The consequences of the technological revolution may be even more frightening than we thought

I suspect your enjoyment – or otherwise – of James Bridle’s New Dark Age will depend very much on whether you’re a glass half-empty, or a glass exactly-filled-to-the-halfway-mark-by-microprocessor-controlled-automatic-pumping-systems sort of a person. I like to think that while I may have misgivings about much of what the current technological revolution is visiting on us, I yet manage to resist that dread ascription “luddite”. It’s one Bridle also wishes to avoid; but such is the pessimism about the machines that informs his argument, that his calls for a new “partnership” between them and us seem like special pleading. As futile, in fact, as a weaver believing that by smashing a Jacquard loom he’ll stop the industrial revolution in its tracks.

If we’re in ignorance of what our robots are doing, how can we know if we’re being harmed?

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