New Dark Age

The breakneck rush into digital technologies has delivered much that is useful, impressive and dazzling. But what have we lost, and what are the dangers? James Bridle ( takes on these concerns here.

We live in times of increasing bafflement. Our news feeds are filled with unverified, unverifiable speculation, much of it automatically generated by anonymous software. As a result, we can no longer get a grip on what’s happening. The error is to assume that quantitative data by itself can deliver a coherent model of the world. Nor can the daily Niagara Falls of digital sputum, fake news, speculation and hyperbole help us navigate our world. The overwhelming volume of information reveals much less than is promised. Rather, it heralds a new Dark Age: a world of ever-increasing incomprehension. A world in which the average individual is dumber, more perplexed, more controlled, indeed more manipulated than ever.

Artist and writer James Bridle offers us a warning against the future in which the contemporary promise of a new technologically assisted Enlightenment may just deliver its opposite: an age of complex uncertainty, predictive algorithms, surveillance, and the hollowing out of empathy. Surveying the history of art, technology and information systems he reveals the dark clouds that gather over this brave new world of digital technologies.

Give the screen a rest. Outdoors is the finest spell of weather in Scotland since, well, the Internet began.

Check if this thought provoking new book is in stock at your local library by consulting the online catalogue at

304 pages in Verso Books

First published June 2018

ISBN 978-1786635471

James Bridle
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