I spent most of the past winter and spring writing. I’m happy to report that two pieces of work from that time are now out in the world. The first, for Deep Dives, a digital imprint by Point of View (an organisation I worked with way back in the day), is titled You Auto-complete Me: Romancing the Bot. It emerges from my work over the past year on AI and affective computing (for Transmediale, and an academic and cultural symposium at the HKW in April, called Life Forms). This non-academic, personal essay was a lot of fun to work on; not only did it allow me to write ‘outside’ of academic norms, but it also challenged me to write about computational topics for a diverse and general audience. This has always been important to me as someone whose practice has been embedded across different communities. And, how do you tell compelling stories about technology? I think there might be space to write in strong and sophisticated ways inside academia too (at least I am gambling on there being a place for this! We will know soon! )
The second essay, Tipping the Scale: Notes on the Topologies of Big Data Platforms (opens as .pdf directly), was commissioned by IT For Change, a Bangalore-based technology policy and research organisation, as part of a series called Platform Politick. Platform Politick accompanies the organisation’s fascinating new body of work about platformization from the South. In this essay I address scale as a feature, and aspiration of, big data platforms. How does the demand for big data platforms to be more contextually sensitive and aware square off against their ambitions to scale? How does accountability work when most mechanisms for accountability are scaled to fit particular situations and do not necessarily address the vastness of platforms? So, I tried to think through how scale forces us to rethink what platforms are, what they mean, and how to regulate them.
What’s next: one more essay waiting to be published; and another one in the works….