New South Wales


Monsters in the Machine: Technology, Growth and Human Flourishing - ONLINE ONLY


From: Wednesday September 13, 2023, 12:30 pm

To: Wednesday September 13, 2023, 1:30 pm

A talk by Richard King, author of Here Be Monsters: Is Technology Reducing Our Humanity? (Monash University Publishing)

Technology is a constant in human affairs. The use of stone tools predates the emergence of humanity by some three million years, and helped to shape the beings we are now. We are Homo faber – ‘man the maker’ – the tool-using animal par excellence.

Nevertheless, technological development has not been a story of seamless progress, and in his recent book Here Be Monsters Richard King argues that in crucial regards it now cuts across or against the grain of human freedom and flourishing. Socially, creatively and even physically, we are often ill-served by our technologies – no longer the masters but the servants of our tools.

In this talk, King will discuss the role the market plays in these developments and suggest that a different economic model would necessitate a very different relationship with our tools than is currently manifest. Referring in particular to climate change, and the challenge it represents to growth economics, he will push back against the ‘solutionism’ that makes a fetish of technological innovation, arguing that a meaningful response to the crisis would demand social and political innovation as well, and a reorientation towards a ‘democratic technics’.

About the author

Richard King is an author, critic and poet. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, he attended Salford University and gained an MA in Literary History and Cultural Discourse from the University of Sussex, before moving to London to work in publishing and develop his own writing career. Since moving to Australia in 2001 he has been published in a range of newspapers and magazines, including, inter alia, The Australian, The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Independent, The Monthly, Griffith Review, the Sydney Review of Books, Meanjin, Overland, New Matilda, Australian Book Review and 3 Quarks Daily (for whom he wrote a regular column between 2016 and 2018). He has also been published in The Best Australian Poems and the Best Australian Science Writing.  Close to the Arena cooperative in Melbourne, he writes regularly for Arena Online and Arena’s quarterly magazine, focusing in particular on the relationship between culture and technology. His first book On Offence: The Politics of Indignation (Scribe, 2013) was widely and positively reviewed by critics, with The Weekend Australian’s Geordie Williamson calling it ‘an extended essay of uncommon eloquence and brio.’ The late Clive James, an admirer of King’s writing, wrote the following on his personal website:

In any English-speaking newspaper, of whatever altitude, news and culture tend to be separated by a rabbit-proof fence, but Richard King has been given a free hand to make news out of culture, and without trivialising the second thing in favour of the first.

King’s website is He lives in Fremantle with his wife and two children.

In all kinds of ways, and in all kinds of fields, humanity stands at an inflection point: information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology and pharmacological technology are converging into a technoscience of almost unimaginable power ... Monsters

Details and Registration

This event will be held online via Zoom only.  Members, remember to login prior to registering to be eligible for free attendance.

Date:    Wednesday 13 September 2023
Time:    12.30pm until 1.30pm AEST (SYD/CBR/MEL)
Cost:   Free for members - $10 for non members (join or renew now
Venue:   Online only via Zoom - link to join will be sent in the booking invoice auto responder




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