Categories
digital rhetoric

ChatGPT and the model of understanding

Writing a post analyzing the moral panic surrounding the latest digital media technology is nearly as boring as participating in the moral panic itself. Let’s not worry too much about ChatGPT. In a decade it will probably seem as quaint as Clippy. So I’ve got a tangent here and this Harry Potter-esque post title. I’ll […]

Categories
digital rhetoric

the volumetric capture of agency

The FIFA World Cup has had a recent habit of introducing new media technologies into the sporting world. That’s not surprising given its status as a global spectacle. Given the many controversial aspects of this year’s event in Qatar, the introduction of the “semi-automated video assistant referee” is relatively mild. However, it’s an excellent example […]

Categories
Assemblage Theory digital rhetoric Posthumanism

the ends of posthuman computer vision

There’s a 2004 video interview of Katherine Hayles conducted by Arthur Kroker for C-Theory, where she discusses How We Became Posthuman, Writing Machines, and My Mother was a Computer. Her 1999 book traces the posthuman back to the beginnings of computers and cybernetics. Considered differently though, posthuman theory as we encounter it gets some start […]

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Assemblage Theory digital rhetoric

on pining for virtual fjords

Following up on Ted Underwood’s recent post on the recent article “On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big?” So yes my post title is a joke, but in my defense, they started it. Very briefly put, this is a conversation about natural language processing. NLP is about the nonhuman-computational processing […]

Categories
Books digital rhetoric

book publishing in a time of pandemics

I’m reviewing the copyedited version of my book manuscript (still well on pace for a Jan 2022 publication), and I’m thinking of adding a paragraph like the one below, either to the preface or introduction. Probably the preface since that bit has a more personal register. Basically it’s about the fact that the book was […]

Categories
digital rhetoric Posthumanism

the ethical obligations of social media

There are no categorical imperatives requiring the use of social media in any way. I.e., we are not under any universal obligation to use social media. We should probably start there. At the other end of the spectrum, I don’t believe it is controversial to assert that social media platforms (and their corporate owners) seek […]

Categories
digital rhetoric Higher Education Rhetoric/Composition

building writing programs: 15(ish) years in (and done)

By the end of this month, I will finish my two-year stint as WAC director at UB. As I am now in Media Study, I don’t anticipate running a “writing program” again. Before that, for seven years I was the WPA in the UB English department and spent three years running a graduate certificate professional […]

Categories
Current Affairs digital rhetoric

speech, freedom, and the crunchy frogs of social media platforms

The removal of Trump from various social media platforms has been big news, as is the de-platforming of Parler by Apple, Google, and Amazon. There’s a lot of conversation about this in relation to the first amendment. I’m not a constitutional law expert, so I’m not going to focus here on the strictly legal aspect. […]

Categories
Assemblage Theory digital rhetoric

user populations and the capacities of smartphones

In the new materialist approach I take up, all assemblages (i.e. all people, groups of people, animals, plants, things, objects, etc.) have properties, tendencies, and capacities. Properties are singular and historical. For example, my smartphone (an iPhone XS) has its own unique history. To butcher a line, “there are many iPhones but this one is […]

Categories
digital rhetoric

media archeology is ordinary

Yes, it’s a play on Raymond Williams. Of course he was mostly suggesting that “Culture” was not solely the territory of a particular well-educated and wealthy class of Brits. Cultural studies was and is a highly technical and esoteric set of theories, methods, and discourses, and the apparatuses of the culture industry are elitist and […]