Aram Sinnreich and Jesse Gilbert, "The Secret Life of Data: Navigating Hype and Uncertainty in the Age of Algorithmic Surveillance" (MIT Press, 2024)


What is data, and why does it matter for us to care about the data traces we leave behind? What are the implications for our lives of how this data is used by other people in other times and places? In a conversation with Joanne Kuai, authors Aram Sinnreich and Jesse Gilbert introduce their new book and talk about how we can rethink our relationship with data and stay informed to make better decisions in the face of technological uncertainty.

In their latest book, The Secret Life of Data: Navigating Hype and Uncertainty in The Age of Algorithmic Surveillance (MIT Press, 2024), Aram Sinnreich and Jesse Gilbert explore the many unpredictable and often surprising ways in which data surveillance, AI, and the constant presence of algorithms impact our culture and society in the age of global networks.

The book focuses primarily on the long-term consequences of humanity's recent rush toward digitizing, storing, and analyzing every piece of data about ourselves and the world we live in. The authors advocate for “slow fixes” regarding our relationship to data, such as creating new laws and regulations, ethics and aesthetics, and models of production for our datafied society.

Aram Sinnreich is an author, professor, and musician. He is Chair of Communication Studies at American University. His books include Mashed Up, The Piracy Crusade, The Essential Guide to Intellectual Property, and A Second Chance for Yesterday (published as R. A. Sinn).

Jesse Gilbert is an interdisciplinary artist exploring the intersection of visual art, sound, and software design at his firm Dark Matter Media. He was the founding Chair of the Media Technology department at Woodbury University, and he has taught interactive software design at both CalArts and UC San Diego.

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Joanne Kuai

Joanne Kuai is a PhD Candidate at Karlstad University, Sweden, with a research project on Artificial Intelligence in Chinese Newsrooms. Her research interests centre around data and AI for media, computational journalism, and the social implications of automation and algorithms. Find her on LinkedIn or on Twitter @JoanneKuai.

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