THE MACHINE MODEL

RENÉ DESCARTES, DIGITAL GHOSTS AND A WIND-UP SHITTING DUCK Once out of nature I shall never take My bodily form from any natural thing, But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make Of hammered gold and gold enamelling To keep a drowsy emperor awake; Or set upon a golden bough to sing To lords and […]

DOPPELGÄNGER STORIES

Doppelgänger stories came into fashion during the Industrial Revolution, as an archetype in Gothic horror. The term was coined by Jean Paul in his novel Siebenkäs in 1796, and came of age in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Die Doppelgänger (1821). Edgar Allan Poe’s William Wilson was published in 1839. Later, in 1886, we get Dr Jekyll and Mr […]

GOOGLE EARTH, PEPSI MOON

THE MAP AND THE TERRITORY ∆ It was 2551 BE (2008 in the Western calendar), and I was teaching at a school in Bangkok.  I wasn’t enjoying it much. A top-dollar international school, but behind the slick PR it was an educational mess. Eight forty-minute periods in a day, and class sizes way too big. […]

The MERCY of MACHINES

∆ In 1998, Bill Joy, the founder and Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems, co-author of Java script and chair of a presidential commission on the future of IT research, was invited to speak at a tech conference. The title of the conference was ‘Telecosm: the World after Bandwidth Abundance’. “From the moment I became involved in […]