Superstition for the digital age.


There's an old cliche about technology being indistinguishable from magic.

Step by step, tech recreates the powers of dead mystics. Conjuring us abilities, like communing with those far away, miraculous travel, knowledge of all things.

Still, our conversations around technology are scripted by engineers: rational. We frame them as conscientious debates around privacy, bandwidth, the state. Instead of demons, we fear malware. But humans love stories, so superstition is inevitable.

I dislike using certain old files, from bad times. For me - they're cursed. Even opening them irks me, as if the toxicity is in the fibres of the bytes.

William Gibson knew it; he wrote a digital book that destroyed itself. Even in our manicured safe spaces, there's danger, like Instagram stories that break your phone.

Many embrace tech-mysticism, whether Wiccans taking to Twitter, or hex editors that praise Allah, recognising that code itself is really a kind of spell. I'm hardly the first to see technology in neo-religious terms: algorithms as fate, Artificial General Intelligence as God, the singularity as The Rapture.

So it's not weird to have digital superstitions. Less a holdover, than a timeless human truth. Songs, photos, notes - my favourite files are sacred... and my worst aren't bugged. They're cursed.


Image: Ana Bregantin