Category Archives: materality of computation

Talk: ‘Cyberlibertarianism: The Extremist Foundations of ‘Digital Freedom”

lib soc fed

Talk delivered at Clemson University, September 5, 2013 Full paper: Cyberlibertarianism: The Extremist Foundations of ‘Digital Freedom’ Abstract Cyberlibertarianism has rapidly become the dominant mode of political thought of our time. Especially in the US, but also around the world, the view that might be summed in the slogan “computerization will set you free” has […]

Also posted in "hacking", cyberlibertarianism, revolution, rhetoric of computation, theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Responses

‘Communication’ and ‘Critical’

The great communications scholar James Hay has assumed editorship of the journal Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies this year, and I am very grateful to have been invited to contribute a short piece on the core concepts around which the journal is organized. My contributions (provided here gratis, libre, and DRM-free) are about the terms “communication” […]

Also posted in "social media", rhetoric of computation, theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcolonial Studies, Digital Humanities, and the Politics of Language

world oral literature project

Excerpted from a longer essay in progress. Adeline Koh and Roopika Risam recently started an open thread on DHPoco based around an observation by Martha Nell Smith about the politics of race and gender in the digital humanities. I find these topics distinctly connected to questions about language and the relationship of various humanities fields. […]

Also posted in digital humanities, rhetoric of computation, theory, what are computers for | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Definitions that Matter (Of ‘Digital Humanities’)

closeness over time

In a recent post, “‘Digital Humanities’: Two Definitions,” I tried to point out an ongoing conflict in the deployment of the term “Digital Humanities.” While my goal was in part to show the practical range in definitions of DH, that was not really my main purpose. A lot of the time, definitions aren’t all that […]

Also posted in digital humanities, information doesn't want to be free, rhetoric of computation, theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Completely Different and Exactly the Same

I was flattered to see Nicholas Carr picking up on a blog entry I wrote about the Cartesian dualism underlying most thinking about the Singularity. I was equally pleased to read this comment on Carr’s post from CS Clark, who is otherwise unknown to me: I’m reminded that many tech/law debates depend on the new […]

Also posted in "social media", cyberlibertarianism, google, privacy, rhetoric of computation, surveillance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Responses

Building and (Not) Using Tools in Digital Humanities

TOPIC MODEL

As I mentioned in my last post, the “Short Guide to Digital Humanities” (pages 121-136 of Digital_Humanities, by Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp, MIT Press, 2012) includes the following stricture under the heading “What Isn’t the Digital Humanities?”: The mere use of digital tools for the purpose of humanistic […]

Also posted in digital humanities, rhetoric of computation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Responses

The (Future) Automation of Labor, and Some Notes on ‘Mind,’ ‘Intelligence,’ and the Google Singularity

(Modified version of a comment on Dale Carrico’s Amor Mundi blog, in response to his excellent “Krugman Flirts with Robot Cultism“–also see the slightly different version of Carrico’s post on his blog on the World Future Society site, “Krugman Flirts with Futurism,” both of which respond to Paul Krugman’s “Is Growth Over?” and “Robots and […]

Also posted in google, rhetoric of computation, theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Article: ‘High-Frequency Trading: Networks of Wealth and the Concentration of Power’

Full paper (author’s pre-press version): High-Frequency Trading: Networks of Wealth and the Concentration of Power. Forthcoming in Social Semiotics. Abstract The development of High-Frequency Trading (HFT)–automated trading of stocks, as well as bonds, options, and other investment instruments–provides a signal example of the political effects of computerization on a discrete social sphere. Despite the widespread […]

Also posted in cyberlibertarianism, information doesn't want to be free, revolution, what are computers for | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Computerization, Centralization, and Concentration

uranium enrichment centrifuge

One of the most dangerous canards of the digital revolution is the one according to which distribution, decentralization, and democratization are the characteristic hallmarks of contemporary mass computerization. To writers of earlier ages (Huxley, Orwell, Lem, Weizenbaum, Wiener, Mumford, Ellul, Roszak, just to name a few), such sentiments would seem shocking, because what they understood […]

Also posted in "social media", cyberlibertarianism, google, surveillance, we are building big brother, what are computers for | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Responses

Stuxnet Redux, or, Computational Power, the State, and Propaganda (and Flame)

We were first alerted to the existence of the Stuxnet worm in 2010, due to some interesting security breaches and reporting in the New York Times making it clear that a nation-state–by direct implication and what may have been deliberate misdirection at that time, Israel–must have been behind the worm. Soon after we were alerted […]

Also posted in "hacking", we are building big brother, what are computers for | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment