New Dark Age

New Dark Age

Technology and the End of the Future

Book - 2018
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" New Dark Age is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I've read about the Internet, which is to say that it is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I've read about contemporary life." - New Yorker

As the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. Underlying this trend is a single idea: the belief that our existence is understandable through computation, and more data is enough to help us build a better world.

In reality, we are lost in a sea of information, increasingly divided by fundamentalism, simplistic narratives, conspiracy theories, and post-factual politics. Meanwhile, those in power use our lack of understanding to further their own interests. Despite the apparent accessibility of information, we're living in a new Dark Age.

From rogue financial systems to shopping algorithms, from artificial intelligence to state secrecy, we no longer understand how our world is governed or presented to us. The media is filled with unverifiable speculation, much of it generated by anonymous software, while companies dominate their employees through surveillance and the threat of automation.

In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle surveys the history of art, technology, and information systems, and reveals the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime.

Publisher: London ; Brooklyn, NY : Verso, 2018.
ISBN: 9781786635471
178663547X
Branch Call Number: 303.483 BRIDLE J
Characteristics: 294 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

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StarGladiator
Jul 31, 2018

I do recommend you read this book, although I intend to trash the author of it. He does mention any number of interesting factoids and tidbits, but he is frequently lacking in any clarity of thought [in other words, he's full of crap!].
A lack of due diligence, or depth of research, appears glaringly throughout.
POINT: The author mentions the difficulty Trump experienced when he ordered the CIA to release all the remaining JFK-associated file, then suggested the problem was the secrecy itself, not the conspiracy which said secrecy was obscuring!
Had the author bothered with some due diligence and examined those recently released declassified documents [Nov/2017 and April/2018] and cross-matched and cross-referenced against earlier released documents he would have found that ALL the important and potentially incriminating files at the NSA and CIA went missing long, long ago! ! !
There is no possibility of examining the Christensen intercepts detailing the impending murder of President Kennedy in Dallas since all the 1963 files for NSA site, USA-55, were missing, according to the NSA response to the HSCA inquiry back in 1978. There was no possibility of examining the DInkin intercepts between the CIA station/Italy and OAS sites since all the comm. traffic in 1963 for CIA station/Italy was missing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! [Doing something unlawful is done in secrecy - - hence no forensic audits of the CIA, NSA or DIA!]
POINT: The author claims that nobody knows where the Stuxnet program came from! Had the author bothered with some due diligence he would have found that Stuxnet was a joint project between the USA and Israel with an estimated cost of between $34 million to $40 million. [Also, there's a high probability it caused at least three commercial airliner crashes, killing hundreds of passengers, because while the program didn't attack their aircrafts' onboard avionics systems, it occupied valuable memory space required for system warnings to aircrews, et cetera.]
POINT: Tim Berners-Lee did NOT develop the idea of hypertext - - just research IBM's publicly domained SGML, and the earlier GML or General Markup Language, plus their PROFS system. The hyperlink was originally coded by a contract programmer at IBM years prior. Please, let's strive for a little historical accuracy! [These examples explain why so many of us older folk never heard of Philo Farnsworth or Nikola Tesla when we were younger.]
The author does explain several things correctly: Iain Banks' wonderful Culture series' concepts; plus the crucial difference between IBM's Deep Blue [brute force] and Google's AlphaGo [real AI/machine learning] and just as Bobby Fischer once so accurately described the colossal advantage of the Soviet chess establishment over the individual foreign player, AlphaGo bested Korean chamption of Go, Lee Sedol, because he was essentially competing against hundreds of thousands -- or millions -- of Go players simultaneously and no human could win that competition!
POINT: The author mentions Wu and Zhang's paper [from a university in China] on AI/facial recognition of criminals, but does NOT mention what constitutes the definition of a criminal in the totalitarian state of China! Plus, the non-criminal group may simply be composed of as-yet-unconvicted criminals!?

s
StarGladiator
Jul 29, 2018

I do recommend you read this book, although I intend to trash the author of it. He does mention any number of interesting factoids and tidbits, but he is frequently lacking in any clarity of thought [in other words, he's full of crap!].
A lack of due diligence, or depth of research, appears glaringly throughout.
POINT: The author mentions the difficulty Trump experienced when he ordered the CIA to release all the remaining JFK-associated file, then suggested the problem was the secrecy itself, not the conspiracy which said secrecy was obscuring!
Had the author bothered with some due diligence and examined those recently released declassified documents [Nov/2017 and April/2018] and cross-matched and cross-referenced against earlier released documents he would have found that ALL the important and potentially incriminating files at the NSA and CIA went missing long, long ago! ! !
There is no possibility of examining the Christensen intercepts detailing the impending murder of President Kennedy in Dallas since all the 1963 files for NSA site, USA-55, were missing, according to the NSA response to the HSCA inquiry back in 1978. There was no possibility of examining the DInkin intercepts between the CIA station/Italy and OAS sites since all the comm. traffic in 1963 for CIA station/Italy was missing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! [Doing something unlawful is done in secrecy - - hence no forensic audits of the CIA, NSA or DIA!]
POINT: The author claims that nobody knows where the Stuxnet program came from! Had the author bothered with some due diligence he would have found that Stuxnet was a joint project between the USA and Israel with an estimated cost of between $34 million to $40 million. [Also, there's a high probability it caused at least three commercial airliner crashes, killing hundreds of passengers, because while the program didn't attack their aircrafts' onboard avionics systems, it occupied valuable memory space required for system warnings to aircrews, et cetera.]
POINT: Tim Berners-Lee did NOT develop the idea of hypertext - - just research IBM's publicly domained SGML, and the earlier GML or General Markup Language, plus their PROFS system. The hyperlink was originally coded by a contract programmer at IBM years prior. Please, let's strive for a little historical accuracy! [These examples explain why so many of us older folk never heard of Philo Farnsworth or Nikola Tesla when we were younger.]
The author does explain several things correctly: Iain Banks' wonderful Culture series' concepts; plus the crucial difference between IBM's Deep Blue [brute force] and Google's AlphaGo [real AI/machine learning] and just as Bobby Fischer once so accurately described the colossal advantage of the Soviet chess establishment over the individual foreign player, AlphaGo bested Korean chamption of Go, Lee Sedol, because he was essentially competing against hundreds of thousands -- or millions -- of Go players simultaneously and no human could win that competition!
POINT: The author mentions Wu and Zhang's paper [from a university in China] on AI/facial recognition of criminals, but does NOT mention what constitutes the definition of a criminal in the totalitarian state of China! Plus, the non-criminal group may simply be composed of as-yet-unconvicted criminals!?

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