'Today, just two decades on from Foster Wallace’s ‘E Unibus Pluram’, we inhabit an age of extraordinary intimacy with screen-based technologies. As well as our home and office computers, and the 40-inch-plus glories of our living room screens, few of us are now without the tactile, constant presence of at least one smart device in our pocket or bag.
These are tools that can feel more like extensions of ourselves than separate devices: the first thing we touch when we wake up in the morning, the last thing we touch before going to bed at night. Yet what they offer is a curious kind of intimacy — and the ‘us’ to which all this is addressed doesn’t often look or feel much like a living, breathing human being.
Instead, we are metaphorically dismembered by our tools: regarded by the sites and services we visit as ‘eyeballs’, as tapping and touching fingertips on keyboards and screens, as attention spans to be harnessed and data-rich profiles to be harvested. So far as most screens are concerned, we exist only in order to be transfixed by their gaze.'"
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