power of world level, as well as on a capacity of political bootstrapping (Some political dimensions of blockchains) of which France was already deprived in spite of a certain scientific and technological vigor.

Here, then, are the first fairly simple characteristics of this process of informatization still at work, in its social and technical dimensions, as it was envisaged at the end of the 1970s: a process of global transformation of society, of liberal inspiration, through the networking of computing machines (in the broadest sense of the verb “to compute”). This summary description, if it allows us to see that informatization is still very much in the air, does not yet allow us to understand the process of informatization itself. For this, a methodological detour is necessary.


Everyone should feel concerned with truly understanding technology, synthetically and in all its dimensions (technical, economic, political…) in order to nurture some discernment and to actively “adopt” or “make one’s own”, as the French philosopher Bernard Stiegler proposed, rather than just “adapting”. But this understanding seems to many of us to be out of reach, and even unnecessary. The promoters of informatization do not help much when, for example, they disguise technology as an “Experience”. Popularizers of all kinds are no better when they try to explain technology as if it were a matter of transcendent physical phenomena. Yet13 :

[…] Any physical process is describable, it is often explicable, that is to say, it is related to the “laws” that govern it. But it is not understandable, and to tell the truth, there is nothing to understand there.

We can explain the rain, the phases of the moon, cellular respiration, etc.14 and there is indeed nothing to understand. On the other hand, the process of informatization does not arise as a natural phenomenon; we are the architects, the promoters, the users… and there is, finally, something to understand. The German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920), at the origin of “Verstehen” (understanding) in sociology, reminds us that what can be understood in general is the behavior of individuals15 :

This is conditioned by the possibility of what Weber calls “sympathisches Nacherleben”, the sympathetic (or empathetic) re-experiencing of other people’s behavior and motivations.

We “feel” that it is thus possible to understand why an argument breaks out, why such and such an individual exposes his or her private life on social networks or, on the contrary, refuses to do so, why such and such an individual buys such and such an item of clothing while knowing the conditions of its manufacture, etc., by imagining ourselves empathically in their situation. It is this sense of “understanding” that we propose to retain and explore in relation to informatization. But how do we go about it? In two words, we need to 1) identify the individuals involved and 2) be able to “re-experience” their motivations for informatization. On this second point, the sociologist Gérald Bronner specifies that this “reconstruction of this subjectively targeted meaning presupposes the existence of mental invariants specific to the human species16. Now, we all share at least this universal invariant: reason. Let us go on with Gérald Bronner (we underline):

This universality emerges from at least two aspects. The first is that of instrumental rationality which, according to a classical conception since Aristotle, depicts the rational individual as one who uses, in a given context, the means adequate to the pursuit of his ends. The second is that of cognitive rationality which, Boudon points out […], involves “the validity and compatibility between them of the propositions that make up a theory, or of the reasons that found a belief, as well as their compatibility with reality.” These two aspects of human rationality can be considered as cognitive invariants of our species and allow us to understand, in the Weberian sense, social activities belonging to cultures very different from that of the observer.

Thus, to summarize, the common denominator that would allow us to understand something is the “empathetic re-experience” of the rational motivations of others, motivations “instrumental” by the ends, or “cognitive” by coherence with reality or with a dominant belief17. Weber thus observed with a great accuracy various processes of rationalization of the world, singularized it seems in Occident by “a will of control and systematic domination of the nature and the humans18.

Our sketchy etymology of computerization as a “process of global transformation of society, of liberal inspiration, through the networking of computing machines” therefore lacks an allusion to the process of rationalization that would be its driving force. In any case, a developer does not develop, any more than a consumer consumes, because of an impulse for liberalism nor, moreover, for computer science.

Individual and collective Ideal Types

This presentation may lead one to think that only the behavior of singular individuals is essential and that, in a way, collective rationality could be derived from the set of individual rationalities. This is obviously incorrect. Between the collective and the individual, there is no primary term or privileged causal order. At every moment the collective is the bearer of meaning for the individual and vice versa. The Greek-French philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis illustrated this important point as follows19:

[…] this meaning is never “isolated”. It always participates in the global setting of society as a setting of imaginary meanings, and it is integral to it. That is why also […] I cannot insert in a capitalist society the ideal type “shaman”, for example, or the ideal type “financial speculator” among the Aranda.

Max Weber called these categories “Ideal Types”. These Ideal Types do not pretend to describe concretely, in the smallest details, for example the “shaman” or the “financial speculator”. They are rather methodological tools, rationalization schemes that indicate the main features that help to think the subject. Castoriadis thus adds that the individual Ideal Types do not rationalize in the absolute but in the context of collective Ideal Types that provide meaning for them.

In the context of our subject, a sociological examination is thus called for in the form of an exhaustive inventory of the individual and collective Ideal Types of the Informatization Age, a work that has probably been carried out in whole or in part, but to our knowledge never collected. A vast program, so fragmented is the terrain, at the collective level by the economic and disciplinary fields (economics, sociology, medicine, mathematics…), and at the individual level by the multiplication of very narrow roles assigned to each one (buyer, target, voter, programmer, company manager…)20.


This being said, our definition of computerization lacks a generic and “rationalizing” term that would allow the projection of individual and collective Ideal Types.

Let’s start with a comparison. With historical hindsight, we observe that informatization succeeds mechanization, a term whose lexical apogee was around 1960:

As a technological process, mechanization deploys machines and more broadly what the philosopher Gilbert Simondon called “technical objects”. In a nutshell, the essential “effect” and the “rationalizing” word for mechanization was industrialization, a social transformation for mass production and consumption. It will be agreed that if mechanization, like informatization , denotes the purely technological aspect, explainable but non-understandable, of a process of rationalization, the industrializing intention is, on the other hand, meaningful for individuals and collectives. It would be rational to act for industrialization, for example to make more profit, or to consume the same products and services, or simply to consume more. Mechanization is thus the technological process that responds, so to speak, concretely to these “need” for industrialization.

As far as informatization is concerned, what “need” does it meet? Can we speak, for example, of “horizontalization”? Indeed, as Nora and Minc already suggested, “telematization” makes it possible to put everyone in immediate contact with everyone else, all this (apparently) by minimizing or suppressing any intervention of a third party (State, bank, notary, intellectual…). We see here a perfectly rational instrumental motivation for informatization, in the context of the collective to which Nora and Minc belong, the French society in crisis of the 1970s, and we therefore understand them without difficulty when they say that informatization is (must be) a process of horizontalization. But let’s move to China. There, power uses the network of computing machines to establish a drastic social control: informatization is on the contrary considered as a process of verticalization21. The rationality of Chinese actors, both controllers and controlled, in the context of a collective dominated by the communist party, is (apparently) quite different from ours, but again understandable. Therefore, the horizontalization, verticalization and more generally the spatialization of social relations are not specific to informatization as such.

Instead, informatization differs by the fact that it is called by the “need” for automation, a term that we therefore propose to set as a means of understanding. This rather radical proposal would deserve a real debate, but it suggests exactly what we are interested in, namely a universal rationality, insensitive to cultural and national ideologies, characteristic of a technological Age. From there, we should explore, complicate and recognize this distant need in each act of informatization, whether individual or collective.

It is therefore the rationality for automation that must be disclosed. As for informatization, we will have to settle for explanations.

Lexicon (2)

So, we say something like: informatization is a “process of global automation of society, of liberal inspiration, through the networking of computing machines”. However, this wave would also be behind us if we believe its use in the French corpus:

We are now used to it: there was indeed an economic and political wave of “automatisation” (French equivalent for “automation”), a word that has now fallen into disuse. However, we mean this:

To “automate” means to set up “automatisms”. These technological automatisms do not aim only to repeat mechanically the same thing (“making it automatic”), but more generally to allow us to something in an unconscious way, without the direct participation of the will or the intelligence. This automation, conceivable precisely from the rational mind, comes from far away – we can go back at least to Leibniz – and finally meets, in the 20th century, its technique, like this liberalism of which Nora and Minc predicted us the concrete advent with the telematics.

Thus, when we are in the position to understand a phenomenon, a product or a “digital” service, we should first ask ourselves, according to this understanding of automation, something like: what has been sought to be automated? Who? Why? And so on. By the way, any company or collective that claims to “informatize” (or “digitalize”) its products, services or organization without having asked itself this kind of question is inevitably “zombie-like”, i.e., kept without consciousness in existence (“Non-modern” zombies).

Let us now try to sketch out some Ideal Types in connection with the “need for automation”.


Let us recall this obvious fact: the only effective agents of computerization, and that it is therefore imperative to understand, are the IT services and companies. Yet these essential Ideal Types are rarely examined sociologically, let alone philosophically. IBM, a company founded in 1911 and which became International Business Machines Corporation in 1924, is a real marker of the computerization era. Its epic had some dark episodes (recounted in all transparency) like this one dating from the pre-computer Age22:

Data generated through counting and literacy equipment provided by IBM, through its German and national subsidiaries, was instrumental in the German government’s efforts to concentrate and ultimately destroy ethnic Jewish populations across Europe.

One can certainly understand with some effort and to some extent the Nazi bureaucracy that provided its agents with the rules of “rationality” (although they were terrifying, absurd, suicidal…), but can one empathically re-experience the “instrumental rationality” of Thomas Watson, President of IBM at the time, who actively encouraged and financially supported the ethnic census operations of Nazi Germany? It would have to be…

Thus, in the very cradle of the Informatization Age, humans were already contemplating their own “dressage” in automated, i.e., decerebrate, social relationships. All contextual and abominable comparisons aside, this process is still at work. If we insist a little on the tragic aspects of this story, it is indeed in echo to Michel Volle’s interpellation and to this famous “suicidal impetus” with which informatization would have to do. Perhaps we already understand a little better. It remains to examine the causal and above all moral character of this automation that technophiles (like bureaucrats) consider at best axiologically neutral, at worst good in itself as a solution to all the problems that arise (Jacques Ellul and the Technological System).


The IBM “marker” tells us today23 :

Automation is the use of technology to perform tasks with where human input is minimized.

This definition is indisputable, but we need to be a little more precise. If IBM implements solutions to minimize human input, it is at the cost of maximum input from its employees, whose job it is to automate24. What we are indicating here in a nutshell, Michel Volle presents it to us more precisely in the form of an economic rationality that is easy to understand25.

[…] The design of a product, being carried out before production begins, is a stock (of texts, plans, computer programs, test reports, installations, organization etc.). If the cost of production is absorbed in the design, capital (in the sense of “stock”, and not in the sense of “financial capital” or even “fixed capital”, which is too restrictive here) becomes the only factor of production. The economy becomes purely capitalist, a situation we call “ultracapitalism”.

Capitalism becomes “ultra” when all the work is stored upstream, which is quite typical of the automation process (like GPT learning, to set the ideas with a recent example)26. The work stored by IBM (under the Ideal Type of company in the digital sector) consists of the endless declension of “use cases” such as “business automation”. And here we can use the somewhat ironic term “phenomenal lie”, because this work escapes our delicate gaze as much as Thomas Edison’s ultra-polluting power plants27:

It was an immediate success: instead of gaslight, which soiled bourgeois interiors, this innovation kept paintings and tapestries fresh. But a few miles away, two coal-fired power plants were dumping 5 tons of slag per day into the Hudson River. This model of delocalization of harmful effects, so deeply embedded in our way of life, prevents us from seeing that many of the virtues of electricity fall into the category of “fake news”.

Automation thus “delocalizes” work, especially work with high added value, but it also desynchronizes it from the use of its production: work is no longer where or when it produces its effect. Whether it is IBM’s Deep Blue computerized chess player, which beat the champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon “machine” (Homo Amazonus), the Parcoursup moral machine in France (PageRank, Parcoursup and other “moral machines”) or even ChatGPT (GPT-3, LaMDA, Wu Dao… The blooming of “monster” AIs), all these automatic things store profitable work at low operating costs, but above all they bury the instrumental motivations of the work done by IBM, Amazon, OpenAI or the French State. They are therefore literally non-understandable.

Today, digital ethicists are fighting for “explainable” AIs (see for example “explainable AI” by IBM28) but nothing will ever make them directly understandable29, unless we experience a dystopian version of the Informatization Age where we could empathically re-experience the rational motivations of these automatic things, a pure phenomenal vertigo this time.

Bounded rationality, Bounded understanding

This first part of our “Informatization Age” closes on the double proposition that 1) informatization aims radically at automation – understood as the realization of tasks in an unconscious way, without the direct participation of the will or of the intelligence – and 2) that any phenomenon pertaining to computer science (or “digital”) can be explained while any phenomenon pertaining to the “automated” in the broad sense can fall under a sociological examination and consequently end up being understood. To do this, we should examine precisely and systematically, as good Weberian sociologists, the Ideal Types of the “workers” of automation (researchers, mathematicians, hackers, algorithm developers, experience designers, CIOs, Silicon Valley tycoons, etc.), but also of the users of “automatic things” that we are (autonomous car drivers, Netflix or Amazon Prime subscribers, Estonian e-residents, “self-quantified” sportsmen, patients in automated care, etc.), and finally the collective Ideal Types that provide all these actors with their context of rationality (startups, mega-companies, states, digital social groups…).

If the rational motivations of these workers and users remain to be deciphered, we must at the same time recognize a difficulty: automation cannot be understood exclusively in terms of these individual and collective motivations because it is also its own cause. Let us finally explain this point. If the era of informatization is undoubtedly driven by a need for automatic things, it is also characterized by the dimensional inflation of the complexity and problems to be solved by the very fact of the functioning of these automatic things. In this environment, human rationality is limited by lack of information, time and simply by “brain dimensions”. So, we need more and more automatic things (like ChatGPT…) to compensate for this defect:

This “vicious” cycle reduces our possibilities of understanding (in the sense of Max Weber’s Verstehen in sociology) by progressively reducing the share of “human” rationality in individual action. The Informatization Age was probably born of this cycle, which was initiated by the frightening inflation of complex crises, of global dimensions, which marked the first half of the 20th century. It is hardly surprising that one of the actors of this genesis, the American economist and sociologist Herbert A. Simon, in the 1950s, both highlighted this phenomenon of “bounded rationality30 against the neoclassical economic theories of the purely rational individual, and conceptualized, with the computer scientist and cognitive psychologist Alan Newell, the first tools of assisted rationality, which we still call “artificial intelligence” today.

1. Michel Volle – December 7, 2007 – Prédation et prédateurs (p.175) – Prédations et prédateurs (p.175) – “Si l’on veut éviter que le XXIème siècle ne soit aussi meurtrier (ou plus) que le siècle qui l’a précédé, il faut engager la course entre la lucidité et l’impulsion suicidaire – ce qui suppose de comprendre les implications pratiques et intellectuelles du processus d’informatisation”.
2. Wikipedia – Buzzword
3. Here is an updated summary by Michel Volle of the above-mentioned work (in French): Michel Volle / Cahiers philosophiques 2015/2 (n° 141), pages 87 à 103 – 2015 – Comprendre l’informatisation
4. Source: Google Books Ngram Viewer (informatisation)
5. We are not much convinced by the expression “Information Age” coined by the Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells, which refers to much the same thing and period. Firstly, the word “information” is not specific to any era – or else it is in the sense of mechanized information, and then we might as well say so – and secondly, it does not take into account the essentially “processual”, dynamic dimension of the Informatization Age.
6. (In French) The Conversation – November 16, 2021 – Débat : L’électricité, ce mensonge « phénoménal »
7. A neologism is most of the time a delayed observation. Without any certainty, the French word “informatisation” seems to appear here for the first time in 1971: J.-C. Quiniou, « Marxisme et Informatique », Éd. Soc., p. 137 : « La construction du socialisme en France, ce sera le pouvoir du peuple plus l’informatisation du pays » (source: CNRTL)
8. (in French) Simon Nora, Alain Minc – janvier 1978 – L’informatisation de la société – An English translation was published in 1980 (but we did not have access to it, so the translations are ours): The Computerization of Society – A Report to the President of France / MIT Press
9. Ibid.8 p.10
10. Ibid.8 p.11
11. Ibid.8 p.11
12. Ibid.8 p.13
13. (in French) Cornelius Castoriadis / Esprit – October 1990 – Le monde morcelé (p.49) – This work is a collection of texts composed between 1986 and 1989, including “Individu, société, rationalité, histoire”, published in the journal Esprit in February 1988, about Philippe Raynaud’s book, “Max Weber et les dilemmes de la raison moderne”.
14. We note in passing that the explanation is always reduced in the end to the verification of coherence with a language game established or adjusted for the occasion (tautological character of the explanation).
15. Ibid.13 p.49 – “Cela est conditionné par la possibilité de ce que Weber appelle sympathisches Nacherleben, le re-vivre sympathique (ou empathique) des comportements et des motivations d’autrui”.
16. (in French) Gérald Bronner / L’Année sociologique 2020/1 (Vol. 70), pages 153 à 174 – 2020 – Pourquoi une sociologie compréhensive augmentée ?
17. Mathematics and economics have been interested in modeling rationality in order, in a way, to control it. See (in French) Utilité, ophélimité, rationalité.
18. Wikipédia – Max Weber
19. Ibid.13 p.75
20. It is also enough to observe that the “terminal” of the global computer system is no longer the smartphone or the personal computer but the human being himself. We join here the theme of the multiple ego seen in The Body of René Thom (singularities).
21. China’s “spatial” vision seems deeper than ours since, as we noted in China and AI: imperial!, « like the Social Credit System, AI is immediately perceived as a complete means, vertical and horizontal, of control and therefore of social stability ».
22. (in French) Wikipédia – IBM
23. IBM site – What is automation?
24. One may object that even the employees of IT companies will see their work automated, whether it is computer development or design. But the design of automation (AI…), their exploitation, the “curation” of their results will always require human work.
25. Ibid.1 p.70
26. According to Michel Volle, this ultracapitalism leads to an “economy of maximum risk” and to the return of a feudal regime of predation. It is in this that informatization leads, if we do not understand its implications, to a democratic “suicide”. This summary is developed in the works of Michel Volle mentioned above. See also here an example of a regime of predation: Elon Musk, special vassal.
27. Ibid.6
28. IBM – What is explainable AI (XAI)?
29. Explanation is simply the representation of a phenomenon or a decision in the available languages (natural, mathematical…). It is therefore essentially a language game, whereas understanding solicits the “body”.
30. Wikipedia – Bounded rationality

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