Computational Culture

a journal of software studies

Artificial Rhetorical Agents and the Computing of Phronesis

Abstract Ongoing work by artificial intelligence researchers aims to create moral machines, ethical robots, and artificial moral agents (AMAs), wired with a codable sense of what is good, or what Aristotle called phronesis, which he defined as the ability of some people to ‘see what is good for themselves and what is good for humans […]

“One Damn Slide After Another”: PowerPoint at Every Occasion for Speech

Introduction PowerPoint is installed on more than a billion computers.1 It is the indispensable medium for presentation, one of the most ubiquitous software applications in the world. It has likely been used to raise more money than any other tool in history.2 Teachers rely on PowerPoint. Elementary schoolchildren make presentations and so do researchers in […]

Software Design in the “Construction Genre” of Learning Technology: Content Aware versus Content Agnostic

Abstract This article describes and critiques a phenomenon that we identify as content agnosticism in the “construction genre” of educational software. Our thesis is that the content agnostic position – the assumption that any technology which supports constructionist learning theories must act as a blank slate or empty container – has been erroneously presented as […]

From WIMP to ATLAS: Rhetorical Figures of Ubiquitous Computing

Abstract In 1991, Mark Weiser ambitiously proposed that his new research agenda at Xerox PARC—what he called ‘ubiquitous computing’ (ubicomp)—marked a third wave in the history of modern computation, following mainframes and personal computers. Weiser’s first concern was to create hardware beyond the desktop; his team rapidly prototyped entirely new categories of mobile devices (‘tabs, […]

‘Can We Name the Tools?’ Ontologies of Code, Speculative Techné and Rhetorical Concealment

Abstract Researchers in the fields of software studies and digital rhetoric often presuppose that code is something that can be known or revealed through instrumental human agency. Yet, past and recent phenomenological conceptions of technology have called into question the vision of an intentional and all-knowing human agent. These frameworks demonstrate that the goal of […]

Rhetoric Special Issue Editorial Introduction

Rhetoric and Computation What might rhetoric and computation illuminate when we view them together? At first glance, rhetoric and computation may seem like strange bedfellows, but they both find roots in philosophies of rigorous reasoning and symbolic logic. How might we systematize knowledge and communicate it accurately? How do we break complex patterns and ideas […]

Index Issue Five

Issue Five Introduction   Special Issue, Rhetoric and Computation Annette Vee &James J. Brown, Jr., Editors, Special Issue Introduction Steve Holmes, Can we name the tools? Ontologies of Code, Speculative Techné and Rhetorical Concealment John Tinnell, From WIMP to ATLAS: Rhetorical Figures of Ubiquitous Computing Kevin Brock, The ‘FizzBuzz’ Programming Test: A Case-Based Exploration of […]

Memorious Histories of Open Circuits

A review of Beautiful Data, a history of vision and reason since 1945 by Orit Halpern Duke University Press, 2014.   Cybernetics poses questions to history and historiography. It is consequential then for a book on the history of cybernetics, like this one, to embrace the circuitous method of its object of research. Sentences are […]

The World of Edgerank: Rhetorical Justifications of Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm

Abstract Web algorithms like Facebook’s so-called Edgerank algorithm play an increasingly important role in everyday life. The recent surge of research in such algorithms often emphasizes algorithmic orderings as powerful but opaque. In this essay, we propose an alternative reading of the Edgerank algorithm as a self-justifying ordering of the world. Drawing on the pragmatist […]

Graph Force: Rhetorical Machines and the N-Arization of Knowledge

      To exist is to be indexed by a search engine. Introna & Nissenbaum, 2000 1     Figure 1: Google’s Knowledge Graphs for Stokely Carmichael, c. March, 2014 (Left) and c. September, 2015 (Right) On May 16th, 2012, Google officially announced the launch of its Knowledge Graph. In the announcement, Google wrote […]

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  • Computational Culture – ISSN 2047-2390

    Computational Culture is an online open-access peer-reviewed journal of inter-disciplinary enquiry into the nature of cultural computational objects, practices, processes and structures.
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