From a cutting-edge cultural commentator, a bold and brilliant challenge to cherished notions of the Internet as the great leveler of our age The Internet has been hailed as an unprecedented democratizing force, a place where everyone can be heard and all can participate equally. But how true is this claim? In a seminal dismantling of techno-utopian visions, The People's Platform argues that for all that we "tweet" and "like" and "share," the Internet in fact reflects and amplifies real-world inequities at least as much as it ameliorates them. Online, just as off-line, attention and influence largely accrue to those who already have plenty of both. What we have seen so far, Astra Taylor says, has been not a revolution but a rearrangement. Although Silicon Valley tycoons have eclipsed Hollywood moguls, a handful of giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook remain the gatekeepers. And the worst habits of the old media model—the pressure to seek easy celebrity, to be quick and sensational above all—have proliferated on the web, where "aggregating" the work of others is the surest way to attract eyeballs and ad revenue. When culture is "free," creative work has diminishing value and advertising fuels the system. The new order looks suspiciously like the old one. We can do better, Taylor insists. The online world does offer a unique opportunity, but a democratic culture that supports diverse voices and work of lasting value will not spring up from technology alone. If we want the Internet to truly be a people's platform, we will have to make it so.
The Smartphone Paradox is a critical examination of our everyday mobile technologies and the effects that they have on our thoughts and behaviors. Alan J. Reid presents a comprehensive view of smartphones: the research behind the uses and gratifications of smartphones, the obstacles they present, the opportunities they afford, and how everyone can achieve a healthy, technological balance. It includes interviews with smartphone users from a variety of backgrounds, and translates scholarly research into a conversational tone, making it easy to understand a synthesis of key findings and conclusions from a heavily-researched domain. All in all, through the lens of smartphone dependency, the book makes the argument for digital mindfulness in a device age that threatens our privacy, sociability, attention, and cognitive abilities.
This collection of thirteen new essays is the first to examine, from a range of disciplinary perspectives, how the new technologies and global reach of the Internet are changing the theory and practice of free speech. The rapid expansion of online communication, as well as the changing roles of government and private organizations in monitoring and regulating the digital world, give rise to new questions, including: How do philosophical defenses of the right to freedom of expression, developed in the age of the town square and the printing press, apply in the digital age? Should search engines be covered by free speech principles? How should international conflicts over online speech regulations be resolved? Is there a right to be forgotten that is at odds with the right to free speech? How has the Internet facilitated new speech-based harms such as cyber-stalking, twitter-trolling, and revenge porn, and how should these harms be addressed? The contributors to this groundbreaking volume include philosophers, legal theorists, political scientists, communications scholars, public policy makers, and activists.
Just what is the “participatory condition”? It is the situation in which taking part in something with others has become both environmental and normative. The fact that we have always participated does not mean we have always lived under the participatory condition. What is distinctive about the present is the extent to which the everyday social, economic, cultural, and political activities that comprise simply being in the world have been thematized and organized around the priority of participation. Structured along four axes investigating the relations between participation and politics, surveillance, openness, and aesthetics, The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age comprises fifteen essays that explore the promises, possibilities, and failures of contemporary participatory media practices as related to power, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring uprisings, worker-owned cooperatives for the post-Internet age; paradoxes of participation, media activism, open source projects; participatory civic life; commercial surveillance; contemporary art and design; and education. This book represents the most comprehensive and transdisciplinary endeavor to date to examine the nature, place, and value of participation in the digital age. Just as in 1979, when Jean-François Lyotard proposed that “the postmodern condition” was characterized by the questioning of historical grand narratives, The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age investigates how participation has become a central preoccupation of our time. Contributors: Mark Andrejevic, Pomona College; Bart Cammaerts, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); Nico Carpentier, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB – Free University of Brussels) and Charles University in Prague; Julie E. Cohen, Georgetown University; Kate Crawford, MIT; Alessandro Delfanti, University of Toronto; Christina Dunbar-Hester, University of Southern California; Rudolf Frieling, California College of Arts and the San Francisco Art Institute; Salvatore Iaconesi, La Sapienza University of Rome and ISIA Design Florence; Jason Edward Lewis, Concordia University; Rafael Lozano-Hemmer; Graham Pullin, University of Dundee; Trebor Scholz, The New School in New York City; Cayley Sorochan, McGill University; Bernard Stiegler, Institute for Research and Innovation in Paris; Krzysztof Wodiczko, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Jillian C. York.
The digital turn in leisure has opened up a vast array of new opportunities to play, learn, participate and be entertained – opportunities that have transformed what we recognise as leisure. This edited collection provides a significant contribution to our changing understanding of digital leisure cultures, reflecting on the socio-historical context within which the digital age emerged, while engaging with new debates about the evolving and controversial role of digital platforms in contemporary leisure cultures. This book also demonstrates the interdisciplinary nature of studying digital leisure cultures. To make sense of how individuals and institutions use digital spaces it is necessary to draw on history, science and technology, philosophy, cultural studies, sociology and geography, as well as sport and leisure studies. This important and timely study discusses both the promise of the digital sphere as a realm of liberation, and the darker side of the internet associated with control, surveillance, exclusion and dehumanisation. Digital Leisure Cultures: Critical perspectives is fascinating reading for any student or scholar of sociology, sport and leisure studies, geography or media studies.
“Building upon his previous empirical critiques, Tom Slee explains how ‘sharing economy’ companies have used feel-good rhetoric to mask illiberal and irresponsible business models.” —Chris Jay Hoofnagle, lecturer in residence; faculty director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology “The Sharing Economy frames its critics as Luddites, bureaucrats and rent-seekers, but Tom Slee is none of these. A thoughtful technologist, Slee paints a well-researched picture of companies that have built up massive market valuations by externalizing their costs and sidestepping regulations designed to protect consumers. This book is clear-eyed and important.” —Sue Gardner, former executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation “Tom Slee's essential new book shows that the sharing economy has very little to do with sharing. Slee uses wit, clarity, and facts to demolish the self-serving mythologies of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and figure out what Uber, Amazon and their kind are really up to.” —Henry Farrell, co-chair, Social Science Research Council's Digital Culture Initiative; professor of political science and international affairs, George Washington University “In this lucid and rigorous book, Tom Slee dismantles the facade of the sharing economy, revealing hidden and often troubling truths about companies like Uber and Airbnb. If you want to understand how internet businesses really operate, What’s Yours Is Mine is the place to start.” —Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows and The Glass Cage “In a field crowded with tech-utopian blowhards and app-happy snake oil salesmen, Tom Slee stands apart. His laser-sharp insights about the real impact of popular start-ups on our livelihoods and communities are the perfect antidote to sharing economy hype. What’s Yours Is Mine is required reading for anyone interested in technology and economic justice.” —Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age The news is full of their names, supposedly the vanguard of a rethinking of capitalism. Lyft, Airbnb, Taskrabbit, Uber, and many more companies have a mandate of disruption and upending the “old order”—and they’ve succeeded in effecting the “biggest change in the American workforce in over a century,” according to former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. But this new wave of technology companies is funded and steered by very old-school venture capitalists. And in What’s Yours Is Mine, technologist Tom Slee argues the so-called sharing economy damages development, extends harsh free-market practices into previously protected areas of our lives, and presents the opportunity for a few people to make fortunes by damaging communities and pushing vulnerable individuals to take on unsustainable risk. Drawing on original empirical research, Slee shows that the friendly language of sharing, trust, and community masks a darker reality.
The members of the Visual Effects Society (VES) make their living creating the stunning visual effects we see on the big and small screen. Though they gain recognition and satisfaction contributing to the mesmerizing effects for movies, TV and games, they're all too frequently bringing someone else's vision to life. VESAGE showcases the art that the VES members create when they're not at work on visual effects. It offers a unique insight into the personal creativity of the people behind some of the most-recognized imagery in the world.