From deities to data - "For thousands of years humans believed that authority came from the gods. Then, during the modern era, humanism gradually shifted authority from deities to people... Now, a fresh shift is taking place. Just as divine authority was legitimised by religious mythologies, and human authority was legitimised by humanist ideologies, so high-tech gurus and Silicon Valley prophets are creating a new universal narrative that legitimises the authority of algorithms and Big Data." [more inside]
In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
Artist and film-maker, Hito Steyerl, asks us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our digital equivalents. Digital images are Things (like you and me) - a plethora of compressed, corrupted representations pushed and pulled through increasingly policed and capitalised information networks. If 80% of all internet traffic* is SPAM - a liberated excess withdrawn** from accepted channels of communication - perhaps it is in The Poor Image we find our closest kin? [more inside]
"In all other circumstances we praise non-violent activities and when people, for whatever personal reasons, enjoy sexual violence even in a consenting context I think we shouldn't just say “whatever turns you on”. We should say “There's something wrong here”. But people on the left are so terrified of being accused of moralising and therefore of being oppressive that they've abandoned their critical faculties in this area." Clive Hamilton on God, Sex, and the Left (Part 2).
Don't Be Evil -- a somewhat philosophical review of two new books about Google.
"People have always had an ulterior or imaginative life," opines writer Will Self. "There's something about the act of will involved in believing in preposterous things that I believe is the very kind of muscle and key of having an imagination... here, you have an arena that is inherently psychotic." In a series of interviews about the nature of human imagination and violence as they are transformed by the Internet, Self muses on how primal human desires are being satisfied more efficiently and easily by the increasingly connected life, and wonders how this will change us as much as society.
How Google Is Making Us Smarter: Humans are "natural-born cyborgs," and the Internet is our giant "extended mind."
Jurgen Habermas and the Public Sphere. Habermas' conception of the public sphere has become increasingly interesting to scholars of internet theory. Any thoughts on what role MeFi plays in creating a public? What about issues of accessibility, autonomy, and quality? Could Mefi be the realization of Habermas' public sphere?
3quarksdaily. Just another blog, sure, but a good one. 3quarksdaily is a filter blog much like our very own, but with only 15 users (and an editor). As they say on their about page "On this website, my guest authors and editors and I hope to present interesting items from around the web on a daily basis, in the areas of science, design, literature, current affairs, art, and anything else we deem inherently fascinating." The do an admirable job.
Philosophy in Cyberspace and Politics.com are wealths of information. Visit them if you want a complete bio of either Hatch or Hegel, Bradley or Baudrillard.