Insightful Reads

Instagram is broken. It also broke us (by Rebecca Jennings in Vox, Dec 2, 2019): "Instagram has a way of flattening lived experiences so that my best years look exactly like my bad ones, and that everything seems pretty good, all the time, for everyone."

Experience Overload (by Benjamin Schneider in Real Life, Nov 18, 2019): "There's no moment more significant or beautiful than the next." Mentions Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing and her reflections on "flatness." See also Instagram Is Pushing Restaurants To Be Kitschy, Colorful, And Irresistible To Photographers (by Casey Newton in The Verge, Jul 20, 2017).

Slavery 2.0 and how to avoid it: a practical guide for cyborgs (Aral Balkan, May 2, 2019): "When Galileo used his telescope, only he saw what he was seeing and only he knew what he was looking at. The same is true for when you wear [contact] lenses. If Galileo had bought his telescope from Facebook, [then] Facebook, Inc., would have recorded everything he saw. Similarly, if you get your contacts from Google, they will come with embedded cameras and Alphabet, Inc., will see what you're seeing."

This Tom Hanks Story Will Help You Feel Less Bad (by Taffy Brodesser-Akner in NYT, Nov 13, 2019): "In the last part of the [Nov 1998 Esquire] article, [Tom] Junod prays with Fred Rogers at Rogers' behest, and he writes that his 'heart felt like a spike, and then, in that room, it opened and felt like an umbrella' - that just being around him was enough to make him see the world differently, and then, to be loved by him, was enough to make him a completely different kind of journalist and a completely different kind of person."

Zadie Smith (in The Star, Nov 8, 2019): "Any young writer who (isn't) fully dominated by the algorithm is to me, godlike, because it's so hard to resist. If you are under 30, and you are able to think for yourself right now, God bless you. . . . The key with the unfreedom of the algorithm is that it knows everything and it feeds back everything. So, you can no longer have this bit of humanity which is absolutely necessary - privacy."

Martin Scorsese: I Said Marvel Movies Aren't Cinema. Let Me Explain. (NYT Op-Ed, Nov 4, 2019): "That's the nature of modern film franchises: market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they're ready for consumption. ... the most ominous change has happened stealthily and under cover of night: the gradual but steady elimination of risk. Many films today are perfect products manufactured for immediate consumption."

The 2010s Broke Our Sense Of Time (by Katherine Miller in Buzzfeed News, Oct 24, 2019): "As the 2010s went on, the platforms adopted the live and the disappearing and attempted to reach you with what you care about most - to make the experience less disorienting by focusing on what garners the most attention" - an algorithmic timeline that jumbles chronology. "The internet is no longer a place you go. Who we are on the phone and in the walking world have merged. This is why algorithmic time is so disorienting and why it bends your mind. ... Who can remember anything anymore?"

The biggest lie tech people tell themselves - and the rest of us (by Rose Eveleth in Vox, Oct 8, 2016): "The 'natural evolution of technology' was never a thing to begin with, and it's time to question what 'progress' actually means."

Norbert Wiener: The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (Again) (by Doug Hill in The Atlantic, June 11, 2014): "[Claude] Shannon remained resolutely focused on electronic communications, whereas Wiener envisioned cybernetics as a bridge across the 'no-man's lands' of science, chief among them the boundaries between engineering and biology. The subtitle of his book Cybernetics - 'control and communication in the animal and the machine' - spoke to that ambition." See also The Varieties Of The Technological Control Problem (Adam Elkus, Oct 26, 2019).