Roberto Simanowski

Roberto Simanowski is a scholar of media and cultural studies and the author of Digital Art and Meaning, Data Love, Facebook Society, Waste: A New Media Primer, andThe Death Algorithm and Other Digital Dilemmas (the last two published by the MIT Press).

  • The Death Algorithm and Other Digital Dilemmas

    The Death Algorithm and Other Digital Dilemmas

    Roberto Simanowski

    Provocative takes on cyberbullshit, smartphone zombies, instant gratification, the traffic school of the information highway, and other philosophical concerns of the Internet age.

    In The Death Algorithm and Other Digital Dilemmas, Roberto Simanowski wonders if we are on the brink of a society that views social, political, and ethical challenges as technological problems that can be fixed with the right algorithm, the best data, or the fastest computer. For example, the “death algorithm ” is programmed into a driverless car to decide, in an emergency, whether to plow into a group of pedestrians, a mother and child, or a brick wall. Can such life-and-death decisions no longer be left to the individual human?

    In these incisive essays, Simanowski asks us to consider what it means to be living in a time when the president of the United States declares the mainstream media to be an enemy of the people—while Facebook transforms the people into the enemy of mainstream media. Simanowski describes smartphone zombies (or “smombies”) who remove themselves from the physical world to the parallel universe of social media networks; calls on Adorno to help parse Trump's tweeting; considers transmedia cannibalism, as written text is transformed into a postliterate object; compares the economic and social effects of the sharing economy to a sixteen-wheeler running over a plastic bottle on the road; and explains why philosophy mat become the most important element in the automotive and technology industries.

    • Paperback $18.95
  • Waste

    Waste

    A New Media Primer

    Roberto Simanowski

    On Facebook and fake news, selfies and self-consciousness, selling our souls to the Internet, and other aspects of the digital revolution.

    With these engaging and provocative essays, Roberto Simanowski considers what new media has done to us. Why is digital privacy being eroded and why does society seem not to care? Why do we escape from living and loving the present into capturing, sharing and liking it? And how did we arrive at a selfie society without self-consciousness?

    Simanowski, who has been studying the Internet and social media since the 1990s, goes deeper than the conventional wisdom. For example, on the question of Facebook's responsibility for the election of Donald Trump, he argues that the problem is not the “fake news” but the creation of conditions that make people susceptible to fake news. The hallmark of the Internet is its instantaneousness, but, Simanowski cautions, speed is the enemy of depth. On social media, he says, “complex arguments are jettisoned in favor of simple slogans, text in favor of images, laborious explorations at understanding the world and the self in favor of amusing banalities, deep engagement in favor of the click.” Simanowski wonders if we have sold our soul to Silicon Valley, as Faust sold his to the Devil; credits Edward Snowden for making privacy a news story; looks back at 1984, 1984, and Apple's famous sledgehammer commercial; and considers the shitstorm, mapping waves of Internet indignation—including one shitstorm that somehow held Adidas responsible for the killing of dogs in Ukraine. “Whatever gets you through the night,” sang John Lennon in 1974. Now, Simanowski says, it's Facebook that gets us through the night; and we have yet to grasp the implications of this.

    • Paperback $17.95

Contributor

  • Throughout

    Throughout

    Art and Culture Emerging with Ubiquitous Computing

    Ulrik Ekman

    Leading media scholars consider the social and cultural changes that come with the contemporary development of ubiquitous computing.

    Ubiquitous computing and our cultural life promise to become completely interwoven: technical currents feed into our screen culture of digital television, video, home computers, movies, and high-resolution advertising displays. Technology has become at once larger and smaller, mobile and ambient. In Throughout, leading writers on new media—including Jay David Bolter, Mark Hansen, N. Katherine Hayles, and Lev Manovich—take on the crucial challenges that ubiquitous and pervasive computing pose for cultural theory and criticism.

    The thirty-four contributing researchers consider the visual sense and sensations of living with a ubicomp culture; electronic sounds from the uncanny to the unremarkable; the effects of ubicomp on communication, including mobility, transmateriality, and infinite availability; general trends and concrete specificities of interaction designs; the affectivity in ubicomp experiences, including performances; context awareness; and claims on the “real” in the use of such terms as “augmented reality” and “mixed reality.”

    • Hardcover $58.00