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Is Digital Culture Responsible for Post-Truth Politics?

I’m going to argue today that even while we know post-truth pol­i­tics is hav­ing a ter­ri­ble effect on our polit­i­cal cul­ture and our role as cit­i­zens, it’s curi­ous­ly dif­fi­cult to com­bat it because of a set of beliefs about what pol­i­tics is, and about the Internet and the way it enables ordi­nary peo­ple to have a voice. And the­se beliefs inter­sect with a pre­vail­ing anti-intellectual anti-elitism which asso­ciates knowl­edge, dis­cern­ment, and truth with snob­bery and pow­er.

Media, Technology & Culture 1.1: Messages about the Medium

We’re going to talk at length about new media. And in our first few install­ments we’re going to begin by think­ing for a bit about what makes a medi­um new.

Douglas Rushkoff WebVisions Portland 2016 Keynote

Google just has to grow. It has to keep grow­ing. But Google grows at its own per­il. Google grew so much that what hap­pened? It out­grew Google. Google had to become what? Alphabet. Now what is Alphabet? Alphabet is not Google. Alphabet is a hold­ing com­pa­ny. So Google’s new busi­ness as Alphabet is to do what? It’s to buy and sell tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies. So, once a com­pa­ny becomes just too big to flip any­more, it becomes a flip­per of oth­er com­pa­nies.

Biased Data Panel Discussion

I think that we need a rad­i­cal design change. And I might ask if I were teach­ing an HCI class or design class with you, I would say, How are you going to design this so that not one life is lost?” What if that were the design imper­a­tive rather than what’s your IPO going to be?

Fran Allen Keynote, Grace Hopper Celebration 2008

What I believe is that com­put­er sci­ence emerged as a sci­ence, as a pro­fes­sion, with all the require­ments on what pro­fes­sion­al stan­dards and require­ments of what one need­ed to know to get a job in the field. […] In that peri­od, then, cre­den­tials were estab­lished, and by the ear­ly 70s things had real­ly changed for wom­en, at least in my envi­ron­ment, and most oth­er groups that I’ve talked to about this the­o­ry absolute­ly agree that that was where there was a sig­nif­i­cant shift.

Haunted Machines Afternoon Panel

The whole point of myth is that it’s just the kind of ambi­ent stuff of cul­ture that you can reach out and do what­ev­er you need to do with. Yes, it means things, sort of, it has dis­po­si­tions, it has ten­den­cies, but you could rewrite all of that.

Wizards, Mystics, Gods & Monsters

As any work­ing mage knows, the first thing that hap­pens when you bring up a lot of pow­er is that you have to fig­ure out how you’re going to chan­nel it. Now ide­al­ly, if you’re not an idiot, you fig­ure that out before you bring the pow­er up. Unfortunately this is Silicon Valley we’re talk­ing about, so that’s real­ly not on the table.

Esoteric Content

So the kind of tech­nolo­gies that get made are not nec­es­sar­i­ly very excit­ing. It’s some­thing that [Alexis] Madrigal of The Atlantic said, the­se tech­nolo­gies that are com­ing out of the­se star­tups, they’re nice, they’re cheap, they’re fun. And they’re about as world-changing as anoth­er vari­a­tion of beer pong. This is not big, rad­i­cal change.

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