Do we have any means of predicting or evaluating how technological developments could contribute to a good society before they become part of everyday life? This paper turns to history for a potential answer by seeing the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition as one example of a tentative materialization of a vision of the good society supported by technological systems and artifacts. The first part of the paper provides a theoretical framework for understanding the communication of private sociotechnical visions of the good society to the public by way of full-scale models, and addresses how to evaluate such visions. Based on this framework, the paper explores the Exposition as a sociotechnical prototype, publicly enacted and experienced, and essential to insights about our own sociotechnical future.
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