New-dark-age-1050
9781786635471
New Dark Age
Technology and the End of the Future
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Hardback
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$26.95$21.5620% off
304 pages / July 2018 / 9781786635471
Ebook
Ebook
$9.99
July 2018 / 9781786635501

How the Information Age destroys knowledge

We live in times of increasing inscrutability. Our news feeds are filled with unverified, unverifiable speculation, much of it automatically generated by anonymous software. As a result, we no longer understand what is happening around us. Underlying all of these trends is a single idea: the belief that quantitative data can provide a coherent model of the world, and the efficacy of computable information to provide us with ways of acting within it. Yet the sheer volume of information available to us today reveals less than we hope. Rather, it heralds a new Dark Age: a world of ever-increasing incomprehension.

In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle offers us a warning against the future in which the contemporary promise of a new technologically assisted Enlightenment may just deliver its opposite: an age of complex uncertainty, predictive algorithms, surveillance, and the hollowing out of empathy. Surveying the history of art, technology and information systems he reveals the dark clouds that gather over discussions of the digital sublime

Reviews

“An Orwell of the computer age.”

“An extraordinary, perceptive analysis of the various ways in which the rise of information technology has obscured, rather than illuminated, the operations of power in the world, and diminished our capacity to improve it. It’s brilliant and bracing.”

“[New Dark Age] lucidly argues how our enthusiasm for, and reliance on technology is working against us by undermining our ability to reliably anticipate future risks…Bridle’s multidisciplinary research deftly hopscotches across science, politics and the arts. His writing is clear and precise, showing his background in computer science and experience in public communication.”

“A doomy overture to a new era. A work of digital gothic in which the chills are provided by the unpredictable and unstoppable forces we’ve unleashed on the world in the decades since the Manhattan Project.”

“James Bridle is a master of finding contradictions within existing technologies...New Dark Age is an important text for the present moment.”

“My copy of this book is full of underlining and notes that climb around the margins. I feel like those overwhelmed organic chemistry students, highlighting everything because it all matters and it all connects, and yet ultimately the information world he’s describing - none of it makes sense. Which is kind of his point…Dense, demanding, and totally compelling.”

“A book-length argument for the idea that vastly proliferating knowledge—from mass surveillance, social media, artificial intelligence, and other sources—is paradoxically making the world harder to comprehend, while the technology that underlies it is creating environmental damage that we’re ill-equipped to understand or solve … Highly nuanced in its analysis of technology, and it provokes [one] to think more about the unspoken social and political assumptions underlying a lot of [the] industry.”

“A startling call to arms. Argues convincingly for a more informed integration with the technologies we have created.”

“A perceptive and thought-provoking book.”

“Technology is not the answer. Nor is it a solution. James Bridle’s lucid and fearless writing instead insists on technology as an open question and urgent problem—which nevertheless needs to be confronted in order to think the present and free the future from false algorithmic certainties.”

New Dark Age is a masterful study of all the things approaching out of the future's night. Compelling and essential.”

“The young British artist is spearheading a conceptual-art movement—‘the New Aesthetic'—through Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, as he tries to capture technology’s strange effects on society.”

“James Bridle, one of our surest guides, here offers us a widely informed, deeply felt, and occasionally terrifying course on living in and with the enveloping darkness of our time. It’s a must-read for anyone who’s ever wondered how we might come to terms with technological complexity, and emerge with our humanity intact.”

“Computation brings humanity more darkness than enlightenment: a goblin horde of digital superstitions, invented and unleashed in just half a century. Yet James Bridle is fearless in our gloomy post-truth predicament; he’s a theorist, artist, technical visionary and even a moralist. Has he foreseen the worst?”

“One image that I cannot get out of my head reading James Bridle extraordinary new book is that even as we can access vast tech capabilities we may actually know less and less.”

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