Author: Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson is a co-founder and editor of Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Up&Up. He studied Communications and Media Studies under Dr. Read Schuchardt at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has presented papers on Marshall McLuhan, media ecology, and Christianity at the Media Ecology Association, National Communication Association, and the McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference in Brussels. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greenville, SC. His personal website is benjamingrobertson.com.

Data Privacy and Terms of Service: A Graphic Novel

“What if we’re not getting a fair trade for our information?” asks Josh Neufeld in a new exploration of the bigger questions surrounding data privacy. (Added cool factor bonus: it’s a graphic novel). We’ve gotten used to giving services like Facebook or Gmail access to data about our lives. But as mobile devices have become ubiquitous […]

On Smart Phones and the Death of Conversation: A Photo Essay

“I started to photograph people in company on their phones as there was a certain symmetry to them and it appealed on a visual level, but as I continued I noticed an inherent sadness to the proceedings,” writes Babycakes Romero, in his short introduction to his photo essay titled “The Death of Conversation.” He compares […]

The Trending Now Treadmill

We mentioned earlier in the year that Read Schuchardt would be speaking as part of Christ Community Church’s TrendingNow Series. Here is the video from his presentation. In it, Dr. Schuchardt analyzes the so-called “better quality of life” provided by technology in the post-digital-explosion age. Are we really improving quality of life through technology? He proposes […]

5 Tips for Surviving in Technopolis

“We have reached a period in which all forms of cultural life have surrendered to the sovereignty of Technology,” says editorial board member Arthur Hunt in a new interview with Tony Reinke at Desiring God. “We put so much cultural stock in sort of headlong rush into the future without any clear telos [goal]. The […]

Loneliness vs. Electric Shock. Who wins?

Blaise Pascal famously wrote: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” and now science shows us a deeper truth: that we would rather administer electric shocks to ourselves than sit quietly in a room alone. Read on below. The Latest Snowden Leak Is Devastating to NSA Defenders […]

Look Up

“I have 422 friends, yet I’m lonely.” This is for all of us who need a reminder to shut our computers and look up from our smart phones, but who respond better to advice when it rhymes. Written, performed and directed by Gary Turk, who describe his video as ” a lesson taught to us through a love story, in […]

Snowden: “I was trained as a spy”

  In case you missed the latest Snowden interview, here’s a short clip where Snowden explains that contrary to official government releases, he was not simply a “low-level systems analyst” but actually trained as a spy. You can see the whole interview with Brian Williams and read more at NBC News.

Popes, Pseudo-Events, Computer Marriage and the Simple Life

In this week’s reading list, we have quite a combination. A murder in Montgomery remains unsolved as the victim’s simple life leaves no social media, email or other electronic footprints for law enforcement to follow. A Florida man is demanding his right to wed his pornography-laden computer. We’ve also got a scholarly love letter to […]

Robots, Jobs, and the Future

Twenty years ago last week, the internet came to NPR offices. Twenty years from today, it’s possible that radio operators could all be put out of their jobs by robots. So before you take some time to read about the bleakness or brightness of the future–depending on who you ask–we’ll lighten the mood with a […]

We love our phones. Do our phones love us?

Since we’re always using our phones, our reading list this week is all about our phones. Why do we love them? Do they help our social lives or hurt us? How do they affect our children? How do they affect our minds? If you feel like your phone has taken away your sense of place […]