I get interviewed quite a bit as well as doing my fair share of interviewing. Beyond the realm of immediate practice, I have long harbored an interest in dialogue (dialectic) as a mode of philosophical inquiry and puzzled over its relative rarity within the contemporary academy. Perhaps it appears too “unprofessional,” too tainted by the literary and the ludic, the matter of fact and the improvisational, to be taken seriously as a form of scholarship. Yet sometimes the very frictions to which sustained conversation give rise can prove generative, allowing insights that might have ended up buried in a single-voice argument to crystallize. I can feel at my best and least rehearsed in such contexts, even as the transcript is edited and revised, crafted into a cohesive form.

Today, one such conversation was published in volume 64, issue 1 of the review Amerikastudien/American Studies (2019). It assumes the form of an interview of me carried out by Carmen Birkle and Birgit Däwes in 2019. Given that I am neither an Americanist nor do I always closely follow contemporary German Technokritik, there were moments of misalignment here and there. But I think the result provides a rich and broad spectrum of reflections that stretch from the history of metaLAB (at) Harvard to social media to AI and education to robotics.

A one-page excerpt follows that begins within a thread of conversation devoted to digitally inflected shifts in educational models and that is followed by a critical discussion of humanoid robots.

Effective this issue, Amerikastudien/American Studies (which is published by the Universitätsverlag Winter in Heidelberg) took the courageous step of making the journal freely available online, as well as rolling out not only a new format, design, and website. So rather than share copies of the entire text directly, I would prefer to support the journal’s move and redirect you the journal website at https://amst.winter-verlag.de/article/AMST/2019/1/10

- June 1, 2020