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Title: <Articles>Maikon and Cyber-Capitalism: Some Preliminary Remarks on a History of Computerization in Japan, 1960–1990
Authors: KNAUDT, Till
Author's alias: クナウト, ティル
Keywords: Computer
Capitalism
Cybernetics
Japan
Marx
Japan National Railways
maikon
BASIC
Issue Date: Mar-2021
Publisher: Institute for Research in Humanities Kyoto University
Journal title: ZINBUN
Volume: 51
Start page: 95
End page: 122
Abstract: This paper presents a preliminary sketching of research in progress, namely how computers were designed in all best interest of serving human social interaction, how they grew out of their imagined functions, becoming the revolutionary tool of cybernetic capitalism. A few years after their introduction in the United States, in early 1980s Japan, microcomputers were developed, produced en masse, and sold to their first users. But to archive their use as an extension of the factory, a tool to gain unlimited access to what Marx has called the workers “social disposable time, ” the computer machine had to be constantly interconnected to the other “limbs” of the factory machine. The creation of the first computer network in Japan, the MARS seat reservation system was based on cybernetics, creating a complex system to automatize Japanese National Railways—a threat that to its trade union was beyond comprehension. Beyond automation, in the 1980s, a student computer club at Kyoto University created PLANET, a network of different home computers (maikon) to democratize computer use. Their humanistic approach created a standardized and unified system, creating a machine which operation would revolutionize its economic base.
Rights: © Copyright March 2021, Institute for Research in Humanities Kyoto University.
DOI: 10.14989/262934
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2433/262934
Appears in Collections:No.51

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