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Automation and the Future of Work (excerpt)

In Automation and the Future of Work, Aaron Benanav uncovers the structural economic trends that will shape our working lives far into the future. In this excerpt, courtesy of Verso Books, he considers what's on our minds these days, "What if everyone suddenly had access to enough healthcare, education, and welfare to reach their full potential?"

Aaron Benanav
Recent
Books

Home Computers: 100 Icons that Defined a Digital Generation (excerpt)

Whether you remember waiting for dial-up access, tiny screens, and green lines of text or not, you'll get a kick out of Alex Wiltshire's travel back in time to when computers came with wires. Enjoy this excerpt of Home Computers, courtesy of MIT press, with nostalgia photography by John Short.

Alex Wiltshire
Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Film

'Memento' Is the Movie of the Attention Economy

We are afraid of time, and so like Leonard in Memento, we kill it, compulsively and indiscriminately.

Film

Be Kind. Please Rewind: An Ode to the VCR

Like Netflix, the VCR diluted and transformed the film itself.

Books

Does Social Media Mark the End of the End of Childhood?

Culture and media critic Kate Eichhorn's The End of Forgetting explores how relentlessly documenting young lives allows little room for the unfettered joys of imaginative freedom and perpetuates a seemingly endless state of childhood.

Television

'Black Mirror' Season 5 Should Be Its Last

It makes perfect sense that 2019 — the last year of the decade — should also be the last year for one of the 2010s' best shows. To continue would be a disservice to viewers.

Technology

#PopMatters20: Tech Is Evil and TechKnow Kinda Told You So

How deluded we were about our devices being labor-saving, productivity-increasing cure-alls! And other realizations of how the rise of technology has affected our lives.

Books

'Bitwise' and Our Fluid Interactions with Technology

David Auerbach offers a unique perspective on the fascinations of technology as well as how it can often blight our sensibilities when thinking about our fellow human beings.

Books

Don't Google It! How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

Algorithms of Oppression addresses the growing concern about the consequences of commercial control over information and the harm it does to communities.

Books

Designing Desire in 'Made for Love'

Alissa Nutting takes readers on a wild ride through the murky waters of love and Florida.

Books

Are You Paying Attention? 'The Distracted Mind'

Multi-tasking on your smart phone consumes too many resources, including memory, and can cause the system to "choke". Imagine what it does to your brain.

Music

Jamiroquai: Automaton

After a seven-year hiatus, Jay Kay and band return with a sharp view of technological dominance.

Games

Virtual Reality and Storytelling: What Happens When Art and Technology Collide?

Virtual reality is changing the face of entertainment, and I can see a future when I will find myself inside VR listening to some psych-rock while meditating on an asteroid.

Reviews

And: Phenomenology of the End by Franco Berardi

Imagine orienting yourself on a map, scratching a red "X" to mark your location, and then realizing how precarious your position is, how perilously far you are from where you want to be.

Reviews

'Tomorrowland' Captures Sci-fi’s Shiny Surfaces but Misses Its Geeky Heart

Brad Bird’s message, with which he clubs the audience about the head and shoulders, is that we could have had jet packs, space travel, and all of that by now -- if only we hadn’t stopped believing.

Reviews

Who Made the Machines That Remade the World?

Walter Isaacson's The Innovators explores the history of the digital age as told through the intertwined lives of the men and women who created it.

Books

On Expanding Our Field of Vision: '3D Cinema and Beyond'

The best essays here simultaneously engage with like-minded scholars and inform casual readers of 3D’s importance in filmmaking.

Technology

Marketing in the Age of Surveillance

What do you get when you try to marry perky start-up optimism with the ominous prospect of the surveillance age?

Reviews

What Is Permissible in the Name of Science, Wartime Expediency, and National Security?

"Our Germans beat their Germans," someone quipped when Wernher von Braun's team of rocketeers put Americans on the Moon, but Operation Paperclip reveals that US involvement with ex-Nazi scientists was far deeper, and far darker.

Reviews

The Industrial Revolution 2.0

We live in a world filled with powerful, compact, networked computers -- a world that those computers are about to transform.

Books

Modernity, Rising: 'Lifted: A Cultural History of the Elevator'

Lifted is an absorbing exploration into how the introduction of elevators into buildings transformed cities and the experience of living and working in them.

Technology

Production in Flux: What's Next for Electronic Dance Music?

Is recorded music the only real kind of music? Of course not. That is... unless music recordings are your only access to music. Then those recordings are no less 'real' to you.

Technology

Anonymous and the New Religion: Data

As the world is increasingly filtered through computers there is emerging a reliance on data as a belief system. Groups like Anonymous are pushing us further towards data, as they highlight the divide they see between belief and information.

Books

You are a Target: 'The Daily You'

From web cookies to mobile thumbprints, you are the medium and the message is that you are being targeted.

Film

Harry Potter, Wizards and How We Let Technology Create Who We Are

Whether it's wands or smartphones, technology can be seen as contributing to the social construction of reality. If the wand chooses the wizard, what implications might this have for Muggle society?

Deanna Day
Music

How Long Must We Sing This Song?: Your Technology Is Destroying My Music

Really, do we need another article posted on the Internet that ponders the paradigm-shifting possibilities posed by that very same Internet? Right now, I’m just not sure that we do.

Books

'The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow': Is Alas, More Like The Great Big Beautiful Nothing

The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow is a mere bauble or trinket: you get the impression that Doctorow had a gas while writing it, but it seems to be more of a work whose impact is best left in the writer’s imagination.

Books

'Context' Without the Context

Despite the title, the book surprisingly offers very little context between technology guru Cory Doctorow’s ideas and thoughts from piece to piece.

Reviews

'A Culture of Improvement' Is an Impressive Account of Technology and Technological Change

Friedel is a master weaver and his ability to bring together so many historical strands is truly impressive. He pays attention to the lesser-known tinkerers and tweakers as much as to the more famous inventors, making this book a fine example of bottom-up history.

Books

Before iBooks, There Was the Vook ... But Are Vooks Relevant in the Era of the iPad?

Over the past few months, iPad talk has dominated the electronic book world. But before the iPad, there was the Vook (rhymes with book).

Film

Victim's Gay Hero and Modern Marvels of Social Change

No, gays won’t have to march- there are plenty more ways for heroes to come out to battle. What if lynching had gone viral? Remember that Dr. King had no iPhone, hence the distance between Montgomery and Atlanta was enormous, but dwarfed by now the Internet (not to mention I-85).

Books

Mortal Coil by David Boyd Haycock

The profuse wringing of hands about whether or not we are doing violence to humanity in our tech-objectives only serves to hinder social progress.

Technology

TechKnow: Constant Digital Craving

Screw the soup, Mr. – little Oliver wants a PS3.


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