Finally finished the syllabus for my brand-spanking-new class!
The “network” is the 21st century’s most popular metaphor, used to describe relationships, economies, the movement of people and goods around the globe, technological infrastructures, and politics. In this class, we will delve into the relationship between networked digital technologies (social media, video games, server farms, gig economy apps like Uber, etc.); networked logistics, finances, and labor; and the ways we think about ourselves, our communities, our careers, our possessions and our futures. Specifically, this semester we will be using amazon.com, the world’s biggest retailer (and most valuable US company), to examine the impact of digital and communication technologies on labor, supply chains, publishing, retail, urban planning, web hosting, infrastructures, and gaming, to name but a few.
The goal of this seminar is to provide participants with a set of critical and theoretical tools to interpret the complexity of everyday life—from algorithms to big data to the internet of things. We will do a lot of reading, try out a variety of new networked technologies, and debate their ethical ramifications in class, culminating in a series of podcasts on technology and society. This class is a great fit for sci-fi nerds, Black Mirror fans, social media gurus, gamers, tech enthusiasts, or anyone who likes thinking deeply about the impacts of technology locally and globally.