Mirko Tobias Schäfer / Assistant Professor
University of Utrecht Department for Media and Culture Studies

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Date March 2015 / Category News

The symposium "The Datafication of the Public Sphere" at Angewandte Innovation Lab in Vienna provides the platform for a two day master class with Mirko Tobias Schäfer on possibilities and limits of civic participation.

Date March 2015 / Category News

As a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for Humanities at Utrecht University I will map research agenda’s that touch upon the transformation of citizenship through digital technology.

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Date August 2015

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Iceland recognized as no other country the need for a fourth estate in order to hold corrupt elites from politics and finance accountable. When court orders tried to prevent insight into the criminal activities of the Icland banksters and their friends, the need for establishing better legal frameworks for investigative journalism became clear. Iceland now strives to develop the most solid legal protection for journalism.

http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/now/m...

Date August 2015

Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung widmet sich kritisch dem Hype der künstlerischen Forschung. Hinter dem dem Label artistic research verbarg sich die Akademisierung der Kunstuniversitäten, die neue Studieninhalte, neue Berufsbilder und vor allem neue finanzielle Ressourcen etablieren sollte.

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/fo...

Date August 2015

A group of distinguished AI and computer scientists expresses concern for the emerging race to build autonomous weapons. They fear for the devastating effects of sophisticated technology which autonomously makes kill decisions; we already see the lack of accountability as well as the terrible effects of conventional warfare. Autonomous weapons will -as most military inventions- reduce the hazardous effects of combat for soldiers while increasing the impact on the civil population. And as with the nuclear arms race during the cold war, another arms race will tie up resources that are very much needed elsewhere; it also will constitute serious challenges in controlling this technology. Quite in contrast to nuclear arms, autonomous weapons will be much cheaper and far easier to acquire.

http://futureoflife.org/AI/open_letter_a...

Date July 2015

Here is great interview with Giorgio Agamben on his notion of the Latin empire that should confront the technocratic Germanic domination of Europe. His plea for a political and cultural union is much needed especially in times where technocrats threaten to destroy the cultural and political values of the European Union. Mr. Agamben points out how 'crisis' is structurally used by the political elite to justify the ongoing deterioration of social welfare and civic rights. Like the mythical 'war on terror' crisis serves as an instrument for coercion.

http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/1318-the...

Date July 2015

This very timely article by the Iranian 'blogfather' Hossein Derakhshan addresses critically the centralisation of the web through the popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Derakhshan mourns the loss of diversity that comes with the commodification of the web in easy to use interfaces. As much as I agree with him, I do not think that we can bring back the meritocracy of the early World Wide Web. Social media brought the masses from TV to Internet and by doing so idocracy marginalizes meritocracy. The diverse and rich web won't seize to exist, but is pushed into the fringes; it is now where critical thought and intellectualism has always been.

https://medium.com/matter/the-web-we-hav...

Date July 2015

Jörg Heiser from Frieze Magazine asked artists and scholars to think about how art can respond to the challenges of big data, surveillance and algorithms. Their responses provide insight into the diversity of issues that are raised in this profound transformation of our societies and inspiration how to address them.

http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/safe...

Date July 2015

Unfortunately, I was not aware of the symposium on the Politics and Practices of Secrecy held at KIng's College, let alone able to attend. Luckily, Regine Debatty from We Make Money Not Art has taken notes and presents them in an excellent review of the symposium. (Part 1) and (Part 2)

http://we-make-money-not-art.com/archive...

Date June 2015

Foreign Affairs has a general audience article on the pitfalls of algorithms. Referring to the analysis software Palantir, the article shows that the findings of the big data crawl can only be as good as the data that are processed behind the comprehensible user interface. Human error is merely hidden behind a rhetoric of big data analysis and computed objectivity.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/...

About

Mirko Tobias Schaefer is a researcher in the field of digital culture.

This website provides information on his research interests and teaching activities.

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Mirko Tobias Schaefer

Department for Media and Culture Studies

Utrecht University

Kromme Nieuwegr. 20
NL-3512 HH Utrecht

2000 - 2015 Mirko Tobias Schäfer

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