New essays on the technologies that make and break our lives.
The Ten Thousand Things
I am supposed to be writing this essay, ostensibly on technology, but the rooms of the house become a labyrinth, a game of snakes and ladders, a ten thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle in which I am apt to forget my task or purpose.
In the heat of this unfolding crisis, vice-chancellors accidentally reveal the underlying logics of the spreadsheet. Budgets must be reduced, savings must be made; they tell us this as they consult the spreadsheet that surrounds them like a moat. The spreadsheet contains hard data, raw data, objective truths, they say. The numbers don’t lie. But the document is as much an operation of judgement as it is one of fiscal analysis; the spreadsheet obscures as much as it reveals.
This post will be the first of many. I do not know it at the time but this form of sharing on social media becomes one of the central ways I learn about my body, and sex, and how to communicate. What I thought were experiences unique to me quickly reveal themselves to be widespread.
Every generation is the last to experience certain phenomena; in the case of my generation, these include five cent lollies at the school tuckshop, petrol prices below a dollar a litre, and quite possibly, the wonders and annoyances of physically delivered junk mail. The term ‘junk mail’ is now perhaps better associated with unwanted emails.
The Testimony of Drones
Drones are not simply observers of events, but active participants in their making. They move the air around them, react to the force of wind, decode signals and encode new ones, detect and respond to objects and bodies, capture worldly phenomena and transform it into data. How they make knowledge matters because the drone can act on what it knows. That action takes place along a continuum that extends from minor adjustments of position to the application of lethal force. It might hover in place, zoom in closer, even kill.