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‘Dark technology’ and human ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’?

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In the later 19th century there was a protracted debate among thinkers of various stripes about the question, what ultimately determines human actions — ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ — a debate that is still going on today. But while it was then influenced by the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin, on the one hand, and empiricist […]

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The cyber-war(s) being fought right under our noses

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Time magazine invariably has very clever, multi-faceted covers, the latest one being no exception. It shows the White House – the American president’s residence and workplace, all in one – being slowly but surely devoured by Saint Basil’s Cathedral, with its red brick walls and colourful onion domes, which stands on the Red Square and […]

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The early 21st century: Taking stock

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We live in a society in transition – a process rooted in a technological revolution that stretches back to the middle of the previous century, with the invention of television, followed by other innovations in the media, and culminating in the invention of the internet, initially conceived as a military tool of sorts. Although the […]

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Technocratic culture: ‘Disconnect’

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If you don’t like thinking for yourself, don’t read this post. If you prefer playing around on your mobile device or smartphone, don’t bother reading further. The phone is definitely smarter than you are if you have relinquished your own memory and thinking-ability to its functionality. But if you would like to know something more […]

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The world has become an uncertain and ugly place

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Several things I have read recently have impressed upon me that, despite developments (particularly in the field of technology) that are bound to excite some people, in some respects the world has become more uncertain and “ugly” than ever before. To be sure, it has always been uncertain in an existential sense – no one […]

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The Apple Watch, history and creativity

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It’s a very good thing that TIME magazine’s tech writer, Lev Grossman, is an intelligent guy, even when he teams up with others, such as Matt Vella, in the writing of an article called “Wearing the Internet”, on Apple’s newly introduced Apple Watch (TIME, September 22 2014, pp. 28-33). Anyone less intelligent is likely merely […]

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Welcome to the new Middle Ages

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In the 1970s the famous semiotician and novelist Umberto Eco published a collection of essays titled Travels in Hyperreality, in which he elaborated on a variety of interrelated topics, such as wax museums, holographic representation and our evident fascination with the Middle Ages. In fact, he argued, although we think of ourselves as modern (or […]

Posted inMediaNews/PoliticsTech

The French philosopher and the American whistle-blower

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Unless one acknowledges the complex nature and often unexpected connections among things, events and people, one might find it a smidgen astonishing that what the French poststructuralist philosopher, Jean-Francois Lyotard, wrote in his “report” on the state of knowledge in “advanced” societies, better known as The Postmodern Condition (1979; English translation: Manchester University Press, 1984), […]