Information and communication


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What’s in a brain? Photo by Gallery Stock
Essay/
Neuroscience
The empty brain

Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer

Robert Epstein

Photo by Jason Madara/Gallery Stock

Essay/
Economics
Are coders worth it?

In today’s world, web developers have it all: money, perks, freedom, respect. But is there value in what we do?

James Somers

Photo by Corbis

Essay/
Information and communication
The new mind control

The internet has spawned subtle forms of influence that can flip elections and manipulate everything we say, think and do

Robert Epstein

Photo by Ulrich Lebeuf / M.Y.O.P/ Eyevine

Essay/
Sex and sexuality
Pornucopia

Critics say that porn degrades women, dulls sexual pleasure, and ruins authentic relationships – are they right?

Maria Konnikova

Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

Essay/
Knowledge
Escape the echo chamber

First you don’t hear other views. Then you can’t trust them. Your personal information network entraps you just like a cult

C Thi Nguyen

Connecting the USSR; at the Cybernetics Institute of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev in 1968.
Essay/
History of technology
The Soviet InterNyet

Soviet scientists tried for decades to network their nation. What stalemated them is now fracturing the global internet

Benjamin Peters

Slender meanings: ‘Atmosphere is the all-important thing' in weird fiction, wrote H P Lovecraft. Illustration by Lee Moyer

Essay/
Information and communication
Creepypasta

With a flood of dark memes and viral horror stories, the internet is mapping the contours of modern fear

Will Wiles

Photo by Alex Majoli/Magnum Photos
Essay/
Economics
Dark Leviathan

The Silk Road might have started as a libertarian experiment, but it was doomed to end as a fiefdom run by pirate kings

Henry Farrell

Photo by Julie Denesha for the Washington Post/Getty Images

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Information and communication
And their eyes glazed over

My college students are never entirely present in class, addicted to texts and tech. Is there any hope left for learning?

Joelle Renstrom

Photo by Gallery Stock

Essay/
Language and linguistics
See through words

The metaphor designer isn’t trying to make something beautiful. She wants to change your view on things. Here’s how

Michael Erard

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

Essay/
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

Goodbye to all that. The US Census Bureau used to have a card for every person in the country. Photo by Cetty
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Information and communication
In proof we trust

Blockchain technology will revolutionise far more than money: it will change your life. Here’s how it actually works

Dominic Frisby

Subversive technology. Photo by Hossein Fatemi/Panos Pictures

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Information and communication
The hacker hacked

The hacker ethos is wild and anarchic, indifferent to the trappings of success. Or it was, until the gentrifiers moved in

Brett Scott

Photo by Christian Charisius/Reuters

Essay/
Information and communication
Datagasm

Ever-faster feedback loops and micro-targeted digital porn are pushing human sexuality into some seriously weird places

Mark Hay

‘Mathematician, American, jazz fanatic, juggling enthusiast’. Claude Shannon. Photo courtesy Nokia Bell Labs

Essay/
Information and communication
The bit bomb

It took a polymath to pin down the true nature of ‘information’. His answer was both a revelation and a return

Rob Goodman & Jimmy Soni

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

Essay/
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

Your attention please. Photo by Jonathan Siegel/Getty

Essay/
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

The Bibliophiles, 1879, by Luis Jimenez y Aranda, Private Collection. Photo by Christie's/Bridgeman Images

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Stories and literature
Bookish fools

The book has always been a sign of status and refinement; a declaration of self-worth – even for those who hate to read

Frank Furedi