February 14, 2021
I am immensely proud to be part of the new volume Your Computer is on Fire, published by MIT Press and edited by Thomas S. Mullaney, Benjamin Peters, Mar Hicks and Kavita Philip. This is a book that came out of a conference hosted several years ago at Stanford University, and which was aimed at radically reinvisioning the history of computing to explore the ways in which inequality, marginalization, and biases woven into our technological systems. The opening chapter of the book is my essay “The Cloud is a Factory,” which discusses the relationship between the digital economy and the natural environment. In addition to this essay and those written by the editors, YCOIF includes pieces from a stellar array of historians and social scientists, including Sarah Roberts,
Mitali Thakor, Corinna Schlombs, Halcyon M. Lawrence, Safiya Umoja Noble, Andrea Stanton, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Janet Abbate, Ben Allen, Sreela Sarkar, and Paul Edwards.
Here is a short blurb that describes the overall project of this book:
This book sounds an alarm: after decades of being lulled into complacency by narratives of technological utopianism and neutrality, people are waking up to the large-scale consequences of Silicon Valley–led technophilia. This book trains a spotlight on the inequality, marginalization, and biases in our technological systems, showing how they are not just minor bugs to be patched, but part and parcel of ideas that assume technology can fix—and control—society.
For more information, visit MIT Press. On March 9, 2021 we will be hosting a virtual book launch, which you are all welcome to attend!
UPDATE: the book has been receiving a lot of press coverage lately, including such venues as the LA Review of Books, New Scientist, Venture Beat, RadicalAI, HearSay Culture, Engadget, and the Italian Newsflash24.