The Project for the Study of Corporate Personhood

Piers Anthony published a novel called Macroscope in 1969, where the word was the name of a machine to view anything anywhere. In 1971, the ecologist H.T. Odum discussed the value of using an analytical graph of energy flows in a complex ecological system, and he called such a graph a macroscope. In 1979 the French theorist of technology, Joël de Rosnay, called upon the word again for a book title. For de Rosnay, the macroscope was the ultimate cybernetic instrument, a kind of dashboard for the technocratic control of everything. And just a few years ago, the design impresario John Thackara tried again to put this word into circulation, defining it as anything that helps us calibrate our small actions in light of the big picture. None of these four meanings have much to do with the way I am using the word, except in the most general sense that each use in some way evokes the pathos of the individual analyst confronting an important but complex aggregation of facts.

Quantified Self & The Macroscope