Welcome to the biographical blogroll of Brian Merchant. I am a writer, editor, and the author of a bestselling book about the iPhone, the One Device. I’m currently at work on a second book, about the first rebellion against automation—the deeply misunderstood Luddite uprisings of the early 1800s—and what might cause the next one. I live in Los Angeles, near one of the parts that’s always on fire. I’m the senior books editor for OneZero, Medium’s tech publication.
For those interested in a longer-winded detailing of my very impressive accolades, here is some more about me:
My most recent feature is “Click Here to Kill,” and it was the cover story for the January 2020 issue of Harper’s Magazine. In 2019, I ran a project called Automaton at Gizmodo, where I investigated and opined about automation, AI, and the future of work.
My writing has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, Wired, the Atlantic, the LA Times, the Guardian, Slate, VICE Magazine, the Verge, Gizmodo, the Outline, Fast Company, Fortune, Paste, and elsewhere. For years, I was a writer and editor at Motherboard, VICE’s science and technology outlet, where I founded Terraform, its online fiction site. I still run Terraform, which publishes a piece of speculative fiction each week—for info on what I’m looking for and how to submit stories, go here. I’ve produced some short documentaries, too—my feature on Soylent was included on the late and great David Carr’s final syllabus.
I’ve also published a work or two of short fiction, including The Convoy, which was picked up by Boing Boing (where Cory Doctorow called it “skillful” and “eerily plausible”), Digg (which called it “today’s best short story”), and the front page of Vice.com. I also wrote a fictional op-ed from the future for the New York Times, about Amazon’s first fully automated factory, which Amazon’s PR team appears to have mistaken for real.
I do some TV and radio from time to time to talk about technology, work, climate change, utopian dreams and dystopian realities and the things that lie in between. I can be reached at briancmerchant at gmail dot com. Here is my Twitter.
I am available for talks and speaking engagements, on everything from the history of the iPhone to the impact of automation—I’m represented by the Brightside Group, which can be contacted for all booking matters here: firstname.lastname@example.org.