Dematerialization can be taken variously as meaning less materials used in objects, a less materialistic outlook on consumption, or the virtualization of communication and interaction. Designer and technology advocate R. Buckminster Fuller began using the term ephemeralization in the early 1930s to mean getting more out of less, or as he once put it, “more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing” (1938, 252). In Fuller's view, technological progress could over time achieve a higher standard of living for people while reducing the amount of resources consumed per person. His geodesic dome buildings, for example, used much less materials than equivalent-sized traditional structures did.

Yet Fuller's advocacy of technological solutions neglected the ways that techniques are embedded in human ...

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