Tecnoculture Podcast – Episode #22: Robin Boast

The impact of digitality on our life

Robin Boast is Professor of Information Science and Culture at the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Previously, he was the Deputy Director and Curator for World Archaeology at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

Among other works, he has published “The Machine in the Ghost: Digitality and its Consequences” (Reaktion Books, 2017).

Robin speaks about how digital media have impacted our life and work environment.
Since their introduction, workers had to adapt to the new environment therefore new tasks, skills and competences were developed.
Nevertheless, we have narrowed down the potential of digitality by replicating paper files and folders that secretaries used to work with back in the day.

Robin reminds us about this potential, and the interview is particularly inspiring for scientists because by definition they think outside the box and create their own tools. So, it’s a call to recuperate the potential of digitality and expand the variety of our tools and metaphors. 

Technoculture-on-EuroScientist #3 Robin Boast

Robin Boast is Professor of Cultural Information Science at the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, NL. In 2017, he published the book “The Machine in the Ghost: Digitality and its Consequences” (Reaktion Books.) 3:45 Files and folders were information technology that was invented at the beginning of the 20th century.

Highlights from this episode

“The current design of digital devices is the consequence of an economic situation, it has nothing to do with digitality and its potential.” (At minute 19:38) 

“With mobile devices, with smartphones, computing is shifting… we’re moving away from a “typewriter with a screen,” which is the model that has been dominating since the late 1940s”. (At minute 28:00)

“The digital revolution hasn’t even begun and will not begin until we all program (paraphrasing Alan Kay).” (At minute 31:54)

For more highlights, please check the description box of the YouTube video.

Listen to the full episode – Digitality and its consequences

We live in a digital age, within a digital economy, continuously engaged with digital media. Digital encoding lies at the heart of our contemporary mobile-obsessed, information-heavy, media-saturated world, but it is usually regarded – if it is thought of at all – as something inaccessible, virtual or ephemeral, hidden deep within the workings of our computers, tablets and smartphones.

External resources

The episode was originally published on this page.

Go back to Technoculture Podcast Introductory article

Featured image credit: Federica Bressan

Federica Bressan

Federica Bressan is a Fulbright scholar and a Marie Curie alumna. Her background is in Cultural Heritage and Computer Science. The vision underlying her research concerns the co-evolution of technology and culture. Her main expertise is in the field of multimedia preservation, with a special attention for audio and interactivity. She works between New York and Brussels.
Federica Bressan

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