Digital communication and social media have taken over our lives. Byung-Chul Han counters the cheerleaders for Twitter revolutions and Facebook activism by arguing that digital communication is in fact responsible for the disintegration of community and public space and is slowly eroding any possibility for real political action and meaningful political discourse. Digital communication enables instantaneous, impulsive reaction, meant to express and stir up outrage on the spot. Meanwhile, the public, the senders and receivers of these communications have become a digital swarm—not a mass, or a crowd, or Negri and Hardt's antiquated notion of a “multitude,” but a set of isolated individuals incapable of forming a “we,” incapable of calling dominant power relations into question, incapable of formulating a future because of an obsession with the present. Han, one of the most widely read philosophers in the world today, describes a society in which information has overrun thought, in which the same algorithms are employed by Facebook, the stock market, and the intelligence services. Big Brother has been succeeded by Big Data.
English translation available
Byung-Chul Han was born in Seoul, South-Korea. He lives as author in Berlin.
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"According to Han, the digital causes us more problems than it offers us solutions. A recommended reminder. Not only to those who still believe in the blessings of the digital."
- Eva Horvatic, Die Presse