Tag Archives: Technology

The Disconnect – 26th May 2021

On Wednesday 26th May, we will discuss The Disconnect: A Personal Journey Through the Internet, by Roisin Kiberd. Freely available written and audio-visual resources are linked below. Regular attendee Mar will introduce the book to place these pieces in context, and enable anyone attending to hear about the work. You are welcome to attend to listen to the discussion even if you have not read any of the texts or listened to the audio-visual material.

This is an online event, which will be held from 7.30-9.30pm via Zoom. For Zoom details, which we keep private to group members, please contact us. Stroud Radical Reading Group events are free to attend. Please contact us about any accessibility requirements. We aim to make the sessions a welcoming space for anyone interested in the topic, you do not need to have a university education or have ever been to a reading group before, and we welcome people who have not read the text but would like to listen! Please contact us if you have any questions.

For this session, if you do not read the book, or are interested in additional material, please take a look at one or more of the below:

This event is the third and final in a series on digital technology. You don’t need to come have to the previous sessions on TechGnosis or Surveillance Capitalism to attend – but you may like to catch up a little via our write-ups of the sessions for Amplify Stroud.

“We all live online now: the line between the internet and IRL has become porous to the point of being meaningless. Roisin Kiberd knows this better than anyone. She has worked for tech startups and as the online voice of a cheese brand; she’s witnessed the bloated excesses of tech conferences and explored the strangest communities on the web. She has traced the ripples these hidden worlds have sent through our culture and politics, and experienced the disorienting effects on her own life. In these interlinked essays, she illuminates the subject with fierce clarity, revealing the ways we are more connected than ever before, and the disconnect this breeds. From the lure of the endless scroll, to the glamour of self-optimisation; from the cult of Energy Drinks to the nostalgic world of Vaporwave music; and from silicon town centres to dating tech bros, Kiberd explores the strange worlds, habits and people that have grown with the internet. She asks what we have gained, what we have lost, and what we have given willingly away in exchange for this connected life.”

– Publisher information (Serpent’s Tail)

Surveillance Capitalism (and How to Destroy It)

On Wednesday 28th April we will discuss Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff and How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism by Cory Doctorow. There are links to freely-available pieces we will focus our discussion on below. As ever, it’s great if people are able to read more of the book than the focus texts. Two people with present short introductions to both pieces to place the focus texts in context, and enable anyone attending to hear about the work. You are welcome to attend to listen to the discussion even if you have not read any of the texts.

This is an online event, which will be held from 7.30-9.30pm via Zoom. For Zoom details, which we keep private to group members, please contact us. Stroud Radical Reading Group events are free to attend. Please contact us about any accessibility requirements. We aim to make the sessions a welcoming space for anyone interested in the topic, you do not need to have a university education or have ever been to a reading group before, and we welcome people who have not read the text but would like to listen! Please contact us if you have any questions.

For the discussion, please read either or both of:

The Introduction to Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff.

How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism by Cory Doctorow. This ha been published in full online, freely available, by OneZero. The word count means it is auto-described as an 109 minute read (roughly two hours) Paperback and e-reader editions of the book, each with an extra print-only chapter, are now available — you can get a copy here.

If you’d like to read more, the full text of Surveillance Capitalism is available online as a free pdf here.

If you prefer to engage through audio/visual material, there are some options below:

Watch an interview with Shoshana Zuboff on Democracy now, in two parts (transcripts are available):

Part 1: “We Thought We Were Searching Google, But Google Was Searching Us

Part 2: “Big Tech Stole Our Data While Democracy Slept

You can listen to an interview with Cory Doctorow on the Srsly Wrng podcast – episode 220 – Stop Techno Dystopia!

There is a 50-minute documentary from Dutch broadcaster VPRO below, where “Zuboff takes the lid off Google and Facebook and reveals a merciless form of capitalism in which no natural resources, but the citizen itself, serves as a raw material” and deals with the questions “What is surveillance capitalism? How can citizens regain control of their data?”

This event is the second in a series on digital technology. You don’t need to come have to the previous session on TechGnosis to attend. You may also be interested in attending the third and final session on the 26th May, Roisin Kiberd’s The Disconnect: A Personal Journey Through the Internet.

31st March 2021: Techgnosis

On Wednesday 31st March we will discuss sections from TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information by Erik Davis. Download the chapters via the link below. As ever, it’s great if people are able to read more of the book than the focus text. Rupert Howe, a regular attendee who recommended the book, will introduce it for us and place the chapters we will discuss in context.

Download the focus chapters – the introduction and chapter 10 “Third Mind from the Sun” via the link below, or access the full book in pdf format.

This is an online event, which will be held from 7.30-9.30pm via Zoom. For Zoom details, which we keep private to group members, please contact us. Stroud Radical Reading Group events are free to attend. Please contact us about any accessibility requirements. We aim to make the sessions a welcoming space for anyone interested in the topic, you do not need to have a university education or have ever been to a reading group before, and we even welcome people who have not read the text but would like to listen! Please contact us if you have any questions.

You can buy second-hand copies from WorldOfBooks and Stroud Bookshop or the Yellow Lighted Bookshop will hopefully be able to order new copies in for you.

This event is the start of a series on digital technology. On the 28th April we will discuss Surveillance Capitalism (and How to Destroy It), and on the 26th May, Roisin Kiberd’s The Disconnect: A Personal Journey Through the Internet.

How does our fascination with technology intersect with the religious imagination? In TechGnosis—a cult classic now updated and reissued with a new afterword and a foreword by Eugene Thacker—Erik Davis argues that while the realms of the digital and the spiritual may seem worlds apart, esoteric and religious impulses have in fact always permeated (and sometimes inspired) technological communication. Davis uncovers startling connections between such seemingly disparate topics as electricity and alchemy; online roleplaying games and religious and occult practices; virtual reality and gnostic mythology; programming languages and Kabbalah. The final chapters address the apocalyptic dreams that haunt technology, providing vital historical context as well as new ways to think about a future defined by the mutant intermingling of mind and machine, nightmare and fantasy.

– From Erik Davis’ website

If you prefer to engage through audio, the author has a podcast, Expanding Mind, and though no episode is directly on TechGnosis or the focus chapters, there are several episodes that should be relevant: