Richard King

Richard King Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Richard King in an author and critic based in Fremantle. His latest book is Here Be Monsters: Is Technology Reducing Our Humanity? (Monash University Publishing, 2023). His website is


Nostalgia on demand

Non-fictionThe observed correlation between the Covid pandemic and what we might call the nostalgia boom is in one respect no mystery. The Covid years were a time of stress, and people responded to that stress with behaviours that immersed them in broadly pleasant feelings. But Covid didn’t occur in a vacuum, and the stresses associated with it were not reducible to the fear of getting sick. Indeed, for many, the stress of Covid derived not from the virus itself but from the lockdowns aimed at arresting its spread.

The defence

Non-fictionThe history of computer science is bound up with the game of chess, whose innate complexity and clearly defined rules make it the ideal proving ground for artificial intelligence. And yet the game not only survived the defeat of Garry Kasparov in 1997 by IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue, but also seemed to flourish in its wake. According to International Chess Federation figures, more people are playing the game than ever before, and not merely over the internet. Now, as a new generation of AIs aces the Turing test – according to which a machine may be deemed intelligent if the human interacting with it can’t tell if it is a machine or not – it might be worth taking a closer look at chess as a social and creative phenomenon that speaks to the limits of ‘smart’ machines.

The network versus the hierarchy

Essay‘IT IS EASIER to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.’ So wrote the critical theorist Fredric Jameson in New Left Review in 2003, attributing the sentiment to an unnamed ‘someone’ whom posterity,...

Future perfect

EssayIN THE SOUL of Man under Socialism (1891), Oscar Wilde wrote, ‘A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always...

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