May 30, 2024  
Catalogue 2024-2025 
    
Catalogue 2024-2025
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STS 236 - Digital Lives


1 unit(s)
We begin with a brief history of dIgital technologies, the emergence of the Internet and its “invasion” by BigTech-controlled commercial and social platforms. We examine the automation of work: from robotics to artificial intelligence (AI) with outcomes such as “Gigification” of employment, precarity as the new normal and a platform capitalism often driven by algorithmic management. We explore Silicon Valley generated technological solutionism and grapple with the question - will AI replace humans in a “work-less” world? We also look at  “surveillance” capitalism that relies on data extraction-based business models, data profiling and targeted advertising.  We assess the privacy, security and data related regulations and the issues relating to fairness and ethical AI. At the cultural level we focus on the contemporary age of distractions, especially the ecology of “New” Media: influencers, the attention economy, the “Metaverse”, dIsinformation and fake news, “virtual” addictions, and the loss of deep learning. We look at the impact of “digital’ on politics: social/ideological polarization, data-based political targeting, democratic backsliding, state repression and the rise of authoritarian/populist regimes. We also explore the fightback: from digital literacy to the broader movements to take the Internet “back”; the new unionism and struggle for legal protections.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2024/25.

Course Format: CLS



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