history of technology
SOURCE: The New Yorker
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?
SOURCE: Washington Post
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.
SOURCE: The New Republic
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.
As the Progressive Era Ideal of Regulation Vanishes, What Will Stop the March of AI?
by Walter G. Moss
If capital decides that artificial intelligence is sufficiently profitable to put in charge of driving our cars, writing our essays, or even teaching our history classes, what is left to stop it, even if the products are terrible or even dangerous?
SOURCE: Made By History at the Washington Post
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.
We Know About Fire. What Does Ice Tell Us About Humanity's Past and Future?
by Fred Hogge
Harnessing cold – both natural and artificially-created—has been a key support for human flourishing, but also a factor in the consumption of resources that imperils the environment.
SOURCE: The Atlantic
Why Has American Progress Stalled? Blame Our Belief in "Eureka!"
Moments of creative innovation matter, but invention depends on a society that is prepared to take advantage and distribute the benefits.
The Missouri Social Worker Who Founded the Global Internet Name Registry
by Ayden Férdeline
Marilyn Cade played a major role in establishing the global governance structure of the internet.
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.
SOURCE: The Nation
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.
SOURCE: The Baffler
Meet the New Middleman, Same as the Old Middleman
by Kathryn Judge
The internet's promise to cut out any number of middlemen from the consumer experience has been a failure.
SOURCE: The Atlantic
The Ideology of the Bicycle
The bicycle since its invention has found itself at the center of debates about who public space is for.
Can the Nuclear Genie Be Put Back In the Bottle? Must It?
by David P. Barash and Ward Wilson
We won't eliminate nuclear weapons by expunging the science behind their creation but by comprehending their uselessness and letting them join the ranks of abandoned technologies.
How Wood Helped America Become Great – But Mislay its Sense of History
by Roland Ennos
Industrializing America's infrastructure was much more likely than Europe's to be made of wood. This accident of nature and geography helped drive rapid expansion, but today means much of the 19th century built environment of the United States has vanished.
SOURCE: War on the Rocks
The Promise and Risks of Artificial Intelligence: A Brief History
by Rebecca Slayton
Machines have been taking over tasks that otherwise require human intelligence for decades, if not centuries.
SOURCE: Washington Post
How antitrust laws can save Silicon Valley — without breaking up the tech giants
by Margaret O'Mara
For AT&T in the 1950s, antitrust enforcement helped increase competition while keeping Ma Bell intact.
Historians Luke Fernandez and Susan Matt ask: Has Technology Made Us Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid?
by Rebecca Onion
A new book takes a historical look at how tech affects our collective mental state—and somehow, it’s not tedious.
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