In Aircraft Stories noted sociologist of technoscience John Law tells “stories” about a British attempt to build a military aircraft—the TSR2. The intertwining of these stories demonstrates the ways in which particular technological projects can be understood in a world of complex contexts. Law works to upset the binary between the modernist concept of knowledge, subjects, and objects as having centered and concrete essences and the postmodernist notion that all is fragmented and centerless. The structure and content of Aircraft Stories reflect Law’s contention that knowledge, subjects, and—particularly— objects are “fractionally coherent”: that is, they are drawn together without necessarily being centered. In studying the process of this particular aircraft’s design, construction, and eventual cancellation, Law develops a range of metaphors to describe both its fractional character and the ways its various aspects interact with each other. Offering numerous insights into the way we theorize the working of systems, he explores the overlaps between singularity and multiplicity and reveals rich new meaning in such concepts as oscillation, interference, fractionality, and rhizomatic networks. The methodology and insights of Aircraft Stories will be invaluable to students in science and technology studies and will engage others who are interested in the ways that contemporary paradigms have limited our ability to see objects in their true complexity.
All My Friends Live in my Computer combines personal stories, media studies, and interdisciplinary theories to examine case studies from three unique parts of society. From illness narratives among breast cancer patients to political upheaval among Iranian-Americans, this book examines what people do when they go online after they have suffered a trauma. It offers in-depth academic analysis alongside deeply personal stories and case studies to take the reader on a journey through rapidly changing digital/social worlds. When people are traumatized, their worlds stop making sense, and All My Friends Live in my Computer explores how everyday people use social media to try and make a new world for themselves and others who are suffering. Through its attention to personal stories and application of media theory to new contexts, this book highlights how, when given the tools, people will make meaning in creative, novel, and healing ways.
With its infamously packed cars and disciplined commuters, Tokyo’s commuter train network is one of the most complex technical infrastructures on Earth. In An Anthropology of the Machine, Michael Fisch provides a nuanced perspective on how Tokyo’s commuter train network embodies the lived realities of technology in our modern world. Drawing on his fine-grained knowledge of transportation, work, and everyday life in Tokyo, Fisch shows how fitting into a system that operates on the extreme edge of sustainability can take a physical and emotional toll on a community while also creating a collective way of life—one with unique limitations and possibilities.
An Anthropology of the Machine is a creative ethnographic study of the culture, history, and experience of commuting in Tokyo. At the same time, it is a theoretically ambitious attempt to think through our very relationship with technology and our possible ecological futures. Fisch provides an unblinking glimpse into what it might be like to inhabit a future in which more and more of our infrastructure—and the planet itself—will have to operate beyond capacity to accommodate our ever-growing population.
Snapchat. WhatsApp. Ashley Madison. Fitbit. Tinder. Periscope. How do we make sense of how apps like these-and thousands of others-have embedded themselves into our daily routines, permeating the background of ordinary life and standing at-the-ready to be used on our smartphones and tablets? When we look at any single app, it's hard to imagine how such a small piece of software could be particularly notable. But if we look at a collection of them, we see a bigger picture that reveals how the quotidian activities apps encompass are far from banal: connecting with friends (and strangers and enemies), sharing memories (and personally identifying information), making art (and trash), navigating spaces (and reshaping places in the process). While the sheer number of apps is overwhelming, as are the range of activities they address, each one offers an opportunity for us to seek out meaning in the mundane. Appified is the first scholarly volume to examine individual apps within the wider historical and cultural context of media and cultural studies scholarship, attuned to issues of politics and power, identity and the everyday.
From hidden connections in big data to bots spreading fake news, journalism is increasingly computer-generated. Nicholas Diakopoulos explains the present and future of a world in which algorithms have changed how the news is created, disseminated, and received, and he shows why journalists—and their values—are at little risk of being replaced.
Automating technologies threaten to usher in a workless future, but John Danaher argues that this can be a good thing. A world without work may be a kind of utopia, free of the misery of the job and full of opportunities for creativity and exploration. If we play our cards right, automation could be the path to idealized forms of human flourishing.
Can the open source approach do for biotechnology what it has done for information technology? Hope's book is the first sustained and systematic inquiry into the application of open source principles to the life sciences. Traversing disciplinary boundaries, she presents a careful analysis of intellectual property-related challenges confronting the biotechnology industry and then paints a detailed picture of "open source biotechnology" as a possible solution.
India’s global success in the Information Technology industry has also prompted the growth of neoliberalism and the re-emergence of the middle class in contemporary urban areas, such as Bangalore. In her significant study, BITS of Belonging, Simanti Dasgupta shows that this economic shift produces new forms of social inequality while reinforcing older ones. She investigates this economic disparity by looking at IT and water privatization to explain how these otherwise unrelated domains correspond to our thinking about citizenship, governance, and belonging.
Dasgupta’s ethnographic study shows how work and human processes in the IT industry intertwine to meet the market stipulations of the global economy. Meanwhile, in the recasting of water from a public good to a commodity, the middle class insists on a governance and citizenship model based upon market participation. Dasgupta provides a critical analysis of the grassroots activism involved in a contested water project where different classes lay their divergent claims to the city.
Bodies In Technology
Don Ihde University of Minnesota Press, 2001 Library of Congress T14.I348 2002 | Dewey Decimal 601
An original exploration of the ways cyberspace affects human experience.
New technologies suggest new ideas about embodiment: our "reach" extends to global sites through the Internet; we enter cyberspace through the engines of virtual reality. In this book, a leading philosopher of technology explores the meaning of bodies in technology--how the sense of our bodies and of our orientation in the world is affected by the various information technologies.
Bodies in Technology begins with an analysis of embodiment in cyberspace, then moves on to consider ways in which social theorists have interpreted or overlooked these conditions. An astute and sensible judge of these theories, Don Ihde is a uniquely provocative and helpful guide through contemporary thinking about technology and embodiment, drawing on sources and examples as various as video games, popular films, the workings of e-mail, and virtual reality techniques.
Charting the historical, philosophical, and practical territory between virtual reality and real life, this work is an important contribution to the national conversation on the impact technology-and information technology in particular-has on our lives in a wired, global age.
Don Ihde is distinguished professor in the Department of Philosophy, and is also affiliated with the history of science and women's studies programs, at SUNY, Stony Brook
“Technologies have been shaping [our] emotional culture for more than a century, argue computer scientist Luke Fernandez and historian Susan Matt in this original study. Marshalling archival sources and interviews, they trace how norms (say, around loneliness) have shifted with technological change.”
“A powerful story of how new forms of technology are continually integrated into the human experience…Anyone interested in seeing the digital age through a new perspective should be pleased with this rich account.”
Facebook makes us lonely. Selfies breed narcissism. On Twitter, hostility reigns. Pundits and psychologists warn that digital technologies substantially alter our emotional states, but in this lively look at our evolving feelings about technology since the advent of the telegraph, we learn that the gadgets we use don’t just affect how we feel—they can profoundly change our sense of self. When we say we’re bored, we don’t mean the same thing as a Victorian dandy. Could it be that political punditry has helped shape a new kind of anger? Luke Fernandez and Susan J. Matt take us back in time to consider how our feelings of loneliness, vanity, and anger have evolved in tandem with new technologies.
The Burden of Choice examines how recommendations for products, media, news, romantic partners, and even cosmetic surgery operations are produced and experienced online. Fundamentally concerned with how the recommendation has come to serve as a form of control that frames a contemporary American as heteronormative, white, and well off, this book asserts that the industries that use these automated recommendations tend to ignore and obscure all other identities in the service of making the type of affluence they are selling appear commonplace. Focusing on the period from the mid-1990s to approximately 2010 (while this technology was still novel), Jonathan Cohn argues that automated recommendations and algorithms are far from natural, neutral, or benevolent. Instead, they shape and are shaped by changing conceptions of gender, sexuality, race, and class. With its cultural studies and humanities-driven methodologies focused on close readings, historical research, and qualitative analysis, The Burden of Choice models a promising avenue for the study of algorithms and culture.
This volume examines how Chinese women negotiate the Internet as a research tool and a strategy for the acquisition of information, as well as for social networking purposes. Offering insight into the complicated creation of a female Chinese cybercommunity, Chinese Women and the Cyberspace discusses the impact of increasingly available Internet technology on the life and lifestyle of Chinese women—examining larger issues of how women become both masters of their electronic domain and the objects of exploitation in a faceless online world.
Cloning was first published in 1985. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Cloning has become in recent years a subject of widespread speculation: the word is a source of fear and wonder, the concept a jumping-off point for the fantasies of cartoonists, film producers, and novelists. With this book, cell biologist Robert Gilmore McKinnell provides the first clear scientific explanation of the procedure for general readers.
Cloning is best defined as the asexual reproduction of genetic duplicates. The word clone derives from the Greek word for a twig or a slip, and the first "cloners" were in fact horticulturalists. Early attempts to clone animals culminated in 1952 when biologists reported that they had produced frogs by transplanting genetic material from an embryonic body cell into an egg from which the nucleus had been removed.
In this account, McKinnell traces the historical background of cloning and describes in detail the modern procedure used in the cloning of frogs—the highest animal thus far cloned. He emphasizes that the purpose of cloning is not to produce numerous frogs—or people—but rather to serve as a tool in biological research—to achieve greater understanding of cancer and aging, immunobiology and the differentiation of cells.
McKinnell also deals with questions about potential mammalian clones and examines the social, ethical, and biological problems we face in our considerations about human cloning. He concludes that human clones are not necessary for research purposes and that the diversity achieved with sexual reproduction is far more desirable than the sameness of cloned creatures.
The Precision Medicine Initiative, Apple’s HealthKit, the FitBit—the booming digital health industry asserts that digital networks, tools, and the scientific endeavors they support will usher in a new era of medicine centered around “the voice of the patient.” But whose “voices” do such tools actually solicit? And through what perspective will those voices be heard? Digital health tools are marketed as neutral devices made to help users take responsibility for their health. Yet digital technologies are not neutral; they are developed from an existing set of assumptions about their potential users and contexts for use, and they reflect dominant ideologies of health, dis/ability, gender, and race. Using patient-networking websites, the Quantified Self, and online breast cancer narratives, Communicative Biocapitalism examines the cultural, technological, economic, and rhetorical logics that shape the “voice of the patient” in digital health to identify how cultural understandings and social locations of race, gender, and disability shape whose voices are elicited and how they are interpreted.
In the twenty-first century, a network society is emerging. Fragmented, visually saturated, characterized by rapid technological change and constant social upheavals, it is dizzying, excessive, and sometimes surreal. In this breathtaking work, Steven Shaviro investigates popular culture, new technologies, political change, and community disruption and concludes that science fiction and social reality have become virtually indistinguishable.
Connected is made up of a series of mini-essays-on cyberpunk, hip-hop, film noir, Web surfing, greed, electronic surveillance, pervasive multimedia, psychedelic drugs, artificial intelligence, evolutionary psychology, and the architecture of Frank Gehry, among other topics. Shaviro argues that our strange new world is increasingly being transformed in ways, and by devices, that seem to come out of the pages of science fiction, even while the world itself is becoming a futuristic landscape. The result is that science fiction provides the most useful social theory, the only form that manages to be as radical as reality itself.
Connected looks at how our networked environment has manifested itself in the work of J. G. Ballard, William S. Burroughs, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, and others. Shaviro focuses on science fiction not only as a form of cultural commentary but also as a prescient forum in which to explore the forces that are morphing our world into a sort of virtual reality game. Original and compelling, Connected shows how the continual experimentation of science fiction, like science and technology themselves, conjures the invisible social and economic forces that surround us.
In 1957 Sputnik, the world’s first man-made satellite, dazzled people as it zipped around the planet. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, more than eight thousand satellites orbited the Earth, and satellite practices such as live transmission, direct broadcasting, remote sensing, and astronomical observation had altered how we imagined ourselves in relation to others and our planet within the cosmos. In Cultures in Orbit, Lisa Parks analyzes these satellite practices and shows how they have affected meanings of “the global” and “the televisual.” Parks suggests that the convergence of broadcast, satellite, and computer technologies necessitates an expanded definition of “television,” one that encompasses practices of military monitoring and scientific observation as well as commercial entertainment and public broadcasting.
Roaming across the disciplines of media studies, geography, and science and technology studies, Parks examines uses of satellites by broadcasters, military officials, archaeologists, and astronomers. She looks at Our World, a live intercontinental television program that reached five hundred million viewers in 1967, and Imparja tv, an Aboriginal satellite tv network in Australia. Turning to satellites’ remote-sensing capabilities, she explores the U.S. military’s production of satellite images of the war in Bosnia as well as archaeologists’ use of satellites in the excavation of Cleopatra’s palace in Alexandria, Egypt. Parks’s reflections on how Western fantasies of control are implicated in the Hubble telescope’s views of outer space point to a broader concern: that while satellite uses promise a “global village,” they also cut and divide the planet in ways that extend the hegemony of the post-industrial West. In focusing on such contradictions, Parks highlights how satellites cross paths with cultural politics and social struggles.
Cyber Wars in the Middle East argues that hacking is a form of online political disruption whose influence flows vertically in two directions (top-bottom or bottom-up) or horizontally. These hacking activities are performed along three political dimensions: international, regional, and local. Author Ahmed Al-Rawi argues that political hacking is an aggressive and militant form of public communication employed by tech-savvy individuals, regardless of their affiliations, in order to influence politics and policies. Kenneth Waltz’s structural realism theory is linked to this argument as it provides a relevant framework to explain why nation-states employ cyber tools against each other.
On the one hand, nation-states as well as their affiliated hacking groups like cyber warriors employ hacking as offensive and defensive tools in connection to the cyber activity or inactivity of other nation-states, such as the role of Russian Trolls disseminating disinformation on social media during the US 2016 presidential election. This is regarded as a horizontal flow of political disruption. Sometimes, nation-states, like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, use hacking and surveillance tactics as a vertical flow (top-bottom) form of online political disruption by targeting their own citizens due to their oppositional or activists political views. On the other hand, regular hackers who are often politically independent practice a form of bottom-top political disruption to address issues related to the internal politics of their respective nation-states such as the case of a number of Iraqi, Saudi, and Algerian hackers. In some cases, other hackers target ordinary citizens to express opposition to their political or ideological views which is regarded as a horizontal form of online political disruption.This book is the first of its kind to shine a light on many ways that governments and hackers are perpetrating cyber attacks in the Middle East and beyond, and to show the ripple effect of these attacks.
A bold new theory of cyberwar argues that militarized hacking is best understood as a form of deconstruction
From shadowy attempts to steal state secrets to the explosive destruction of Iranian centrifuges, cyberwar has been a vital part of statecraft for nearly thirty years. But although computer-based warfare has been with us for decades, it has changed dramatically since its emergence in the 1990s, and the pace of change is accelerating.
In Deconstruction Machines, Justin Joque inquires into the fundamental nature of cyberwar through a detailed investigation of what happens at the crisis points when cybersecurity systems break down and reveal their internal contradictions. He concludes that cyberwar is best envisioned as a series of networks whose constantly shifting connections shape its very possibilities. He ultimately envisions cyberwar as a form of writing, advancing the innovative thesis that cyber attacks should be seen as a militarized form of deconstruction in which computer programs are systems that operate within the broader world of texts.
Throughout, Joque addresses hot-button subjects such as technological social control and cyber-resistance entities like Anonymous and Wikileaks while also providing a rich, detailed history of cyberwar. Deconstruction Machines provides a necessary new interpretation of deconstruction and timely analysis of media, war, and technology.
Technology has fundamentally transformed urban life. But today’s “smart” cities look little like what experts had predicted. Aaron Shapiro shows us the true face of the revolution in urban technology, taking the reader on a tour of today’s smart city. Along the way, he develops a new lens for interpreting urban technologies—logistical governance—to critique an urban future based on extraction and rationalization.
Through ethnographic research, journalistic interviews, and his own hands-on experience, Shapiro helps us peer through cracks in the smart city’s facade. He investigates the true price New Yorkers pay for “free,” ad-funded WiFi, finding that it ultimately serves the ends of commercial media. He also builds on his experience as a bike courier for a food delivery startup to examine how promises of “flexible employment” in the gig economy in fact pave the way for strict managerial control. And he turns his eye toward hot-button debates around police violence and new patrol technologies, asking whether algorithms are really the answer to reforming our cities’ ongoing crises of criminal justice.
Through these gripping accounts of the new technological urbanism, Design, Control, Predict makes vital contributions to conversations around data privacy and algorithmic governance. Shapiro brings much-needed empirical research to a field that has often relied on “10,000-foot views.” Timely, important, and expertly researched, Design, Control, Predict doesn’t just help us comprehend urbanism today—it advances strategies for critiquing and resisting a dystopian future that can seem inevitable.
The renowned cultural theorist and media designer Anne Balsamo maintains that technology and culture are inseparable; those who engage in technological innovation are designing the cultures of the future. Designing Culture is a call for taking culture seriously in the design and development of innovative technologies. Balsamo contends that the wellspring of technological innovation is the technological imagination, a quality of mind that enables people to think with technology, to transform what is known into what is possible. She describes the technological imagination at work in several multimedia collaborations in which she was involved as a designer or developer. One of these entailed the creation of an interactive documentary for the NGO Forum held in conjunction with the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. (That documentary is included as a DVD in Designing Culture.) Balsamo also recounts the development of the interactive museum exhibit XFR: Experiments in the Future of Reading, created by the group RED (Research in Experimental Documents) at Xerox PARC. She speculates on what it would mean to cultivate imaginations as ingenious in creating new democratic cultural possibilities as they are in creating new kinds of technologies and digital media. Designing Culture is a manifesto for transforming educational programs and developing learning strategies adequate to the task of inspiring culturally attuned technological imaginations.
W. Russell Neuman examines how the transition from the industrial-era media of one-way publishing and broadcasting to the two-way digital era of online search and social media has affected the dynamics of public life. The issues range from propaganda studies and Big Brother to information overload and Internet network neutrality.
From the Pirate Parties in Northern Europe to Podemos in Spain and the 5-Star Movement in Italy, from the movements behind Bernie Sanders in the United States and Jeremy Corbyn in the United Kingdom, to Jean-Luc Melenchon's presidential bid in France, the last decade has witnessed the rise of a new blueprint for political organization: the digital party.
These new political formations tap into the potential of social media to gain consensus, and use online participatory platforms to include the rank-and-file. Paolo Gerbaudo looks at the restructuring of political parties and campaigns in the time of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and big data. Drawing on interviews with key political leaders and digital organizers, he argues that the digital party is very different from the class-based “mass party” of the industrial era, and offers promising new solutions to social polarization and the failures of liberal democracy today.
Considers the cultural and philosophical assumptions underlying virtual reality, and how the technology affects the real world.
Virtual reality is in the news and in the movies, on TV and in the air. Why is the technology--or the idea--so prevalent precisely now? What does it mean--what does it do--to us? Digital Sensations looks closely at the ways representational forms generated by communication technologies--especially digital/optical virtual technologies--affect the "lived" world.
Virtual reality, or VR, is a technological reproduction of the process of perceiving the real; yet that process is "filtered" through the social realities and embedded cultural assumptions about human bodies, perception, and space held by the technology's creators.
Through critical histories of the technology--of vision, light, space, and embodiment--Ken Hillis traces the various and often contradictory intellectual and metaphysical impulses behind the Western transcendental wish to achieve an ever more perfect copy of the real. Because virtual technologies are new, these histories also address the often unintended and underconsidered consequences--such as alienating new forms of surveillance and commodification--flowing from their rapid dissemination. Current and proposed virtual technologies reflect a Western desire to escape the body, Hillis says.
Exploring topics from VR and other, earlier visual technologies, Hillis's penetrating perspective on the cultural power of place and space broadens our view of the interplay between social relations and technology.
"His discussion is ambitious; not only does he bring together multiple disciplines and philosophies, he traces history from the Renaissance to the present." --Technical Communication Quarterly
"Ken Hillis has written a wise interrogation of the impact of virtual environments and the marriage of new digital and visual technologies. Carefully balancing between the dangers of all-too-common and too-easy skepticism and the risk of being seduced by the new medium, this book analyses the manner in which the use of technologies to produce virtual environments (VEs) changes the bases on which assumptions concerning democratic politics and identity flourish." --Space and Culture
Ken Hillis is assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and adjunct professor of geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Tracing the rise of digital computing in policing and punishment and its harmful impact on criminalized communities of color
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that law enforcement agencies have access to more than 100 million names stored in criminal history databases. In some cities, 80 percent of the black male population is registered in these databases. Digitize and Punish explores the long history of digital computing and criminal justice, revealing how big tech, computer scientists, university researchers, and state actors have digitized carceral governance over the past forty years—with devastating impact on poor communities of color.
Providing a comprehensive study of the use of digital technology in American criminal justice, Brian Jefferson shows how the technology has expanded the wars on crime and drugs, enabling our current state of mass incarceration and further entrenching the nation’s racialized policing and punishment. After examining how the criminal justice system conceptualized the benefits of computers to surveil criminalized populations, Jefferson focuses on New York City and Chicago to provide a grounded account of the deployment of digital computing in urban police departments.
By highlighting the intersection of policing and punishment with big data and web technology—resulting in the development of the criminal justice system’s latest tool, crime data centers—Digitize and Punish makes clear the extent to which digital technologies have transformed and intensified the nature of carceral power.
In the nineties, neoliberalism simultaneously provided the context for the Internet’s rapid uptake in the United States and discouraged public conversations about racial politics. At the same time many scholars lauded the widespread use of text-driven interfaces as a solution to the problem of racial intolerance. Today’s online world is witnessing text-driven interfaces such as e-mail and instant messaging giving way to far more visually intensive and commercially driven media forms that not only reveal but showcase people’s racial, ethnic, and gender identity.
Lisa Nakamura, a leading scholar in the examination of race in digital media, uses case studies of popular yet rarely examined uses of the Internet such as pregnancy Web sites, instant messaging, and online petitions and quizzes to look at the emergence of race-, ethnic-, and gender-identified visual cultures.
While popular media such as Hollywood cinema continue to depict nonwhite nonmales as passive audiences or consumers of digital media rather than as producers, Nakamura argues the contrary—with examples ranging from Jennifer Lopez music videos; films including the Matrix trilogy, Gattaca, and Minority Report; and online joke sites—that users of color and women use the Internet to vigorously articulate their own types of virtual community, avatar bodies, and racial politics.
Lisa Nakamura is associate professor of speech communication and Asian American studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet and coeditor, with Beth Kolko and Gilbert Rodman, of Race in Cyberspace.
The personal computer has revolutionized communication, and digitized text has introduced a radically new medium of expression. Interactive, volatile, mixing word and image, the electronic word challenges our assumptions about the shape of culture itself.
This highly acclaimed collection of Richard Lanham's witty, provocative, and engaging essays surveys the effects of electronic text on the arts and letters. Lanham explores how electronic text fulfills the expressive agenda of twentieth-century visual art and music, revolutionizes the curriculum, democratizes the instruments of art, and poses anew the cultural accountability of humanism itself.
Persuading us with uncommon grace and power that the move from book to screen gives cause for optimism, not despair, Lanham proclaims that "electronic expression has come not to destroy the Western arts but to fulfill them."
The Electronic Word is also available as a Chicago Expanded Book for your Macintosh®. This hypertext edition allows readers to move freely through the text, marking "pages," annotating passages, searching words and phrases, and immediately accessing annotations, which have been enhanced for this edition. In a special prefatory essay, Lanham introduces the features of this electronic edition and gives a vividly applied critique of this dynamic new edition.
Of all developments surrounding hypermedia, none has been as hotly or frequently debated as the conjunction of fiction and digital technology. J. Yellowlees Douglas considers the implications of this union. She looks at the new light that interactive narratives may shed on theories of reading and interpretation and the possibilities for hypertext novels, World Wide Web-based short stories, and cinematic, interactive narratives on CD-ROM. She confronts questions that are at the center of the current debate: Does an interactive story demand too much from readers? Does the concept of readerly choice destroy the integrity of an author's vision? Does interactivity turn reading fiction from "play" into "work"--too much work? Will hypertext fiction overtake the novel as a form of art or entertainment? And what might future interactive books look like?
The book examines criticism on interactive fiction from both proponents and skeptics and examines similarities and differences between print and hypertext fiction. It looks closely at critically acclaimed interactive works, including Stuart Moulthrop's Victory Garden and Michael Joyce's Afternoon: A Story that illuminate how these hypertext narratives "work." While she sees this as a still-evolving technology and medium, the author identifies possible developments for the future of storytelling from outstanding examples of Web-based fiction and CD-ROM narratives, possibilities that will enable narratives to both portray the world with greater realism an to transcend the boundaries of novels and films, character and plot alike.
Written to be accessible to a wide range of readers, this lively and accessibly-written volume will appeal to those interested in technology and cyberculture, as well as to readers familiar with literary criticism and modern fiction.
J. Yellowlees Douglas is the Director of the William and Grace Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication, University of Florida. She is the author of numerous articles and essays on the subject of hypertext and interactive literature.
Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, our younger selves have been captured and preserved online. But what happens, Kate Eichhorn asks, when we can’t leave our most embarrassing moments behind? Rather than a childhood cut short by a loss of innocence, the real crisis of the digital age may be the specter of a childhood that can never be forgotten.
Winner of the 2015 Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Finding Augusta breaks new ground, revising how media studies interpret the relationship between our bodies and technology. This is a challenging exploration of how, for both good and ill, the sudden ubiquity of mobile devices, GPS systems, haptic technologies, and other forms of media alter individuals’ experience of their bodies and shape the social collective. The author succeeds in problematizing the most salient fact of contemporary mobile media technologies, namely, that they have become, like highways and plumbing, an infrastructure that regulates habit. Audacious in its originality, Finding Augusta will be of great interest to art and media scholars alike.
The ways science and technology are portrayed in advertising, in the news, in our politics, and in the culture at large inform the way we respond to these particular facts of life. The better we are at recognizing the rhetorical intentions of the purveyors of information and promoters of mass culture, the more adept we become at responding intelligently to them.
Flash Effect, a startling book by David J. Tietge, documents the manner in which those at the highest levels of our political and cultural institutions conflated the rhetoric of science and technology with the rhetorics of religion and patriotism to express their policies for governance at the onset of the Cold War and to explain them to the American public.
Professor Tietge details our cultural attitudes about science in the early years of the Cold War, when on the heels of a great technological victory Americans were faced with the possibility of destruction by the very weapons that had saved them.
In Flash Effect we learn how, by symbolizing the scientist as both a father figure and a savior -- and by celebrating the technological objects of his labor -- the campaign to promote science took hold in the American consciousness. The products of that attitude are with us today more than ever.
While Russian computer scientists are notorious for their interference in the 2016 US presidential election, they are ubiquitous on Wall Street and coveted by international IT firms and often perceive themselves as the present manifestation of the past glory of Soviet scientific prowess. Drawing on over three hundred in-depth interviews, the contributors to From Russia with Code trace the practices, education, careers, networks, migrations, and lives of Russian IT professionals at home and abroad, showing how they function as key figures in the tense political and ideological environment of technological innovation in post-Soviet Russia. Among other topics, they analyze coders' creation of both transnational communities and local networks of political activists; Moscow's use of IT funding to control peripheral regions; brain drain and the experiences of coders living abroad in the United Kingdom, United States, Israel, and Finland; and the possible meanings of Russian computing systems in a heterogeneous nation and industry. Highlighting the centrality of computer scientists to post-Soviet economic mobilization in Russia, the contributors offer new insights into the difficulties through which a new entrepreneurial culture emerges in a rapidly changing world.
Contributors. Irina Antoschyuk, Mario Biagioli, Ksenia Ermoshina, Marina Fedorova, Andrey Indukaev, Alina Kontareva, Diana Kurkovsky, Vincent Lépinay, Alexandra Masalskaya, Daria Savchenko, Liubava Shatokhina, Alexandra Simonova, Ksenia Tatarchenko, Zinaida Vasilyeva, Dimitrii Zhikharevich
At dinnertime: check. At a traffic light: check. In bed at the end of the day: check. In line at the coffee shop: check. In The Geek’s Chihuahua, Ian Bogost addresses the modern love affair of “living with Apple” during the height of the company’s market influence and technology dominance.
The ubiquitous iPhone and its kin saturate our lives, changing everything from our communication to our posture. Bogost contrasts the values of Apple’s massive success in the twenty-first century with those of its rise in the twentieth. And he connects living with Apple with the phenomenon of “hyperemployment”—the constant overwork of today’s technological life that all of us now experience. Bogost also reflects on the new potential function—as well as anxiety and anguish—of devices like the Apple Watch. We are tethered to our devices, and, as Bogost says: that’s just life—anxious, overworked, and utterly networked life.
Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
Genetically modified food has been headline news for years, but it's difficult to know how far the genetic revolution has affected our lives. Is the food on our shelves free of genetically engineered ingredients? How much power to food corporations wield? Andy Rees provides the answers. He shows that, while corporations that produce genetically modified food have met with resistance in Europe, their hold on the U.S. market is strong. They're also expanding operations in less-regulated countries in Africa, Asia, and the former Soviet bloc. The United States has launched a legal suit to attempt to force the European market open to genetically modified food. What does the future hold? Written by a leading campaigner for GM Watch, one of the world's leading lobbying groups, this brilliantly readable book tells us all we need to know.
Holding On to Reality is a brilliant history of information, from its inception in the natural world to its role in the transformation of culture to the current Internet mania and is attendant assets and liabilities. Drawing on the history of ideas, the details of information technology, and the boundaries of the human condition, Borgmann illuminates the relationship between things and signs, between reality and information.
"[Borgmann] has offered a stunningly clear definition of information in Holding On to Reality. . . . He leaves room for little argument, unless one wants to pose the now vogue objection: I guess it depends on what you mean by nothing."—Paul Bennett, Wired
"A superb anecdotal analysis of information for a hype-addled age."—New Scientist
"This insightful and poetic reflection on the changing nature of information is a wonderful antidote to much of the current hype about the 'information revolution.' Borgmann reminds us that whatever the reality of our time, we need 'a balance of signs and things' in our lives."—Margaret Wertheim, LA Weekly
An investigation of how-to guides for sensor technologies
Sensors are increasingly common within citizen-sensing and DIY projects, but these devices often require the use of a how-to guide. From online instructional videos for troubleshooting sensor installations to handbooks for using and abusing the Internet of Things, the how-to genres and formats of digital instruction continue to expand and develop. As the how-to proliferates, and instructions unfold through multiple aspects of technoscientific practices, Jennifer Gabrys asks why the how-to has become one of the prevailing genres of the digital. How to Do Things with Sensors explores the ways in which things are made do-able with and through sensors and further considers how worlds are made sense-able and actionable through the instructional mode of citizen-sensing projects.
Forerunners: Ideas First Short books of thought-in-process scholarship, where intense analysis, questioning, and speculation take the lead
To most people, technology has been reduced to computers, consumer goods, and military weapons; we speak of "technological progress" in terms of RAM and CD-ROMs and the flatness of our television screens. In Human-Built World, thankfully, Thomas Hughes restores to technology the conceptual richness and depth it deserves by chronicling the ideas about technology expressed by influential Western thinkers who not only understood its multifaceted character but who also explored its creative potential.
Hughes draws on an enormous range of literature, art, and architecture to explore what technology has brought to society and culture, and to explain how we might begin to develop an "ecotechnology" that works with, not against, ecological systems. From the "Creator" model of development of the sixteenth century to the "big science" of the 1940s and 1950s to the architecture of Frank Gehry, Hughes nimbly charts the myriad ways that technology has been woven into the social and cultural fabric of different eras and the promises and problems it has offered. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, optimistically hoped that technology could be combined with nature to create an Edenic environment; Lewis Mumford, two centuries later, warned of the increasing mechanization of American life.
Such divergent views, Hughes shows, have existed side by side, demonstrating the fundamental idea that "in its variety, technology is full of contradictions, laden with human folly, saved by occasional benign deeds, and rich with unintended consequences." In Human-Built World, he offers the highly engaging history of these contradictions, follies, and consequences, a history that resurrects technology, rightfully, as more than gadgetry; it is in fact no less than an embodiment of human values.
Jonathan Lusthaus lifts the veil on cybercriminals in the most extensive account yet of the lives they lead and the vast international industry they have created. Having traveled to hotspots around the world to meet with hundreds of law enforcement agents, security gurus, hackers, and criminals, he charts how this industry based on anonymity works.
For decades, lesbian feminists across the United States and Canada have created information to build movements and survive in a world that doesn't want them. In Information Activism Cait McKinney traces how these women developed communication networks, databases, and digital archives that formed the foundation for their work. Often learning on the fly and using everything from index cards to computers, these activists brought people and their visions of justice together to organize, store, and provide access to information. Focusing on the transition from paper to digital-based archival techniques from the 1970s to the present, McKinney shows how media technologies animate the collective and unspectacular labor that sustains social movements, including their antiracist and trans-inclusive endeavors. By bringing sexuality studies to bear on media history, McKinney demonstrates how groups with precarious access to control over information create their own innovative and resourceful techniques for generating and sharing knowledge.
Information Please advances the ongoing critical project of the media scholar Mark Poster: theorizing the social and cultural effects of electronically mediated information. In this book Poster conceptualizes a new relation of humans to information machines, a relation that avoids privileging either the human or the machine but instead focuses on the structures of their interactions. Synthesizing a broad range of critical theory, he explores how texts, images, and sounds are made different when they are mediated by information machines, how this difference affects individuals as well as social and political formations, and how it creates opportunities for progressive change.
Poster’s critique develops through a series of lively studies. Analyzing the appearance of Sesame Street’s Bert next to Osama Bin Laden in a New York Times news photo, he examines the political repercussions of this Internet “hoax” as well as the unlimited opportunities that Internet technology presents for the appropriation and alteration of information. He considers the implications of open-source licensing agreements, online personas, the sudden rise of and interest in identity theft, peer-to-peer file sharing, and more. Focusing explicitly on theory, he reflects on the limitations of critical concepts developed before the emergence of new media, particularly globally networked digital communications, and he argues that, contrary to the assertions of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, new media do not necessarily reproduce neoimperialisms. Urging a rethinking of assumptions ingrained during the dominance of broadcast media, Poster charts new directions for work on politics and digital culture.
A complete history and theory of internet daemons brings these little-known—but very consequential—programs into the spotlight
We’re used to talking about how tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon rule the internet, but what about daemons? Ubiquitous programs that have colonized the Net’s infrastructure—as well as the devices we use to access it—daemons are little known. Fenwick McKelvey weaves together history, theory, and policy to give a full account of where daemons come from and how they influence our lives—including their role in hot-button issues like network neutrality.
Going back to Victorian times and the popular thought experiment Maxwell’s Demon, McKelvey charts how daemons evolved from concept to reality, eventually blossoming into the pandaemonium of code-based creatures that today orchestrates our internet. Digging into real-life examples like sluggish connection speeds, Comcast’s efforts to control peer-to-peer networking, and Pirate Bay’s attempts to elude daemonic control (and skirt copyright), McKelvey shows how daemons have been central to the internet, greatly influencing everyday users.
Internet Daemons asks important questions about how much control is being handed over to these automated, autonomous programs, and the consequences for transparency and oversight.
Made to Break is a history of twentieth-century technology as seen through the prism of obsolescence. Giles Slade explains how disposability was a necessary condition for America's rejection of tradition and our acceptance of change and impermanence. This book gives us a detailed and harrowing picture of how, by choosing to support ever-shorter product lives, we may well be shortening the future of our way of life as well.
The greatest trick the videogame industry ever pulled was convincing the world that videogames were games rather than a medium for making metagames. Elegantly defined as “games about games,” metagames implicate a diverse range of practices that stray outside the boundaries and bend the rules: from technical glitches and forbidden strategies to Renaissance painting, algorithmic trading, professional sports, and the War on Terror. In Metagaming, Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux demonstrate how games always extend beyond the screen, and how modders, mappers, streamers, spectators, analysts, and artists are changing the way we play.
Metagaming uncovers these alternative histories of play by exploring the strange experiences and unexpected effects that emerge in, on, around, and through videogames. Players puzzle through the problems of perspectival rendering in Portal, perform clandestine acts of electronic espionage in EVE Online, compete and commentate in Korean StarCraft, and speedrun The Legend of Zelda in record times (with or without the use of vision). Companies like Valve attempt to capture the metagame through international e-sports and online marketplaces while the corporate history of Super Mario Bros. is undermined by the endless levels of Infinite Mario, the frustrating pranks of Asshole Mario, and even Super Mario Clouds, a ROM hack exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
One of the only books to include original software alongside each chapter, Metagaming transforms videogames from packaged products into instruments, equipment, tools, and toys for intervening in the sensory and political economies of everyday life. And although videogames conflate the creativity, criticality, and craft of play with the act of consumption, we don’t simply play videogames—we make metagames.
In Mondo Nano Colin Milburn takes his readers on a playful expedition through the emerging landscape of nanotechnology, offering a light-hearted yet critical account of our high-tech world of fun and games. This expedition ventures into discussions of the first nanocars, the popular video games Second Life, Crysis, and BioShock, international nanosoccer tournaments, and utopian nano cities. Along the way, Milburn shows how the methods, dispositions, and goals of nanotechnology research converge with video game culture. With an emphasis on play, scientists and gamers alike are building a new world atom by atom, transforming scientific speculations and video game fantasies into reality. Milburn suggests that the closing of the gap between bits and atoms entices scientists, geeks, and gamers to dream of a completely programmable future. Welcome to the wild world of Mondo Nano.
A trio of headlines in the Chronicle of Higher Education seem to say it all: in 2013, “A Bold Move Toward MOOCs Sends Shock Waves;” in 2014, “Doubts About MOOCs Continue to Rise,” and in 2015, “The MOOC Hype Fades.” At the beginning of the 2010s, MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, seemed poised to completely revolutionize higher education. But now, just a few years into the revolution, educators’ enthusiasm seems to have cooled. As advocates and critics try to make sense of the rise and fall of these courses, both groups are united by one question: Where do we go from here?
Elizabeth Losh has gathered experts from across disciplines—education, rhetoric, philosophy, literary studies, history, computer science, and journalism—to tease out lessons and chart a course into the future of open, online education. Instructors talk about what worked and what didn’t. Students share their experiences as participants. And scholars consider the ethics of this education. The collection goes beyond MOOCs to cover variants such as hybrid or blended courses, SPOCs (Small Personalized Online Courses), and DOCCs (Distributed Open Collaborative Course). Together, these essays provide a unique, even-handed look at the MOOC movement and will serve as a thoughtful guide to those shaping the next steps for open education.
Technology permeates nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Cars enable us to travel long distances, mobile phones help us to communicate, and medical devices make it possible to detect and cure diseases. But these aids to existence are not simply neutral instruments: they give shape to what we do and how we experience the world. And because technology plays such an active role in shaping our daily actions and decisions, it is crucial, Peter-Paul Verbeek argues, that we consider the moral dimension of technology.
Moralizing Technology offers exactly that: an in-depth study of the ethical dilemmas and moral issues surrounding the interaction of humans and technology. Drawing from Heidegger and Foucault, as well as from philosophers of technology such as Don Ihde and Bruno Latour, Peter-Paul Verbeek locates morality not just in the human users of technology but in the interaction between us and our machines. Verbeek cites concrete examples, including some from his own life, and compellingly argues for the morality of things. Rich and multifaceted, and sure to be controversial, Moralizing Technology will force us all to consider the virtue of new inventions and to rethink the rightness of the products we use every day.
“Artificial intelligence has always inspired outlandish visions—that AI is going to destroy us, save us, or at the very least radically transform us. Erik Larson exposes the vast gap between the actual science underlying AI and the dramatic claims being made for it. This is a timely, important, and even essential book.”
—John Horgan, author of The End of Science
Many futurists insist that AI will soon achieve human levels of intelligence. From there, it will quickly eclipse the most gifted human mind. The Myth of Artificial Intelligence argues that such claims are just that: myths. We are not on the path to developing truly intelligent machines. We don’t even know where that path might be.
Erik Larson charts a journey through the landscape of AI, from Alan Turing’s early work to today’s dominant models of machine learning. Since the beginning, AI researchers and enthusiasts have equated the reasoning approaches of AI with those of human intelligence. But this is a profound mistake. Even cutting-edge AI looks nothing like human intelligence. Modern AI is based on inductive reasoning: computers make statistical correlations to determine which answer is likely to be right, allowing software to, say, detect a particular face in an image. But human reasoning is entirely different. Humans do not correlate data sets; we make conjectures sensitive to context—the best guess, given our observations and what we already know about the world. We haven’t a clue how to program this kind of reasoning, known as abduction. Yet it is the heart of common sense.
Larson argues that all this AI hype is bad science and bad for science. A culture of invention thrives on exploring unknowns, not overselling existing methods. Inductive AI will continue to improve at narrow tasks, but if we are to make real progress, we must abandon futuristic talk and learn to better appreciate the only true intelligence we know—our own.
As we search urgently for a strategy of sustainable natural resource management, an international debate is brewing over destructive modern fishery methods. Namibia's Fisheries is a timely contribution to this discussion as it examines Namibia’s Benguela upwelling system, an area that supports traditional and modern forms of fishery. This volume analyzes the Namibian experience in fishery management, featuring essays by researchers, Namibian fishery managers, and international specialists that cover a range of ecological and social issues. Namibia's Fisheries will be a valuable resource for researchers, conservationists, and students of fishery management.
This compelling new interdisciplinary study investigates the scientific and cultural roots of contemporary conceptions of the network, including computer information systems, the human nervous system, and communications technology. Laura Otis, neuroscientist, literary scholar, and recent recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, demonstrates that the image of the network is centuries old; it is by no means a modern notion. Placing current comparisons of nerve and computer networks in perspective, Otis explores early analogies linking nerves and telegraphs and demonstrates the influence that nineteenth-century neurobiologists, engineers, and fiction writers influenced each other's ideas about communication.
The interdisciplinary sweep of this book is impressive. Otis focuses simultaneously on literary works by such authors as George Eliot, Bram Stoker, Henry James, and Mark Twain and on the scientific and technological achievements of such pioneers as Luigi Galvani, Hermann von Helmholtz, Charles Babbage, Samuel Morse, and Werner von Siemens.
This unique juxtaposition of physiology, engineering, and literature reveals the common thoughts shared by writers in widely diverse fields and suggests that our current comparisons of nerve and computer networks may not only enhance but shape our understanding of both neurobiology and technology.
Highly accessible and jargon-free, Networking will appeal to general readers as well as to scholars in the fields of interdisciplinary studies, nineteenth-century literature, and the history of science and technology.
Laura Otis is Associate Professor of English, Hofstra University. In 2000, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for her interdisciplinary studies of literature and science. Her previous books include Membranes: Metaphors of Invasion in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Science, and Politics and Organic Memory: History and the Body in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries.
New Laws of Robotics
Frank Pasquale Harvard University Press, 2020 Library of Congress K564.C6P375 2020 | Dewey Decimal 343.0999
AI is poised to disrupt our work and our lives. We can harness these technologies rather than fall captive to them—but only through wise regulation.
Too many CEOs tell a simple story about the future of work: if a machine can do what you do, your job will be automated. They envision everyone from doctors to soldiers rendered superfluous by ever-more-powerful AI. They offer stark alternatives: make robots or be replaced by them.
Another story is possible. In virtually every walk of life, robotic systems can make labor more valuable, not less. Frank Pasquale tells the story of nurses, teachers, designers, and others who partner with technologists, rather than meekly serving as data sources for their computerized replacements. This cooperation reveals the kind of technological advance that could bring us all better health care, education, and more, while maintaining meaningful work. These partnerships also show how law and regulation can promote prosperity for all, rather than a zero-sum race of humans against machines.
How far should AI be entrusted to assume tasks once performed by humans? What is gained and lost when it does? What is the optimal mix of robotic and human interaction? New Laws of Robotics makes the case that policymakers must not allow corporations or engineers to answer these questions alone. The kind of automation we get—and who it benefits—will depend on myriad small decisions about how to develop AI. Pasquale proposes ways to democratize that decision making, rather than centralize it in unaccountable firms. Sober yet optimistic, New Laws of Robotics offers an inspiring vision of technological progress, in which human capacities and expertise are the irreplaceable center of an inclusive economy.
New Lines takes the pulse of a society increasingly drawn to the power of the digital map, examining the conceptual and technical developments of the field of geographic information science as this work is refracted through a pervasive digital culture. Matthew W. Wilson draws together archival research on the birth of the digital map with a reconsideration of the critical turn in mapping and cartographic thought.
Seeking to bridge a foundational divide within the discipline of geography—between cultural and human geographers and practitioners of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)—Wilson suggests that GIS practitioners may operate within a critical vacuum and may not fully contend with their placement within broader networks, the politics of mapping, the rise of the digital humanities, the activist possibilities of appropriating GIS technologies, and more.
Employing the concept of the drawn and traced line, Wilson treads the theoretical terrain of Deleuze, Guattari, and Gunnar Olsson while grounding their thoughts with the hybrid impulse of the more-than-human thought of Donna Haraway. What results is a series of interventions—fractures in the lines directing everyday life—that provide the reader with an opportunity to consider the renewed urgency of forceful geographic representation. These five fractures are criticality, digitality, movement, attention, and quantification. New Lines examines their traces to find their potential and their necessity in the face of our frenetic digital life.
In the twenty-first century, the production and use of scientific knowledge is more regulated, commercialized, and participatory than at any other time. The stakes in understanding those changes are high for scientist and nonscientist alike: they challenge traditional ideas of intellectual work and property and have the potential to remake legal and professional boundaries and transform the practice of research. A critical examination of the structures of power and inequality these changes hinge upon, this book explores the implications for human health, democratic society, and the environment.
Why do citizens of states with strict surveillance care so little about their digital privacy? Why do Brazilians eschew geo-tagging on social media? What drives young Indians to friend “foreign” strangers on Facebook and give “missed calls” to people? Payal Arora answers these questions and many more about the internet’s next billion users.
Some of the most controversial and consequential debates about the legacy of the ancients are raging not in universities but online, where alt-right men’s groups deploy ancient sources to justify misogyny and a return of antifeminist masculinity. Donna Zuckerberg dives deep to take a look at this unexpected reanimation of the Classical tradition.
The major purpose of this book is to illustrate and explain the fundamental similarities and correspondences between humankind's oldest and newest thought-technologies: oral tradition and the Internet. Despite superficial differences, both technologies are radically alike in depending not on static products but rather on continuous processes, not on "What?" but on "How do I get there?" In contrast to the fixed spatial organization of the page and book, the technologies of oral tradition and the Internet mime the way we think by processing along pathways within a network. In both media it's pathways--not things--that matter.
To illustrate these ideas, this volume is designed as a "morphing book," a collection of linked nodes that can be read in innumerable different ways. Doing nothing less fundamental than
challenging the default medium of the linear book and page and all that they entail, Oral Tradition and the Internet shows readers that there are large, complex, wholly viable, alternative
worlds of media-technology out there--if only they are willing to explore, to think outside the usual, culturally constructed categories. This "brick-and-mortar" book exists as an extension of
The Pathways Project (http://pathwaysproject.org), an open-access online suite of chapter-nodes, linked websites, and multimedia all dedicated to exploring and demonstrating the
dynamic relationship between oral tradition and Internet technology
Michael Joyce's new collection continues to examine the connections between the poles of art and instruction, writing and teaching in the form of what Joyce has called theoretical narratives, pieces that are both narratives of theory and texts in which theory often takes the form of narrative. His concerns include hypertext and interactive fiction, the geography of cyberspace, and interactive film, and Joyce here searches out the emergence of network culture in spaces ranging from the shifting nature of the library to MOOs and other virtual spaces to life along a river.
While in this collection Joyce continues to be one of our most lyrical, wide-ranging, and informed cultural critics and theorists of new media, his essays exhibit an evolving distrust of unconsidered claims for newness in the midst of what Joyce calls "the blizzard of the next," as well as a recurrent insistence upon grounding our experience of the emergence of network culture in the body.
Michael Joyce is Associate Professor of English, Vassar College. He is author of a number of hypertext fictions on the web and on disk, most notably Afternoon: A Story.
His previous books are Of Two Minds: Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics and Moral Tale and Meditations: Technological Parables and Refractions.
Does Silicon Valley deserve all the credit for digital creativity and social media? Joy Rankin questions this triumphalism by revisiting a pre-PC time when schools were not the last stop for mature consumer technologies but flourishing sites of innovative collaboration—when users taught computers and visionaries dreamed of networked access for all.
How gaming intersects with systems like history, bodies, and code
Why do we so compulsively play video games? Might it have something to do with how gaming affects our emotions? In Playing with Feelings, scholar Aubrey Anable applies affect theory to game studies, arguing that video games let us “rehearse” feelings, states, and emotions that give new tones and textures to our everyday lives and interactions with digital devices. Rather than thinking about video games as an escape from reality, Anable demonstrates how video games—their narratives, aesthetics, and histories—have been intimately tied to our emotional landscape since the emergence of digital computers.
Looking at a wide variety of video games—including mobile games, indie games, art games, and games that have been traditionally neglected by academia—Anable expands our understanding of the ways in which these games and game studies can participate in feminist and queer interventions in digital media culture. She gives a new account of the touchscreen and intimacy with our mobile devices, asking what it means to touch and be touched by a game. She also examines how games played casually throughout the day create meaningful interludes that give us new ways of relating to work in our lives. And Anable reflects on how games allow us to feel differently about what it means to fail.
Playing with Feelings offers provocative arguments for why video games should be seen as the most significant art form of the twenty-first century and gives the humanities passionate, incisive, and daring arguments for why games matter.
An enlightening examination of the relationship between poetry and the information technologies increasingly used to read and write it
Many poets and their readers believe poetry helps us escape straightforward, logical ways of thinking. But what happens when poems confront the extraordinarily rational information technologies that are everywhere in the academy, not to mention everyday life?
Examining a broad array of electronics—including the radio, telephone, tape recorder, Cold War–era computers, and modern-day web browsers—Seth Perlow considers how these technologies transform poems that we don’t normally consider “digital.” From fetishistic attachments to digital images of Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts to Jackson Mac Low’s appropriation of a huge book of random numbers originally used to design thermonuclear weapons, these investigations take Perlow through a revealingly eclectic array of work, offering both exciting new voices and reevaluations of poets we thought we knew.
With close readings of Gertrude Stein, Frank O’Hara, Amiri Baraka, and many others, The Poem Electric constructs a distinctive lineage of experimental writers, from the 1860s to today. Ultimately, Perlow mounts an important investigation into how electronic media allows us to distinguish poetic thought from rationalism. Posing a necessary challenge to the privilege of information in the digital humanities, The Poem Electric develops new ways of reading poetry, alongside and against the electronic equipment that is now ubiquitous in our world.
Since its introduction in 2009, Bitcoin has been widely promoted as a digital currency that will revolutionize everything from online commerce to the nation-state. Yet supporters of Bitcoin and its blockchain technology subscribe to a form of cyberlibertarianism that depends to a surprising extent on far-right political thought. The Politics of Bitcoin exposes how much of the economic and political thought on which this cryptocurrency is based emerges from ideas that travel the gamut, from Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises to Federal Reserve conspiracy theorists.
Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
Education is in crisis—at least, so we hear. And at the center of this crisis is technology. New technologies like computer-based classroom instruction, online K–12 schools, MOOCs (massive open online courses), and automated essay scoring may be our last great hope—or the greatest threat we have ever faced.
In The Problem with Education Technology, Ben Fink and Robin Brown look behind the hype to explain the problems—and potential—of these technologies. Focusing on the case of automated essay scoring, they explain the technology, how it works, and what it does and doesn’t do. They explain its origins, its evolution (both in the classroom and in our culture), and the controversy that surrounds it. Most significantly, they expose the real problem—the complicity of teachers and curriculum-builders in creating an education system so mechanical that machines can in fact often replace humans—and how teachers, students, and other citizens can work together to solve it.
Offering a new perspective on the change that educators can hope, organize, and lobby for, The Problem with Education Technology challenges teachers and activists on “our side,” even as it provides new evidence to counter the profit-making, labor-saving logics that drive the current push for technology in the classroom.
Technologies such as synthetic biology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and geoengineering promise to address many of our most serious problems, yet they also bring environmental and health-related risks and uncertainties. Moreover, they can come to dominate global production systems and markets with very little public input or awareness. Existing governance institutions and processes do not adequately address the risks of new technologies, nor do they give much consideration to the concerns of persons affected by them.
Instead of treating technology, health, and the environment as discrete issues, Albert C. Lin argues that laws must acknowledge their fundamental relationship, anticipating both future technological developments and their potential adverse effects. Laws should encourage international cooperation and the development of common global standards, while allowing for flexibility and reassessment.
From all sides, we hear that computer technology, with its undeniable power to disseminate information and connect individuals, holds enormous potential for a reinvigoration of political life. But will the Internet really spark a democratic revolution? And will the changes it brings be so profound that past political thought will be of little use in helping us to understand them?
In Prometheus Wired, Darin Barney debunks claims that a networked society will provide the infrastructure for a political revolution and shows that the resources we need for understanding and making sound judgments about this new technology are surprisingly close at hand. By looking to thinkers who grappled with the relationship of society and technology, such as Plato, Aristotle, Marx, and Heidegger, Barney critically examines such assertions about the character of digital networks.
Along the way, Barney offers an eye-opening history of digital networks and then explores a wide range of contemporary issues, such as electronic commerce, telecommuting, privacy, virtual community, digital surveillance, and the possibility of sovereign governance in an age of global networks. Ultimately, Barney argues that instead of placing power back in the hands of the public, a networked economy seems to exacerbate the worst features of industrial capitalism, and, in terms of the surveillance and control it exerts, reduces our political freedom.
Of vital interest to politicians, communicators, and anyone concerned about the future of democracy in the digital age, Prometheus Wired adds a provocative new voice to the debate swirling around "the Net" and the ways in which it will, or will not, change our political lives.
Rising income inequality is highlighted as one of the largest challenges facing the United States, affecting civic participation and political representation. Although the wealthy often can and do exert more political influence, this is not always the case. To fix political inequality, it is important to understand exactly how class divisions manifest themselves in political outcomes, and what factors serve to enhance, or depress, inequalities in political voice.
Christopher Ellis argues citizens’—and legislators’—views of class politics are driven by lived experience in particular communities. While some experience is formally political, on an informal basis citizens learn a great deal about their position in the broader socioeconomic spectrum and the social norms governing how class intersects with day-to-day life. These factors are important for policymakers, since most legislators do not represent “the public” at large, but specific constituencies.
Focusing on U.S. congressional districts as the contextual unit of interest, Ellis argues individuals’ political behavior cannot be separated from their environment, and shows how income’s role in political processes is affected by the contexts in which citizens and legislators interact. Political inequality exists in the aggregate, but it does not exist everywhere. It is, rather, a function of specific arrangements that depress the political influence of the poor. Identifying and understanding these factors is a crucial step in thinking about what reforms might be especially helpful in enhancing equality of political voice.
Charleston Briefings: Trending Topics for Information Professionals is a thought-provoking series of brief books concerning innovation in the sphere of libraries, publishing, and technology in scholarly communication. The briefings, growing out of the vital conversations characteristic of the Charleston Conference and Against the Grain, will offer valuable insights into the trends shaping our professional lives and the institutions in which we work.
The Charleston Briefings are written by authorities who provide an effective, readable overview of their topics—not an academic monograph. The intended audience is busy nonspecialist readers who want to be informed concerning important issues in our industry in an accessible and timely manner.
How is reading changing in the digital environment? How will it continue to change? Are we headed for an all- digital future? Or does print still have a place in the reading environment? Does format matter? What do readers tell us they want? This brief monograph offers librarians, publishers, vendors, and others an overview of these key issues as well as advice on how their institutions should approach the print versus digital controversy.
America is a wonderful and magnificent country that affords its citizens the broadest freedoms and the greatest prosperity in the world. But it also has its share of warts. It is embroiled in a war that many of its citizens consider unjust and even illegal. It continues to ravage the natural environment and ignore poverty both at home and abroad, and its culture is increasingly driven by materialism and consumerism. But America, for better or for worse, is still a nation that we have built. So why then, asks Albert Borgmann in this most timely and urgent work, are we failing to take responsibility for it?
In Real American Ethics, Borgmann asks us to reevaluate our role in the making of American values. Taking his cue from Winston Churchill—who once observed that we shape our buildings, and then our buildings shape us—Borgmann considers the power of our most enduring institutions and the condition of our present moral makeup to propose inspired new ways in which we, as ordinary citizens, can act to improve our country. This, he shows, includes everything from where we choose to live and what we spend our money on to daunting tasks like the reshaping of our cities—habits and actions that can guide us to more accomplished and virtuous lives. Using prose that is easy and direct throughout, Borgmann’s position is grounded neither by conservative nor liberal ideology, but in his understanding that he is a devoted citizen among many.
In an age in which the blame game is the only game in town, this patriotic book is an eloquent reminder of the political strength we all wield when we work together.
Resources under Regimes
Paul R. JOSEPHSON Harvard University Press, 2005 Library of Congress T49.5.J67 2005 | Dewey Decimal 304.28
Democratic or authoritarian, every society needs clean air and water; every state must manage its wildlife and natural resources. In this provocative, comparative study, Josephson asks to what extent the form of a government and its economy--centrally planned or market, colonial or post-colonial--determines how politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, engineers, and industrialists address environmental and social problems presented by the transformation of nature into a humanized landscape.
In Respawn Colin Milburn examines the connections between video games, hacking, and science fiction that galvanize technological activism and technological communities. Discussing a wide range of games, from Portal and Final Fantasy VII to Super Mario Sunshine and Shadow of the Colossus, Milburn illustrates how they impact the lives of gamers and non-gamers alike. They also serve as resources for critique, resistance, and insurgency, offering a space for players and hacktivist groups such as Anonymous to challenge obstinate systems and experiment with alternative futures. Providing an essential walkthrough guide to our digital culture and its high-tech controversies, Milburn shows how games and playable media spawn new modes of engagement in a computerized world.
Risk and risk allocation have always been central issues in public utility regulation. Unfortunately, the term “risk” can easily be misrepresented and misinterpreted, especially when disconnected from long-standing principles of corporate finance.
This book provides those in the regulatory policy community with a basic theoretical and practical grounding in risk as it relates specifically to economic regulation in order to focus and elevate discourse about risk in the utility sector in the contemporary context of economic, technological, and regulatory change. This is not a “how-to” book with regard to calculating risks and returns but rather a resource that aims to improve understanding of the nature of risk. It draws from the fields of corporate finance, behavioral finance, and decision theory as well as the broader legal and economic theories that undergird institutional economics and the economic regulatory paradigm.
We exist in a world of scarce resources and abundant uncertainties, the combination of which can exacerbate and distort our sense of risk. Although there is understandable impulse to reduce risk, attempts to mitigate may be as likely to shift risk, and some measures might actually increase risk exposure. Many of the concepts explored here apply not just to financial decisions, such as those by utility investors, but also to regulatory and utility decision-making in general.
With scientific progress occurring at a breathtaking pace, science and technology policy has never been more important than it is today. Yet there is a very real lack of public discourse about policy-making, and government involvement in science remains shrouded in both mystery and misunderstanding. Who is making choices about technology policy, and who stands to win or lose from these choices? What criteria are being used to make decisions and why? Does government involvement help or hinder scientific research?
Shaping Science and Technology Policy brings together an exciting and diverse group of emerging scholars, both practitioners and academic experts, to investigate current issues in science and technology policy. Essays explore such topics as globalization, the shifting boundary between public and private, informed consent in human participation in scientific research, intellectual property and university science, and the distribution of the costs and benefits of research.
Contributors: Charlotte Augst, Grant Black, Mark Brown, Kevin Elliott, Patrick Feng, Pamela M. Franklin, Carolyn Gideon, Tené N. Hamilton, Brian A. Jackson, Shobita Parthasarathy, Jason W. Patton, A. Abigail Payne, Bhaven Sampat, Christian Sandvig, Sheryl Winston Smith, Michael Whong-Barr
Cracking open the politics of transparency and secrecy
In an era of open data and ubiquitous dataveillance, what does it mean to “share”? This book argues that we are all “shareveillant” subjects, called upon to be transparent and render data open at the same time as the security state invests in practices to keep data closed. Drawing on Jacques Rancière’s “distribution of the sensible,” Clare Birchall reimagines sharing in terms of a collective political relationality beyond the veillant expectations of the state.
The essays in Small Tech investigate the cultural impact of digital tools and provide fresh perspectives on mobile technologies such as iPods, digital cameras, and PDAs and software functions like cut, copy, and paste and WYSIWYG. Together they advance new thinking about digital environments.
Contributors: Wendy Warren Austin, Edinboro U; Jim Bizzocchi, Simon Fraser U; Collin Gifford Brooke, Syracuse U; Paul Cesarini, Bowling Green State U; Veronique Chance, U of London; Johanna Drucker, U of Virginia; Jenny Edbauer, Penn State U; Robert A. Emmons Jr., Rutgers U; Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Clarkson U; Richard Kahn, UCLA; Douglas Kellner, UCLA; Karla Saari Kitalong, U of Central Florida; Steve Mann, U of Toronto; Lev Manovich, U of California, San Diego; Adrian Miles, RMIT U; Jason Nolan, Ryerson U; Julian Oliver; Mark Paterson, U of the West of England, Bristol; Isabel Pedersen, Ryerson U; Michael Pennell, U of Rhode Island; Joanna Castner Post, U of Central Arkansas; Teri Rueb, Rhode Island School of Design; James J. Sosnoski; Lance State, Fordham U; Jason Swarts, North Carolina State U; Barry Wellman, U of Toronto; Sean D. Williams, Clemson U; Jeremy Yuille, RMIT U.
Byron Hawk is assistant professor of English at George Mason University.
David M. Rieder is assistant professor of English at North Carolina State University.
Ollie Oviedo is associate professor of English at Eastern New Mexico University.
Governments make too little use of the skills and experience of citizens. New tools—what Beth Simone Noveck calls technologies of expertise—are making it possible to match citizen expertise to the demand for it in government. She offers a vision of participatory democracy rooted not in voting or crowdsourcing but in people’s knowledge and know-how.
This report explores the complex ethical, political, psychological, and economic questions that arise from developments in medical genetics. It reviews research in applied genetics at the interface of the social and bio-medical fields, including the counseling and study of birth control, as well as the active treatment and selection of individual genetic attributes.
A volume of the Russell Sage Foundation's Social Science Frontiers, occasional publications reviewing new fields for social science development. This paper explores the links between the social and biomedical sciences concerning the prolongation and termination of life, with the aim to stimulate scholars, foundations, and government agencies to further study death and dying in American society.
In The Social Life of Biometrics, biometrics is loosely defined as a discrete technology of identification that associates physical features with a legal identity. Author George Grinnell considers the social and cultural life of biometrics by examining what it is asked to do, imagined to do, and its intended and unintended effects. As a human-focused account of technology, the book contends that biometrics needs to be understood as a mode of thought that informs how we live and understand one another; it is not simply a neutral technology of identification. Placing our biometric present in historical and cultural perspective, The Social Life of Biometrics examines a range of human experiences of biometrics. It features individual stories from locations as diverse as Turkey, Canada, Qatar, Six Nations territory in New York State, Iraq, the skies above New York City, a university campus and Nairobi to give cultural accounts of identification and look at the ongoing legacies of our biometric ambitions. It ends by considering the ethics surrounding biometrics and human identity, migration, movement, strangers, borders, and the nature of the body and its coherence. How has biometric thought structured ideas about borders, race, covered faces, migration, territory, citizenship, and international responsibility? What might happen if identity was less defined by the question of “who’s there?” and much more by the question “how do you live?”
Star Worlds explores the future-oriented universe of online virtual worlds connected with popular science fiction—specifically, with Star Wars and Star Trek—that have been inhabited for over a decade by computer gamers. The Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, both of which have shaped the dominant science fiction mythologies of the last half-century, offer profound conceptions of the tension between freedom and control in human economic, political, and social interactions. Bainbridge investigates the human and technological dynamics of four online virtual worlds based on these two very different traditions: the massive multiplayer online games Star Wars Galaxies; Star Wars: The Old Republic; Star Trek Online; and the Star Trek community in the non-game, user-created virtual environment, Second Life.
The four “star worlds” explored in this book illustrate the dilemmas concerning the role of technology as liberator or oppressor in our post-industrial society, and represent computer simulations of future possibilities of human experience. Bainbridge considers the relationship between a real person and the role that person plays, the relationship of an individual to society, and the relationship of human beings to computing technology. In addition to collecting ethnographic and quantitative data about the social behavior of other players, he has immersed himself in each of these worlds, role-playing 14 avatars with different skills and goals to gain new insights into the variety of player experience from a personal perspective.
Investigates public administration’s increasing dependence on technology and how its pervasive use in complex and interrelated socioeconomic and political affairs has outstripped the ability of many public administrators and the public to grasp the consequences of their choices
In this well-informed yet anxious age, public administrators have constructed vast cisterns that collect and interpret a meteoric shower of facts. Akhlaque Haque demonstrates that this pervasive use and increasing dependence on information technology (IT) enables sophisticated and well-intentioned public services that nevertheless risk deforming public policy decision-making and sees a contradiction inherent in a public that seeks services that require a level of data collection that in turn triggers fears of a tyrannical police state.
The author posits that IT’s potential as a tool for human development depends on how civil servants and citizens actively engage in identifying desired outcomes, map IT solutions to those outcomes, and routinize the applications of those solutions. This leads to his call for the development of entrepreneurs who generate innovative solutions to critical human needs and problems. In his powerful summary, he recaps possible answers to the question: What is the best way a public institution can apply technology to improving the human condition?
Engrossing, challenging, and timely, Surveillance, Transparency, and Democracy is essential reading for both policy makers as well as the great majority of readers and citizens engaged in contemporary arguments about the role of government, public health and security, individual privacy, data collection, and surveillance.
Winner of the 2018 Association for the Study of Higher Education Outstanding Book Award
Technology and Engagement is based on a four-year study of how first generation college students use social media, aimed at improving their transition to and engagement with their university. Through web technology, including social media sites, students were better able to maintain close ties with family and friends from home, as well as engage more with social and academic programs at their university. This ‘ecology of transition’ was important in keeping the students focused on why they were in college, and helped them become more integrated into the university setting. By showing the gains in campus capital these first-generation college students obtained through social media, the authors offer concrete suggestions for how other universities and college-retention programs can utilize the findings to increase their own retention of first-generation college students.
Technology is changing all the time, but does it also have the ability to change us and the way we approach religion and spirituality? In Technology and Religion: Remaining Human in a Co-created World, Noreen Herzfeld examines this and other provocative questions as she provides an accessible and fascinating overview of the relationship between religion and the ever-broadening world of technology.
In order to consider fully a topic as wide as technology, Herzfeld approaches the field from three different angles: technologies of the human body—such as genetic engineering, stem cells, cloning, pharmaceutical technologies, mechanical enhancement and cyborgs; technologies of the human mind—like human and artificial intelligence, virtual reality and cyberspace; and technologies of the external environment—such as nanotechnology, genetically modified crops and new agricultural technologies, and energy technology. She takes a similarly broad approach to the field of religion, focusing on how these issues interface with the three Abrahamic traditions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Throughout, readers will find nuanced examinations of the moral and ethical issues surrounding new technologies from the perspectives of these faith traditions.
The result is a multifaceted look at the ongoing dialogue between these two subjects that are not commonly associated with one another. This volume is the third title published in the new Templeton Science and Religion Series.
Technology and the Good Life?
Edited by Eric Higgs, Andrew Light, and David Strong University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress T14.T386 2000 | Dewey Decimal 303.483
Can we use technology in the pursuit of a good life, or are we doomed to having our lives organized and our priorities set by the demands of machines and systems? How can philosophy help us to make technology a servant rather than a master?
Technology and the Good Life? uses a careful collective analysis of Albert Borgmann's controversial and influential ideas as a jumping-off point from which to address questions such as these about the role and significance of technology in our lives. Contributors both sympathetic and critical examine Borgmann's work, especially his "device paradigm"; apply his theories to new areas such as film, agriculture, design, and ecological restoration; and consider the place of his thought within philosophy and technology studies more generally.
Because this collection carefully investigates the issues at the heart of how we can take charge of life with technology, it will be a landmark work not just for philosophers of technology but for students and scholars in the many disciplines concerned with science and technology studies.
Andrew Feenberg Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress HB87.F44 2017 | Dewey Decimal 303.483
We live in a world of technical systems designed in accordance with technical disciplines and operated by technically trained personnel—a unique social organization that largely determines our way of life. Andrew Feenberg’s theory of social rationality represents both the threats of technocratic modernity and the potential for democratic change.
"Eduardo Kac's work represents a turning point. What it questions is our current attitudes to creativity, taking that word in its most fundamental sense."
-Edward Lucie-Smith, author of Visual Arts in the 20th Century
"His works introduce a vital new meaning into what had been known as the creative process while at the same time investing the notion of the artist-inventor with an original social and ethical responsibility."
-Frank Popper, author of Origins and Development of Kinetic Art
"Kac's radical approach to the creation and presentation of the body as a wet host for artificial memory and 'site-specific' work raises a variety of important questions that range from the status of memory in digital culture to the ethical dilemmas we are facing in the age of bioengineering and tracking technology."
-Christiane Paul, Whitney Museum of Art
For nearly two decades Eduardo Kac has been at the cutting edge of media art, first inventing early online artworks for the web and continuously developing new art forms that involve telecommunications and robotics as a new platform for art. Interest in telepresence, also known as telerobotics, exploded in the 1990s, and remains an important development in media art. Since that time, Kac has increasingly moved into the fields of biology and biotechnology.
Telepresence and Bio Art is the first book to document the evolution of bio art and the aesthetic development of Kac, the creator of the "artist's gene" as well as the controversial glow-in-the-dark, genetically engineered rabbit Alba. Kac covers a broad range of topics within media art, including telecommunications media, interactive systems and the Internet, telematics and robotics, and the contact between electronic art and biotechnology. Addressing emerging and complex topics, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary art.
Transhumanism posits that humanity is on the verge of rapid evolutionary change as a result of emerging technologies and increased global consciousness. However, this insight is dismissed as a naive and controversial reframing of posthumanist thought, having also been vilified as “the most dangerous idea in the world” by Francis Fukuyama. In this book, Andrew Pilsch counters these critiques, arguing instead that transhumanism’s utopian rhetoric actively imagines radical new futures for the species and its habitat.
Pilsch situates contemporary transhumanism within the longer history of a rhetorical mode he calls “evolutionary futurism” that unifies diverse texts, philosophies, and theories of science and technology that anticipate a radical explosion in humanity’s cognitive, physical, and cultural potentialities. By conceptualizing transhumanism as a rhetoric, as opposed to an obscure group of fringe figures, he explores the intersection of three major paradigms shaping contemporary Western intellectual life: cybernetics, evolutionary biology, and spiritualism. In analyzing this collision, his work traces the belief in a digital, evolutionary, and collective future through a broad range of texts written by theologians and mystics, biologists and computer scientists, political philosophers and economic thinkers, conceptual artists and Golden Age science fiction writers. Unearthing the long history of evolutionary futurism, Pilsch concludes, allows us to more clearly see the novel contributions that transhumanism offers for escaping our current geopolitical bind by inspiring radical utopian thought.
a tumblr book: platform and cultures
Allison McCracken, Alexander Cho, Louisa Stein, and Indira Neill Hoch, editors University of Michigan Press, 2020 Library of Congress TK5105.8885.T85T86 2020 | Dewey Decimal 302.2314
This book takes an extensive look at the many different types of users and cultures that comprise the popular social media platform Tumblr. Though it does not receive nearly as much attention as other social media such as Twitter or Facebook, Tumblr and its users have been hugely influential in creating and shifting popular culture, especially progressive youth culture, with the New York Times referring to 2014 as the dawning of the “age of Tumblr activism.”
Perfect for those unfamiliar with the platform as well as those who grew up on it, this volume contains essays and artwork that span many different topics: fandom; platform structure and design; race, gender and sexuality, including queer and trans identities; aesthetics; disability and mental health; and social media privacy and ethics. An entire generation of young people that is now beginning to influence mass culture and politics came of age on Tumblr, and this volume is an indispensable guide to the many ways this platform works.
In Two Bits, Christopher M. Kelty investigates the history and cultural significance of Free Software, revealing the people and practices that have transformed not only software but also music, film, science, and education. Free Software is a set of practices devoted to the collaborative creation of software source code that is made openly and freely available through an unconventional use of copyright law. Kelty explains how these specific practices have reoriented the relations of power around the creation, dissemination, and authorization of all kinds of knowledge. He also makes an important contribution to discussions of public spheres and social imaginaries by demonstrating how Free Software is a “recursive public”—a public organized around the ability to build, modify, and maintain the very infrastructure that gives it life in the first place.
Drawing on ethnographic research that took him from an Internet healthcare start-up company in Boston to media labs in Berlin to young entrepreneurs in Bangalore, Kelty describes the technologies and the moral vision that bind together hackers, geeks, lawyers, and other Free Software advocates. In each case, he shows how their practices and way of life include not only the sharing of software source code but also ways of conceptualizing openness, writing copyright licenses, coordinating collaboration, and proselytizing. By exploring in detail how these practices came together as the Free Software movement from the 1970s to the 1990s, Kelty also considers how it is possible to understand the new movements emerging from Free Software: projects such as Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that creates copyright licenses, and Connexions, a project to create an online scholarly textbook commons.
The mind of the machine, the body suspended in time, organs exchanged, thought computed, genes manipulated, DNA samples abducted by aliens: the terrain between science and speculation, fraught with the possibility of technological and perhaps even evolutionary transformations, is the territory Richard Doyle explores in Wetwares. In a manner at once sober and playful, Doyle maps potentials for human transformation by new ecologies of information in the early twenty-first century.
Wetwares ranges over recent research in artificial life, cloning, cryonics, computer science, organ transplantation, and alien abduction. Moving between actual technical practices, serious speculative technology, and science fiction, Doyle shows us emerging scientific paradigms where "life" becomes more a matter of information than of inner vitality-in short, becomes "wetwares" for DNA and computer networks. Viewing technologies of immortality-from cryonics to artificial life-as disciplines for welcoming a thoroughly other future, a future of neither capital, god, human, nor organism, the book offers tools for an evolutionary, transhuman mutation in the utterly unpredictable decades to come.
Richard Doyle is associate professor of rhetoric and science studies in the Department of English at Penn State University. He is the author of On Beyond Living: Rhetorical Transformations of the Life Sciences (1997).
“In an age in which the inexhaustible power of scientific technology makes all things possible, it remains to be seen where we will draw the line, where we will be able to say, here are possibilities that wisdom suggest we avoid.”
First published to great acclaim in 1988, Langdon Winner’s groundbreaking exploration of the political, social, and philosophical implications of technology is timelier than ever. He demonstrates that choices about the kinds of technical systems we build and use are actually choices about who we want to be and what kind of world we want to create—technical decisions are political decisions, and they involve profound choices about power, liberty, order, and justice. A seminal text in the history and philosophy of science, this new edition includes a new chapter, preface, and postscript by the author.
A provocative investigation into the social and cultural implications of the Internet by a leading cultural critic.
As the Internet has become more and more a part of our daily lives, responses to its impact on culture and society have tended toward the extremes, hopeful or pessimistic. Fears that the Internet undermines community, inhibits social interaction, exacerbates economic and racial divisions, and facilitates greater state or corporate intrusion into our lives are balanced by excitement about the transformative qualities of the new medium and its potential to stimulate individual creativity, inspire new social forms, and further democratization.
In What's the Matter with the Internet?, leading cultural theorist Mark Poster offers a sophisticated and astute assessment of the potential the new medium has to redefine culture and politics. Avoiding the mindless hype and meaningless jargon that has characterized much of the debate about the future of the Web, he details what truly distinguishes the Internet from other media and the implications these novel properties have for such vital issues as authorship, national identity and global citizenship, the fate of ethnicity and race, and democracy.
Arguing that the Internet demands a social and cultural theory appropriate to the specific qualities of cyberspace, Poster reformulates the ideas of thinkers associated with our understanding of postmodern culture and the media (including Foucault, Deleuze, Heidegger, Baudrillard, and Derrida) to account for and illuminate the virtual world, paying particular attention to its political dimensions and the nature of identity. In this innovative analysis, Poster acknowledges that although the colonization of the Internet by corporations and governments does threaten to retard its capacity to bring about genuine change, the new medium is still capable of transforming both contemporary social practices and the way we see the world and ourselves.
Mark Poster is professor of history and director of the film studies program at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of Cultural History and Postmodernity (1997), The Second Media Age (1995), and The Mode of Information (1990).