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The Department of Communication and Media offers many kinds of events, most free and open to the public. We organize and sponsor numerous lectures, workshops and conferences over the course of the academic year. Our programming covers a wide range of topics and features presenters from diverse disciplines and is designed to foster an understanding of the mass media and emerging media.


DSI Lecture Series | Predictions Without Futures / Of Cosmograms and Clockwork

Sun-ha Hong in Conversation with John Cheney-Lippold
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
4:00-5:30 PM
Room 1040 (Multipurpose Room) LSA Building Map
Our dominant technological futures help maintain decrepit horizons of the social. As Brecht once observed: "I stood on a hill and I saw the Old approaching, but it came as the New." Prediction supplies a powerful conceptual model for this dynamic of stasis through disruption by connecting the technical conceit of predictivity (that criminality or emotion can be anticipated through data-driven modeling) with the mythological use of prediction (where history is an extrapolation of known technological advancements). Drawing from theories of ritual and experiment, I examine the demonstrative, belief-building work that prediction does - from 18th century automata of Defecating Ducks to Amazon warehouses, from the 1956 Dartmouth Conference to the 10,000 Year Clock. What we call "tech" today serves as a legitimising function for capital, and crucial to this function is the active foreclosure of any political future other than more of the same.

Sun-ha Hong examines forms of uncertainty, doubt and (dis)belief around surveillance, smart machines & AI from critical and historical perspectives. He is Assistant Professor in Communication at Simon Fraser University, Canada, and was previously Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT. Sun-ha is the author of Technologies of Speculation: The Limits of Knowledge in a Data-Driven Society (2020), and is working on his next book, Predictions Without Futures.

This will be a hybrid event, with options for both in-person and virtual attendance.

Register here to attend in-person:

Register here to attend virtually:

CART will be provided. If you anticipate needing accommodations to participate, please email Eric Mancini at Please note that some accommodations must be arranged in advance and we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.

This event is co-sponsored by the following units:

Department of American Culture
Department of Communication & Media
Department of Film, Television, and Media
Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing
Science, Technology, and Society Program
Science, Technology, & Public Policy Program
Building: LSA Building
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: digital, Digital Culture, Digital Cultures, digital humanities, Digital Media, Digital Studies, Digital Studies Institute, digital technology, digitalization, digitization
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Digital Studies Institute, Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) Program, Department of Film, Television, and Media, Department of American Culture, Science, Technology & Society, Communication and Media

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