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Category Archives: Technology

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 · 4 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 · 2 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 · 3 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

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 · 3 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 · 2 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 · 3 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 · 1 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 · 3 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 · 5 Comments

It’s ok if you want to cry…

If a message were to suddenly appear on your computer screen informing you that all of your material had been encrypted and that you would have to pay a ransom … Continue reading

May 16, 2017 · 3 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 · 5 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 · 2 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 · 12 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 · 3 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 · 6 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

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

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 · 10 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 · 1 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

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