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Collage of a technologies: a red telephone, a beige car, a bridge made of bricks and cement, buildings, a wind miss, an individual with a VR headset with their one arm in the air, a cargo ship with stacks of containers.
This course can no longer be booked.

How Technology Transforms the World

4 weeks with Matthew Jordan, Wednesdays, 2-4:30pm ET

  • Ended
  • 295 Canadian dollars
  • Zoom


What comes to mind when you think of “technology”? You’re probably thinking of digital tools from the last 25 years: the iPhone, the internet, laptops. But “technology” can be any reproducible tool or process. You are surrounded by technologies of all kinds right now that you are likely taking for granted. Plumbing, concrete, electrical wiring, automobiles, cement, steel, perhaps a vacuum or microwave—these were all once considered the forefront of innovation, but are now commonplace household necessities. This is a normal pattern. After a technology has had a transformative impact on the way we interact with the world and with each other, it ceases to seem like “tech”, and just feels like a standard part of our lives. Technology takes the inconceivable and makes it mundane. The goal of this course is to stop taking technology for granted. We’re going to treat bricks, pipes, cement, stoves, and lathes with the same scrutiny we now reserve for VR headsets and TikTok. We begin from the premise that technology is a human endeavour, and always aim to understand the values or philosophies embedded in our tools. Our inquiry will be wide-ranging. Why did innovations like the washing machine and vacuum cleaner promise liberation for women but result in more domestic labour? How have our cities been shaped and reshaped by canals, trains, ships, automobiles, and planes? What role has cement played in the course of human history? This course will largely be self-directed. I want you to find technologies that you have taken for granted, or dive deep into tools you have always wanted to know more about. We will also do a great deal of exploratory learning: we’ll walk around our respective cities and try to notice technology in ways we had not before, spotting pipes or wires that were previously invisible. About the Instructor: My calling in life is to learn as much as I can, then share those learnings with other people. I’ve done this many different ways: starting a walking tour company, creating university courses, recording podcasts, filming YouTube videos, and delivering exuberant public rants. My academic background is in the history of science and technology. Technology has transformed our world more than we can possibly understand, but I’m trying to wrap my mind around it anyway.

Booking and Cancellation Policy

To cancel, please inform us at least 7 days in advance of the first session for a full refund. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first session are entitled to a full course credit. Please email us at for cancelling requests.

Contact Details

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