Reading List

Books to prepare you for Facebook taking over the world

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More than half of all internet users in the world are now on Facebook. Facebook knows when you are sleeping, it can identify you in photos and translate your posts, it sells your data and it engages in political censorship.

From James Bridle's New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future to McKenzie Wark's Capital Is Dead: Is This Something Worse?here are 6 essential books that ask what our digital future might look like in a world of mass surveillance and the end of Capitalism as we know it.

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 reality, we are lost in a sea of information, increasingly divided by fundamentalism, simplistic narratives, conspiracy theories, and post-factual politics. Meanwhile, those in power use our lack of understanding to further their own interests. Despite the apparent accessibility of information, we’re living in a new Dark Age. 

In this radical and visionary new book, McKenzie Wark argues that information has empowered a new kind of ruling class. Through the ownership and control of information, this emergent class dominates not only labour but capital as traditionally understood as well. 

In The Social Photo, social theorist Nathan Jurgenson develops bold new ways of understanding the transformations wrought by these image-making and sharing technologies and the cultural objects they have ushered in: the selfie, the faux-vintage photo, the self-destructing image, the food photo. Jurgenson shows how these devices and platforms have remade the world and our understanding of ourselves within it. 

When we talk about technology we always talk about the future—which makes it hard to figure out how to get there. In Future Histories, Lizzie O’Shea argues that we need to stop looking forward and start looking backwards. Weaving together histories of computing and social movements with modern theories of the mind, society, and self, O’Shea constructs a “usable past” that help us determine our digital future. 

Leading artists, theorists, and writers exhume the dystopian and utopian futures contained within the present

“I am the supercommunity, and you are only starting to recognize me. I grew out of something that used to be humanity. Some have compared me to angry crowds in public squares; others compare me to wind and atmosphere, or to software.”

Egypt's January 25 Revolution of 2011 was a dramatic demonstration of the role social media has come to play in radical activism. A key moment was the appearance of the Facebook page "We Are All Khaled Said," which linked activists across the country. But how useful are social media in radical politics? And how readily can they be turned against the activists?

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