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Tiffany Lin

739 days ago
Unfiled. Edited by Jack Cushman , Willow Brugh , Tiffany Lin , lfrm 739 days ago
Jack C Sara Watson Fellows Hour, 11/10/15
Willow B Icebreaker
question: What technology do you love to hate?
Jack C Uber, LinkedIn, Google Docs, iPhone, Apple products in general for being silver, Twitter, Facebook, StayFocused, indoor plumbing, the MBTA, contact lenses, Skype/Google Hangouts/web conferencing software, Medium, VR that makes you dizzy, smartphones, digital cameras, Oculus Rift, printers (2d and 3d), digital communication ...
Willow B
  • Constructive Technology Criticism
Sara is looking for:
  • Want feedback from academics -- have you thought of this or that?
  • Hopes some of this will influence how you think about your relationship to technology.
Technology Criticism
What does that mean? Who comes to mind? What sorts of coverage do you think of?
  • Luddites
  • Nick Bellton (NYT)
  • Nick Carr
  • Chris Burr (MIT library)
  • David Eggers - fiction
  • Tech podcasting. Leo Laporte.
  • Voldemort // Morozov
  • Diffusion of technology
  • Sara Watson
  • STS (Science Technology Studies) Lewis Mumford? Susan Leigh Star, etc -- from Battles
  • Sherry Turkle
  • ValleyWag to academic studies. Both sides of the spectrum are pretty critical.
  • Technology is frightening and killing the world. Like Daily Mail saying something atrocious happened, and some small part of it is about facebook
  • Also about consumer framing. Like a movie critic -- what is worth going to see? Journalism vs press release. David Pogue / Walt Mossberg. (Film critic vs movie critic, game review vs Anita Sarkeesian)
Jack C
  • Apologists/utopists vs luddites/reflexive critics
  • Tech criticism as cultural criticism -- the Baffler.
Willow B
  • Critical design
  • Critical Making
Willow B
  • James Bridle
  • Theorizing the Web crew
Tiffany L
  • Alexis Madrigal - grounding tech commentary/crit in history
Willow B Wants these groups to talk to each other more. Talk about the important questions, but without writing in such a way that the system doesn't even want to hear about it.
Relationship critic has with their audience and the thing they're criticising. Critics who are on your side versus not on your side (Republican critique of Obama, versus Marco Arment on Apple because he's invested in the space). He also has authority.
Gap in expertise and what's coming out. Naseem Taleb writes about crises being unassociated with what we know.
Experts are rarely good at taking the view of the user.
Different kinds of criticism:
  • Fan - loves it, wants it to succeed
  • NYT - grey lady saying you should feel this way about this
  • Authorities - people speaking from deep technical knowledge. Doesn't make us better at telling you how to feel
  • taking the view of the user - food critic etc.
  • advocate - walk in with a position, a conversation they want to have, informed by the thing they're criticising.
Looking for an interdisciplinary approach -- grey lady authority. 
A lot of tech won't work unless we're all using it. We don't ahve a voice as users or critics because of this. Mirroring the poverty of choices. Monoculture. We're all going to use it or reject it.
  • How to get beyond negative connotation
  • Grounding in history
  • field defining- carve out a space and a practice of technology criticism
  • elevating those already doing it
  • affect popular discourse on how we talk about technology
Research Q's
Willow B
  • Can you look at articles which are dichotomous vs nuanced, and how far they spread/impact?
  • Can we show what articles about tech are actually about a preexisting debate?
  • what are language indicators (if any) of a particular stance?  - Rey
Tiffany L How are pubs covering tech + society qs in publishing today -- > NYT
What limitations of publishing today constrain the discourse?
What can we learn from theorists and critics writing about the culture impacts of tech in the past?
  • Can we have some history in how we cover technology in mind? 
What can we transfer from academic studies of tech into journalism and public discourse? 
Willow B Progress narrative // moral panic binary. Is this a problem of journalism more generally, or is this the technology itself?
Tiffany L Reading List
Willow B Classify by discipline (or at least background) -- then see where things overlap.
Interesting to expand the bibliography to include tech reviews. Digital humanities toolkit. Topic modeling. Look for patterns in large textual corpera. "How is technology talked about among tech critics, scholars, etc?"
Seperation between authority and commentary. Bruce's post on HeartBleed versus jsut about anyone else's.
People speak about historical technology in a strange way, too.
Journalists are really bad at thinking about their audience.
Tiffany L Technology is not going to stay its own "thing" for much longer. How we understand and see tech is quite different from the 15-16 year olds view (who in a decade will be the decision makers)
Willow B George Ritzer.
Theory of Change?
What would the strong outcome be for you? I spend a lot of time thinking about moral hazards. People who write about cybersecurity in a naive way, and are powerful and listened to. Powerful, English Language Western discourses. What is the scope? What would you want to see journalists adopt?
  • Trying to see constructive technology criticism. Not just picking apart, but offering a solution. 
  • Not just a power structure of media (not everyone is a critic), those publications have a responsibility to push back and ask questions, because they are the ones that google facebook etc will listen to. Impetus to ask them to answer these questions in useful ways. 
Who makes the change? What sorts of criticism prompts change? Can have it coming from consumers or from management or etc. Different actors have different criticism-listening activities. 
Tiffany L 4(5) types of critics
  • Fan
  • NYT
  • ? Critics who takes the POV of the user (e.g. food critic)
  • Actual authority (e.g. the Schneiers of the world) 

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