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Steven Malcic: Envision policy frameworks and user tactics to foster an internet that works for us
By better understanding the internet's design philosophy and historical emergence, I hope to envision policy frameworks and user tactics to foster an internet that works for us, rather than we working for it.
In his research, Steven Malcic focuses on the history of internet design, and how design decisions made in an earlier historical context currently shape international relations, new media ecosystems, and modes of user engagement. By better understanding the internet's design philosophy and historical emergence, Steven hopes to envision policy frameworks and user tactics to foster an internet that works for us, rather than we working for it.
In the private sector, Steven worked on a study in Los Angeles supported by major entertainment companies, in order to better understand the workings of fandom. Using large data sets derived from social media, Steven quickly saw how the research would be used to deepen a fan's engagement with content in an inorganic way. This experience deepened his interest in data ethics, a concern he now explores in research and in class.
Following Edward Snowden's revelations of digital mass surveillance conducted by the U.S. and UK, Steven decided to pursue serious research in media infrastructures. The surveillance apparatus outlined in the Snowden leaks mapped a vast system of interrelated technologies, institutions, and stakeholders. Approaches to studying large scale media infrastructures seemed like a promising method to better understand mass digital surveillance as a socio-technical system.
Book Recommendation from Steven Malcic
A book Steven always recommends is White Noise by Don DeLillo. It's an American novel published in 1985 about one family's fever dream through electronic media, pharmaceuticals, an Airborne Toxic Event, and disintegrating personal histories. It's a definitive statement on what some call the postmodern condition. Steven read it when he was 16, and it has influenced his development as a media and social critic.