Technology and the self


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A US soldier takes a break during a night mission in the Pesh valley of Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 12 August 2009. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

Essay/
Future of technology
The end of sleep?

New technologies are emerging that could radically reduce our need to sleep - if we can bear to use them

Jessa Gamble

In the departure hall of Zaventem airport near Brussels, November 19, 2013. Photo by Francois Lenoir/Reuters

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Addiction
Escape from the matrix

The fear of missing out haunts our social networks and our real lives alike. But there is a way to break free

Jacob Burak

Simone Harvey studies in front of the Valley Life Sciences Building at the University of California at Berkeley, 12 May 2014. Photo by Noah Berger/Reuters
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Cognition and intelligence
Getting smarter

Brain-training games won’t boost your IQ, but a host of strategies can improve your cognitive abilities one piece at a time

Jeffrey M Zacks

A pigeon involved in one of B F Skinner's experiments. Photo by Bettmann/Corbis

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Information and communication
User behaviour

Websites and apps are designed for compulsion, even addiction. Should the net be regulated like drugs or casinos?

Michael Schulson

Illustration by Richard Wilkinson
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Consciousness and altered states
Hive consciousness

New research puts us on the cusp of brain-to-brain communication. Could the next step spell the end of individual minds?

Peter Watts

A Hell of a future. Photo by Martin Barraud/Gallery Stock
Essay/
Ethics
Hell on Earth

What happens to life sentences if our lifespan is radically extended? A philosopher talks about future punishment

Ross Andersen

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, speaks on the stage at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 2016. Photo by Albert Gea/Reuters
Essay/
Information and communication
The world wide cage

Technology promised to set us free. Instead it has trained us to withdraw from the world into distraction and dependency

Nicholas Carr

Photo by Steve Prezant/Gallery Stock

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Information and communication
What good is information?

The internet promised to feed our minds with knowledge. What have we learned? That our minds need more than that

Dougald Hine

Inconvenience food. Photo by Tom Bieber/Getty

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Food and drink
Freedom from food

It takes time to plan a meal, to say nothing of cooking and eating it. What if we could opt out of food altogether?

Nicola Twilley

Your attention please. Photo by Jonathan Siegel/Getty

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Computing and artificial intelligence
The attention economy

It costs nothing to click, respond and retweet. But what price do we pay in our relationships and our peace of mind?

Tom Chatfield

Hands on at the farm. Photo by Tim Dirven/Panos

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Teaching and learning
Look up from your screen

Children learn best when their bodies are engaged in the living world. We must resist the ideology of screen-based learning

Nicholas Tampio

A Banksy graffiti work in London. Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images

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Political philosophy
Life in the fishbowl

In the future, most people will live in a total surveillance state – and some of us might even like it

Stuart Armstrong

A woman consults her mobile phone at Krasnaya Presnya Depot on Line 5 of the Moscow Underground. Photo by Sergei Bobylev/TASS/Getty
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Technology and the self
The quantified heart

Artificial intelligence promises ever more control over the highs and lows of our emotions. Uneasy? Perhaps you should be

Polina Aronson & Judith Duportail

Mary HK Choi. Credit Jon Snyder

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Consciousness and altered states
Zapped

I strapped TDCS electrodes to my head to see if I could make myself smarter by stimulating my brain. Here’s what happened

Mary H K Choi

Former Democratic representative Anthony Wiener consults his Blackberry after the 2011 State of the Union address. Photo by Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty

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Technology and the self
Shame on you

Unburdening ourselves online can feel radical and liberating. But is baring and sharing all as emancipatory as it seems?

Firmin deBrabander

Too much like hard work: Workers tending the giant boring machine used in the construction of the Nice tramway system. Photo by Valerie Hache/Getty
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Human evolution
To automate is human

It’s not tools, culture or communication that make humans unique but our knack for offloading dirty work onto machines

Antone Martinho-Truswell

At the Amazon fulfilment centre. Photo by Rex Features

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Technology and the self
Gamified life

From scoreboards to trackers, games have infiltrated work, serving as spies, overseers and agents of social control

Vincent Gabrielle