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Digital black boxes: apprehending fast and dynamic sociotechnical networks

Digital black boxes: apprehending fast and dynamic sociotechnical networks

Weston, Danny Lee (2016) Digital black boxes: apprehending fast and dynamic sociotechnical networks. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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We live in a world now dominated by complex and fast moving sociotechnical systems. This work considers the difficulties presented in even discussing such systems in an intelligible manner, especially given that many escape the immediate capabilities of human cognition to properly apprehend. Numerous means have in recent history been used to ‘fix’ or ‘stabilise’ the meanings and capabilities of such systems through one form of ‘Black Box’ or other. This work argues that our current conceptual resources are not appropriate to the task and explores ways in which both academics and practitioners can effectively and usefully apprehend such fast moving sociotechnical systems. It draws in particular on the work of Bruno Latour and Paul Thagard, combining their notions of ‘Circulating Reference’ and ‘Computational Coherence’ respectively, to propose more dynamic approaches and methodologies situated in kind of Computationalism that can be adapted to enable complex computing and digital networked events and the dynamic sociotechnical networks that underpin them to be talked about, and thereby known in ways that both express and encompass their dynamism and complexity and without inappropriately and prematurely placing them into ‘Black Boxes’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: sociotechnical systems; black boxes; object oriented programming; digital systems; networks
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2017 16:35

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