Tag: Technology

The Big Picture: Trump on Twitter

On its face, Twitter appears to be a quintessentially democratic medium. It promotes individualized expression, helps build social networks, and, until recently, seemed to epitomize the decentralized ...

Is Handwriting History?

Have you got a pen? My answer to such a question, following some clumsy digging in my backpack, is increasingly no. Sometimes, embarrassment giving way to defensiveness, I wonder why anyone bothers ...

Choosing Growth

Recently, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt defended the withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord by alleging that the agreement had placed “constraints on the economy.” Rather ...

Future Shocks

“The future’s not what it used to be,” sings Mickey Newbury in his 1971 hit of the same name. His song frames this witticism in romantically personal terms, but the insight has broad applicability ...

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 ...

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 ...

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.

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 ...

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 ...

Underground Distractions, Shanghai

This is the latest installment of Public Streets, a biweekly urban observations series curated by Ellis Avery. Windows on trains and planes are equipped with shades: vertical or horizontal, rigid or ...

Prophecy in Future Perfect

This is the latest installment of our series An Engineer Reads a Novel.   When you’re looking for representations of technology in literature, it often turns out that Jules Verne got there first ...

How Spiritualism Spread

It seems unlikely that any era in human history was without its fascination with death or the desire to communicate with those who have passed into it. But the 19th century was a period in which ...