Logic Books Festival

  •  October 12 - 14 2020
With Adrian Daub, Tim Hwang, Ben Tarnoff, Xiaowei Wang, and Moira Weigel joined in conversation with Anna Wiener, Allison Arieff, An Xiao Mina, Joanne McNeil, and Robin Sloan.

City Lights in conjunction with Gray Area and FSG Originals present three days of discussion exploring the way we interact with technology and how it affects our lives.

More than three years ago, Logic launched its first issue at City Lights Booksellers. Now, the crew at Logic return in an exciting new collaboration. FSG Originals × Logic dissects the way technology functions in everyday lives. The titans of Silicon Valley, for all their utopian imaginings, never really had our best interests at heart: recent threats to democracy, truth, privacy, and safety, as a result of tech's reckless pursuit of progress, have shown as much.

Together, publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux and tech magazine Logic present an alternate story, one that delights in capturing technology in all its contradictions and innovation, across borders and socioeconomic divisions, from history through the future, beyond platitudes and PR hype, and past doom and gloom. This collaboration features four brief but provocative forays into the tech industry's many worlds, and aspires to incite fresh conversations about technology focused on nuanced and accessible explorations of the emerging tools that reorganize and redefine life today. City Lights is pleased to be partnering with the cultural hub Gray Area in presenting this extraordinary event.

Voices from the Valley: Tech Workers Talk About What They Do⁠—and How They Do It
Ben Tarnoff and Moira Weigel in conversation with Anna Wiener

In "Voices from the Valley", the celebrated writers and Logic cofounders Moira Weigel and Ben Tarnoff take an unprecedented dive into the tech industry, conducting unfiltered, in-depth, anonymous interviews with tech workers at all levels, including a data scientist, a start-up founder, a cook who serves their lunch, and a PR wizard. In the process, Weigel and Tarnoff open the conversation about the tech industry at large, a conversation that has previously been dominated by the voices of CEOs. Deeply illuminating, revealing, and at times lurid, "Voices from the Valley" is a vital and comprehensive view of an industry that governs our lives.

Moira Weigel is the author of "Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating". Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Nation, The New Republic, and n+1, among other publications, and she is a cofounder of Logic magazine. She received a fellowship to the Harvard Society of Fellows in 2016 and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ben Tarnoff is the author of the books "A Counterfeiter's Paradise" and "The Bohemians" and is a cofounder of Logic magazine. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, The New Republic, Jacobin, and Lapham's Quarterly, among other publications. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Anna Wiener is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, where she writes about Silicon Valley, startup culture, and technology. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, New York, The New Republic, and n+1, among others. She lives in San Francisco. Her first book, Uncanny Valley, was published in January, 2020.

Subprime Attention Crisis: Advertising and the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet
Tim Hwang in conversation with Allison Arieff

In "Subprime Attention Crisis", Tim Hwang investigates the way big tech financializes attention. In the process, he shows us how digital advertising—the beating heart of the internet—is at risk of collapsing, and that its potential demise bears an uncanny resemblance to the housing crisis of 2008.

Tim Hwang is a writer and researcher. He is the former director of the Harvard-MIT Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, and previously served as the global public policy lead for artificial intelligence and machine learning at Google. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He lives in New York City.

Allison Arieff is Senior Editor of City Monitor. She was previously Editorial Director of the urban planning and policy think tank, SPUR, and was a contributing columnist for the New York Times from 2007-2020. Arieff was Editor-in-Chief (and the founding Senior Editor) of Dwell, and she is author of the books Prefab and Trailer Travel: A Visual History of Mobile America.

Blockchain Chicken Farm
with Xiaowei Wang in conversation with An Xiao Mina

In "Blockchain Chicken Farm", the technologist and writer Xiaowei Wang explores the political and social entanglements of technology in rural China. Their discoveries force them to challenge the standard idea that rural culture and people are backward, conservative, and intolerant. Instead, they find that rural China has not only adapted to rapid globalization but has actually innovated the technology we all use today.

Xiaowei Wang is a technologist, a filmmaker, an artist, and a writer. The creative director at Logic magazine, their work encompasses community-based and public art projects, data visualization, technology, ecology, and education. Their projects have been finalists for the Index Design Awards and featured by The New York Times, the BBC, CNN, VICE, and elsewhere. They are working toward a PhD at UC Berkeley, where they are a part of the National Science Foundation's Environment and Society: Data Science for the 21st Century Research Traineeship.

An Xiao Mina is a technologist, writer and artist who works on program strategy and operations at Meedan. The author of Memes to Movements: How the World's Most Viral Media Is Changing Social Protest and Power, Mina also served as a contributing editor for the book Ai Weiwei: Spatial Matters, and was a 2016-17 research fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

What Tech Calls Thinking
with Adrian Daub in conversation with Joanne McNeil

Adrian Daub's What Tech Calls Thinking is a lively dismantling of the ideas that form the intellectual bedrock of Silicon Valley. Equally important to Silicon Valley's world-altering innovation are the language and ideas it uses to explain and justify itself. And often, those fancy new ideas are simply old motifs playing dress-up in a hoodie. From the myth of dropping out to the war cry of "disruption," Daub locates the Valley's supposedly original, radical thinking in the ideas of Heidegger and Ayn Rand, the New Age Esalen Foundation in Big Sur, and American traditions from the tent revival to predestination. Written with verve and imagination, What Tech Calls Thinking is an intellectual refutation of Silicon Valley's ethos, pulling back the curtain on the self-aggrandizing myths the Valley tells about itself.

Adrian Daub is a professor of comparative literature and German studies at Stanford University, and the director of the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Studies. His research focuses on the intersection of literature, music, and philosophy in the nineteenth century, and he is the author of several books published by academic presses. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, The New Republic, n+1, Longreads, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He lives in San Francisco.

Joanne McNeil was the inaugural winner of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation’s Arts Writing Award for an emerging writer. She has been a resident at Eyebeam, a Logan Nonfiction Program fellow, and an instructor at the School for Poetic Computation. Her first book, Lurking, was published earlier this year.

Logic Panel Discussion
with Adrian Daub, Tim Hwang, Xiaowei Wang, Ben Tarnoff and Moira Weigel. Moderated by Robin Sloan.

In this closing panel, the Logic crew revisit some of the ideas of the last couple of days and explore possibilities of reimagining our relationships to technology.

Robin Sloan is the author of the novels Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and Sourdough. He grew up near Detroit and now splits his time between the Bay Area and the internet


City Lights Booksellers & Publishers

City Lights Books is a landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics.


Logic is a print magazine about technology that publishes three times per year, with a small digital footprint. Want to know more? Read the manifesto.

FSG Originals

FSG Originals are driven by voices that insist on being heard, stories that demand to be told, writers who are compelled to show us something new. They defy categorization and expectation. They are, in a word, original.

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