Questions on Noble

1) p. 18-19 What are the assumptions of technological determinism? How are these related to the concept of "social impact" of technology? what does Noble propose as an alternative framework?

2) pp. 20-21 How might a technological determinist tell the story of automated machine tools? What questions does it leave unanswered? What is the role of tacit knowledge here?

3) pp. 22-23 What was so challenging about automating machine tools (as opposed to, say, automobile maufacturing)? Contrast the record/playback solution with the NC solution.

4) pp. 24-27 What was the role of the air force in the design of automated machine tools? What effect did that have on private firms? Why did the MIT researchers assume the software would be a simple task?

5) pp. 28-31 What was the semiotic (i.e. cultural symbolic) significance of NC technology? How does Taylorism (the time measurement approach to labor management) illustrate the material significance of human agency on the shop floor?

6) pp. 32-35 What did Vonnegut mean when he said "they wanted no publicity this time?" Why did GE refer to NC technology as a management system rather than a metal cutting system? How is this suported by the history of NC cost effectiveness?

7) pp. 36-38 What shop floor changes took place after the introduction of NC technology? Provide two illustrations that show these are not inherent aspects of NC tech.

8) pp. 38-44 Did management's dream of deskilling, setting base rates by tape time, and total automation come true? Why not?

9) pp. 45-47 Contrast the GE use of CNC technology with that of Norway.