The map and the script

Shoshana Zuboff’s epic critique of Silicon Valley, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, is out today, and so is my review, “Thieves of Experience: How Google and Facebook Corrupted Capitalism,” in the Los Angeles Review of Books. It begins: We sometimes forget that, at the turn of the century, Silicon Valley was in a funk, economic […]

Uber’s ghost map and the meaning of greyballing

Uber is not only a scofflaw, but, as Mike Isaac of the New York Times reported last week, the company has been running an elaborate program to deceive and evade cops and other local officials in cities where its car service has been banned or lacks authorization to operate. The centerpiece of the scheme is a piece of software called […]

Are maps necessary?

If you own a smartphone, you have a detailed, up-to-date atlas on your person at all times. This is something new in the world. As the cartographer Justin O’Beirne wrote last year: An unprecedented level of detail is now available to the average person, for little or no cost. The same [digital] map literally shows every human settlement […]

Maps, mind and memory

In concert with the UK publication of The Glass Cage, Penguin Books’ Think Smarter site is running an article by me on satellite navigation. Titled “Welcome to Nowheresville,” it’s adapted from a chapter in the book called “World and Screen.” Here’s a taste of the piece: A GPS device, by allowing us to get from point A […]

The map of the world is flat

Maria Popova shares some pages from an enchanting Sixties-era British schoolbook about maps and globes (the above image is an excerpt). She muses: But besides the educational value and the sheer vintage gorgeousness of the artwork, these illustrations also remind us of what we’ve lost along with everything we’ve gained in the past half-century of […]

Maps and minds

The National Geographic Assignment Blog is featuring a short excerpt from my book The Shallows, illustrated with some photographs from National Geographic photographers. In the excerpt, I look at the map as an early example of an intellectual technology that both reflects and disseminates a new way of thinking. Read it.

Meanings of the metaverse: Secondary embodiment

Q: “Will I be able to bring my body into the metaverse?” A: “You bring your body into your dreams, don’t you?” Even today, nearly two years into the pandemic, one holds onto certain expectations about how a Big Tech company’s Big Reveal event will unfold. There will be flashing lights. There will be loud, […]