LibrarianShipwreck

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Category Archives: Technology

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 · Leave a comment

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 · 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

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 · Leave a comment

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 · 5 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 · 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

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

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

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 · 4 Comments

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

An island of reason in the cyberstream – on the life and thought of Joseph Weizenbaum

The juxtaposition between the potential of technology and its actual manifestation can be rather jarring. Tools that promise to make tasks easier are used to automate people out of their … Continue reading

July 27, 2016 · 5 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

What Pokémon can you catch at a library?

Though you might not suspect it, libraries are an excellent place to catch Pokémon! Indeed, libraries are filled with many kinds of wondrous, rare Pokémon that can be found there … Continue reading

July 14, 2016 · 1 Comment

Mars is still very far away – a review of McKenzie Wark’s book Molecular Red

There are some games where a single player wins, games where a group of players wins, and then there are games where all of the players can share equally in … Continue reading

July 7, 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

What Technology Do We Really Need? – A Critique of the 2016 Personal Democracy Forum

Technological optimism is a dish best served from a stage. Particularly if it’s a bright stage in front of a receptive and comfortably seated audience, especially if the person standing … Continue reading

June 16, 2016 · 8 Comments

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

Beyond the Prototype: Libraries as Convivial Tools in Action

How important are the technologies found in a library to the actual library? Are libraries simply places where various tools and technologies are used, or can libraries (themselves) be viewed … Continue reading

May 26, 2016 · 1 Comment

You Can’t Spell “Trending Topics” Without Control

Attempting to understand trends can easily give one an unpleasant headache. From fashion to music and from food to news articles – the reasons why a particular thing is trendy … Continue reading

May 19, 2016 · 1 Comment

Evidently, Democracy Disrupts the Disruptors

Anybody who has been watching the 2016 presidential primaries can attest to the simple fact that voting has consequences. Indeed, voters can propel a figure widely dismissed as “never going … Continue reading

May 12, 2016 · 3 Comments

Broadcasting Resistance – a review of Low Power to the People by Christina Dunbar-Hester

In trying to build a different tomorrow, activists find themselves using the tools of today. And quite often the tools of yesterday as well. The choice of which tools to … Continue reading

April 28, 2016 · 3 Comments

En Garde! How to Defend Yourself With a Book

“Hungry man, reach for the book: it is a weapon.” – Bertolt Brecht 1. Popular parlance is filled with catchy phrases about the ways in which books can be harnessed … Continue reading

April 21, 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 · 2 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

Apple Is Not the Messiah

There is a lot of money to be made in crafting carefully manicured public relations campaigns for major corporations. Numerous large firms exist solely for the purposes of selling their … Continue reading

February 18, 2016 · 3 Comments

Not Ludd, Just Ludicrous – The Luddite Awards are Absurd

The bestowing of awards often has a rather self-congratulatory aspect. After all, the giving of such honors is an opportunity for an industry to praise itself by touting the fine … Continue reading

January 29, 2016 · 2 Comments

Potential, Power and Enduring Problems – Anarchism and the Critique of Technology

What follows is the introductory section of an article titled “Potential, Power and Enduring Problems – Reassembling the Anarchist Critique of Technology” which I wrote for the journal Anarchist Developments … Continue reading

January 14, 2016 · 3 Comments

When it Comes to Social Media – Is There No Alternative?

In the first weeks of a new year, many people look back on the previous year and dwell upon what they wish they had done differently. And thus inspired, they … Continue reading

January 7, 2016 · 5 Comments

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