Lee Jackson, author, Palaces of Pleasure
The internet. As early as 1858, Punch magazine commented on the prospect of new technology creating “house telegraphs” that would put one constantly “within five minutes of every noodle who wants to ask you a question … every acquaintance who has a favour to beg, or a disagreeable thing to communicate.” Sound familiar?
Robert P. Crease, author, The Workshop and the World
IQ tests: widely administered, morally pernicious.
Finn Brunton, author, Digital Cash
With perhaps the most hype for the least consequence of any media technology so far, virtual reality—the Smell-O-Vision of the 1990s—keeps going from icon of the future to relic of the past without a present in-between.
Clive Thompson, author, Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World
For generations, we’ve regarded the automobile as a symbol of personal freedom and autonomy. It has certainly propelled a ton of economic activity, but it also generates monstrous amounts of CO2 and environmentally ruinous sprawl. The sooner we detach our personal identity from cars and car ownership, the better.
Dorian Lynskey, author, The Ministry of Truth
Virtual assistants epitomize the tech industry’s unfortunate habit of building dystopia by accident and the public’s eager complicity. Most of us trade privacy for convenience, but my laziness goes only so far—there’s no task I’d rather delegate to a data-harvesting digital spy instead of doing myself. Alexa is not your friend.