Where tech aligns

James Poulos

  • Humanity Is Over! (If You Want It)

    Humanity Is Over! (If You Want It)

    Who can stop themselves now from being lured into the wilderness of black mirrors?

  • Divorce Story: Can Americans Break Up (with the Borg)?

    Divorce Story: Can Americans Break Up (with the Borg)?

    We’re told our entanglement prevents some sort of separation. But it’s the cyborg regime we’re too entangled in, not each other.

  • James Poulos: When Will a Human-Level AI Be Built?

    James Poulos: When Will a Human-Level AI Be Built?

    The prospect of an onrushing future in which we feel ourselves becoming entities more akin to gods without souls than to humans with them is already visible enough today to foster a vast and profound reorientation of experience, memory, and intuition against the pursuit of AGI and whatever may come after.

  • Is AI About to Let Slip the Gods of War?

    Is AI About to Let Slip the Gods of War?

    Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian lays bare the costs of worshipping our weapons.

  • Don’t Look Down

    Don’t Look Down

    A scant two years ago Don’t Look Up presented viewers with a jaundiced look at a present-day America where every commercial and cultural current pushed online and TV audiences deep into denial about the huge asteroid coming to wipe out all life on Earth. 2023’s live-action spectacular features a synced-up information-management complex insisting we do look up. What don’t they want us to see down below?

  • Silicon Meridian

    Silicon Meridian

    In English the word chore comes out of an older term encompassing in the broadest senses the small events that add up on Earth to the vast anonymizing sands in our mortal hourglass: turn, change, time, occasion, affair.

  • A Time to Ground, Part II: We Belong to Intelligence

    A Time to Ground, Part II: We Belong to Intelligence

    I’ve had my share of brushes with spycraft, which does visibly wind its way through L.A. on occasion. Cars explode, coroner’s reports are sealed — a British girl, sad on her birthday, unspools between cigarette drags a story about a father who turned down a contract to assassinate Nelson Mandela. He miraculously survived the skydiving “accident” that transpired shortly thereafter, but could only croak out nonwords from his hospital bed about who called the hit and why…

  • Is Tech Really Killing Culture?

    Is Tech Really Killing Culture?

    Even as the phantom it now is of the California that once was, Los Angeles, still whispering its secret language, lures and claims innumerable lives, their minor details accumulating into a trajectory of acquiescence that, in hindsight, too late, may well have been there all along, subtly, insistently, in hiding, crying out.

  • A Time to Ground, Part I: The Spirit of ’23

    A Time to Ground, Part I: The Spirit of ’23

    It’s not hard to understand the mania for building that took us through the collapse-a-thon of 2022 on into ’23. It makes sense that so many who warn and insist that it’s time to build hope to accelerate us through a sequence of their constructions into a new regime, one that can rescue us from the final breakdown of the decaying regime we’re in. The signs of this breakdown are everywhere, saturating every facet of life — an omnipresence rivaled only by that of technology itself.

  • Kissin the old order goodbye

    “How to Avoid Another War?” It’s a bit late for that. But Henry Kissinger is not done effort posting. No one will listen to his plea for a full-dress late-twentieth-century pathway to peace, from ceasefires to negotiations to internationally supervised referendums. Certainly not Moscow. “Russia would disgorge its conquests thence”? Nyet. But he’s not writing for […]

  • Welcome to The Build

    Welcome to The Build

    Welcome to The Build, an open journal in newsletter form about rising up from America’s ruins. For over a decade—since, intriguingly, the dawn of the smartphone—we’ve heard a lot about our need to build back from what once was. That rhetoric reached a fever pitch amid the pandemic. Even many powerful and intelligent people who rejected the “Build Back Better” agenda insist that “it’s time to build.” And so it is. But time to build what?

  • The swarm protector

    The swarm protector

    You’ve heard of The Silent Protector. Now meet The Swarm Protector. Instead of catching bullets, grenades, etc., The Swarm Protector distracts the bots and avatars mobilized to distract you from the awareness you need to resist assimilation into the swarm. Especially helpful if you and your friends need bought time to build  technical and social…

  • Elon’s Basilisk

    Elon’s Basilisk

    How much does humanity’s fate really depend on Twitter’s?