Is the Internet of Things Media?
Over the last 20 years, researchers have had to significantly adjust foundational assumptions about what is in and out of their domains of inquiry and about what blocks of theory from past research can be transported into a digital era. Media studies, communication research, science and technology studies, social network analysis, media sociology, information studies, and a dozen other subfields are among the specialized domains that have adapted. Some of the epistemological and methodological innovations from these subfields have had an impact on the research questions and modes of inquiry in other parts of the social sciences, computational sciences, and humanities.
In his talk, Director of CMDS, Philip N. Howard will argue that the internet of things—the device networks of connected sensors embedded in everyday objects and our bodies—is going to force us to adapt again. But is the internet of things media? Knowing what we know about the role of digital media in our political, economic, and cultural lives over the last 20 years, what are some of the transportable assumptions we should carry forward as we adjust our inquiry to yet another significant evolution in technology and media? In this talk, he sketches out five conservative premises on technology and society, linked to five consequences that justify making the internet of things central to the research endeavor ahead of us.