We are pleased to offer for review ‘Computable Bodies: Instrumented Life and the Human Somatic Niche’ by Josh Berson (Bloomsbury, 2015). Expressions of interest are welcome from across the medical humanities.
For some, pervasive computing offers a powerful vehicle of introspection and self-improvement. For others it signals the arrival of a dangerous ‘control society’ in which surveillance is no longer the prerogative of discrete institutions but a simple fact of life.
In Computable Bodies, anthropologist Josh Berson asks how the data revolution is changing what it means to be human. Drawing on fieldwork in the Quantified Self and polyphasic sleeping communities and integrating perspectives from interaction design, the history and philosophy of science, and medical and linguistic anthropology, he probes a world where everyday life is mediated by a proliferating array of sensor montages, where we adjust our social signals to make them legible to algorithms, and where old rubrics for gauging which features of the world are animate no longer hold.
Computable Bodies offers a vision of an anthropology for an age in which our capacity to generate data and share it over great distances is reconfiguring the body–world interface in ways scarcely imaginable a generation ago.
If you would like to review ‘Computable Bodies‘ (no more than 1,000 words in length), then please consult our reviewer’s guidelines and email our reviews editor with a short explanation of why you are well placed to review the book.