I Am An Object Of Internet Ridicule, Ask Me Anything

Yes, I know that I am pretty much always being watched (espe­cially at a beau­ti­ful tourist attrac­tion in New York City, doing some­thing partly designed to attract atten­tion) but that didn’t pre­pare for me for the real­ity of see­ing myself taken out of context.

Glitchland: In the Future, the Digital Will Know How to Decay

Glitch art and glitches towards which we dis­play an over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive response seem to occupy a sweet spot of fail­ure which is not quite com­pletely bro­ken but which is vibrant and ran­dom enough to catch our atten­tion. As long as nothing’s actu­ally faulty, glitches are, we have decided, pretty awesome.

Want to Predict the Future of Surveillance? Ask Poor Communities.

A decade ago, I sat talk­ing to a young mother on wel­fare about her expe­ri­ences with tech­nol­ogy. When our con­ver­sa­tion turned to Elec­tronic Ben­e­fit Trans­fer cards (EBT), Dorothy* said, “They’re great. Except [Social Ser­vices] uses them as a track­ing device.” I must have looked shocked, because she explained that her case­worker rou­tinely looked at her EBT pur­chase records. Poor women are the test sub­jects for sur­veil­lance tech­nol­ogy, Dorothy told me rue­fully, and you should pay atten­tion to what hap­pens to us. You’re next.

Why does Alain de Botton want us to kill our young?

Alain de Bot­ton spe­cialises in a kind of hum­drum pot­ted sagac­ity, the kind of stuff that has all the out­ward appear­ance of insight while man­ag­ing to avoid say­ing any­thing at all. This mushy noth­ing­ness can take the form of point­less tau­tol­ogy (‘In a mer­i­toc­racy, suc­cess comes to seem earnt – but fail­ure deserved’), excerpts from the Dic­tio­nary of Twee Vac­u­ous­ness (‘Mag­na­nim­ity: the one who was right does not say ‘I told you so,’ the one who was wronged does not seek vengeance’), out­right untruth (‘Choos­ing a spouse and choos­ing a career: the two great deci­sions for which soci­ety refuses to set up insti­tu­tional guid­ance’), inspi­ra­tional pap (‘Our real moti­va­tion comes from peo­ple who don’t believe in us’), and the final splut­ter­ing descent into total inco­herency (‘The end logic of our rela­tion­ship to com­put­ers: sin­cerely ask­ing the search engine “what should I do with the rest of my life?”‘).

What’s the Point If We Can’t Have Fun?

Why do ani­mals play? Well, why shouldn’t they? The real ques­tion is: Why does the exis­tence of action car­ried out for the sheer plea­sure of act­ing, the exer­tion of pow­ers for the sheer plea­sure of exert­ing them, strike us as mys­te­ri­ous? What does it tell us about our­selves that we instinc­tively assume that it is?