The digital revolution, we are told everywhere today, produces democracy. It gives “power to the people” and dethrones authoritarians; it levels the playing field for distribution of information critical to political engagement; it destabilizes hierarchies, decentralizes what had been centralized, democratizes what was the domain of elites.
Most on the left would endorse these ends. The widespread availability of tools whose uses are harmonious with leftist goals would, one might think, accompany broad advancement of those goals in some form. Yet the left today is scattered, nearly toothless in most advanced democracies. If digital communication technology promotes leftist values, why has its spread coincided with such a stark decline in the Left’s political fortunes?
This gallery contains 2 photos.
Originally posted on ideas.ted.com:
At Fuji Kindergarten outside Tokyo, kids make the most of a magical environment designed just for them. The roof of their oval-shaped school, designed by Tokyo-based firm Tezuka Architects, is an endless playground, and trees grow right through classrooms. So how do you build to let children be children?…
Originally posted on plerudulier:
In the unlikely case one wouldn’t recognize this guy this is George Clooney, advertising Nespresso. He didn’t need to say much for that, getting away with a mere “What else”. Probably the most expensive 2 words in the history of publicity. 2 words with a high return though, Nespresso never complained for all I know.
Dans le cas hautement improbable où on ne reconnaîtrait pas cet individu, c’est George Clooney, faisant la pub pour Nespresso. Il n’a pas dû parlé beaucoup pour cela, s’en tirant avec un simple “What else¹ ” Probablement les 2 mots les plus chers de l’histoire de la publicité, 2 mots avec un fort retour cependant. Nespresso ne s’est jamais plaint pour ce que j’en sais.
Relationship with topic du jour ? None except for the 2 words. It just crossed my mind the other day that Facebook, after Twitter, after whatever social platform were,these days, sequentially…
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What does it mean to be a technology critic in today’s America? And what can technology criticism accomplish? The first question seems easy: to be a technology critic in America now is to oppose that bastion of vulgar disruption, Silicon Valley. By itself, however, this opposition says nothing about the critic’s politics—an omission that makes it all the more difficult to answer the second question.
Why all the political diffidence? A critical or oppositional attitude toward Silicon Valley is no guarantee of the critic’s progressive agenda; modern technology criticism, going back to its roots in Germany at the turn of the twentieth century, has often embraced conservative causes. It also doesn’t help that technology critics, for the most part, make a point of shunning political categories. Instead of the usual left/right distinction, they are more comfortable with the humanist/anti-humanist one. “What if the cost of machines that think is people who don’t?”—a clever rhetorical question posed by the technology author George Dyson a few years ago—nicely captures these sorts of concerns. The “machines” in question are typically reduced to mere embodiments of absurd, dehumanizing ideas that hijack the minds of poorly educated technologists; the “humans,” in turn, are treated as abstract, ahistorical émigrés to the global village, rather than citizen-subjects of the neoliberal empire.