So, Elsevier pulled kind of a jerk move. And probably a move that’s not great for PR.
As it turns out, publishing giant Elsevier is taking down copyrighted papers from Academia.edu. Here’s a bit of background. For-profit publishing companies (like Elsevier, Sage, Taylor & Francis etc.) make authors sign a copyright agreement when they publish in the journals run by these companies. This gives distribution rights to the publisher, and takes them away from the author. However, many authors (like myself) sign said agreement, and then immediately post content on Academia.edu, ResearchGate, or other academic-based social networking sites.
Technically, posting our work on these sites is illegal. However, the publishers’ policies, which create false scarcity, exploit intellectual labor, and restrict knowledge sharing, are in a word, preposterous. Here’s why: (more…)
Quartz, a business and marketing website, recently released data on the Facebook dating app Are You Interested (AYI), which connects singles within the confines of their direct and indirect Facebook networks. Quartz’ data are based on a series of yes or no questions about who users are interested in, as well as response rates between users, once notified of a potential suitor. The data show that white men and Asian women receive the most interest, whereas black men and women receive the least amount of interest (see headline photo for the complex picture of racial preference by gender). The writers at Quartz summarize the findings as follows: (more…)
This post is a question. A highly self-indulgent question. About my dog. Consider yourself warned.
The question is this: why have I, a person who explicitly rejects mind-body dualisms, readily altered my dog’s physiology through medicine and surgeries, but strongly resisted altering his brain chemistry through anti-anxiety drugs? Or, in other words, why am I so cool with technologies of the body but distinctly uncomfortable with technologies of the mind?
The What-Would-I-Say App, (#wwis) created by HackPrinceton, has garnered widespread popularity. The app basically amalgamates your Facebook posts, rearranges them, and computes a best guess at what you, the Facebook user, would say. According the app’s creators, here’s how it works: (more…)
Over the last couple of weeks, a YouTube video (above) of New York artist Richard Renaldi has continued to populate my Facebook News Feed. Renaldi’s project Touching Strangers is such that he positions strangers together in an intimate poses and photographs them. Despite lack of prior contact, these photographs depict what look to be quite sincere expressions of emotion. Moreover, the subjects interviewed in the video say that they feel some sort of connection towards those with whom they posed. This is certainly moving, admittedly interesting, but as a trained social psychologist, not very surprising. It does, however, offer interesting implications for people’s oft-spouted rants against in-authenticity and identity work on social media.
Let me begin by discussing the sociology of the work. I will them move on the implications for authenticity in light of new technologies. (more…)
Happy Halloween Week, everyone!! As much as I love free candy from strangers and the widespread creativity of costuming, Halloween inevitably brings with it a darker reality—and I’m not talking about monsters or ghouls. Unfortunately, Halloween becomes a showcase of Americans’ systemic racism, as displayed through ill-conceived racially fraught costume choices.
Below, I’ve compiled some nice resources to share with undergraduate students (or anyone, really) to facilitate discussions about and dissuasion from, the racist choices so many people make this time of year.
Keep in mind, the most effective form of anti-racist conversation is the one that happens *before* someone has a chance to engage in racist behavior. You get to avoid all of the messy defensiveness.
This list is far from exhaustive, but has some really useful material. Additional suggestions welcome in the comments section
Last week, Robin James (@doctaj) wondered if “digital dualism” was really “ideal theory” a-la Charles Mills. She argued that what we call digital dualism is really a critique of idealization; that the “ought” of the relationship between humans and technologies reflects the “is” of a privileged group. This is expressed both dualistically but also monolistically.
Within the comments, we discussed the complex designation of “ought” in the relationship between humans and technologies. Without taking on Robin’s ideal theory hypothesis, I want to take about a thousand words here and think about the “ought.” That is, I want to explore what the “good” technosubject does, and how zi relates to technologies within the contemporary era. (more…)
A couple of months back, I wrote about an informal meeting of the Cyborgology Crew in which we began to hash out some of the vocabulary issues that currently muddle up theorizing about technology and society. In that post, I interrogated the words “online” and “offline.” This online/offline discussion took up the better part of our day. A second issue also arose, however, and this was one that we never fully resolved. With bellies full of pizza and leg-shaking levels of caffeine, we duked it out over the term “physical co-presence.” Today, I want to put forth our (mostly?) agreed upon critique of the term physical co-presence, and offer an alternative which, on the day of the meeting, I probably articulated poorly. Like the interrogation of online and offline, this is far from a definitive statement. Rather, it is a starting point and a widespread invitation for critique, suggestions, and participation in the construction of a useful theoretical vocabulary. (more…)
From an augmented perspective, technologies both reflect and affect social structures and hierarchical relations. It is perhaps no surprise, then, that theorists of science and technology have long recognized how technologies are gendered. This goes beyond probing technologies of female reproduction, or masculine tools of object manipulation. This pervades even those seemingly gender neutral technological objects, and the ways in which we talk about, use, and make sense of them.
Awhile back, I talked about the gendering of Siri. I argued that the female voice, coupled with her designation as a “personal assistant” created an environment ripe for highly sexist/sexualized personification of the iphone application, and iphones themselves. Far from Haraway’s utopic de-categorization, this melding of mechanical and organic solidified gendered meanings and strengthened interactional gender inequalities.
With this understanding, I still couldn’t contain my exasperated eye-roll when, after hooking up television in my home for the first time in almost a decade, I saw this (video after the jump): (more…)
Today, I just want to write a brief post about a cool art project. The Dead Drop project, started by an artist in New York City, embodies much of the theory we talk about here at Cyborgology. And like most forms of art, it accomplishes this theorizing in a far more efficient and interesting way than that which we academics put forth with our many, many words.
The Dead Drop project began in 2010 by a Berlin based artist named Aram Bartholl. During his stay in NYC, he installed 5 Dead Drops in public places. Dead Drops are blank USB ports, cemented into city walls, trees, or other publicly accessible outdoor materials. People can upload and download files onto these ports. Anyone can install a Dead Drop, and Bartholl encourages worldwide participation. Bartholl describes the project as an “anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space.” To date, there are 1,231 registered Dead Drops worldwide, comprising about 6,403 GB of storage space. (more…)
We live in a cyborg society. Technology has infiltrated the most fundamental aspects of our lives: social organization, the body, even our self-concepts. This blog chronicles our new, augmented reality.