Christopher Hobson speaks with Gabriele de Seta, a scholar working on machine vision, digital media and related technologies in China. The conversation develops around his piece on the Chinese term ‘black technology’ (heikeji 黑科技) which has become a buzzword in China for describing the most advanced kind of technologies. We talk about the emergence and meaning of the term, doing so in relation to some of de Seta’s other work on digital practices in China, such as considering how ‘deep fakes’ are commonly known as huanlian, which literally means ‘changing faces’.
This discussion offers an important reminder of the need to consider how technologies are mediated through the social and cultural contexts in which they are used, as well as the value of moving beyond the Western frames that dominate how these issues are generally considered.
For more information, visit imperfectnotes.substack.com and christopherhobson.net.
This episode has been produced with support from a grant by the Toshiba International Foundation.
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