NICK SEAVER

I’m an anthropologist who studies how people use technology to make sense of cultural things.

I teach in the Department of Anthropology at Tufts University, where I also direct the program in Science, Technology, and Society.

My first book is about the people who make music recommender systems and how they think about their work. It’s called Computing Taste: Algorithms and the Makers of Music Recommendation, and you can pre-order it from the University of Chicago Press.

I’m currently studying the rise of attention as a value and virtue in machine learning worlds, from the new tech humanism to the infrastructure of neural networks.

Below, you can find links to my publications. If you’d like to read anything here and can’t access it, please feel free to email me for a copy.
I’m an anthropologist who studies how people use technology to make sense of cultural things.

I teach in the Department of Anthropology at Tufts University, where I also direct the program in Science, Technology, and Society.

My first book is about the people who make music recommender systems and how they think about their work. It’s called Computing Taste: Algorithms and the Makers of Music Recommendation, and you can pre-order it from the University of Chicago Press.

I’m currently studying the rise of attention as a value and virtue in machine learning worlds, from the new tech humanism to the infrastructure of neural networks.

Below, you can find links to my publications. If you’d like to read anything here and can’t access it, please feel free to email me for a copy.

Everything Lies in a Space: Cultural Data and Spatial Reality. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 27 (S1): 43–61.
This essay examines the use of spatializing techniques for analyzing cultural data in music recommendation and post-war cognitive anthropology. It explores three similarities between these fields: How spatial analyses engender a sense of continuous, enveloping milieu from discrete and often sparse data; how spatialization is used to grant culture a kind of reality rooted in pragmatic action and scientific quantification; and how spatial representations of culture are essentially anticipatory for the people who make them, transforming the near future into the nearby.
April 2021


Revised July 2022 in Somerville, MA