Technology & Society | NYU Steinhardt Department of Media, Culture, and Communication

Those of us in the department who study
the topic of Technology and Society we all consider from different disciplinary
backgrounds and different research topics the question of how technology shapes and is shaped by social worlds. The book project I’m currently working on, which I’m tentatively calling Keeping Track looks at the rise of digital self-tracking technologies the most popular that would
come to mind would be Fitbit and apps to remind us when we’re thirsty, and even
banking programs where we can keep track of the way that we spend money, or I’m
wearing a ring right now and this keeps track of my sleep and gives me a
readiness score for every day. And my interest in looking at these
technologies is how they’re bringing about new modes of self introspection
how we understand and reflect on ourselves and also how we regulate
ourselves and invite devices and algorithms to participate in that
regulation. Some of my colleagues approach the question of technology and society from very different vantage points. For instance Erica Robles-Anderson, she’s trained both as a historian and a psychologist, and her forthcoming book considers how media is used in megachurches in different ways
to produce a collective experience and a public space. One of our newest faculty
members Angela Wu studies the internet in China so she looks at censorship as
well as public opinion polls and how those are conducted in new ways using
algorithms and digital surveillance. One of her most interesting current research projects is about the social credit score in China, and how people are constantly
being rated and rating each other to develop a sort of score for their social
value or social worth.

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