The World According to Haruki Murakami

Ten years ago, I tried to read Norwegian Wood, a semi-autobiographical novel by the author Haruki Murakami. I couldn't finish it, but for some reason, the first few pages stuck with me.  The book begins with Norwegian Wood, the Beatles song, playing on an airport speaker system. The protagonist is boarding a flight. He hears the ...

German Romanticism and the Philosophy of Beauty

My interest in romanticism comes from the way in which it might address some of the key problems of modern technology. Today's technologies - our phones and gadgets, screens and notifications - disconnect us from the real world, other people and ourselves, triggering a crisis of both identity and authenticity.  I've written before about Neil ...

Short Story: The Dancer

What does it mean to get lost in the dance? I arrive late in the evening. She opens the door, half shocked that I’m even there. We sit in different chairs with Japanese food between us. Sushi, fish and some hot gyoza, in these little rectangular brown cardboard boxes. “A feast,” she says, staring at ...

What motivates people to work hard? (Or: Productivity and Frederick Herzberg)

Imagine a man sitting across from you. He has brown wavy hair, kind eyes and a broad smile. He is dressed in a black suit and talks, very appropriately, as if he is a professor of esteemed learning. Leaning forward in his chair, he speaks slowly and methodically. Think of a time when you felt ...

Should I work for free? A Reflection on Unpaid Internships

David Leo Hyde is visiting his family home in the Port Hills of Christchurch, New Zealand. He looks relaxed standing on the balcony, running his fingers through his hair. Politely, he asks me if I found the place okay. The house is accessed by a steep driveway that winds up through dense greenery. It takes ...

Australians Are Quietly Losing Their Right to Free Speech

In September, more than half of Australia’s environmental scientists working for the federal and state governments reported that they had been "prohibited from communicating scientific information” to the general public. Research on climate change, the extinction of animal species and pollution was all being suppressed. Despite the potential for scientific research to shape national elections, ...

‘People are Working Harder than Ever’ – Jonas Altman, Shapers – Book Review

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to interview Jonas Altman, author of the newly released Shapers: Reinvent The Way You Work and Change the Future. Altman, based in Canada, has done a remarkable job of dissecting where we are as a society. Jobs, he argues, are stuck in a holding pattern: people are ...

The Ethics of Brain Implants

Brain implants are such a risky technology that we should consider banning them before they get released. If not, we risk losing a freedom we take for granted every day, our freedom of thought. On August 28, Neuralink, a company founded by Elon Musk, revealed a working prototype of a brain implant in a demonstration ...

An Intellectual History of Our Troubles with Technology

We often evaluate new technologies based on old standards. How should we update our evaluative tools for the digital age? Our troubles with technology have mythical origins. In the Phaedrus, Plato recounts the tale of the Egyptian god Theuth, who once tried to sell the invention of writing to Thamus, the king of the gods: ...

What COVID Teaches Us About Big Tech

In April, I published the following blog post here on my personal blog New Intrigue and on the Oxford Political Review. A few months later, I was told to take down the post or get fired from my then job as a public servant in the Australian Federal Government. Although the post had no criticism ...

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