petej + critique   44

Thinking and Its Rhetorical Enemies | The Frailest Thing
"Jacobs raised four salient points in response:

1. “Why do we just assume that their concerns were senseless?”

2. While we may endorse the trade-offs new technologies entail, “it would be ridiculous to say that no trade has been made.”

3. “Moreover, even if people were wrong to fear certain technologies in the past, that says absolutely nothing about whether people who fear certain other technologies today are right or wrong.”

4. This sort of thing presents “an easy excuse not to think about things that need to be thought about.”

Exactly right on all counts."
technology  change  fear  critique  xkcd  dctagged  dc:creator=SacasasMichael 
november 2013 by petej
On the xkcd Philosophy of Technology, Briefly | The Frailest Thing
"I might’ve let the whole thing go without comment were it not for that last entry on the chart. It’s a variation of a recurring, usually vacuous rhetorical move that latches on to any form of continuity in order to dismiss concerns, criticism, etc. Since we have always already been X, this new form of X is inconsequential. It is as if reality were an undifferentiated, uncaused monistic affair in which the consequences of every apparent change are always contained and neutralized by its antecedents. But, of course, the fact that human beings have always died does not suggest to anyone in their right mind that we should never investigate the causes of particular deaths so as to prevent them when it is reasonable and possible to do so.

Similarly, pointing out that human beings have always used technology is perhaps the least interesting observation one could make about the relationship between human beings and any given technology. Continuity of this sort is the ground against which figures of discontinuity appear, and it is the figures that are of interest. Alienation may be a fact of life (or maybe that is simply the story that moderns tell themselves  to bear it), but it has been so to greater and lesser extents and for a host of different reasons. Pointing out that we have always been alienated is, consequently, the least interesting and the least helpful thing one could say about the matter."
xkcd  cartoon  humour  technology  geeks  culture  critique  dctagged  dc:creator=SacasasMichael 
november 2013 by petej
5 Things About Ubiquitous Computing That Make Me Nervous | Design Culture Lab
"I found myself putting together a few slides under the title 5 Things About Ubiquitous Computing That Make Me Nervous. This was my list:

1. Technological determinism & defeatism

Or, the cultural belief that technological development and progress is inevitable, and we have to adapt.

2. Technological solutionism

Or, the cultural belief that technology is the best solution to life’s problems.

3. Quantification imperatives

Or, the cultural belief that everything can and should be measured in numbers, and that everyday life would be better if all our decisions were based on these data.

4. Connection & sharing imperatives

Or, the cultural belief that everyday life would be better if more information was transmissible and accessible to people.

5. Convenience & efficiency imperatives

Or, the cultural belief that people would be better off if there were more technologies to make daily life more convenient, and common tasks more efficient."
design  critique  technology  technoUtopianism  technologicalDeterminism  solutionism  defeatism  MorozovEvgeny  ubiquitousComputing  ubicomp 
october 2013 by petej
Improvisation Blog: How are you oppressed online?
"Even in a non-instructional environment, like a blog, is there oppression? "Who gives me these tools?" (I ask as I use Blogger's online editor). "Why does Blogger they give them to me?" - they do this because they want me to submit my data. "How do they benefit from my data?" My activities online are steered towards generating data that Blogger/Google can exploit. "How do they exploit it?" - we need to look at their technical infrastructure to understand what is now possible. "What are the capabilities of MapReduce, Discrete Wavelet transformations, etc?" - At each step of the way, the forces that bear upon freedom are there to be unpicked. At each step emerges a personal curriculum: the economics of information, the physics of data storage, the mathematics of analysis, the biology of interaction, the psychology of interpretation. "How can I avoid being exploited?" - what emerges through active critique is a kind of "artistry of political engagement". Like the standing man in Taksim Square, the challenge is to find new forms of expression which go under the radar and challenge those who would otherwise control us.

The more I think about this, the more I think we've got education upside-down. Education is about freedom, but manifests itself as oppression. Because we have been led to believe the questions that directly concern our deep freedoms are too difficult (education has told us this), we have grown accustomed to accepting the oppressive form of education as the "only way". Deep down, this is disastrous for science - which, ultimately, is an emancipatory critique. It is why what passes for science is little more than a technocracy of churning the big-data machines of genetic sequencing, social communications or intergalactic observation. Nobody's going to learn to be a scientist doing that!

But where there is oppression, there is an opportunity to help people see that there is oppression and then to overcome it. That is where learning happens. The dominant oppressive forces now are online (at least in the western-style democracies) and exercised through information and technology which nobody understands. "
information  media  socialMedia  control  ideology  technology  critique  education  learning  teaching  dctagged  dc:creator=JohnsonMark 
july 2013 by petej
Can Digital Humanities Mean Transformative Critique?
"As the tools and methods of the digital humanities take up their new positions of prominence, we can only hope that they will begin to take on the mutations and instabilities represented by the practitioners and projects featured here, rather than settle into the creaky machine of the corporate university. Whatever its future, DH has already proved its power to unsettle the old guard, inducing anxious and skeptical blog posts from high-profile critics and me-too conference panels spreading the word to far-off disciplines. The spirit of #transformDH is not to arrest this momentum, but to channel it in truly transformative directions—to avoid trading whiteness for more whiteness, heteropatriarchy for more heteropatriarchy, one imperialist hierarchy for another. We hope the community at large will continue to find and go viral with the social justice-minded hybrid practices, identities, and collaborations elaborated in McPherson's epigraph to this work of curation and analysis—the antiracist archives, the queer art-theories, the collaborative feminist pedagogies, the crunk academic activisms, the critical race coders. #TransformDH is a convenient means to do so, but in the spirit of transformative work, we hope it will be supplanted by something else soon."
digitalHumanities  critique  inclusion  transformDH 
april 2013 by petej

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