“Is There a Ghost in the Computer?”

A Spectrology of Uncanny Risks 1

Authored by: Projit Bihari Mukharji

The Routledge Companion to Media and Risk

Print publication date:  March  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138638938
eBook ISBN: 9781315637501
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315637501-11

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Abstract

Computers are not only a conspicuous part of the material culture of contemporary urban societies, but they are also the lynchpins for the extant regime of risk management. Through computers, risk has been rendered tame, calculable and above all, capitalizable. Yet, there are other, older ontologies of risk that continue to refuse the smooth predictability of actuarial algorithms. These uncanny risks too have ironically sought a home in computers. The circulation of these uncanny risks to the computer however, depend today upon older media, such as aging railway systems and out-of-date print presses, that fill up the conspicuous gaps between the grandiose promises of technomodernity and the bitter reality of increasing social fragmentation and economic precarity.

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