RESTLESS DEVICES: Recovering Personhood, Presence and Place in the Digital Age

April 7, 2022 By dwayman

In an insightful study by Dr. Felicia Wu Song titled Restless Devices: Recovering Personhood, Presence and Place in the Digital Age, this professor of Sociology examines the impact of our ubiquitous and often devious devices.  Noting both their benefit and their peril, Song provides research, analysis and treatment for all of us.

Dr. Song says in part:

“What do we talk about now over two decades into the twenty-first century?   We still marvel over the efficacy of social media-driven campaigns like #metoo, still chuckle over the latest memes. But we are equally concerned about how our search engine algorithms results and social media feeds are driving our country toward increased incivility, polarization and extremism.  We examine the growing data on digital addictions from neuroscience and psychology research.  We wonder about the future of a democracy in a world where fake news is normalized, and we argue over the legal obligations of privacy protection: Who has a right to what information about us and when?…”

Noting the designed manipulation of social media users, Song writes:

“Tristan Harris…has been heralded as the ‘closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience.’ For several years he has been calling out tech companies for their exploitation of users’ psychological vulnerabilities and actively campaigning for ethical design.  And if you watched the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, you saw that Harris is just one of several Silicon Valley insiders who are choosing to tell all.