Does being moral require a God? And what kind of God?

The title of this article comes from a 2005 commencement speech by David Foster Wallace, where he talks about the role of God or other spiritual principles in governing our lives:

Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

The sentiment that Foster Wallace…

What happened to online communities? [Part 1 of 4]

Back In My Day…

Those of us who grew up in the late 90s and early 2000s remember a time before social media. Not that we didn’t use the Internet to chat to one another: there were all kinds of ways to do that, especially for nerds like me. This was before social media; before massive platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram became the main ways to communicate online.

Back in the day, we used different technologies for different types of socialising. If you wanted to chat in real time with your friends you’d use AOL Messenger; if you wanted a cosy social space…

Lanier’s vision raises serious questions for postcapitalists.

It seems like the internet giants can’t catch a break nowadays. Whether it’s Mark Zuckerberg being tormented by the US Senate over Cambridge Analytica’s influence on the 2016 election, or Amazon facing questions over their treatment of workers, the negatives of having digital oligopolies control every market are on the agenda.

There are three schools of thought on this issue. One is: this was inevitable. Marx was right — as automation reaches ever further into human capabilities, more and more people will lose their purpose for being, and wealth will concentrate in the hands of the few until the market…

The Morality of Intergenerational Wealth Transfer

We live in a world of extreme inequality and nepotism. At present, the world’s 26 richest people own as much as the poorest 50%. This makes the question of intergenerational wealth transfer particularly important.

Many people would be happy to live in a world with this level of extreme inequality, provided that this inequality felt in some way justified by the merit of the wealthy. But if the wealthy can simply pass their estates onto their children, whose merit is far from certain, then these levels of inequality become difficult to justify.

This article isn’t principally interested in exploring whether…

Spielberg needs to watch more Black Mirror.

Technology has made the world unrecognisable in the past decade, and our modern anxieties — from Russian hackers to child grooming — almost all revolve around the consequences of networks and digital media.

Despite its premise, Ready Player One totally fails to examine these anxieties.

What really separates the Oculus and Vive?

In my current role as a Creative Technologist at RealityLab: London, I have the privilege of using both of today’s most popular desktop VR systems: the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. At first glance these systems look similar, at least in terms of user experience. Minor technical details aside, the Vive and the Rift do the same job: they sense the position and angle of your headset and handheld controllers, then use this information to make you feel like you’re moving around in a virtual space.

Because there’s so little difference between the basics of these systems, comparisons between…

Frank Davies

Philosopher / Strategist / Technologist

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