Category: Machines

Audio Companions

Some years back, the cultural critic Stephen Metcalf noted, in a smart review of a new essay collection by David Sedaris, that we turn to radio for companionship. Companionship might appear to be ...

Feeling like the Internet

What has the advent of the internet meant for the novel? Apart, that is, from its having opened a gaping time-sucking sinkhole at the center of culture? The sweet drip-feed of sentiment and savagery ...

Our Metrics, Ourselves

In 1994, a doctor named Clifton Meador penned a satirical portrait of “the last well person” for the New England Journal of Medicine. The protagonist, bent on discovering every datum of unwellness …

The Politics of Networking a Nation

In 1981, one year before his death, the Soviet cybernetician and computer pioneer Victor Glushkov published the book What Is the OGAS? OGAS was the Russian acronym for All-State Automated System for ...

Josef Albers in the iPad Era

In a crisp white shirt, his right knee on the floor, famed former Bauhaus instructor and future head of Yale University’s department of design Josef Albers holds a half-smoked cigarette in one hand ...

Being Data

In 1966, Der Spiegel interviewed Martin Heidegger: SPIEGEL: And what takes the place of philosophy now? HEIDEGGER: Cybernetics.1 Even before the mass production of personal computers, Heidegger saw ...

From Bartleby to Scrivener for iOS

From the earliest typewriters to Google Docs, writing devices have never been built for novelists. Instead, they are designed for office use, with creative writing of all sorts seen as a marginal-at ...

Gamifying the Workplace

Anyone who has read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer no doubt remembers the fence-painting scene. Consigned as a punishment by his Aunt Polly to spend a Saturday whitewashing 30 yards of wooden fence ...

Tell Us How We Did

In 1928, Eric Blair, an unemployed, itinerant writer and former British colonial policeman, went to work as a dishwasher in a Paris hotel. Five years later, under the pen name George Orwell, Blair ...

On Accelerationism

At a time when the future seems to belong to Chicago-school economists and the Internet to Google and the NSA, a new movement calls to re-imagine left politics from top to bottom.

Ghost in the System

It’s fitting that a videogame about novels and their authorship manages to marry two media long thought to be polar opposites. Aaron Reed and Jacob Garbe’s The Ice-Bound Concordance, available for ...

How to Write About Videogames

I remember his blue-plastic hair, drawn back in a little bun that looked octagonal. I remember the pointy hat that crowned him in the eyes of other players: “Sorcerer’s petasos +1,” the “+1” ...

Cyborg Communitarianism

Since life on Earth is so hard, the utopian imagination likes to turn to space. Almost as soon as astronomers and their telescopes emptied the heavens of angels, philosophers like Bernard Le Bovier ...