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Developing Data-Based Information Policy Strategies
After broadband access, what next? What role do metrics play in understanding “information societies”? And, more importantly, in shaping their policies? Beyond counting people with broadband access, how can economic and social metrics inform broadband policies, help evaluate their outcomes, and create useful models for achieving national goals? Broadly described, this book addresses those questions. Information metrics are important, and often political. For example, what does it mean that one economy is ranked higher than another on a list of some e-measure? Any deeper understanding of a complex, multi-dimensional set of variables based on extensive data is lost in an international game of “we’re better than you are” or asking “how can we catch up?” While there is broad international consensus that policy decisions are improved if they are informed by empirical data, there is no accepted standard as to which data matters. Many possible information indicators have been measured. But standing alone, what do they tell us? Which ones are important? Does their selection predetermine certain outcomes? Can they be transformed into truly useful policy tools? How do we know which data to collect, unless there are identified goals? This book is divided into two parts – the first deals with theoretical aspects of measuring information and the issues that should be taken into consideration when designing broadband-focused information policy; while the second demonstrates how data has been both used and abused for argumentation purposes with regards to choices among different policy paths.
Andrew Feenberg's Critical Theory of Technology
Largely because of the Internet and the new economy, technology has become the buzzword of our culture. But what is it, and how does it affect our lives? More importantly, can we control and shape it, or does it control us? In short, can we make technology more democratic? Using the work of Andrew Feenberg, one of the most important and original figures in the field of philosophy of technology, as a foundation, the contributors to this volume explore these important questions and Feenberg responds. In the 1990s, Feenberg authored three books that established him as one of the leading scholars in a rapidly developing field, and he is one of the few to delineate a theory for democratizing technological design. He has demonstrated the shortcomings of traditional theories of technology and argued for what he calls “democratic rationalization” where actors intervene in the technological design process to shape it toward their own ends. In this book, the contributors analyze foundational issues in Feenberg’s work, including questions of human nature, biotechnology, gender, and his readings of Heidegger, and they also examine practical issues, including democratizing technology, moral evaluation, and environmentalism.
Vol. 1 (2007) through current issue
Sponsored by the National Science Council of Taiwan, East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal (EASTS) aims to bring together East Asian and Western scholars from the fields of science, technology, and society (STS). Examining issues such as human embryonic stem-cell research, family and reproductive technologies, and the globalization of Chinese medicine, the journal publishes research on how society and culture in East Asia interact with science, technology, and medicine. EASTS serves as a gathering place to facilitate the growing efforts of STS networks from Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe to foster an internationally open and inclusive community.
Recursive Partnerships and Infrastructures
The Future of Consumer Payment
Once we paid for things with bills, coins, or checks. Today we pay with zeroes and ones digital entries on credit and debit cards, or electronic messages sent over the Internet. In Moving Money, distinguished analysts explore this trend, its development and likely future, and the ramifications of this transformation.
This is a book about money as a medium of exchange in the past, in the present, but particularly in the future. What forms has money taken over the years? Moreover, how have those means of payment changed in recent years, and how will they develop in the future? And what (if anything) should policymakers do to facilitate those changes, or at least allow them to develop and mature? Brookings economists Robert E. Litan and Martin Neil Baily and a distinguished group of experts dissect these issues and peer into the future of consumer payments.
The landscape of the consumer payments industry will be shaped at least in part by public policies. Historically, governments have had monopolies on the manufacture of money. Any form of payment clearly requires trust on the part of both the seller and the buyer, and the government must establish and enforce laws to secure this relationship. More controversial is the issue of whether, and to what extent, government is also needed to protect the market in private sector payments systems.
Why do these issues matter? The payments industry is a large and important sector of developed economies. In the United States, private-sector payments providers generate approximately $280 billion a year in revenue, while the government invests substantial resources into making money (minting coins and printing bills) or moving it (via checks and various electronic transfers). And the way we pay for things influences our purchases what we spend money on, how much we spend, and where we spend it. Thus the future of consumer payments is intertwined with the health of national economies.
Contributors: Martin Neil Baily (Brookings), Thomas P. Brown (O'Melveny & Myers), Kenneth Chenault (American Express Company), Vijay D'Silva (McKinsey and Company), Nicholas Economides (New York University), David S. Evans (Market Platform Dynamics), Robert E. Litan (Brookings and Kaufmann Foundation), Drazen Prelec (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Richard Schmalensee (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Internet Prophets, Private Profits, and the Costs to Community
How has the Internet been changing our lives, and how did these changes come about? Nathan Newman seeks the answers to these questions by studying the emergence of the Internet economy in Silicon Valley and the transformation of power relations it has brought about in our new information age. Net Loss is his effort to understand why technological innovation and growth have been accompanied by increasing economic inequality and a sense of political powerlessness among large sectors of the population. Newman first tells the story of the federal government’s crucial role in the early development of the Internet, with the promotion of open computer standards and collaborative business practices that became the driving force of the Silicon Valley model. He then examines the complex dynamic of the process whereby regional economies have been changing as business alliances built around industries like the Internet replace the broader public investments that fueled regional growth in the past. A radical restructuring of once regionally focused industries like banking, electric utilities, and telephone companies is under way, with changes in federal regulation helping to undermine regional planning and the power of local community actors. The rise of global Internet commerce itself contributes to weakening the tax base of local governments, even as these governments increasingly use networked technology to market themselves and their citizens to global business, usually at the expense of all but their most elite residents. More optimistically, Newman sees an emerging countertrend of global use of the Internet by grassroots organizations, such as those in the antiglobalization movements, that may help to transcend this local powerlessness.
Institutions, Networks, and Power
In the twenty-first century, the production and use of scientific knowledge is more regulated, commercialized, and participatory than at any other time in history. The stakes in understanding these changes are high for scientist and nonscientist alike: they challenge traditional ideas of intellectual work and property and have the potential to remake legal and professional boundaries and transform the practice of research. A critical examination of the structures of power and inequality these changes hinge upon, this book explores the implications for human health, democratic society, and the environment.
Disrupting the Digital World
The digital world profoundly shapes how we work and consume and also how we play, socialize, create identities, and engage in politics and civic life. Indeed, we are so enmeshed in digital networks—from social media to cell phones—that it is hard to conceive of them from the outside or to imagine an alternative, let alone defy their seemingly inescapable power and logic. Yes, it is (sort of) possible to quit Facebook. But is it possible to disconnect from the digital network—and why might we want to?
Off the Network is a fresh and authoritative examination of how the hidden logic of the Internet, social media, and the digital network is changing users’ understanding of the world—and why that should worry us. Ulises Ali Mejias also suggests how we might begin to rethink the logic of the network and question its ascendancy. Touted as consensual, inclusive, and pleasurable, the digital network is also, Mejias says, monopolizing and threatening in its capacity to determine, commodify, and commercialize so many aspects of our lives. He shows how the network broadens participation yet also exacerbates disparity—and how it excludes more of society than it includes.
Uniquely, Mejias makes the case that it is not only necessary to challenge the privatized and commercialized modes of social and civic life offered by corporate-controlled spaces such as Facebook and Twitter, but that such confrontations can be mounted from both within and outside the network. The result is an uncompromising, sophisticated, and accessible critique of the digital world that increasingly dominates our lives.