Center for Advanced Study Lecture Series
Designing for Democracy in the American Counterculture
4:00 PM Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum
Department of Communication, Stanford University
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, tens of thousands of young Americans abandoned the suburbs and the cities and headed back to the land. Most were hoping to build a new kind of communal democracy and to do it not through politics, but through the design of new technologies. This talk returns to that moment and to the work of two figures who helped inspire the New Communalists, architect Buckminster Fuller and Whole Earth Catalog founder Steward Brand. It explores how their deep faith in small scale technologies, peer collaboration, and interpersonal communication shaped the fate of the communes and it asks what lessons fate might offer for our own more digital time.
Information in Society Lecture Series
Adrian Johns, a professor of history at the University of Chicago.
Date: Mon, Jan 25 04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
Location: GSLIS Room 126
The term Enlightenment carries connotations of a certain kind of information dispersal. The association is with illumination itself - of light spreading in all directions from a central source. But in the eighteenth century the transfer of books and the ideas they conveyed was scarcely amenable to such an image. Printing was a local craft, addressing local and regional markets, and subject to local norms and laws. As a result, knowledge spread through successive acts of reprinting, each of which had the potential to transform it. This is the reality Dr. Johns will examine in his talk. Its implications are profound for how we think of the origins of modernity: no piracy, we might say, no Enlightenment.
Adrian Johns is a professor of history at the University of Chicago. Trained in the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University, prior to coming to Chicago he taught at Caltech and UCSD. He is the author of The nature of the book: print and knowledge in the making (1998) and Piracy: the intellectual property wars from Gutenberg to Gates (2010). His third book, Death of a pirate: British broadcasting and the origins of the information age, is scheduled to appear in late 2010.
Dr. Adrian Johns is speaking as part of the "Information in Society" speaker series.
Dr. Johns will also be available for lunch and informal discussion from 12:00-1:30 pm in 242 LIS Building. Contact Linda Smith if you have questions or to let her know you will attend the lunch. Lunch will be provided for the first 10 participants.
Monday, February 1 2010
Peter Mario Asaro, New School University, New York
Robots, Video Game Interfaces, and the InfoStructures of Remote Controlled Warfare
Public Lecture: 12:00pm Coordinated Science Laboratory, Room B02 Auditorium
Reading Group Discussion: 1:15pm in 301 CSL
What will the coming “Robotics Revolution”–in which information networks will increasingly interact with and directly manipulate the material world–mean for civil society? Will widespread access to tele-agency transform social practices as dramatically as widespread access to tele-communications did? By examining the U.S. military, as early-adopters of tele-operated and semi-autonomous technologies, we can begin to theorize the complex relationships between the infrastructures of these distributed socio-technical systems, and
the new forms of agency and identity they enable. With the increasing frequency of news reports of military UAV drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past year, the public is becoming aware of the radical technological transformations taking place within the U.S. military, and sensing its dramatic implications for the future of armed conflict. While these are just the first wave of sophisticated robots, there is much to be learned from the ways in which they have become embedded in military command, control and communication systems, their reliance on interface technologies developed for the commercial video game industry, and the social, ethical and legal issues they raise. As various consumer robots, self-driving cars, smart homes and other tele-operated and autonomous technologies begin to transform the
physical spaces and embodied activities of our daily lives (perhaps as profoundly as the Internet has transformed our information spaces and activities), media scholars will require new critical approaches to illuminate the complex new forms of surveillance, action, agency and responsibility being created.
Peter Mario Asaro is a philosopher of science, technology and media. He is a founding member and co-director of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, a member of the faculty of the Department of Media Studies and Film at the New School University in New York, and is currently involved in the design of the natural language interface for the Wolfram|Alpha Computational Knowledge Engine for Wolfram Research, Inc. He has worked in collaborative computing, intelligent interface design, virtual reality, neural networks, computer vision, and robotics at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA), the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and Iguana Robotics, Inc. Since receiving a PhD in the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science, and a Master of Computer Science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana, he has been a research fellow at the
Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, the Digital Humanities HUMlab at Umeå University in Sweden, and the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University. His work includes academic scholarship, technological and artistic projects, and a feature-length documentary on social and emotional robotics entitled “Love Machine” (2001). He has written numerous articles on cybernetics, participatory design, computer modeling, the social, ethical and
legal challenges of technological development, as well as on robot ethics, military robots and just war theory.
Tuesday, December 1
12:30pm Coordinated Science Laboratory, Room 301
A Brown Bag Discussion with Anita Say Chan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Enterprise Village: Entrepreneurial Artisans, Intellectual Property, and the Optimizing of Native Culture
How are new development models re-engineering rural sites in the third world to maximize their productive potential, and to optimize their ability to compete in global markets? Why are intellectual property rights (IPR) proving to be information-age tools ideally suited for traditional, indigenous artisans and rurally-based producers in developing nations? And how have individual enterprise and the facility to deploy the technologies and resources of the information economy become new measures for responsible citizenship among provincial populations? This lecture addresses such questions through a study of a state-based initiative in Peru to promote the use of IPRs among traditional artisans in the town of Chulucanas. How developing states increasingly summon culture as a resource for economic development will be a central tension explored.
Anita Say Chan is an Assistant Research Professor of Communications and an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Introduction to Humanities Program. She received her Ph.D. from MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, & Society, and her masters degree from MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program. Her research has been awarded support from the Center for the Study of Law & Culture at Columbia University’s School of Law and the National Science Foundation.
Monday, November 9 2009
Mark Deuze, Indiana University
"Media Life: The Experience of Love, Sex & Death in Digital Culture"
Public Lecture: 12:30pm Coordinated Science Laboratory, Room B02 Auditorium
Reading Group Discussion: 1:45pm in 301 CSL
Research since the early years of the 21st century consistently shows how through the years more of our time gets spent using media, how being concurrently exposed to media has become a foundational feature of everyday life, and that consuming media for most people increasingly takes place alongside producing media. Contemporary media devices, what people do with them, and how all of this fits in the organization of our everyday life disrupt and unsettle well-established views of the role media play in society. Instead of continuing to wrestle with a distinction between media and society, this contribution proposes we begin our thinking with a view of life not lived with media, but in media. The media life perspective starts from the realization that the whole of the world and our lived experience in it can be seen as framed by, mitigated through, and made immediate by (immersive, integrated, ubiquitous and pervasive) media. In this presentation, the media life perspective is developed by correlating the claims of contemporary social theory with recent reports on media use among teenagers around the world.
Mark Deuze holds a joint appointment as an Associate Professor of Telecommunications at Indiana University in Bloomington, United States, and as Professor of Journalism and New Media at Leiden University, The Netherlands. Publications of his work include five books – including "Media Work" (Polity Press, 2007), guest-edited special issues of journals on convergence culture (Convergence, 2008; International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2009), and articles in journals such as The Information Society, New Media & Society, and Journalism Studies. Forthcoming in 2010: "Managing Media Work" (contracted with Sage), and in 2011: "Media Life" (contracted with Polity Press).
- Graduate College
- Coordinated Science Laboratory
- Department of Communication
- Human-Computer Interaction Colloquium Series
- Institute of Communications Research
- Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
- Information in Society Program, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Our next reading group meeting is Monday, Oct 26 at 12:15 in CSL 369. We will have food on hand. We will be looking at some work by our next speaker, Mark Deuze, and finalizing our choices for speakers in the Spring. Mark is coming Nov 9, more on this later.
Please take a look at this working paper on Media Life (the subject of Mark's talk):
Feel free to also check out his blog Deuzeblog