From the highly acclaimed author of WAYS OF BEING.
We live in times of increasing inscrutability. Our news feeds are filled with unverified, unverifiable speculation, much of it automatically generated by anonymous software. As a result, we no longer understand what is happening around us. Underlying all of these trends is a single idea: the belief that quantitative data can provide a coherent model of the world, and the efficacy of computable information to provide us with ways of acting within it. Yet the sheer volume of information available to us today reveals less than we hope. Rather, it heralds a new Dark Age: a world of ever-increasing incomprehension.
In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle offers us a warning against the future in which the contemporary promise of a new technologically assisted Enlightenment may just deliver its opposite: an age of complex uncertainty, predictive algorithms, surveillance, and the hollowing out of empathy. Surveying the history of art, technology and information systems he reveals the dark clouds that gather over discussions of the digital sublime.
In these videos James Bridle explains some of the arguments from New Dark Age. Watch all the videos here.
“NEW DARK AGE is a masterful study of all the things approaching out of the future's night. Compelling and essential.”
“Computation brings humanity more darkness than enlightenment: a goblin horde of digital superstitions, invented and unleashed in just half a century. Yet James Bridle is fearless in our gloomy post-truth predicament; he's a theorist, artist, technical visionary and even a moralist. Has he foreseen the worst?”
“Highlights the ways in which we are deliberately being kept in the dark and are sleepwalking into a future of non-stop surveillance and "the dark clouds [gathering] over our dreams of the digital sublime."”
“An extraordinary, perceptive analysis of the various ways in which the rise of information technology has obscured, rather than illuminated, the operations of power in the world, and diminished our capacity to improve it. It's brilliant and bracing”
“New Dark Age is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I've read about the Internet, which is to say that it is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I’ve read about contemporary life.”
“[New Dark Age] is an essential read on the key subjects around AI, and the dangerous feedback loops that are currently being produced.”
“New Dark Age is enlightening but frightening, a dystopian warning about the implications of the convergence of data and robotics, code and quantum computing, science and technology.”
“Brilliant and beautiful.”
“New Dark Age is a paradoxical work, elegiac yet futuristic, which embraces paradox and the limits of knowledge - especially the limits of knowledge that the present moment's technological advances, political instability, and environmental chaos have conferred upon us.”
“An engaging, sharp, and urgent work that takes us well beyond the neo-Luddite fantasies of techno-apocalypse so prevalent in late critiques of technology.”