We are living in algorithmic times.
From machine learning and artificial intelligence to blockchain or simpler news-feed filtering, automated systems can transform the social world in ways that are just starting to be imagined.
Redefining these emergent technologies as the new systems of knowing, pioneering scholar David Beer examines the acute tensions they create and how they are changing what is known and what is knowable. Drawing on cases ranging from the art market and the smart home through to financial tech, AI patents and neural networks, he develops key concepts for understanding the framing, envisioning and implementation of algorithms.
This book will be of interest to anyone who is concerned with the rise of algorithmic thinking and the way it permeates society.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere, yet it causes damage to society in ways that can’t be fixed. Instead of helping to address our current crises, AI causes divisions that limit people’s life chances, and even suggests fascistic solutions to social problems. This book provides an analysis of AI’s deep learning technology and its political effects and traces the ways that it resonates with contemporary political and social currents, from global austerity to the rise of the far right.
Dan McQuillan calls for us to resist AI as we know it and restructure it by prioritising the common good over algorithmic optimisation. He sets out an anti-fascist approach to AI that replaces exclusions with caring, proposes people’s councils as a way to restructure AI through mutual aid and outlines new mechanisms that would adapt to changing times by supporting collective freedom.
Academically rigorous, yet accessible to a socially engaged readership, this unique book will be of interest to all who wish to challenge the social logic of AI by reasserting the importance of the common good.
The concept of transhumanism emerged in the middle of the 20th century, and has influenced discussions around AI, brain–computer interfaces, genetic technologies and life extension. Despite its enduring influence in the public imagination, a fully developed philosophy of transhumanism has not yet been presented.
In this new book, leading philosopher Stefan Lorenz Sorgner explores the critical issues that link transhumanism with digitalization, gene technologies and ethics. He examines the history and meaning of transhumanism and asks bold questions about human perfection, cyborgs, genetically enhanced entities, and uploaded minds.
Offering insightful reflections on values, norms and utopia, this will be an important guide for readers interested in contemporary digital culture, gene ethics, and policy making.
Environmental justice aspires to a healthy environment for all, as well as fair and inclusive processes of environmental decision-making. In order to develop successful strategies to achieve this, it is important to understand the factors that shape environmental justice outcomes. This optimistic, accessible and wide-ranging book contributes to this understanding by assessing the extent of, and reasons for, environmental justice/injustice in seven diverse countries - United States, Republic of Korea (South Korea), United Kingdom, Sweden, China, Bolivia and Cuba. Factors discussed include: race and class discrimination; citizen power; industrialisation processes; political-economic context; and the influence of dominant environmental discourses. In particular, the role of capitalism is critically explored. Based on over a hundred interviews with politicians, experts, activists and citizens of these countries, this is a compelling analysis aimed at all academics, policy-makers and campaigners who are engaged in thinking or action to address the most urgent environmental and social issues of our time.
Social media platforms hold vast amounts of biographical data about our lives. They repackage our past content as ‘memories’ and deliver them back to us. But how does that change the way we remember?
Drawing on original qualitative research as well as industry documents and reports, this book critically explores the process behind this new form of memory making. In asking how social media are beginning to change the way we remember, it will be essential reading for scholars and students who are interested in understanding the algorithmically defined spaces of our lives.
This informed and lively book offers a timely analysis of the UK government’s sustainable - or subsequently ‘integrated’ - transport policy 10 years after the publication of “A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone”. Written by prominent transport experts and with a foreword by Christian Wolmar, the book identifies the modest successes and, sadly, the far more significant failures in government policy over the last decade. The authors also uncover why it has proved so difficult to adopt a more sustainable approach to transport and break Britain’s love-affair with the car.
The book reviews the links between the idea of sustainability and transport policy, and provides an up-to-the-minute analysis of the political realities surrounding the delivery of a sustainable transport agenda in the UK. It picks up on the principal components of “A New Deal for Transport” and evaluates to what extent these have, or haven’t, been delivered in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The contributors analyse why delivering sustainable transport policies seems to present particular difficulties to ministers across the UK, and considers the UK’s experience in an international perspective. The book draws lessons from the last 10 years in order to better inform future policy development.
“Traffic Jam” is an indispensable analysis of the difficulties involved in turning policy ideals into practical reality, and as such will be of interest to scholars, students, planners, policy analysts and policy makers.
Critically assessing growth-based models of innovation policy, this enlightening study sparks new debate on the role and nature of responsible innovation.
Drawing on insights from economics, politics, and science and technology studies, it proposes the concept of ‘responsible stagnation’ as an expansion of present discussions about growth, degrowth, responsibility and innovation within planetary limitations.
This important intervention explores real-world relationships between the political economy, innovation policy and concepts of responsibility, and will be an invaluable resource for individuals and civil society organizations who seek to promote responsible innovation.
People often believe that we can overcome the profound environmental and climate crises we face by smart systems, green innovations and more recycling. However, the quest for complex technological solutions, which rely on increasingly exotic and scarce materials, makes this unlikely.
A best-seller in France, this English language edition introduces readers to an alternative perspective on how we should be marshalling our resources to preserve the planet and secure our future. Bihouix skilfully goes against the grain to argue that ‘high’ technology will not solve global problems and envisages a different approach to build a more resilient and sustainable society.
Is it possible to tackle waste by recycling, reusing and reducing consumption on an individual level alone?
This provocative book critically analyses the widespread narrative around waste as a ‘household’ issue.
Expert scholar Myra J. Hird uncovers neoliberal capitalism’s fallacy of infinite growth as the real culprit and shows how industry and local governments work in tandem to deflect attention away from the real causes of our global waste crisis.
Hird offers crucial insights on the relations between waste and wider societal issues such as poverty, racism, sexism, Indigeneity, decolonisation and social justice, showcasing how sociology can contribute to a ‘public imagination’ of waste.
The word ‘data’ has entered everyday conversation, but do we really understand what it means? How can we begin to grasp the scope and scale of our new data-rich world, and can we truly comprehend what is at stake?
In Data Lives, renowned social scientist Rob Kitchin explores the intricacies of data creation and charts how data-driven technologies have become essential to how society, government and the economy work.
Creatively blending scholarly analysis, biography and fiction, he demonstrates how data are shaped by social and political forces, and the extent to which they influence our daily lives.
He reveals our data world to be one of potential danger, but also of hope.