Human Learning

By Randall Amster | Let's talk about tech...

Human Learning: Binge Culture

Not to put a damper on the holiday revelry, but ’tis the season for bingeing. Many of us will overeat, buy too much stuff, and party a bit too hard. Overindulgence and overconsumption have somehow infused themselves into a time ostensibly reserved for deeper expressions of gratitude and connection. …

Hackathons

Human Learning: Cry, Robot?

Humans have had a longstanding love-hate relationship with robots. In the cinematic realm alone, there’s been a pendulum effect ranging from the evil “Robot Maria” in <i>Metropolis</i> (1927), who spurs the oppressed workers into an ill-advised and self-defeating frenzy, to the protective “robot policeman” …

Robots

Waking Life

<b>You Don’t Need a Clock to Know What Time It Is</b><p><b>by Randall Amster</b><p>With each passing day, the news grows increasingly grim. In recent weeks alone, we’ve …

Human Learning: Beyond the Panopticon

In the quest to personalize your experience with the latest technologies, and as a reward for your dedicated participation in signing up for new services without reading the fine print in their consent agreements, the powers that be have a special gift for you. Yes, <b>it’s your own personal …

Repugnant

Human Learning: Navigating the Waters

Akin to fish in water, <b>we swim in a sea of technology</b>. And like said fish, we have become so habituated to this medium that we scarcely notice it. Or, to be more precise, perhaps we obsessively notice it but take its presence and composition for granted. Thus, the fish might acutely be aware that …

Intelligence

Human Learning

This is the first in an ongoing series of reflections on how technology is rapidly changing our lives. The focus, however, won’t primarily be on the societal, political, or economic aspects, but more so on the ways our personal lives and communities are impacted. This series will not entail a …

Intelligence

A Googlement Above the People, Around the People, and Ahead of the People

Conspiracy theorists long have mused about a "shadow government" working its machinations from a secret locale with a cloak-and-dagger ethos. But that's not the post-postmodern way of doing things anymore; in the age of hyper-spectacle, one puts it right out there in a manner reminiscent of what's …

Surveillance

Will Smarter Phones Mean Dumber People?

The road ahead was clearly marked as "closed" and a "dead end," but the voice from the back seat insisted that we go forward anyway. "My phone says go straight ahead," counseled the voice, ignoring the driver's observation that the street was apparently closed. "The GPS in my phone is smarter than …

Singularity

Faux Real: What's in Your Worldview?

We had to know this was coming. It was always here, but now it can be seen more clearly through the unvarnished lens of protofascism. Retrenchment …

Congratulations! You’re Being Watched

With revelations (yet again) that we are all essentially being watched virtually all the time, we might expect a popular backlash against such a …

Happy Doomsday to You!

Newsflash: It's the end of the world (again), and I feel ... aw, forget it. I guess at this point it's kind of a toss-up between bored, giddy, melancholy, and irate, in no particular order. Still, the most recent apocalyptic homage seems somehow more sobering this time, perhaps due to (a) the …

Climate

Tomorrow's Info Today: Staying Ahead of the News Cycle

I keep having these moments in which I attempt to write about some current event (you know, small stuff like economic collapse, an escalating war in Afghanistan, global climate change) but the news cycle has passed me by before I can reduce thought to keyboard. With the proliferation of …

Francis Bacon

Web of Dependency: The Thin New Line

In just a few short years, it has become increasingly apparent that humankind is fast approaching a technological tipping point. Particularly in the …

Orwell That Ends Well

In just the past week, a friend lost his cellphone, and another was robbed. One fell asleep in the bathtub, and another visited her old elementary …