In this lecture, Evgeny Morozov addresses the increasingly ubiqitous Internet of Things, noting how its ability to turn passive and analogue objects into smart and interconnected ones could, as often advertised, help us run cities, markets, and our own households, as well as solve problems like congestion and climate change. The dystopian vision, however, Morozov suggests, is that sensors and overconnectivity are careening society towards a privacy disaster, and that the Internet of Things would belong to the same few monopolies that already dominate the online world. The amount of control over individual behavior would only increase. Morozov's talk, introduced by Chaos Computer Club's spokesman Frank Rieger, aims to articulate a middle ground between the two positions, showing how to put the Internet of Things to the more humane and citizen-focused use.
How do constitutions legitimate their claim to authority? Bruce Ackerman, Sterling Professor at Yale Law School and the spring 2015 Daimler Fellow, argues in this lecture that it happens in three different ways: the first path is pursued by revolutionary outsiders; the second, by established insiders; the third, by established insiders striking a deal with political elites previously excluded from the system. Different pathways generate different legitimation problems – combining to create a distinctive crisis in the European Community as it confronts its future.
The spring 2015 Fellows Presentation, held on the evening of January 19, began with introductions by trustee Josef Joffe, of Die Zeit, who welcomed the Academy’s incoming president, Gerhard Casper. Professor Casper, the former president of Stanford University and longtime dean of the University of Chicago Law School, in turn welcomed the evening’s keynote speaker, Lorraine Daston, the director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Following her warm words of welcome, the spring class of fellows introduced themselves and delivered short descriptions of the projects they will be working on over the coming months while in residence.
Modern architecture, launched by an international group of avant-garde architects in the 1920s, notes Beatriz Colomina, has usually been understood in terms of functional efficiency, new technologies of construction, and the machine aesthetic. In contrast, the hypothesis of her research is that the architecture of the early twentieth century was shaped by the dominant medical obsession of its time: tuberculosis. Colomina's project investigates architectural discourse and how it has, from its beginning, associated building with body. The body that it describes is the medical body—a body that is reconstructed by each new theory of health. Avant-garde architects of the early decades of the twentieth century presented their new architecture as a health inducing instrument, a kind of medical equipment for protecting and enhancing the body. Buildings even started to look like X-rays revealing internal secrets.
How differently do we now understand and approach emergencies, and what does it mean in 2014 -- philosophically, medically, politically, emotionally -- to “be prepared for” emergencies? In this lecture, Hillel Schwartz addresses the question of “emergency,” beginning from the traditional understanding of emergency as “an unanticipated juncture that demands immediate, direct, often concerted action so as to stave off drastic threats or to cope with aftermaths of disaster.” He explains how emergencies have come to be associated with fashion, contraception, and daycare as well as oil spills, nuclear “incidents,” climate change, and international terrorism – a remarkable shift in nature and notion since “emergency” was floated into written English in the 1600s.
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