October 13, 2018 fkirschner

This weeks weekend reading comes a bit late, as most us were busy participating at the #unteilbar protest march in berlin.

Also: this week was the first week of classes!


Yual Noah Harari writes about why technology favors tyranny (in the Atlantic).

The revolutions in information technology and biotechnology are still in their infancy, and the extent to which they are responsible for the current crisis of liberalism is debatable. Most people in Birmingham, Istanbul, St. Petersburg, and Mumbai are only dimly aware, if they are aware at all, of the rise of AI and its potential impact on their lives. It is undoubtable, however, that the technological revolutions now gathering momentum will in the next few decades confront humankind with the hardest trials it has yet encountered.

In finer strokes, and a while ago, Matthew Kirschenbaum analysed writing tools and the way they impacted the writing process (in the New Republic).

And we know that the circumstances of literary production changed: In 1983, as I detailed in my book, John Updike used his typewriter to fire off a note dismissing his secretary because he had just gotten a word processor. A year later Primo Levi wrote to an English friend that he was “in danger of becoming a Mac bore.” When she wrote back that it was merely a “clever new typewriter,” he replied: “It’s a lot more than that! It’s a memory prosthesis, an archive, an unprotesting secretary, a new game each day, as well as a designer, as you will see from the enclosed centipede picture.”


Speaking of slightly older articles, and since we can all agree that global warming was a hot topic this this week, here’s an article from 2017 by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski from Jacobin Magazine on planning the good Anthropocene.

But democratic planning doesn’t have to entail state ownership. Unless they believe democracy has an upper limit, even classical anarchists should be able to imagine a global, stateless, but still planned, economy. We must ensure that any non-market mode of global governance adheres to genuinely democratic principles.


Alexandra Alter writes about feminist dystopian fiction in the New York Times (via excellent @briecode).

Women have been writing dystopian fiction for decades. Some of the most influential female pioneers in science fiction and fantasy, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia Butler and Angela Carter, used the genre as a framework to write about gender identity and its constraints. The recent proliferation of feminist dystopian works builds on that body of literature, using the lens of science fiction to project current concerns onto the future, while also reflecting on the past.


And finally, in more german-language specific news, if you publicize hate-posts you received, and don’t anonymize them, you can get fined (via also-excellent @martinamara).

Der Richter nannte als "Mindestanforderung", bei dem Absender einer Botschaft nachzufragen, ob dieser die Nachricht auch tatsächlich geschrieben habe. Maurer müsste demnach den Absender der Hassbotschaft aufgrund der "journalistischen Sorgfaltspflicht" kontaktieren, um so nachzuprüfen, ob der Absender die Nachricht tatsächlich verfasst hat.

That’s all for this week. Much Love!