Apple Watch and the Quantified Self

Posted on September 9, 2014 in Infernal Machine
This may sound crazy, but what's the difference between tracking your daily prayer life with an app and doing so with another set of repeatable instructions, such as the Benedictine Rule and its set of daily readings and reminders to ponder God?
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Big Data, Small Data, and the Ethics of Scale

Posted on September 17, 2014 in Infernal Machine
If we think of Facebook and Google and the computations in which we are enmeshed merely as information-processing machines, we concede our world to one end of the scale, a world of abstracted big data and all powerful algorithms. We forget that the internet, like any technology, is both a material infrastructure and something we do.
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Quit Lit: Do the Humanities Need the University?

Posted on September 19, 2014 in Infernal Machine
We have a difficult time imagining the future of the humanities beyond the anxieties of professors and the failures of university administrators. And when we invoke the humanities, we are actually speaking about a beleaguered and exhausted profession. There are only professors and their disciplines here. And they both are trapped, as Nietzsche would say, in a "castrated" passive tense: "The humanities are compelled . . .." There are no agents in this drama, just put upon, passive professors.
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Cultural Critics vs. Social Scientists—They Both Stink

Posted on September 22, 2014 in Infernal Machine
We need to think more about the process of cultural modeling. How do we model a cultural subset through a data set (a generation, contemporary television), and how do we model a cultural practice or concept through a particular measurement? These aren’t easy questions, but they are the prerequisite for correcting against the journalistic just-so stories of cultural criticism.
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