Pau Todó's Reviews > The Digital Condition

The Digital Condition by Felix Stalder
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it was amazing
bookshelves: tech-critisims

This book combines the scale and depth of Manuel Castells's research, with that astonishingly revealing vision of a Zygmunt Bauman.
I've been reading too much bad literature filed under "Tech & Internet" lately. From Adam Alter to Nicolas Carr or Eli Peiser -just to name the celebrities. Then I came across a Swiss professor's blog interested in Digital Commons, and saw that he had also published a book against the usual suspects of the Internet. Where I expected another "j'accuse" against a particular digital device or corporate platform, I found an essay that can be read both, as an academic work on cultural & Internet studies, or as an historical account of the Western culture from the 70s to the present day. Stalder proposes Referenciality, Communality and Algorithmicity as the cultural processes that changed our culture. Those 3 factors take place within post-democratic societies (according Colin Crouch's definition). Once the author defines the terms and explain how do they interplay, we are invited to confront them with the tools and principles of the Digital Commons.
If you made it here, you might also want to know what are those 3 elements.
Referenciality refers to our ability to create new meaning out previous sociocultural material (say, from Dj's to Culture Jammers), Communality are the networked groups based on voluntary action (all the new civic and cultural initiatives using Internet as a context and discourse). Algorithmicity needs no further explanations. Yo can Google it :)
The work of a networked sum of volunteers (the Commons), intensely busy in the creation of new contexts and meanings (through Referenciality) that challenge the old relations of power, enters now in conflict with an elite of technology-determinist "representatives" equipped with the latest algorithms (Algorithmicity) and behavior persuasion systems, offering us startlingly smart cities in exchange of a modest data contribution.
I won't spoil you the end. I do sincerely recommend you to discover it by yourself.

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Reading Progress

February 5, 2018 – Started Reading
February 25, 2018 – Finished Reading
March 1, 2018 – Shelved
March 1, 2018 – Shelved as: tech-critisims

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