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Paul Dourish: Examining AI and Data Platforms through the Lens of Digital Materialities

Digital materialities extend beyond the “brute materiality” of wires, servers, and heat. Software elements have their materialities too, and examining the material configurations of computation and representation shows how their constraints are entwined with computational practice. I will use this lens to examine the practices of data-driven AI. Thinking in terms of the specificities of material arrangements highlights mutually reinforcing arrangements of technological and corporate concentration and reframes our understandings of both the temporalities and the spatialities of contemporary AI.

Paul Dourish is Chancellor's Professor of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at UC Irvine, with courtesy appointments in Computer Science and Anthropology. He is also an Honorary Professorial Fellow in Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. His research focuses primarily on understanding information technology as a site of social and cultural production; his work combines topics in human-computer interaction, social informatics, and science and technology studies. He is the author of several books, most recently "The Stuff of Bits: An Essay on the Materialities of Information" (MIT Press, 2017). He is a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the BCS, a member of the SIGCHI Academy, and a recipient of the AMIA Diana Forsythe Award and the CSCW Lasting Impact Award. Before coming to UCI, he was a Senior Member of Research Staff in the Computer Science Laboratory of Xerox PARC; he has also held research positions at Apple Computer and at Rank Xerox EuroPARC. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University College, London, and a B.Sc. (Hons) in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh.

Sponsored by the Platform Economies Reading Group and the Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies at the New School for Social Research.


Paul Dourish: Examining AI and Data Platforms through the Lens of Digital Materialities

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