New Dark Age by James Bridle
Technology and the End of the Future

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...I expect many readers will find Bridle’s perceptive and thought-provoking book terrifying rather than enjoyable – but then as I implied at the outset, I’m very much of the glass half- empty type.
-Guardian

Synopsis

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 actual fact, 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 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 excavates the limits of technology and how it aids our understanding of the world. Surveying the history of art, technology, and information systems, he explores the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime.
 

About James Bridle

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James Bridle (b. 1980, London) studied Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence before embarking on a career as literary editor, technologist, writer, journalist, and visual artist. He wrote a column on electronic publishing for the Guardian for three years, and has contributed to the Observer, New Humanist, New Statesman, Wired, Frieze, Cabinet, The Atlantic, Domus, ICON, Vice, and many other publication. His artworks have been exhibited worldwide, including at MOMA New York, and the Hayward Gallery, the Whitechapel Gallery, the Southbank Centre and the Barbican in London. He has been commissioned by Artangel, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Serpentince Galleries, and the Photographers Gallery, shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize 2014 and the COLLIDE CERN Award 2016, and received an Excellence Award from the Japan Media Arts Festival and the Graphic Design of the Year Award from the Design Museum in 2014. He has taught at Goldsmith's, University of London, and the Interactive Telecommunications Programme at NYU, speaks regularly at schools, universities, business and cultural conferences including TED and South By Southwes. His work has been profiled by the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Die Zeit, Libération, Dazed, The Wall Street Journal, and others. He lives and works in Athens, Greece.
 
Published July 17, 2018 by Verso. 304 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Will Self on Jun 30 2018

...I expect many readers will find Bridle’s perceptive and thought-provoking book terrifying rather than enjoyable – but then as I implied at the outset, I’m very much of the glass half- empty type.

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