Interruptions: Reconsidering the Immaterial in Human Engagements with Technology
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This paper explores conceptions of the immaterial in human engagements with technology and technological systems. It employs two different theories of interruption, one technical and the other philosophical, as a means to examine the renegotiations of human-technology relationships that occur when a system, previously considered immaterial and judged inconsequential, reveals itself as significant. Two examples, the Millennium bug and Facebook’s provision of Open Graph, are used to illustrate people’s sudden recognition of the operation of underlying technological systems. This paper considers these moments as interruptions in order not only to analyse people’s reappraisal of the perceived immateriality of the technologies, but also to emphasise the value of recognising their consequence and apparent agency.
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