New Dark Age

Technology and the end of the future

Hardcover, 304 pages

English language

Published July 17, 2018 by Verso.

ISBN:
978-1-78663-547-1
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OCLC Number:
1044632699

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4 stars (15 reviews)

As the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. Underlying this trend is a single idea: the belief that our existence is understandable through computation, and more data is enough to help us build a better world. In actual fact, we are lost in a sea of information, increasingly divided by fundamentalism, simplistic narratives, conspiracy theories, and post-factual politics. Meanwhile, those in power use our lack of understanding to further their own interests. Despite the accessibility of information, we're living in a new Dark Age. From rogue financial systems to shopping algorithms, from artificial intelligence to state secrecy, we no longer understand how our world is governed or presented to us. The media is filled with unverifiable speculation, much of it generated by anonymous software, while companies dominate their employees through surveillance and the threat of automation. In his brilliant new work, leading artist and …

4 editions

Still in the dark

3 stars

James Bridle's writing and art about the complexity of network technologies is often so careful about saying everything succinctly and clinically that it's tempting to believe that he might be part machine. So if anything, this book has proven his humanity, if a little disappointingly.

In content, writing in 2017, Bridle is ahead of his time. His topics range from bias in image machine learning models to secrecy in corporate and government surveillance. However, the structure of the chapters often reads like a Wikipedia dive, leaping between stories and vaguely connected ideas with gleeful abandon. The result is a little chaotic and difficult to connect together. By no means a bad book, but there are better examples that deal with these topics more coherently.

Review of 'New Dark Age' on 'LibraryThing'

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I can’t recall how I heard about James Bridle’s new book, but somehow I became aware of it and wrote to its publisher, Verso, and they obliged me with an advanced reader copy. I thought I might make a start on it when I had a short-haul plane trip, but by the time I got home the next day, I had very nearly finished it. It’s dense, demanding, and totally compelling, though if I only had the title to go by, I might have passed it up. I’m wary of books that have the words “future” in them, or “the end of” and have read too many dyspeptic critiques of technology that are full of sound and fury but are more incensed nostalgia for a fabled golden past than insightful critique. So if you’re like me, don’t be put off by the title, New Dark Age: Technology, Knowledge and the …

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