The internet was born out of a desire to improve human life. By increasing access to information and facilitating communication, it would bring human beings closer, united in their quest for enlightened living. This utopian dream, argues historian Justin Smith in new work The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is, is the product of centuries of work aimed at making knowledge distributable. Unfortunately, Smith contends, this dream is officially, definitively dead. Considering social media, information algorithms, and smartphone dependency, Smith shows how the internet was transformed from social tool to social problem. Equal parts intellectual history, philosophical treatise, and manifesto, the book sounds the alarm for our future. Smith will be in conversation with Analog Sea founding editor Jonathan Simons and American Library Programs Manager Alice McCrum.
About the speaker:
Justin Smith is a historian and philosopher of science. A professor at the University of Paris, Smith is the author of Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason (2019), The Philosopher: A History in Six Types (2016), and Divine Machines: Leibniz and the Sciences of Life (2011).
Jonathan Simons is the founding editor of offline publishing house Analog Sea and its literary journal, The Analog Sea Review. As a poet and essayist, he has written for publications including the London Magazine, PN Review, El País, subTerrain Magazine, and the Analog Sea Review.
Important information: The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (Smith will appear in the Reading Room), the Library will stream the conversation on Zoom for a live viewing experience. Both in-person and online attendees will be able to pose questions.
US viewers, please note French daylight savings time. This event will happen at 2:30 pm EDT.
This event requires advance registration.