Information

A man uses his phone outside Beijing Railway Station in Beijing on 19 August 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Can the Great Firewall of China ever be overcome?

A Chinese app called Tuber barely had time to take root before it was yanked out of existence. It apparently gave Chinese netizens a way across the Great Firewall of China to foreign websites. In practice, those who jumped to try the app noted that it was not as revolutionary as touted to be, yet this could be a glimmer of things to come. With netizens becoming more discerning and information flows increasingly hard to stem anyway, Yang Danxu muses that a lighter touch may be the way to go.
A Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicle owner sits inside a car during a delivery event at Tesla's Shanghai factory in China, 7 January 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Are smart cars really smart? Ways not to be held hostage by apps and tech

Chinese academic Zhang Tiankan looks at Tesla’s recent network outage incident in September and remembers a similar one suffered by Chinese consumers in May this year — a no-response "smart" car or a "missing" one on your connected car app is no fun at all. Zhang says while technology is useful, we must be aware that over-reliance can leave us vulnerable to malfunctions or prone to disparaging those who have yet to embrace the digital age.
A man walks past a billboard showing an advertisement for a smartphone. (Athit Perawongmetha/REUTERS)

Internetisation of life and the new social divide

In the Internet Age, the great divide is not between the haves and the have-nots, but the weak-willed who succumb easily to online advertising and those who are above lowly distractions. The former will end up paying the price of a free Internet.
Fact or fake? Faux information seems to make sense but really does not. (iStock)

The death of quality information

In this information age, it is all too easy for good quality information to be drowned out by insignificant noise. Yin Ruizhi argues that one needs to be able to recognise faux knowledge produced by fake public intellectuals. How do we do that?
Fully Automated Luxury Communism (FALC) by Aaron Bastani explores the future of human work.

A fully automated luxury communism for China’s future?

Every month, anthropologist Bram Barclay discusses a book or concept and how it relates to contemporary China.