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Posts tagged "technology"

Another Week Ends: Questing for Cultural Innocence, Narrating Luther, Inverting Transhumanism and Reforming One's Pets

Another Week Ends: Questing for Cultural Innocence, Narrating Luther, Inverting Transhumanism and Reforming One’s Pets

Lots of love – commingled with envy – for everyone at the Tenth Annual Mockingbird Conference in NYC! “For the rest of us” (G. Costanza), some links for the weekend:

1. First up, The Hedgehog Review here in c-ville posted a wonderful article on “The Persistence of Guilt.” Who knew that the great Sigmund Freud once quipped, “the price we pay for our advance in civilization is a loss of happiness through the heightening of the sense of guilt”? The author argues that Freud helped “demoralize” guilt, to suggest that our guilty emotions were the product of the superego and could be…

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Another Week Ends: Robotic Employees, Free Speech Zones, Travel by Bubble, Carnival Culture, More Love, Less Self-Help, and Mary Tyler Moore

Another Week Ends: Robotic Employees, Free Speech Zones, Travel by Bubble, Carnival Culture, More Love, Less Self-Help, and Mary Tyler Moore

1. Ever feel like a robot at work? Well, the good news is, it’s the weekend so maybe you can hit your off-switch.

The bad news comes from an article John Harris wrote in The Guardian, “Digital giants are turning workers into robots.” It’s about increasingly invasive programs which monitor work ethic. Eugh.

The US retail chain Target announced in 2015 that Fitbit trackers were to be offered to its 335,000 workers, as part of its embrace of what the business vernacular calls “corporate wellness programmes”. As things stand, workers who opt to have their metabolisms monitored are organised into teams who compete to raise money for charity. Just…

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Mr. Robot Wants to Save the World

Mr. Robot Wants to Save the World

“Watching a group of young people rebel against the one percent — these are not new ideas,” Portia Doubleday, a star of the hit show Mr. Robot, explained to an interviewer. “They’re things that as a society we’re all thinking but don’t know how to tackle. He’s just relating to what so many of us are wondering, but don’t say, and don’t have a platform to,” she said, referencing the show’s talented creator/writer/director, Sam Esmail. We’ve seen this whole young rebel thing done, she’s right, but any good iteration usually has something fresh to communicate, and Mr. Robot is no different….

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Another Week Ends: The Problem with "Parenting", Solipsistic Audiophiles, Más Havrilesky, Self-Defeating Happiness, and Dubious Decency

Another Week Ends: The Problem with “Parenting”, Solipsistic Audiophiles, Más Havrilesky, Self-Defeating Happiness, and Dubious Decency

1. Having a dog used to be easy, and were it 1995, I’d get one in a heartbeat. Fill up the gallon pail of food, a couple large buckets of water, and for the next three days the responsibilities were watching it run around (outside), fetch, the usual. Now I might be leaning cat-wards – dogsitters, crate-training, sticking to a strict routine… and the dog-hotel for vacationers business has been booming.

First up, same with kids. A friend from college mentioned how much it annoyed him when, as a kid, his parents would use the phrase “underfoot” to describe him. For the record,…

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Pokémon, Pharisees, and the Importance of Play

Pokémon, Pharisees, and the Importance of Play

Pokémon GO hit smartphones just over a week ago and it’s already an international phenomenon. In the American market, the game reached No. 1 on the downloads chart in just 13 hours, and according to some vendors, is pulling in $2 million a day. It is already more popular than Tinder and Instagram, and it’s nearly out in front of Twitter. By almost all projections, it’s going to be the most successful app in app history.

The media noticed, of course. Apparently, the game is both brilliant and the most dangerous game in the world. There was even an interesting piece on how…

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The New Yorker Does Narcissus

narcissus

The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow in Tomorrowland:  Disney Does Eschatology

The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow in Tomorrowland: Disney Does Eschatology

The futuristic city of Tomorrowland in the film Tomorrowland rises from the amber waves of a vast field of ripened grain, gleaming in the sunlight like, well, like the New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:2). But this is the City of Man, or at least a possible city of humanity’s possible future as envisioned by writer-director Brad Bird. Bird’s vision is part utopian, part anti-dystopian diatribe, part pop eschatology, all wrapped up in a paradoxical package of American populist optimism mixed with elitist progressivism. With a little Steam Punk thrown in for good measure.

The city…

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Lifelogging Mediocrity and The Quantified Self

Lifelogging Mediocrity and The Quantified Self

They’re calling 2014 “The Year of the Wearable” in the tech world. Love or hate Google glass, it seems as if wearable tech is in the future- if not for us, then perhaps for our kids. Smart watches want to replace your smart phone. Smart wristbands want to track all your steps and exercise movements. Over 100 apps exist to quantify the quality of your sleep. There’s even a tiny camera that you can clip to your shirt pocket that takes photos every five seconds and uploads the photos to your social network of choice. It used to be that…

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Man's Prosthetic God: Technologies of Glory and the Still-Present Need for Salvation

Man’s Prosthetic God: Technologies of Glory and the Still-Present Need for Salvation

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote some thoughts on identity and freedom, prompted in part by Apple’s iPad Air commercial. So to continue the theme of ads-from-tech-companies, I thought I might also offer just some brief comments on Microsoft’s ad from the Super Bowl, which is begging for religious reflection. (If you happened to be grabbing some wings from the kitchen while it aired on Super Bowl Sunday, be sure to watch it below.)

Here are the lines from the video:

“What is technology? What can it do? How far can we go? Technology has the power to unite us. It…

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Another Week Ends: Rich Exhibitionists, Public Potheads, Political (L)aw, Sons of Bill, Gamer Success, and Dissociative Pornography

Another Week Ends: Rich Exhibitionists, Public Potheads, Political (L)aw, Sons of Bill, Gamer Success, and Dissociative Pornography

1. For every voyeur, there’s an exhibitionist – and social media sites are no exception. We try to post the most enviable pictures of ourselves possible on Facebook or, at the very least, the most desirable. And others obsess over other people’s pictures, thinking, “If I could just be in that group of people, doing that activity — this person I barely even know is just so lucky.” Enter stage center the (don’t click this) “rich kids of instagram” tumblr site, which features teenagers or college-age kids on yachts, at the Hamptons, or in ritzy Miami clubs. The tagline? “They have…

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