The Human Builds the Machine but Ought Not to Become It

In certain types of engineering practices, there’s this idea that the computer and mathematics itself are sort of  a-cultural. That they only exist in their own technical and formal world. Every computer system is built within a social and historical context of its time.

~Professor Fox Harrell

Last year, I delved into work and research of Professor Fox Harrell. He runs the Imagination, Computation, and Expression Laboratory (ICE) Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Click here for an introduction to the ICE lab.

The lab’s most recent work is the AIR Project, which stands for Advanced Identity Representation. This particular project looks at the ways in which end users can actively create a richer, dynamic identity within the virtual world. I’m oversimplifying here but I highly encourage you to visit the project site to read immerse yourself in the details. Although his work is based on computation and artificial intelligence (AI), the focus is on the human condition and our (virtual) interactions. This type of new media art helps shed light on the way we behave, perceive, and inevitably mesh and mold into identities we have created for ourselves. More to follow…

Currently reading: Toward a Theory of Critical Computing: The Case of Social Identity Representation in Digital Media Applications by Dr. Fox Harrell 

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