The Future of Media Studies: After the Algorithmic Turn – William Uricchio
In order to imagine a future, sometimes it’s useful to look back on the past, and the early history of the book offers a great jumping off point to consider how societies adjust to new information platforms and dynamics. The printed word offered ways for users to depart from their earlier relationships to texts, ushering in a characteristically modern mode of media use. Today, some 500 years later, emergent algorithmic systems promise another such paradigm shift. I’d like to use the algorithmically enabled condition of recursiveness to tease out new possibilities for the subject-text relationship, speculate about their social implications, and consider what this might mean as media studies moves into the future.
William Uricchio is Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT, where he’s also Principal Investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab, and Professor of Comparative Media History at Utrecht University. His research focuses on the early phases of various media forms both as technologies and social practices, tracing the processes by which affordances are embraced, forgotten, or deferred to subsequent media forms. He has written extensively on 19th Century television, early film, and immersive technologies from the panorama to VR to AR and other locative media, and his publications can be found at http://williamuricchio.com