How are technologies shaped by political needs, and how do technologies enable new kinds of politics? In this episode, Professor Eden Medina tells the history of communications technologies in Chile, during the socialist government of Salvador Allende, in the early 1970s. She explains how the innovative cybernetics systems, Project Cybersyn, was employed by the central government to communicate with people and officials across the country in an unprecedented way. Finally, we discuss how important this system seemed to Chileans in a time of political turmoil and what it came to represent – not only to the government, but to to the people of Chile. Eden Medina is associate professor of informatics and computing at Indiana University. She is the author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile and co-editor of Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America.
Audio credits: Thanks as always to The Overseas Ensemble, a collaboration between composer Paed Conca and Sarigama, for use of their music.
Medina, Eden, Marques, Ivan Da Costa, and Holmes, Christina. Beyond Imported Magic : Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America. Inside Technology. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2014.
Medina, Eden. Cybernetic Revolutionaries :technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2011.
See also the podcast by 99% Invisible, featuring interviews with Fernando Flores and archival audio of Stafford Beer: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/project-cybersyn/