STS.008 Technology and Experience
Professor Dwaipayan Banerjee
How have computers changed the way we experience ourselves and others? What role have these machines played in shaping cultures, politics, ethics and rights? This semester, we will focus on how the rise of the computer-machine as a powerful force that is shaping and shaped by human experience. We will trace its early history and explore how it has changed in meaning, use and scope. We will then examine contemporary controversies about computers to understand their potential and limits. Some of the questions we will ask are as follows: What are the ethics of big data, what does it know and why, and who really owns it? Has automation changed human labor for better or for worse? What impact do social media platforms like Facebook have on our political situation? What do robots and AI teach us about ourselves as human beings? Where do we draw the line between personal privacy and global security in the post 9/11 world? What role do ‘hacktivists’ play in expanding political and human rights? And how do different cultures across the world inflect our use and experience of computing technologies?