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Libraries, Archives, Technology, Impending Doom

Category Archives: Impending Doom

When real life emulates dystopia…it isn’t a good sign…

“If people are not aware of the direction in which they are going, they will awaken when it is too late and when their fate has been irrevocably sealed. Unfortunately, … Continue reading

March 31, 2017 · 1 Comment

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 · 1 Comment

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 · Leave a comment

Don’t like what you see? – A review of Season Three of Black Mirror

“The future is not a blank page; and neither is it an open book.” – Lewis Mumford 1. When the daily news takes on a particularly grim sheen it can … Continue reading

February 3, 2017 · 1 Comment

Well…that happened – reflections on a joke

The guileless word is folly. A smooth forehead Suggests insensitivity. The man who laughs Has simply not yet had The terrible news. – Brecht (“To Those Born Later”) Sometimes one … Continue reading

January 27, 2017 · 1 Comment

Understanding Fascism – making sense of dark times

“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

January 20, 2017 · 2 Comments

And the technophiles scramble…

“You still have to learn the ABC. The ABC says: They will get you down.” – Bertolt Brecht 1. The folksinger Woody Guthrie was known for putting the words “This … Continue reading

January 12, 2017 · 1 Comment

A Pessimistic Resolution

Every new year brings with it the promise of a fresh start, the promise that this year, unlike last year, we can finally get things right. Thus, the resolution-industrial complex … Continue reading

January 5, 2017 · 1 Comment

“I study the end of the world” – some personal reflections on 2016

“I think in view of all that has happened in the last half century, that it is likely the ship will sink.” – Lewis Mumford 1. What follows is a … Continue reading

December 29, 2016 · 4 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 · 16 Comments

What could go wrong? Another question to ask of new technology

Those who spend a lot of time traveling by airplane steadily grow accustomed to the standard spiel issued by members of the TSA and airline personnel. Yet, recently, a new … Continue reading

October 20, 2016 · 1 Comment

Into and out of the woods – a review of Captain Fantastic

Supermarkets, strip malls, smart phones, school – for many, such are the unexceptional features of daily life. And though some people may occasionally experience dissatisfaction with the society in which … Continue reading

August 22, 2016 · 4 Comments

Rocks or ticker-tape? A review of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus by Douglas Rushkoff

Digital technologies are often touted for their transformative potential. The Internet has made a massive amount of information easily accessible to its users, social media provides new ways of connecting, … Continue reading

July 21, 2016 · Leave a comment

AI and Drones and Bio-engineering, oh my! – A Review of A Dangerous Master by Wendell Wallach

Popular culture is lousy with tales of techno-science escaping human control. And as these stories — involving rebelling robots, murderous artificial intelligence systems, and genetically modified chimeras on a warpath … Continue reading

June 23, 2016 · 1 Comment

Prefixes in Uncertain Times: Reconfiguring the Human in the Human-Built World

One could be easily forgiven for thinking that the present is a troubling time to be human. The specter of catastrophic climate change looms larger by the week, rapidly appearing … Continue reading

June 8, 2016 · 3 Comments

What to Do When the Internet Stops Working in Your Library

There may come a day when you find yourself happily sitting in a library only to have your pleasant feelings disrupted by the recognition that the Internet has stopped working. … Continue reading

March 17, 2016 · 3 Comments

Facebook Reactions Are No Laughing Matter

Prepare yourself for a not particularly shocking observation: when it comes to interpersonal communication, there are certain types of information that are not conveyed particularly well by information technology. Indeed, … Continue reading

February 25, 2016 · 8 Comments

My Favorite Books From 2015

Best of the year lists are as much of a testament to what was missed as to what was actually experienced. For every [insert media format of your choice] that … Continue reading

December 30, 2015 · 7 Comments

The Ground Beneath the Screens – A Review of Jussi Parikka’s A Geology of Media and The Anthrobscene

Despite the aura of ethereality that clings to the Internet, today’s technologies have not shed their material aspects. Digging into the materiality of such devices does much to trouble the … Continue reading

October 29, 2015 · Leave a comment

There’s an Apparatus for That – Reflections on Vilém Flusser’s book Post-History

Critiquing this or that aspect of society can be an invigorating experience. One simply selects a specific topic and sets about excoriating it, methodically ripping it apart with a mixture … Continue reading

September 10, 2015 · Leave a comment

Back to School…

School has an odd effect upon the seasons. While summer may not truly end until the autumnal equinox, in late September, the start of the school year often seems like … Continue reading

September 3, 2015 · 2 Comments

The Robots are Coming! – A Review of Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford

Armies of metallic soldiers attacking fleeing humans, monotone machines refusing to open air lock doors, malfunctioning androids on murderous rampages – popular culture has done much to disseminate anxiety inducing … Continue reading

August 19, 2015 · 4 Comments

Living in the Exterminable Epoch

The end of the world comes in a variety of flavors: the wrath of god, catastrophic storms, gigantic asteroids, unstoppable plague, climate change, nuclear Armageddon…and the list goes on. Particular … Continue reading

July 16, 2015 · Leave a comment

Towards a Bright Mountain: Laudato Si’ as Critique of Technology

“We hate the people who make us form the connections we do not want to form.” – Simone Weil Repairing Our Common Home When confronted with the unsettling reality of … Continue reading

June 24, 2015 · 11 Comments

But on the other hand…it’s a really nice day

“I do not believe that things will turn out well, but the idea that they might is of decisive importance.” – Max Horkheimer 1. Nice days can be disorienting. The … Continue reading

April 22, 2015 · 3 Comments

A Dark, Warped Reflection – An Analysis of Black Mirror

Editor’s Note: what follows is an analysis of the first two seasons of Black Mirror. An analysis of  the third season has also been posted. Depending upon which sections of … Continue reading

February 12, 2015 · 10 Comments

(Libraries and/or Archives) + fire = bad

While playing the somber game of “what is posing an existential threat to libraries and archives this week?” it can be easy to focus on slow destructive forces such as … Continue reading

February 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

Resolve to Remember 2014

Not many people will lament 2014 coming to a close. Certainly, as with any year, there are numerous individuals who experienced moments of great joy and personal fulfillment over the … Continue reading

December 30, 2014 · 2 Comments

Awaiting the Other Shoe

Patience ranks high amongst the virtues that are commonly celebrated. It seems to represent the coming together of a host of other vaunted values: selflessness, calmness in the face of … Continue reading

December 11, 2014 · 2 Comments

Holding pattern

Dearest pirates. One of us has the flu while writing finals & the other is working their tail off on organizing street politics & jail support. We’ll be back soon, … Continue reading

December 10, 2014 · Leave a comment

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