Mythe et magie dans la futurologie. Les technologies de la prédiction

César Rebolledo González


Myth and Magic in Futurology. The Technologies of Prediction

This article analyzes the relationship between the anthropological notions of technology and magic. It approaches the social fascination that provokes the magic-technological binomial by following the media narratives on the development of artificial intelligence and robotics. The anthropology of magic teaches us that the relationship between technology and fantasy is archaic and totemic; for magic to exist, we need first an illusion device capable of making us believe, and at the same time capable of scaring us. Magic does not disappear with technological modernity, quite the contrary: fantasy, enchantment, ecstasy, and the supernatural are the central part of the media and futuristic narratives on digital objects.

From J.-G. Frazer to B. Malinowski, from K. Thomas to S. Greenwood, there is a case to be made about societal immanence of magic (and its fetishes) and its regulating character in any space and any time. Magic, like science, crystallizes this normative game of knowledge that takes place between the imaginary and the factual; the magic of technology is fascinating, while it is structuring, under the “sine qua non” condition of being formidable. Artificial intelligence technology is the new totem of our society; thus, we must be attentive to the counter-current of their mythologies. We therefore propose to opening a discussion on futurology (and its counterpart collapsology), as a discursive form on a technological future charged with tensions and chiaroscuros, where magic and its secrets find their place.


Technology; Magic; Myth; Dystopia; Futurology


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