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With its infamously packed cars and disciplined commuters, Tokyo's commuter train network is one of the most complex technical infrastructures on Earth. In An Anthropology of the Machine, Michael Fisch provides a nuanced perspective on how Tokyo's commuter train network embodies the lived realities of technology in our modern world. Drawing on his fine-grained knowledge of transportation, work, and everyday life in Tokyo, Fisch shows how fitting into a system that operates on the extreme edge of sustainability can take a physical and emotional toll on a community while also creating a collective way of life--one with unique limitations and possibilities. An Anthropology of the Machine is a creative ethnographic study of the culture, history, and experience of commuting in Tokyo. At the same time, it is a theoretically ambitious attempt to think through our very relationship with technology and our possible ecological futures. Fisch provides an unblinking glimpse into what it might be like to inhabit a future in which more and more of our infrastructure--and the planet itself--will have to operate beyond capacity to accommodate our ever-growing population.
An examination of the relationship between technical objects and culture in contemporary China, drawing on concepts from science and technology studies. Technical objects constrain what users do with them. They are not neutral entities but embody information, choices, values, assumptions, or even mistakes embedded by designers. What happens when a technology is designed in one culture and used in another? What happens, for example, when a Chinese user is confronted by Roman-alphabet-embedded interfaces? In this book, Basile Zimmermann examines the relationship between technical objects and culture in contemporary China, drawing on concepts from science and technology studies (STS). He presents a new theoretical framework for "culture" based on the notions of waves and forms, which provides a powerful descriptive toolkit for technology and culture. The materials Zimmermann uses to develop and illustrate his theoretical arguments come from three groups of case studies about the use of technical devices in today's China. The first and most extensive group consists of observations of electronic music devices in Beijing; the second is a study of a Chinese networking site, "Happy Network"; and the third is a collection of personal, small-scale observations on the way Chinese characters behave when located in alphabet-encoded devices such as mobile phones, web pages, or printed documents. Zimmermann discusses well-known frameworks from STS and combines them with propositions and topics from Chinese studies. Each of the case studies advances his theoretical argument. Zimmermann's account shows how cultural differences can be integrated into STS research, and how sinologists can turn their attention from ancient texts and traditional art to everyday things in present-day China.
Why we complain about communication overload even as we seek new ways to communicate. Our workdays are so filled with emails, instant messaging, and RSS feeds that we complain that there's not enough time to get our actual work done. At home, we are besieged by telephone calls on landlines and cell phones, the beeps that signal text messages, and work emails on our BlackBerrys. It's too much, we cry (or type) as we update our Facebook pages, compose a blog post, or check to see what Shaquille O'Neal has to say on Twitter. In Texture, Richard Harper asks why we seek out new ways of communicating even as we complain about communication overload. Harper describes the mistaken assumptions of developers that "more" is always better and argues that users prefer simpler technologies that allow them to create social bonds. Communication is not just the exchange of information. There is a texture to our communicative practices, manifest in the different means we choose to communicate (quick or slow, permanent or ephemeral).
Biometric technologies, such as finger- or facial-scan, are being deployed across a variety of social contexts in order to facilitate and guarantee identity verification and authentication. In the post-9/11 world, biometric technologies have experienced an extraordinary period of growth as concerns about security and screening have increased. This book analyses biometric systems in terms of the application of biopolitical power a " corporate, military and governmental a " on the human body. It deploys cultural theory in examining the manner in which biometric technologies constitute the body as a target of surveillance and as a data-information object. The book thereby provides a comprehensive overview and critical analysis of both the local and global ramifications of biometric technologies.
New York Times Bestseller 'Fascinating and deeply disturbing' - Yuval Noah Harari, Guardian Books of the Year 'A manual for the 21st-century citizen... accessible, refreshingly critical, relevant and urgent' - Federica Cocco, Financial Times A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life - and threaten to rip apart our social fabric We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives - where we go to school, whether we get a loan, how much we pay for insurance - are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. And yet, as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and incontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort CVs, grant or deny loans, evaluate workers, target voters, and monitor our health. O'Neil calls on modellers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.
How should we understand the personal and social impacts of complex mobility systems? Can lifestyles based around intensive travel, transport and tourism be maintained in the 21st century? What possibility post-carbon lifestyles?
In this provocative study of "life on the move," Anthony Elliott and John Urry explore how complex mobility systems are transforming everyday, ordinary lives. The authors develop their arguments through an analysis of various sectors of mobile lives: networks, new digital technologies, consumerism, the lifestyles of ?globals?, and intimate relationships at-a-distance. Elliott and Urry introduce a range of new concepts ? miniaturized mobilities, affect storage, network capital, meetingness, neighbourhood lives, portable personhood, ambient place, globals ? to capture the specific ways in which mobility systems intersect with mobile lives.
This book represents a novel approach in "post-carbon" social theory. It will be essential reading for advanced undergraduate students, postgraduates and teachers in sociology, social theory, politics, geography, international relations, cultural studies, and economics and business studies.
The authors present a multi-level theory of "Information Worlds" to investigate the ways in which information creates the social worlds of people. Building upon the foundational works of Library and Information Studies (LIS) scholar and theorist Elfreda Chatman and philosopher Jurgen Habermas, as well as from theory and research from a wide range of other fields, the theory of information worlds can serve as a theoretical driver both in LIS studies and across other disciplines that study information issues, enriching and expanding our understanding of the multi-layered role of information in society.
Testing their theory through application to a variety of real-world issues, Burnett and Jaeger tackle the topics of libraries and information provision, the value assigned to information by differing social groups, information access and exchange, international information policies, the role of information in democracy, and technological change. Information Worlds provides a framework for empirical investigations into the fascinating and very real social dimensions of information.
Walk into a classroom in Tokyo, New York, London or Rotterdam, and the similarities in structure, activity, purpose and style will outweigh differences in language, dress and ethnic characteristics. Learning is regulated and rationed, teaching is a process or one-way transmission of knowledge, students need to be docile and conformist, assessment needs to sift and sort the bright from the not-so-bright, and rewards will be given to those who successfully negotiate this regime. But are these the kinds of places that can meet the needs of the `net generation'? The Changing Role of Schools in Asian Societies is concerned with the debate about the nature of modern schooling in Asia. Traditionally schools are historical constructions reflecting the social, economic and political needs of the societies that invest in them. As Asia faces the challenges posed by the `knowledge economy', its schools have taken on a new and quite different importance. This informative book outlines the broad policy contexts in which these transformations are taking place and the practical strategies that are needed to meet this objective. The authors argue that the future of Asian societies depends on a transformation that requires a fundamental restructuring of schools as we know them while maintaining their long-held cultural values. This valuable insight: provides an overview of educational issues in Asian societies establishes a broad theoretical framework in which these issues can be understood contextualizes issues by providing country case studies acknowledges the important role of culture influencing educational priorities. It should be of interest to all those working in education policy and comparative education.
Featuring a moment in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century England before the disciplinary divisions that we inherit today were established, Empiricist Devotions recovers a kind of empiricist thinking in which the techniques and emphases of science, religion, and literature combined and cooperated. This brand of empiricism was committed to particularized scrutiny and epistemological modesty. It was Protestant in its enabling premises and meditative practices. It earnestly affirmed that figurative language provided crucial tools for interpreting the divinely written world. Smith recovers this empiricism in Robert Boyle's analogies, Isaac Newton's metaphors, John Locke's narratives, Joseph Addison's personifications, Daniel Defoe's diction, John Gay's periphrases, and Alexander Pope's descriptive particulars. She thereby demonstrates that ""literary"" language played a key role in shaping and giving voice to the concerns of eighteenth-century science and religion alike. Empiricist Devotions combines intellectual history with close readings of a wide variety of texts, from sermons, devotional journals, and economic tracts to georgic poems, it-narratives, and microscopy treatises. This prizewinning book has important implications for our understanding of cultural and literary history, as scholars of the period's science have not fully appreciated figurative language's central role in empiricist thought, while scholars of its religion and literature have neglected the serious empiricist commitments motivating richly figurative devotional and poetic texts. Winner of the Walker Cowen Memorial Prize for an Outstanding Work of Scholarship in Eighteenth-Century Studies
For nearly a century, the worldwide anthroposophical movement has been a catalyst for environmental activism, helping to bring to life many modern ecological practices such as organic farming, community-supported agriculture, and green banking. Yet the spiritual practice of anthroposophy remains unknown to most environmentalists. A historical and ethnographic study of the environmental movement, Eco-Alchemy uncovers for the first time the profound influences of anthroposophy and its founder, Rudolf Steiner, whose holistic worldview, rooted in esoteric spirituality, inspired the movement. Dan McKanan shows that environmentalism is itself a complex ecosystem and that it would not be as diverse or transformative without the contributions of anthroposophy.
A key question for China, which has for some time been a leading global manufacturing base, is whether China can progress from being a traditional centre of manufacturing to becoming a centre for innovation. In this book, Shang-Ling Jui focuses on China's software industry and examines the complete innovation value chain of software in its key phases of innovation, standards definition, development and marketing. He argues that, except for software development, these key phases are of high added-value and that without adopting the concept of independent innovation as a guiding ideology, China's software enterprises - like India's - would have an uncertain future. In other words, the lack of core competence in the development of China's software industry might restrain the industry from taking the leading position and drive it towards becoming no more than the software workshop of multinationals over the long term. Shang-Ling Jui contends that China's software industry should and can possess its own complete innovation value chain. Having worked in China's software industry for many years, the author provides an inside-out perspective - identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the industry and defining the challenges in China's transition from "Made in China" to "Innovated in China."
Ideal for use as a core or secondary text in lower division social inequalities or social problems courses, this book explains how the changing nature and uses of the Internet not only mirror todaya (TM)s social inequalities, but also are at the heart of how stratification is now taking place.a A pioneering work, both intellectually, and pedagogically.
Recent work in science and technological studies has provided a clearer understanding of the way in which science functions in society and the interconnectedness among different strands of science, policy, economy and environment. It is well acknowledged that a different way of thinking is required in order to address problems facing the global community, particularly in relation to issues of risk and uncertainty, which affect humanity as a whole. However, approaches to education in science tend to perpetuate an outmoded way of thinking that is incommensurable with preparing individuals for participation and decision-making in an uncertain, complex world. Drawing on experiences of interdisciplinary dialogue and practice in a higher education context, this book illustrates how reformulating the agenda in science and technology can have a revolutionary impact on learning and teaching in the classroom at all levels. This exceptional study will interest scholars in Education, Science, Technology, and Society, and those looking to further deliberative democracy and civic participation in their students.
Now in its second edition, Grounding Religion explores relationships between the environment and religious beliefs and practices. Established scholars introduce students to the ways in which religion shapes human-earth relations, surveying a series of questions about how the religious world influences and is influenced by ecological systems. Case studies, discussion questions, and further reading enrich students' experience. This second edition features updated content, including revisions of every chapter and new material on natural disasters, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, climate change, food, technology, and hope and despair. An excellent text for undergraduates and graduates alike, it offers an expansive overview of the academic field of religion and ecology as it has emerged in the past fifty years.
"I want to get at the blown glass of the early cloud chambers and
the oozing noodles of wet nuclear emulsion; to the resounding crack
of a high-voltage spark arcing across a high-tension chamber and
leaving the lab stinking of ozone; to the silent, darkened room,
with row after row of scanners sliding trackballs across projected
bubble-chamber images. Pictures and pulses--I want to know where
they came from, how pictures and counts got to be the bottom-line
data of physics." (from the preface)
The Welfare of Animals used in Research: Practice and Ethics gives a complete and balanced overview of the issues surrounding the use of animals in scientific research. The focus of the book is on the animal welfare implications and ethics of animals in research. It covers the topics with sufficient depth to show a real understanding of varied and complex subjects, but conveys the information in a beautifully reader-friendly manner. Key features: * Provides those who are not working in the field with a reasonable understanding as to why and how animals are used in research. * Gives an introduction to the ethical issues involved in using animals, and explains how these are addressed in practice. * Details the advances in animal welfare and the use and development of the 3Rs principles, and how these have become fundamental to the everyday use and regulation of animals used in research. * The focus is on principles making it suitable for an international audience. This book is a useful introduction to the issues involved in laboratory animal welfare for those who intend to work in research involving animals. It is also useful to prospective animal care staff and animal welfare scientists, and to those involved in ethical review. It will help inform debate amongst those who are not involved in experimentation but who are interested in the issues. Published as a part of the prestigious Wiley-Blackwell UFAW Animal Welfare series. UFAW, founded 1926, is an internationally recognised, independent, scientific and educational animal welfare charity. For full details of all titles available in the series, please visit the
This new text is a detailed study of an important process in modern Indian history. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, India experienced an intellectual renaissance, which owed as much to the influx of new ideas from the West as to traditional religious and cultural insights.
Gosling examines the effects of the introduction of Western science into India, and the relationship between Indian traditions of thought and secular Western scientific doctrine. He charts the early development of science in India, its role in the secularization of Indian society, and the subsequent reassertion, adaptation and rejection of traditional modes of thought. The beliefs of key Indian scientists, including Jagadish Chandra Bose, P.C. Roy and S.N. Bose are explored and the book goes on to reflect upon how individual scientists could still accept particular religious beliefs such as reincarnation, cosmology, miracles and prayer.
Science and the Indian Tradition gives an in-depth assessment of results of the introduction of Western science into India, and will be of interest to scholars of Indian history and those interested in the interaction between Western and Indian traditions of intellectual thought.
Here is a fresh look at how science contributes to the bigger picture of human flourishing, through a collage of science and philosophy, richly illustrated by the authors' own experience and personal reflection. They survey the territory of fundamental physics, machine learning, philosophy of human identity, evolutionary biology, miracles, arguments from design, naturalism, the history of ideas, and more. The natural world can be appreciated not only for itself, but also as an eloquent gesture, a narrative and a pointer beyond itself. Our human journey is not to a theorem or a treatise, but to a meeting which encompasses all our capacities. In this meeting, science is the means to find out about the structure of the physical world of which we are a part, not a means to reduce ourselves and our fellow human beings to mere objects of scrutiny, and still less a means to attempt the utterly futile exercise of trying to do that to God. We have intellectual permission to be open to the notion that God can be trusted and known. The material world encourages an open-hearted reaching out to something more, with a freedom to seek and to be received by what lies beyond the scope of purely impersonal descriptions and attitudes.
Everyone knows that transplantation can save and transform lives, but thousands die every year on waiting lists because there are not enough organs available. If more people could be persuaded to donate, more lives could be saved. But is individual reluctance to donate the root of the problem? Individual choices are made against the background of prevailing laws, conventions and institutions, and many of those present direct or indirect obstacles to organ procurement, from both the living and the dead. If any of those cannot be justified, the deaths they cause are similarly unjustified. In The Ethics of Transplants, Janet Radcliffe Richards, a leading moral philosopher and author of The Sceptical Feminist and Human Nature after Darwin, casts a sharp critical eye over these institutional barriers to organ procurement, and the logic of the arguments offered in their defence. Her incisive reasoning forces us to confront the implications of unexamined intuitions, leads to several unexpected conclusions, and in doing so demonstrates the crucial importance of clear thinking in public debate. Originally published in hardback as The Ethics of Transplants.
You are accused of a crime? Who would you rather decides your future - an algorithm or a human? Before making your decision, bear in mind that the algorithm will always be more consistent, and far less prone to an error of judgement. Then again, at least the human will be able to look you in the eye before determining your fate. How much fairness would you be willing to sacrifice for that human touch? This is just one of the dilemmas we face in the age of the algorithm, where the machine rules supreme, telling us what to watch, where to go, even who to send to prison. As increasingly we rely on them to automate big, important decisions - in crime, healthcare, transport, money - they raise questions that cut to the heart of what we want our society to look like, forcing us to decide what matters most. Is helping doctors to diagnose patients more or less important than preserving our anonymity? Should we prevent people from becoming victims of crime, or protect innocent people from being falsely accused? Hannah Fry takes us on a tour through the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us. In Hello World she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations, and examines whether they really are an improvement on the human systems they replace.
From Ancient Greece onwards, humans have been swept up in a race to replicate and rebuild themselves. We design automatons that mimic human functions or improve on them, born from a desire to take evolution into our own hands, or even play God. In fact, every form of cultural expression has at some point investigated the rich and stimulating field of robotics, reaching different conclusions and outcomes every time. Robots have infiltrated our social consciousness. They are everywhere, from Leonardo da Vinci's drummer robot to the futurist man-machine; from Frankenstein to the works of Isaac Asimov and Philip Dick, inventor of the 'replicant'; from Edward Gordon Craig's theory of the actor as a super-puppet to Daft Punk and Kraftwerk, the krautrock band who used replica mannequins of themselves at the end of their concert. It doesn't end there, either. Robots feature heavily in cinema (Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, and George Lucas's Star Wars saga, to name a few). They star in innumerable comic strips and cartoons (from Astro Boy to Marvel comics and Japanese manga). Fields like design, architecture and fashion, where creativity encounters industry, turned the robot into a commodity rather than a character. 'Robot' became a style in itself: kitsch and chic, fun and futuristic. Nowadays, when laptops, tablets and smartphones, the robots of the contemporary age, are in every house, car and pocket, the tin-and-steel robots of yesteryear have acquired an irresistibly vintage flavour, which makes them all the more desirable. Robot: A Visual Atlas from Ancient Greece to Artificial Intelligence appreciates this rich variety. Through tracking the conceptual development of the robot through western cultural history, it uncovers the roots of our fascination with artificial humanity.
Electrifying, provocative, and controversial when first published thirty years ago, Donna Haraway's "Cyborg Manifesto"is even more relevant today, when the divisions that she so eloquently challenges-of human and machine but also of gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and location-are increasingly complex. The subsequent "Companion Species Manifesto,"which further questions the human-nonhuman disjunction, is no less urgently needed in our time of environmental crisis and profound polarization.Manifestly Haraway brings together these momentous manifestos to expose the continuity and ramifying force of Haraway's thought, whose significance emerges with engaging immediacy in a sustained conversation between the author and her long-term friend and colleague Cary Wolfe. Reading cyborgs and companion species through and with each other, Haraway and Wolfe join in a wide-ranging exchange on the history and meaning of the manifestos in the context of biopolitics, feminism, Marxism, human-nonhuman relationships, making kin, literary tropes, material semiotics, the negative way of knowing, secular Catholicism, and more.The conversation ends by revealing the early stages of Haraway's "Chthulucene Manifesto,"in tension with the teleologies of the doleful Anthropocene and the exterminationist Capitalocene. Deeply dedicated to a diverse and robust earthly flourishing, Manifestly Haraway promises to reignite needed discussion in and out of the academy about biologies, technologies, histories, and still possible futures.
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