Failure explores how technology fails us—and how we fail technology. Machines malfunction, fall short of our expectations, or behave in weird and unhelpful ways. Software makes demands of us we can’t possibly fulfill. Startups die, and their founders fail up—or down. Venture capitalists lose money, and call it the cost of innovation. A win for some is a loss for others: technical and financial successes breed social and ecological failures.
You can find excerpts from the issue and the table of contents below.
"Project Runway" by The Editors (full piece)
How to build a better failure.
"The Undertakers of Silicon Valley" by Adrian Daub (excerpt at The Guardian)
A report from the front lines of Silicon Valley's failure industry.
"How To Kill Your Tech Industry" by Marie Hicks (full piece)
A cautionary tale about how sexism helped destroy British computing.
"The Automation Charade" by Astra Taylor (full piece)
Finding the human in the machine.
"Engineers Don't Solve Problems" by Dean Chahim
What the story of Mexico City's struggle to stay above water teaches us about engineering.
"The Problem with Facebook Is Facebook: Siva Vaidhyanathan on Antisocial Media" (full piece)
A conversation about moving fast and breaking everything.
"'Everybody's Brain Knows How to Run a Tail': Glen Weyl Talks to Jaron Lanier About How to Live with Technology" (full piece)
What is a human being?
"Walking Through a Minefield: Jonathan Zittrain on the Future of the Internet, Then and Now"
A conversation about the many failures of the modern internet.
"Life Aboard the Rocket Ship: An Interview with an Anonymous Engineer" (full piece)
An engineer fails up, down, and sideways.
"The Servers Are Burning" by Dale Markowitz (full piece)
What happens when code explodes?
"Freedom Isn't Free" by Wendy Liu (full piece)
An inquiry into the failure of the free software movement, and a proposal for recovering its radical soul.
"Data Against Democracy" by Bermet Zhumakadyr kyzy
A dispatch from Kyrgyzstan about using data to help rig an election.
"RadioShack Sucks" by Colin Muller
The rise and fall of the “gripe site,” and the corporate enclosure of the web.
"The People’s Utility" by Devin Kennedy
The internet isn’t a market. It’s a utility.
"Different Ways of Moving Through the World" by Ashley Shew
How does technology fail disabled bodies?
"Nothing Ventured" by Nick Serpe
A look at the rhetoric versus the reality of venture capital.
"The Museum of Failed Startups" by Gaia Scagnetti and Sha Hwang
The purest way to study startup as a culture is through failure.