In the early years of the twenty-first century, the visionaries of Silicon Valley offered a new spin on techno-optimism. Our world may not be perfect now, they claimed, but it is perfectible—we just need to optimize for the right variable. Cut to the present, where optimized and optimizing technologies have given rise to ubiquitous surveillance, viral snake oil, poisoned politics, media mirages, dark patterns, doomscrolling, and deepfakes.
The After Optimization Speaker Series brings together six leading scholars to help us unpack our suboptimal present—and to give us insight into how we can rethink the future. Across four seminars, our speakers raise pressing questions: Why do we expect technology to fix poverty? How can citizens participate in the politics of smart cities? How do we clean up a media ecosystem made toxic? And how did we end up with a communication system steeped in manipulation?
Tue, Sep 28, 2021 12:00 PM
Daniel Greene – Book Talk: The Promise of Access
More info and registration at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/169141652235
Thu, Oct 14, 2021 12:00 PM
Alison Powell – Book talk: Undoing Optimization
More info and registration at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/169155280999
Tue, Nov 9, 2021 12:00 PM
Whitney Phillips and Ryan Milner – Book talk: You are Here
More info and registration at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/169157636043
Thu, Dec 2, 2021 12:00 PM
Robert Gehl and Sean Lawson – Book talk: You are Here
More info and registration at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/169161240825
The After Optimization Speaker Series is run by the Algorithmic Media Observatory and the Machine Agencies based out of the Speculative Life Cluster at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University in Montreal.