Tuesday Jul 05, 2022

Cybertech and Personhood

Robots are not people, information does not want to be free, and the internet has no consciousness of its own. Meanwhile, human society trades on outrage and no one can tell what is true and what is false. Among the many enduring themes of human experience is how we create tools that in turn re-create us, and the past couple decades are only an accelerated and amplified version of that. With the help of tech critic Jaron Lanier, in this episode Dad and I explore the roots of how the whole world has gone mad, what it means to be and remain a person in the midst of it, and the urgency of doing so. Otherwise, "those who make them become like them," as Psalm 135 puts it.


1. All of Lanier's books are highly recommended: You Are Not a Gadget, Who Owns the Future?, and Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.

2. Scott, Seeing Like a State

3. Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

4. Asimov, "Robbie," in I, Robot

5. For more on this topic, see my blog post "Quitting Facebook... Again," our previous QotS episodes What Is a Person? and How to Hack the Law, and my new podcast with my husband Andrew, The Disentanglement Podcast, with explanations of digital tech and practical tips for getting free of its tentacles.

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