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technology

This tag is associated with 16 posts

Postcard from Chernobyl

Chernobyl is a site of melancholy. It’s not just the grief, the loss, the cost and the risk of extinction. Chernobyl and Pripyat’s melancholy is inscribed in the landscape. Forest takes over the agricultural and industrial ground plane. Apartment blocks stood proud on this stratum of Soviet achievement. But the horizon breaks through, symbol of … Continue reading

Nature in retrospect

I’ve just caught up with Thunderbirds Are Go, the recent remake of the futuristic 1960s Thunderbirds marionette series. This new series meshes CGI models of puppet-like humans with physical models of rockets, cars, roads islands and cities. So it’s very high tech (from Weta) made to look like tech from 50 years ago. The CGI … Continue reading

Poiēsis

Planet Earth is a giant spherical communications machine with a diameter of about 84,000 kilometres. Well over 1,000 satellites orbit between the earth’s surface and this outer (geosynchronous) layer. Nature and artefact seem to merge due to the scale, ubiquity, sophistication, and conceits of contemporary techno-science, especially if we add to the global communications infrastructure the prospects of geo-engineering intended … Continue reading

Do digital devices influence your mood?

I put this question to a class of students in digital media and culture. As if we were ever in any doubt, most people agree that technologies do influence the way you feel, and networked, social-media-enabled mobile and laptop devices offer more than other tech. At the very least they provide channels for mood altering entertainment. … Continue reading

Nature versus smartphones

People are eager to extol the benefits of fresh green vegetables, education, marriage, and a walk in the countryside, but are instinctively suspicious of new technologies.  That’s the tagline selected by the editors for the cover story I wrote for Interactions Magazine published this month. Interactions is a bimonthly publication of the ACM, and sees itself … Continue reading

Looking backwards

What does the Apple Watch announcement this week have in common with Scottish independence? Both claim to be about time, both promise unlimited potential, and neither seems particularly necessary. In fact technology and politics converge nicely on the theme of utopia. Like a lot of tech, the publicity videos for the not-yet Apple Watch reinforce the benefits of the device … Continue reading

Life-changing technologies

Devices, programs, and apps enable us to do things we couldn’t do otherwise. This is undoubtedly their main value. But they also reveal something about ourselves (i.e. the human species) and the world we live in. Smartphones obviously enable communication over distance and while on the move. They also reveal that we are mobile creatures, … Continue reading

Gathered round the hearth

Is this scenario familiar? You order your dinner online, wait for the home delivery, then eat it while multi-screening in front of the television and checking Facebook, while other members of the household work late, snack or play computer games in different rooms. For philosopher of technology Albert Borgmann that script signals the moral as … Continue reading

Heidegger and vertigo

Apparently Mount Everest is so busy during climbing season you have to queue to get to the top. (See Mail Online article.) Some people prefer horizontal pastimes (eg swimming), but there’s something irresistible about verticality. TV producer and scriptwriter Russell T Davies famously employed “the vertical chase” in his Dr Who episodes. Characters are pursued … Continue reading

What buildings want

Architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974) used to ask “What does the building want to be?” In talking about light, shadow and silence he’s also reported as saying, “Everything you make is already too thick. I would even think that a thought is also too thick.” I assume the kind of thick thinking to which Kahn refers is where … Continue reading

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