Welcome to the Dystopian Times

We live in the Digital Age. Technology is expanding faster than ever, and it is influencing society in a myriad of ways. Having a perspective of history is one thing, but being conscious of how history is being created today is another. The Dystopian Times aims to encourage reflection and debate on the ethics and politics of technology.

Many books and films are centred around a “dystopia“: an imagined society which may appear attractive at first, but is actually undesirable, and even sinister, on closer inspection.

In the series Black Mirror, technology progresses to the point where your social standing is determined by rating systems; the more you are ‘rated’ by other people, much like on social media, the more money and perks you are given. Your laptop webcam allows others to spy on you, and seemingly innocent social media smear campaigns can have real consequences, like death.

George Orwell’s 1984 tells the story of a world under constant government surveillance and state-controlled media. And in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New Worldpeople are conditioned into classes, like the working class or the elite, through manipulating their intelligence.

“Having a perspective of history is one thing, but being conscious of how history is being created today is another.”

But although these stories may seem far-fetched, they are very much grounded in reality. Dystopian works highlight and criticise real-world political, social or technological issues. Many recent technological advances promise “progress”, but whether these advances are good, bad, or somewhere in-between is up to debate.

How will Artificial Intelligence affect the way we live and work? Are we entering into a reality dominated by the virtual? Can technology be biased? What effect is social media having on our mental health? What effects has technology had on our social and political world? These are the kinds of questions that will be explored here at the Dystopian Times.

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