[Humanist] 29.621 subtle influences at home

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Jan 14 11:20:25 CET 2016


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 621.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Thu, 14 Jan 2016 09:43:29 +0000
        From: Arianna Ciula <ariannaciula at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  29.618 subtle influences at home?
        In-Reply-To: <20160113072444.B4CE37D3B at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard,

I wouldn't know about Nest specifically, but the first issue of the journal
of Digital Culture & Society (dedicated to Digital Material/ism, 2015)
might include some useful pointers in case you haven't seen it yet:
http://www.transcript-verlag.de/en/978-3-8376-3153-1/digital-culture-und-society?c=1562

Best wishes,
Arianna

Dr Arianna Ciula
Department of Humanities
University of Roehampton | London | SW15 5PH

On 13 January 2016 at 07:24, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 618.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>         Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2016 07:17:22 +0000
>         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>         Subject: subtle influences at home
>
> Those who know about the history of cybernetics will be familiar with
> the idea of homeostasis (self-regulation), with origins in both
> physiology and mechanical systems. Many of us, but not all, were shaped
> in subtle ways by the implementation of this idea in the ordinary
> thermostat. For what they might be worth, my musings this morning begin
> on the one hand with some people I know, not far away from here, who
> remain basically unaffected by homeostasis -- they turn the heat on and
> off, end of story -- and on the other by the latest round of
> thermostats, such as the Nest (https://nest.com), which domesticate
> machine-learning.
>
> There are stages in between, for example timers and somewhat more
> sophisticated programmable thermostats. But the Nest et al simply learn
> from one's temperature-setting behaviour. I wonder, has anyone studied
> the influence of technology on such a low-key domestic level? The Nest
> is said to light up when you approach it -- a friendly hello, as it were
> -- but is otherwise apparently quite demure, quietly forgettable, unlike
> the smartphone not drawing one's attention to it but receding into the
> background, therefore, I would think, powerfully influential.
>
> Comments?
>
> Yours,
> WM
> --
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
> Humanities, King's College London, and Digital Humanities Research
> Group, Western Sydney University
>
>
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