Real Life: Audio Edition
173 - Wrong Road by David A. Banks

173 - Wrong Road by David A. Banks

September 2, 2022

The auto industry used political leverage to remake the physical world and embed future demand for its products, despite their self-evident destructiveness. Now the tech world is trying the same trick with phones and apps. 
Read more essays on living with technology at https://reallifemag.com and follow us on Twitter @_reallifemag

172 - Hard to See by Leo Kim

172 - Hard to See by Leo Kim

August 30, 2022

If trauma seems ubiquitous online, that’s because it has become the authentic experience par excellence — uniquely able to hold our gaze and compel us to keep watching. This casual misuse shouldn’t distract from the fact that “trauma" refers to a real mode of experience that demands seriousness, but we need to unpack the ways it has become synonymous with “the real."
Read more essays on living with technology at https://reallifemag.com and follow us on Twitter @_reallifemag

171 - Kids’ Stuff by Richard Woodall

171 - Kids’ Stuff by Richard Woodall

August 18, 2022

The main strategy of the children's culture industry — transforming free play into a mania for collectibles and "commoditoys" — has been adopted by crypto startups, whose toy-like aesthetics are necessary for a digital asset class backed by nothing more than flows of sentiment. 
Read more essays on living with technology at https://reallifemag.com and follow us on Twitter @_reallifemag.

170 - Sneak Peeks by Rob Horning

170 - Sneak Peeks by Rob Horning

August 16, 2022

The social app BeReal promises respite from the pressure to perform, but its gimmick of forced spontaneity merely refines it in an effort to re-enchant the practice of posting to platforms. Obedience to the platform's rules doesn't cancel competition for clout among its users. 
Read more essays on living with technology at https://reallifemag.com and follow us on Twitter @_reallifemag.

169 - Masters of the Userverse by Grafton Tanner

169 - Masters of the Userverse by Grafton Tanner

July 4, 2022

A fantasy life of push-button convenience and technological coddling is just as much a “virtual world” as any metaverse. With the gig economy as their operating system, these "userverses" isolate consumers from each other and protect the exploitive system tech companies and venture capital have built. 
Read more essays on living with technology at https://reallifemag.com and follow us on Twitter @_reallifemag.

168 - Speech Bubbles by Lauren Collee

168 - Speech Bubbles by Lauren Collee

June 30, 2022

So far, audio-based social apps have not had major success. Perhaps this is because the human voice has contrasting associations: intimacy, on one hand; and the public-facing self, on the other. However, we should be vigilant: both associations operate on the notion that there is something “pure” about spoken forms of communication, and both are highly co-optable. 
Read more essays on living with technology at https://reallifemag.com and follow us on Twitter @_reallifemag.

167 - Insomniac Technologies by Sierra Komar

167 - Insomniac Technologies by Sierra Komar

June 22, 2022

Although sleep wearables seem to promote rest, what they actually promote is rest reconfigured as productivity. A properly-charged wearable is always awake, acting as a sort of surrogate, low-level consciousness that keeps running and recording even while you temporarily abdicate your own. 
Read more essays on living with technology at https://reallifemag.com and follow us on Twitter @_reallifemag.

166 - New Normal by Robin James

166 - New Normal by Robin James

June 21, 2022

As algorithms are deployed across society to assess and predict behavior, older modes of control based on normativity are in eclipse. The way we experience control has changed accordingly — it registers more in terms of "vibes" and "cringe" — as have the ways it can be resisted, not through revaluing antinormative behavior but through extending care-oriented practices like mutual aid. 
Read more essays on living with technology at https://reallifemag.com and follow us on Twitter @_reallifemag.

165 - Chimp City by Drew Austin

165 - Chimp City by Drew Austin

June 14, 2022

The sales pitch of "Web3" depends on its having its own aesthetic to counter the "Instagrammability" aesthetic that social media has spawned. But all crypto can generate is self-referential hype and boiler-room sales pressure to sustain its many Ponzi schemes. 
Read more essays on living with technology at https://reallifemag.com and follow us on Twitter @_reallifemag.

164 - Suspension of Belief by Colin Dickey

164 - Suspension of Belief by Colin Dickey

June 13, 2022

Images of suffering compel a reaction. "Crisis actor" conspiracy theories show that it's sometimes easier to claim they are "fake" than to respond appropriately, or to deal with the cognitive dissonance of not knowing how to respond at all. 
Read more essays on living with technology at https://reallifemag.com and follow us on Twitter @_reallifemag.

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