John Harris

Take It From the Insiders: Silicon Valley Is Eating Your Soul

One source of angst came close to being 2017’s signature subject: how the internet and the tiny handful of companies that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present and future of the planet. The old idea of the online world as a burgeoning utopia looks to have peaked around the time of the Arab spring, and is in retreat.

Keep reading... Show less

They Call It Fun, But the Digital Giants Are Turning Workers Into Robots

“Secrets are lies; sharing is caring; privacy is theft.” So run the three Orwellian aphorisms at the heart of Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel The Circle, whose film version – starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks – will arrive in cinemas this spring. Given that the story centres on an omnipotent hybrid of Google, Twitter and Facebook, and asks exacting questions about their shared vision of the future, the timing is perfect – chiming with rising angst about the digital giants’ imperial approach to information, and the sense that their power and recklessness is now having so-called real-world impacts, and huge ones at that. Such, perhaps, is the zeitgeist of early 2017: tech-fear fusing with terror about Donald Trump and Brexit, leaving millions of us in a state of twitchy anxiety.

Keep reading... Show less
BRAND NEW STORIES

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.