Scripturient: Computing Taste – Interview with Nick Seaver

For the latest issue of Information Professional magazine, my Scripturient column features an interview with Nick Seaver, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Tufts University.

Nick’s new book Computing Taste uses ethnographic fieldwork to explore how the makers of music recommendation algorithms understand and go about their work – from product managers thinking about their relationship with users to scientists theorising the act of listening itself as a kind of data processing and engineers for whom the world of music is a geography to be cared for and controlled.

You can read the latest Scripturient column featuring Nick as a PDF download here, and there’s a full transcript of our conversation, digging even deeper into these issues and other elements of Nick’s research, below.

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Scripturient: Information and Exformation

For years you think talking means finding, discovering, understanding, understanding at last, being illuminated by the truth. But no: when it takes place, all you know is that it is taking place; it’s there, you’re talking, you’re writing: talking is only talking, simply talking, writing is only writing, making the shapes of letters on a blank piece of paper.

– Georges Perec

How do you talk about a thing without talking about it? What is concealed by our efforts to make ourselves understood?

The latest Scripturient column for Information Professional is an experiment with “exformation” – the negative space of information.