Imperfect world

Imperfect world

’Imperfect world’ is a series of conversations exploring exploring where politics, society, and technology meet. Hosted by Japan-based scholar, Dr Christopher Hobson.


December 2, 2022 68 mins

In this episode, Christopher Hobson continues his dialogue with Australian scholar and writer, PC. The conversation explores how to understand the current moment in reference to institutional entropy, questioning whether polycrisis and other conceptual frames might help us comprehend the changes we are experiencing, and considering parallels and thinkers from fin de siècle Europe.

For more information, visit imperfectnotes.substack...

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In this final episode of the first season of 'Imperfect World', Christopher Hobson speaks again with PC, a scholar and writer based in Melbourne.

Building on their discussion in episode 2, Hobson and PC think about the problem of the world no longer being made to fit humans, and specifically the consequences of our world effectively becoming too fast for us. The conversation revolves around a number of big themes related to narrati...

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April 24, 2022 69 mins

Christopher Hobson speaks with Andrew Pickering, a leading historian of science, known for his sociological studies of scientific practices and knowledge production in books such as Constructing Quarks: A Sociological History of Particle Physics, The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency and Science, and The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future.

In his work, Pickering considers different ways of acting with the world, what he ca...

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April 17, 2022 77 mins

Christopher Hobson speaks with Elke Schwarz, a scholar working on the political and ethical implications of digital technologies and autonomous systems. Recently, she has been returning to the insights of Günther Anders, a 20th century thinker who foreshadowed the dangers that come with untethered technological development. Applying Anders' thinking to the present moment, Schwarz reflects that, ‘with contemporary AI, the rift betwe...

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April 10, 2022 61 mins

Christopher Hobson speaks with Sun-ha Hong, a scholar critically analysing the claims of big data. Hong’s work fits within the framing of this series, given his emphasis on the considerable imperfections present in data and the way it is used, along with the dangers that come from taking it as objective truth about how the world really ‘is’. Rather, he points to a much more tawdry but intuitively plausible state of affairs, whereby...

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April 3, 2022 55 mins

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 dig...

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March 26, 2022 95 mins

Christopher Hobson speaks with L.M. Sacasas, who has become a leading voice in examining the ethical, social and cultural consequences of technologies. His prior blog, The Frailest Thing, and current Substack newsletter, The Convivial Society, offer a wealth of insight, encouraging a greater awareness of the ways that technologies shape the conditions within which we live and act.

In this rich and broad ranging conversation, Hobson...

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March 21, 2022 48 mins

Christopher Hobson speaks with Claire Benn, a philosopher who explores how our growing reliance on digital technologies are impacting our moral landscape, and the ethical challenges that come from a world shaped by machines.

In this conversation, Claire points to the importance of thinking about how humans think, feel and act, and considering whether machines might reason and act in quite different ways. We consider the benefits th...

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March 14, 2022 64 mins

Christopher Hobson speaks with PC, a scholar and writer based in Melbourne, who has recently started a substack called, Living together, somehow.

The conversation commences with PC's reflections on the experience of tailgating, which are used as a way of thinking about how certain technologies shape our engagement with each other and the world. From that, the discussion traverses through considering how different cultures can lead ...

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March 6, 2022 63 mins

In this episode, Christopher Hobson speaks with David Cayley, who spent much of his career producing long-form radio programs for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

As part of this work, Cayley recorded a series of interviews with Ivan Illich, whose thinking on the way that technologies are reshaping people, as well as his acute critiques of major societal institutions, have been rediscovered in recent years. In 2021, Cayley pu...

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March 6, 2022 8 mins

This is a brief introduction to ‘Imperfect World’, hosted by Christopher Hobson, a scholar and writer based in Japan. It builds on the writings found on his substack newsletter, 'Imperfect Notes on an Imperfect World'.

To begin with, this conversation series will focus broadly on thinking about the relationship between society and technology. We need to examine more carefully how digital technologies are reshaping our lives, the wa...

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