Algorithmic Selves: Sensor Technology and the Mediation of Sentience

12 Oct 2017
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

Natasha Schüll
Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

Having long employed technology to record, reflect upon, and regulate bodily processes, daily rhythms, moods, and even moral states, over the past decade humans have increasingly turned to microcomputational sensors and digital algorithms to manage these aspects of existence. Enthusiasts argue that the technology transcends the myopic vantage of real-time experience and takes the guesswork out of everyday life, supplementing users’ shortsighted perspective with a continuous, informatic mode of knowing (or “cyborg epistemology,” to invoke a term from the field of AI) that finds truth in the scattered points, correlations, and cumulative accretions of big data. Some users of the technology claim it affords them a “sixth sense,” a “datasense,” “digital insight,” or even acts as “a new sense organ.” As actions and states feed into data streams, so data streams feed into actions and states, becoming a vital aspect of felt experience even as it eludes the conscious grasp of human cognition. This talk explores how wearable sensor technology might be altering the terms of human sentience, focusing on self-trackers’ experience—and experiments—with mood-modulating devices and apps.

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Berkeley Center for New Media • CSTMS

Other Events of Interest