Research Seminar May 20th: Orit Halpern - The "Smartness" Mandate: Infrastructure, Responsive Environments, and Ubiquitous Computing

Research Seminar May 20th: Orit Halpern - The "Smartness" Mandate: Infrastructure, Responsive Environments, and Ubiquitous Computing. The seminar will take place in Gilman 449 at 18:00.

13 May 2019

Orit Halpern 

Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Concordia University 

The "Smartness" Mandate: Infrastructure, Responsive Environments, and Ubiquitous Computing

Today, growing concerns with climate change, energy scarcity, security, and economic collapse have turned the focus of urban planners, investors, and governments towards “infrastructure” as a site of value production and potential salvation from a world consistently defined by catastrophes and “crisis”. This talk will interrogate the different forms of futurity and life that are currently emerging from this complex contemporary relationship between technology and design by engaging in a genealogy of "smartness" ranging from cybernetic ideas of machine learning in the late 1950's to early efforts to integrate computing into design at MIT in the Architecture Machine Group in the 1970's to contemporary greenfield "smart" developments in South Korea, India, and Abu Dhabi. In doing so, the talk will ask how these contemporary practices are shaping the design of large scale infrastructures, making certain forms of life vulnerable and sacrificable and producing our imaginaries of the future of life.

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