Meaning-full Technology: A Discussion with Bowdoin Professor Eric Chown

Eric Chown
Professor Eric Chown, the Sarah and James Bowdoin Professor of Digital and Computational Studies.

Join us on Thursday, December 2nd at 12 noon EST for a discussion with the Sarah and James Bowdoin Professor of Digital and Computational Studies, Eric Chown. 

Through mobile technology, basic concepts like “friendship,” “conversation,” and even “memory” are being redefined, changing how we interact with each other and even how we think. The mechanism by which this occurs is based upon metaphor. Metaphors allow us to communicate new ideas, such as what a technology does, by redefining old ideas. The workings of a robot, for example, are exceptionally complex, but even a child will understand “a machine that plays soccer.” Meanwhile, mobile technology exists in a constant, and quick, cycle of refinements and user feedback, greatly accelerating the impact those products, and their metaphors, have on us.  But do we understand those changes and their consequences?

In this talk, based upon a forthcoming book that Professor Chown co-wrote with Fernando Nascimento, he will make the case for taking a critical look at digital metaphors, and will show off some soccer playing robots along the way. Q&A will be moderated by former student, Clara Belitz '17.