Reading List: November 11

Each week, we put together a reading list of the best articles on technology, new media, and religion from across the web.

Here’s what we’re reading this week:

The Experience Design of Server FarmsMedium

“Standing among the Internet Archive’s pews, Kahle talks about trust. He points out the extreme implicit trust that users of social media and other cloud services put in the companies that serve us when we entrust them with our information. He contrasts that with the militarized facilities where our data is stored. That approach is a dark ethos, he says, and it reflects a dangerous attitude about knowledge. It’s the same attitude that leads to DRM schemes, proprietary networks, and a weakened open Internet.”

This is Not Your Father’s InternetLinkedIn Today

“At the same time as technology is hollowing out white and blue collar middle class employment, our uses of that same technology creates a data footprint that defines us commercially and personally to those with whom we interact. The “Internet of things” means this footprint becomes bigger for richer and for poorer. We spent years talking about a new social stratification resulting from access to technology. Now it may be as appropriate to think about a new level of economic determination informed by data that is reported and unreported. This will be utopian for some and, inevitably, dystopian for others. For those willing to share data, the world may become cheaper and more efficient to live in. For the unwilling, the opposite may be true.”

Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology UserThe Atlantic

“When critics engage with the demands of online services via labor, they often cite exploitation as a simple explanation. It’s a sentiment that even has its own aphorism: “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” The idea is that all the information you provide to Google and Facebook, all the content you create for Tumblr and Instagram enable the primary businesses of such companies, which amounts to aggregating and reselling your data or access to it. In addition to the revenues extracted from ad sales, tech companies like YouTube and Instagram also managed to leverage the speculative value of your data-and-attention into billion-dollar buyouts. Tech companies are using you, and they’re giving precious little back in return.”

The Long-time Threat of Antihumanism: An Interview with Robert ZubrinAleteia

“According to antihumanism, humans are destroyers, and therefore their numbers, activities, and liberties must be severely constrained, and someone must be empowered to do the constraining. This doctrine has therefore served as a pseudoscientific rationalization for tyranny and oppression for the past 200 years, ever since it was first formulated by Malthus. However if the opposite, humanist, outlook is embraced, that humans are not destroyers but creators – that we do not consume resources but rather create them – then the essential role of government must not be to suppress human life and liberty, but to protect them all costs.”

We’re About to Lose Net Neutrality — And the Internet as We Know ItWired

“Net neutrality is a dead man walking. The execution date isn’t set, but it could be days, or months (at best). And since net neutrality is the principle forbidding huge telecommunications companies from treating users, websites, or apps differently — say, by letting some work better than others over their pipes — the dead man walking isn’t some abstract or far-removed principle just for wonks: It affects the internet as we all know it.”

Other articles

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About the Contributor

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson
Benjamin Robertson is a founding editor at Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Mediacurrent. 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

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