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Category Archives: Capitalism

“Striving to minimize technical and reputational risks” – Ethical OS and Silicon Valley’s guilty conscience

Considering how proudly they declare that they are designing the future, technology companies seem almost comically bad when it comes to anticipating the consequences of the things they create. While … Continue reading

August 24, 2018 · 9 Comments

Challenging the Tech Companies from Within

“The myth of technological and political and social inevitability is a powerful tranquilizer of the conscience. Its serve is to remove responsibility from the shoulders of everyone who truly believes … Continue reading

June 28, 2018 · 5 Comments

All watched over by machines – a review of Yasha Levine’s “Surveillance Valley”

There is something rather precious about Google employees, and Internet users, who earnestly believe the “don’t be evil” line. Though those three words have often been taken to represent a … Continue reading

June 8, 2018 · 12 Comments

“Why don’t you go live in a cave?” – when technophiles cry troglodyte

Someone came to the stones and said: Be human The stones replied: We are not hard enough yet – Erich Fried[i]   1) Regardless of where arguments about the impact … Continue reading

May 18, 2018 · 6 Comments

Techlash! What Techlash?

In the early 1990s an assortment of activists and academics banded together in an attempt to challenge the direction in which high-technology, and infatuation with it, was taking society. And … Continue reading

April 27, 2018 · 5 Comments

The Nerd and the Inured

There’s no point being vague about it: Mark Zuckerberg won. Considering what could have possibly awaited the Facebook CEO when he testified before Congress he got off easy. Despite the … Continue reading

April 12, 2018 · 2 Comments

The Shackles of Digital Freedom – a review of Jack Lichuan Qui’s “Goodbye iSlave”

With bright pink hair and a rainbow horn, the disembodied head of a unicorn bobs back and forth to the opening beats of Big Boi’s “All Night.” Moments later, a … Continue reading

March 7, 2018 · Leave a comment

Why the Luddites Matter

Chant no more your old rhymes about bold Robin Hood, His feats I but little admire I will sing the achievements of General Ludd Now the Hero of Nottinghamshire – … Continue reading

January 18, 2018 · 30 Comments

From Net Neutrality to the Net’s New Reality

There is a chance that this page took quite a while to load. Or that this particular site is now taking longer to load than it did in the past. … Continue reading

December 15, 2017 · 4 Comments

Understanding Fascism – making sense of dark times – a reading list (expanded 10/20/17)

“No other method exists for acquiring knowledge about the human heart than the study of history coupled with experience of life, in such a way that the two throw light … Continue reading

October 20, 2017 · 3 Comments

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice 2.0

Lest there be any doubt, the summer of 2017 was characterized by a string of disasters, tragedies, calamities, and almost apocalyptic events. Against such a grim backdrop of lost lives … Continue reading

September 28, 2017 · 12 Comments

The future looks expensive

When times are grim, and menacing clouds literally gather on the horizon, it can be immensely reassuring to have some event that restores faith in the future. All that is … Continue reading

September 13, 2017 · Leave a comment

A chip off technology’s block

Of the various characters who populate our computer dominated society, one of the most curious sorts is the “early adopter.” These are the figures found sprinting headlong to the frontier … Continue reading

August 3, 2017 · Leave a comment

Against the “anti-technology” strawman

Have no doubts about the one who tells you he is afraid But be afraid of the one who tells you he has no doubts – Erich Fried 1) Somewhere … Continue reading

July 20, 2017 · 12 Comments

The Apocalyptic Turn

It is a desperate deed to upbraid despair for despair makes our life what it is. It thinks out what we flee from. – Erich Fried 1) Thinking about apocalyptic … Continue reading

July 11, 2017 · 5 Comments

It’s time to fix things – a review of “Move Fast and Break Things”

When the topic of monopoly is raised the first person that many people will think of is Rich Uncle Pennybags – that icon of monopolistic wealth accumulation – with his … Continue reading

June 29, 2017 · 6 Comments

Amazon is hungry for more

Here is a joke: Question – Why did the online retailer renowned for its super cheap prices buy a brick and mortar grocery chain known for its ridiculously high prices? … Continue reading

June 21, 2017 · 3 Comments

The users and the used

Woe be unto the tech company or platform that rolls out a new product or update and claims that it is in response to its users’ demands. For such action … Continue reading

June 16, 2017 · Leave a comment

Apple is all ears

Once upon a time, if somebody claimed that there were microphones installed in their home that were listening in on their every word they would be dismissed as a paranoid … Continue reading

June 7, 2017 · 2 Comments

“Thinking ad pessimum” – Notes Towards a Productive Pessimism

Even the Flood Did not last for ever. There came a time When the black waters ebbed. Yes, but how few Have lasted longer. – Brecht (“Reading Horace”)   1) … Continue reading

June 1, 2017 · 6 Comments

Who moderates the moderators? On the Facebook Files

Speculative fiction is littered with fantastical tales warning of the dangers that arise when things get, to put it amusingly, too big. A researcher loses control of their experiment! A … Continue reading

May 23, 2017 · 8 Comments

The problem isn’t the robots…it’s the bosses

Let us begin with two stories: Sam is nervous. Having applied for a job, Sam is now waiting to be interviewed for the position. Fidgeting slightly in the waiting room … Continue reading

March 17, 2017 · 3 Comments

Is Internet access a choice?

Sometimes the most interesting questions about how technology impacts society are raised unintentionally. Case in point: on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) went on CNN to explain … Continue reading

March 9, 2017 · 2 Comments

The Internet of Things…that spy on you

There is a sequence in the horror film 28 Days Later in which the protagonists find that they have to drive through a dark tunnel. As the car idles outside … Continue reading

March 3, 2017 · 1 Comment

Here’s looking at you…

If at first an ill-advised piece of consumer technology doesn’t succeed in winning over a skeptical public, you can be certain that another tech company will be willing to try … Continue reading

February 24, 2017 · 2 Comments

The world according to Facebook

The majestic plural, the royal “we,” is deployed by individuals in high positions seeking to cast their own opinions as the views of a much larger group for whom they … Continue reading

February 17, 2017 · 18 Comments

Prescience and Pessimism

Truly, I live in dark times! The guileless word is folly. A smooth forehead Suggests insensitivity. The man who laughs Has simply not yet had The terrible news. – Brecht, … Continue reading

November 10, 2016 · 24 Comments

Google unveils more of the same

Here is a question: have you heard about the new smartphone that’s being released? Here is a completely legitimate way to answer the above question: which smartphone do you mean? … Continue reading

October 5, 2016 · 1 Comment

Guest post: #LIULockout

Pirates, here’s a guest post from our comrade Emily Drabinski, a librarian & faculty member at LIU Brooklyn here in NYC. The LIU Brooklyn faculty, who are unionized, have been … Continue reading

September 8, 2016 · 1 Comment

Planned obsolescence comes for the headphone jack

Surprises are overrated. Well, probably not really, but such a shrugging sentiment seems warranted when it comes to the glitzy launch “events” held by tech companies. Lately, the things which … Continue reading

September 8, 2016 · 5 Comments

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