Tag Archives | technology

The Vindication of Reason

Nathanael Blake invites me to “discuss our differences over a bottle of whiskey and a large stack of books.” I’ll say yes to the whiskey, though I’ll have a few additions of my own to make to his list of books. This is his introduction to a case that the Enlightenment ideal of rationality is […]

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AT&T’s Cautionary Tale for Net Neutrality

Last week’s announcement by Chairman Ajit Pai that the FCC will soon vote to roll back “Net Neutrality” regulations has produced a lot of hysterical overreaction, with headlines proclaiming, “FCC Is Revving Up to Destroy the Internet as We Know It.” This obviously counts on the audience’s ignorance of history. The Internet started in 1969 […]

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Those Who Don’t Learn from Telecom History Are Doomed to Repeat It

A few days ago, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan to hold a final vote next month to roll back the “Net Neutrality” regulations imposed in 2015 under the previous administration. This has led to a lot of hysterical overreaction, such as headlines proclaiming that the “FCC Is Revving Up to Destroy the Internet […]

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Peak TV and Peak Politics

Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel’s recent habit of substituting political diatribes for his opening monologue—which, to be fair, is no great loss—is a sign that late-night talk show hosts have decided to get more political. The first time around, when Kimmel used his son’s illness as an excuse to wade cluelessly into the political […]

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Back to the Futurism

The New York Times‘s Farhad Manjoo recently called for more of us to “pick up the torch” from the recently deceased Alvin Toffler, author of the 1970 book Future Shock and one of the pioneers of what used to be called “futurism.” All around, technology is altering the world: Social media is subsuming journalism, politics […]

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Can We Go Back to Where No Man Has Gone Before?

So the Internet has been set afire with the news that CBS is planning to produce a new Star Trek television series that will air in 2017. That’s it. That’s the announcement. There is maddeningly little information about the premise of the new series or its creative direction, except that it will be produced by […]

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The Varieties of Productive Experience

The latest Steve Jobs movie, imaginatively titled Steve Jobs, has flopped at the box office, and people are asking what went wrong. How could such an iconic subject—and in this case the word “iconic” is used correctly, which almost never happens—not draw the interest of audiences? I went and saw the film, and I don’t […]

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“The Martian” and the Earthlings

There’s one question everyone I know is asking about the film adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel The Martian: Did they mess it up? The book became a surprise self-published bestseller by drawing on a detailed and realistic understanding of the actual science and technology of space transportation—an outstanding example of “hard sci-fi“—to propel a suspenseful […]

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What I Learned from the Geeks

You know how old I am? I’m so old I can remember when “geek” was still an insult. Today, of course, it’s a boast. It has become cool to be a geek, precisely because so many people who had that insult thrown at them went on to do big, important things—and generate billion-dollar fortunes along […]

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We Will Meet the Cyborgs and They Will Be Us

We Are All Futurists Now, Part 3 For the previous installment of this series, about the coming revolution in robotics, I chose as my title a cheery takeoff on a show tune, “Anything You Can Do, iCan Do Better.” If I were to follow the favorite clichés of technology writers, I would have to choose […]

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