history of technology

  • The Dangerous Delusion of the Big Data Utopia

    by Jill Lepore

    Why has "data" supplanted metaphysical inquiry, empirical observation, and even standard statistical analysis as the go-to source for understanding the world? Is data science the latest episode in a history of technological utopianism? 

  • O'Mara: Politics and Commercial Pressure, not ChatGPT, are the Threats

    Historian of technology and Silicon Valley Margaret O'Mara says that the peril of artificial intelligence chatbots and artificial intellience will lie in how it is marketed; the rush to be first to the market creates conditions for sloppy tech and abusive applications. 

  • Don't Like Where Society's Heading? Blame Palo Alto

    by Scott W. Stern

    Journalist Malcolm Harris attempts to excavate the history of how a worldview shaped by the tech industry—most notably its rampant individualism and subordination of the self to surveillance, metrics and monitoring—conquered the world, while also keeping the flames of unregulated capitalism and eugenics burning. 

  • Oil and Spills Have Always Gone Hand in Hand

    by Nolan Varee

    Transporting a toxic substances quickly over long distances to market will inevitably produce spills. Though the technology of oil transport has changed, this essential fact remains unchanged, and will as long as regulation treats the risk as an acceptable part of the business.

  • Ben Tarnoff on Building an Internet for the People

    While the media pays significant attention to the influence of social media platforms, the structure of the internet is dicated by the privatization of the physical architecture of the internet since the 1990s. 

  • Intimacy at a Distance: A New Book on Teletherapy Reviewed

    by Danielle Carr

    Hannah Zeavin's book traces the roots of the contemporary surge in mental health apps and pandemic-driven teletherapy, arguing that psychiatry has always relied on a fantasy of unmediated communion between two separate people that doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

  • The Ideology of the Bicycle

    The bicycle since its invention has found itself at the center of debates about who public space is for.