Critical Technical Practices

Critical technical practices, or practices of technology-building that incorporate a critical, cultural perspective, are growing in importance along with the interdisciplinary area between computer science, art, and cultural studies.

The term "critical technical practice" was coined by Phil Agre in his landmark book Computation and Human Experience, which described the development of his own critical technical practice in his Ph.D. work on autonomous agents and planning at the MIT AI Lab.   The Narrative Intelligence Reading Group at the MIT Media Lab picked up the baton, developing many approaches to AI and interfaces which incorporated ideas from media theory, ethnomethodology, and cultural studies.  Electronic artists  who build systems (i.e., artworks) that incorporate a critical perspective on technology, are another important force in the area.


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