Virtual Futures Salon: New Dark Age with James Bridle

newdarkage

James Bridle and Sally Davies explore the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime. 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: despite its accessibility, we’re living in a new Dark Age.

What is needed is not new technology, but new metaphors: a metalanguage for describing the world that complex systems have wrought. We don’t and cannot understand everything, but we are capable of thinking it. Technology can help us in this thinking: computers are not here to give us answers, but are tools for asking questions. Understanding a technology deeply and systemically allows us to remake metaphors in the service of other ways of thinking – without claiming, or even seeking to fully understand – and to ask the right questions to guide us through this new dark age.

 

James Bridle is writer, journalist, technologist, and visual artist. He writes for the Guardian, Observer, Wired, Frieze, the Atlantic, and many other publications.

Sally Davies is a senior commissioning editor at Aeon magazine, where she focuses on science, philosophy and feminism. Previously she was the innovation and technology correspondent at the Financial Times, and an associate editor of Nautilus Magazine.

 

In association with Verso Books and Virtual Futures.

Buy Tickets

Details

  • 6:30PM–Monday, June 25
  • Doors at 6.30PM
  • £12.50

James Bridle and Sally Davies explore the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime. 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: despite its accessibility, we’re living in a new Dark Age.

What is needed is not new technology, but new metaphors: a metalanguage for describing the world that complex systems have wrought. We don’t and cannot understand everything, but we are capable of thinking it. Technology can help us in this thinking: computers are not here to give us answers, but are tools for asking questions. Understanding a technology deeply and systemically allows us to remake metaphors in the service of other ways of thinking – without claiming, or even seeking to fully understand – and to ask the right questions to guide us through this new dark age.

 

James Bridle is writer, journalist, technologist, and visual artist. He writes for the Guardian, Observer, Wired, Frieze, the Atlantic, and many other publications.

Sally Davies is a senior commissioning editor at Aeon magazine, where she focuses on science, philosophy and feminism. Previously she was the innovation and technology correspondent at the Financial Times, and an associate editor of Nautilus Magazine.

 

In association with Verso Books and Virtual Futures.

Share