Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Myth definitions

This post is a rolling inventory of definitions and descriptions of myth – mine, and those of others. The date on which an item is added to the list is given in italics, in parentheses. I’ll move it to the top of the blog every time I update it (though recently that functionality's not working).

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Gartner’s Hype Cycle as myth

Most people in business know about Gartner’s hype cycle, many of them believe it, and some act on it, for example through corporate investment decisions and buying Gartner’s services. It’s a story (more accurately, a trope) that meets my know/believe/act criterion for myth. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Dionysus on Wall Street

The GameStop saga was a big story in February 2021. It’s often told as David against Goliath, but I think there’s a deeper pattern that reflects the role of technology.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Research Questions for the Tech & Mythology Project

 My February project snapshot listed some of the questions the Tech & Mythology project is asking. S. V., a researcher I met through the ATLAS Institute, challenged me to document my research questions. After peeling several layers off the onion, here’s what I came up with.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Cyber-doom stories

Tobias Burgers alerted me to Sean Lawson’s 2013 paper “Beyond Cyber-Doom: Assessing the Limits of Hypothetical Scenarios in the Framing of Cyber-Threats” (DOI). Lawson’s article helped me further understand the servant/master narrative that seems to be a tropes of technology stories.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Tech & Mythology Project Snapshot – Feb 2021

 Here’s another update to the Tech & Mythology project outline. See previous snapshots from October and July 2020 for background.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Two 5G Stories

There are at least two 5G myths (that is, stories a community knows, most believe, and many act on): the industry hype, which I’ll call the 5G Vision, and the belief that 5G damages health, which I’ll call 5G EMF/Coronavirus. Technology is the protagonist in both – the hero in one, and the villain in the other. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

"Know, Believe, Act" Stories

Since “myth” has negative connotations for most of us (“stupid, false things other people believe”), I’ve started talking about socially significant stories instead – that is, stories that everyone in a group knows; that many believe; and that some act upon.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

What Americans Fear

Technology is awesome – in the 16th century sense of arousing or inspiring awe, something that fills someone with reverential fear, wonder, or respect (OED). As I’ve argued in an earlier post, digital tech is powerful, pervasive and mysterious. So why aren’t people more afraid of it? Before trying to answer that question, here is some survey data about what Americans say they’re afraid of.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Celebrity, human & divine

In a recent episode of the Allusionist podcast, Greg Jenner gave a 5-point definition of celebrity that resonates with what I said about it in a recent blog post, and supports the argument that tech celebrities can help one think about technology itself.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Myth, Knowledge, Belief

“Myth” means erroneous belief to most people, and I often hear a contrast between science (associated with truth) and religion (associated with myth). That got me thinking about knowledge, and particularly Plato’s definition of it as justified true belief. 

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Gods talking past each other

I’ve been analyzing the recent GAFA hearing in Congress (Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 6: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google), hoping to find evidence for my theory that one can treat technologies and other social forces mythologically.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Tech/Myth Project Snapshot – October 2020

I gave a snapshot summary of the Tech/Myth project back in July. Here’s an update; it outlines the current assumptions and activities of the project, and provides some background to the current effort of analyzing tech in terms of character.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Techies & Myth Part 4: More Gods as Tech

In the fourth and final part of the series of posts about mythology and the tech industry, based on an email exchange with Petri Mähönen, I try to work some loose ends into the tapestry. Like the previous one, this post focuses on myths but with an eye to the tech implications.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Techies & Myth Part 3: Goddesses and Tech

In this third part of the series of posts about mythology and the tech industry, based on an email exchange with Petri Mähönen, I explore the relevance of several goddesses of ancient Greek mythology to digital technology. The first two posts focused on the techies; this one and the next will focus on the myths.