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Alison Powell - Book talk: Undoing Optimization

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Milieux Institute

1515 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest

Montréal, QC H3G 2W1

Canada

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Alison Powell presents from her new book hat examines the civic use, regulation, and politics of communication and data technologies

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City life has been reconfigured by our use—and our expectations—of communication, data, and sensing technologies. In her new book Undoing Optimization, Alison Powell examines the civic use, regulation, and politics of these technologies, looking at how governments, planners, citizens, and activists expect them to enhance life in the city. She argues that the forms of citizenship that emerge in relation to these technologies represent sites of contention over how governance and civic power should operate. These sites become more significant as an increasingly urbanized and polarized world faces new struggles over local participation and engagement. Based on research with different civic projects from around the world (including Montreal), the author moves past the usual discussion of top-down versus bottom-up civic action and instead explains how citizenship shifts along with technological change, and how principles like 'minimum viable datafication' and tolerance of friction can foreground forms of life broader than optimization.

Alison B. Powell is associate professor of media and communication at the London School of Economics and Political Science and is Director of the JUST AI Network at Ada Lovelace Institute.

The After Optimization Seminar Series is run by the Algorithmic Media Observatory and the Machine Agencies based out of the Speculative Life Cluster at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University in Montreal.

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Milieux Institute

1515 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest

Montréal, QC H3G 2W1

Canada

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Organizer Machine Agencies / Algorithmic Media Observatory

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