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Hello, I’ve written a book. New Dark Age is a book about technology, knowledge, and the end of the future. It’s published by Verso, and you can buy it direct from the publisher as hardback and ebook (which is better for me, them, and publishing in general) — or wherever you usually acquire your reading. There is a series of events next week in the UK, in London, Bristol, and Liverpool , and the details are on my website.

If you’ve enjoyed my writing about weird YouTube videos, ubiquitous video surveillance, and the relationship between the weather and computation, you’ll find stories like these, retold and expanded, alongside much more on artificial intelligence, machine learning, the climate, the history of computation, conspiracy theory and the internet. Here’s a long extract in the Guardian, and another in Harpers Magazine. These extracts emphasise the technological aspects of the book, so here’s another one, from the opening of Chapter 8, Conspiracy, which focuses more on its philosophical concerns: how we know and what we cannot know about the world around us. …

I’m James Bridle. I’m a writer and artist concerned with technology and culture. I usually write on my own blog, but frankly I don’t want what I’m talking about here anywhere near my own site. Please be advised: this essay describes disturbing things and links to disturbing graphic and video content. You don’t have to read it, and are advised to take caution exploring further.

As someone who grew up on the internet, I credit it as one of the most important influences on who I am today. I had a computer with internet access in my bedroom from the age of 13. It gave me access to a lot of things which were totally inappropriate for a young teenager, but it was OK. The culture, politics, and interpersonal relationships which I consider to be central to my identity were shaped by the internet, in ways that I have always considered to be beneficial to me personally. I have always been a critical proponent of the internet and everything it has brought, and broadly considered it to be emancipatory and beneficial. I state this at the outset because thinking through the implications of the problem I am going to describe troubles my own assumptions and prejudices in significant ways. …

This essay was written to accompany Cloud Index, a digital commission for the Serpentine Galleries, London. The Cloud Index is a tool for actionable weather forecasts. Find out more at cloudindx.com.

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“Do not suppose, because I call it a darkness or a cloud, that it is a cloud condensed out of the vapours that float in the air, or a darkness like that in your house at night when your candle is out. By intellectual ingenuity you can imagine such a darkness or cloud brought before your eyes on the brightest day of summer, just as, conversely, in the darkest night of winter you can imagine a clear shining light. Give up such errors; that is not what I mean. For when I say ‘darkness’ I mean an absence of knowing, in the sense that everything you do not know, or have forgotten, is dark to you, because you cannot see it with your mind’s eye. …

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