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Category Archives: Ethics

“The End of the World by Science” – an English translation of Eugene Huzar’s “La Fin du Monde par la Science.” Part 2

“If you could understand, like me, the power that man has acquired in only the last hundred years, you would be frightened by it, and my predictions would not seem … Continue reading

August 9, 2018 · 1 Comment

The Courage to be Afraid – a review of Roy Scranton’s “We’re Doomed. Now What?”

“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.” – … Continue reading

July 18, 2018 · 3 Comments

“The End of the World by Science” – an English translation of Eugene Huzar’s “La Fin du Monde par la Science.” Part 1

Remember these last words, they are the entire story of man in the past, they will also be his entire story in the future. – Eugene Huzar Translator’s Introduction Near … Continue reading

July 5, 2018 · 4 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 · 4 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 · 4 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

Facebook – to delete, or not to delete?

‘Who rules here?’ I asked. They said: ‘The People naturally.’ I said: ‘Naturally the people but who really rules?’ – Erich Fried, “In the Capital.”   1. While many things … Continue reading

March 22, 2018 · 7 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

Be Wary of Silicon Valley’s Guilty Conscience: on The Center for Humane Technology

2017 was a somewhat difficult year for the tech titans, and it looks as though those problems persist in 2018. Of course, the key term in the previous sentence is … Continue reading

February 13, 2018 · 12 Comments

The Show that Cries Wolf – On Black Mirror’s Fourth Season

If you had read the papers as carefully as I do You would have buried your hopes That things may yet get better. – Bertolt Brecht[1] Note: What follows is … Continue reading

February 2, 2018 · 2 Comments

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 · 29 Comments

Technological Resolutions for 2018

The early weeks of January represent a precious liminal period in which many people seek to establish new patterns that they hope to follow for the new year. The New … Continue reading

January 5, 2018 · 2 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

Betrayed by the giants

A common feature in thrillers is betrayal: that moment when suddenly one individual reveals that (surprise!) they are not actually the protagonist’s friend. Calamity ensues as the hero must face … Continue reading

November 2, 2017 · 2 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 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

Living well in the technosocial world – a review of Shannon Vallor’s Technology and the Virtues

When new technologies are unveiled the conversation is usually dominated by excited comments regarding all of the things for which these newfangled devices or platforms will be good. This new … Continue reading

August 24, 2017 · 6 Comments

“Atomic warfare means universal extermination”

In 1946, Lewis Mumford penned an article in The Saturday Review of Literature under the none-too-subtle title “Gentlemen: You are Mad!” Over the course of two pages Mumford denounced as … Continue reading

August 9, 2017 · 5 Comments

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

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

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

“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

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 · 8 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 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

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 · 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 · 4 Comments

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

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