#TTTT (The Turns Technology Takes, October 27, 2018):

Are you thinking of going back to paradise? Does technology exist, autonomously, without us? Is it the new vector ruling the world? Where did the idea of newness come from? Does technology come (more) from arts & crafts than science? Do both socialism and capitalism go together with technology? Was Industrial Revolution science driven? Might religious change drive technology? Similarly, do new technologies change social relations? How is organic evolution different from the technological? Are hybridization and differentiation possibilities much greater in technology? What does not change? Do we need a ‘Darwin of machines’? Is there always a gap between the users’ tactics and the engineers’ strategy? Can technology make us ‘stupid’? However, is technology neither good, nor bad, nor neutral? How did acoustics go from the paradigm of music to engineering? Are wars the mother of all inventions? Can technology be forgotten? Must there be more social actors? What is the future – Will we still have hammers? Would we blow ourselves up? Will the digital and genetic come together? &, would we have a new ‘model’ of dog every week? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from economics (Prof. Praveen Jha, JNU, New Delhi), media studies & semiotics (Dr. Carlos Alberto Scolari, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona), & history of science (Dr. Roland Wittje, IIT Madras, Chennai).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TTTT show.

Prof. Praveen Jha (economics) is a Professor at Centre of Economic Studies and Planning (CESP) and an Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. His research interests include political economy of development, with particular reference to labour, agriculture, natural resources, public finance, education, and history of economic thought. Prof. Jha completed his B.A. (Economics) from St. Stephen’s College (University of Delhi), and then completed his M.A. & Ph.D. in Economics from CESP, JNU. Before JNU, he also taught at St. Stephen’s College and Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (Mussoorie). Prof. Jha has also been held Honorary Visiting Professor positions at the Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies (Harare, Zimbabwe), Rhodes University (South Africa), and University of Kassel (Germany). He has published/co-edited 13 books & monographs. Two of his recently co-edited works are: ‘Reclaiming Africa: Scramble and Resistance in the 21st Century’ (Springer, 2018, Singapore), and ‘The Changing Villages in India: Insights from Longitudinal Research’ (Oxford University Press, 2016, New Delhi). Prof. Jha has published his research in multiple journals such as: Social Scientist, Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, and The Indian Journal of Social Work. He currently holds the position of the President of Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (New Delhi, 2017 onwards), and President of Centre for Agrarian Research and Education for South (2012 onwards). Prof. Jha has also been a member of multiple committees such as the steering committee of Global Labour University (Geneva, 2014-present), and the technical advisory committee on ‘Urbanization and Resource Use Monitoring’, Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India (2006-2009).

Dr. Carlos Alberto Scolari (media studies, semiotics) is Associate Professor at the Department of Communication of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona (Spain). He has a Ph.D. (2002) in Applied Linguistics and Communication Languages (Sacro Cuore Catholic University of Milan, Italy), and a Degree in Social Communication (University of Rosario, Argentina, (1987)). His research interests are interactive communication, interfaces, transmedia storytelling, and media ecology. His most important publications are: ‘To Do Click. Towards a Sociosemiotics of Digital Interactions’ (2004), ‘Hypermediations. Elements for a Theory of Digital Interactive Communication’ (2008), ‘The End of Mass-media’ (with M. Carlón, 2009 & 2012), ‘Crossmedia Innovations’ (with I. Ibrus, 2012), ‘Transmedia Storytelling’ (2013), ‘Transmedia Archaeology’ (with P. Bertetti and M. Freeman, 2014), ‘Media Ecolgoy’ (2015), ‘Teens, Media and Collaborative Cultures’ (2018), and ‘The Laws of the Interface’ (2018). His book ‘To Do Click’ received the Eusebi Colomer Award (2014) by Epson Foundation, and ‘Media Ecology’ received the Edward Carpenter Award (2015) by the Media Ecology Association. Dr. Scolari has published in multiple journals such as: Communication Theory, New Media & Society, International Journal of Communication, Semiotica, Information, Communication & Society, Journal of Visual Literacy, Convergence, Comunicación y Sociedad, deSignis, and Signo y Pensamiento. He has also held visiting researcher positions in University of Toronto (2009) and NYU (2013). He is the Principal Investigator of the Horizon 2020 ‘Transmedia Literacy’ and the Spanish ‘Transalfabetismos’ research project (2015-2017). Dr. Scolari co-organized the McLuhan Galaxy Barcelona 2011 International Conference, participated in the 2012 edition of TEDxMoncloa (Madrid) and, since 2017, has participated in Huawei’s Key Opinion Leaders’ program. He has worked in Argentina, Italy and Spain, and travelled to over a thirty countries.

Dr. Roland Wittje (history of science) is currently an Associate Professor in History of Science and Technology, at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), Chennai. His research combines the study of science and technology with that of the material culture, focusing on the nineteenth and twentieth century, including the histories of nuclear physics, acoustics, science and engineering education, scientific instruments, and scientific heritage at universities. Dr. Wittje has studied physics and history of science at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg (Germany), where he replicated experiments by Heinrich Hertz on the discovery of electromagnetic waves. He completed his Ph.D. thesis, ‘Acoustics, Atom Smashing and Amateur radio: Physics and Instrumentation’, at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, 2003). Before joining IIT Madras, Dr. Wittje taught history of science at the University of Regensburg in Germany. From 2011 to 2017 he was vice-president of the European academic heritage network Universeum, where he continues to chair the Working Group on Recent Heritage of Science. Some of his key publications include, ‘Learning by Doing: Instruments and Experiments in the History of Science Teaching’ (with Peter Heering, Franz Steiner Verlag, 2011), and ‘The Age of Electroacoustics: Transforming Science and Sound’ (MIT Press, 2016). The latter publication (book) traces the transformation of acoustics, which was closely related to music in the 19th century, into electroacoustics, a field at the intersection of science and technology, guided by electrical engineering, industry, and the military. Dr. Wittje is a frequent guest of the Epistemes of Modern Acoustics Group at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He is also a member of History of Science Society (HSS), and the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT).

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TTTT mentionsAdam Smith, Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Louis Brandeis, Joseph Needham, Oskar R. Lange, Karl Polanyi, Boris Hessen, Harry Braverman, Marshall McLuhan, Paul Feyerabend, Thomas Kuhn, Robert K. Merton, Melvin Kranzberg, Nathan Rosenberg, Steven Shapin, David Edgerton, & Kevin Kelly, among others.