SoFTA Lecture Series: Culture and Technology in China: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly



Professor Michael Keane
Digital China Lab, Curtin University, Australia

In this presentation, Professor Keane will examine how culture and technology together combine to change the way we live our lives. He will sketch out a timeline called Mimetic-Mythic-Theoretic (Donald 2006) that begins with primitive communication. Culture evolves with language to storytelling and myths, and this process develops civilisations (e.g. Confucian). The final stage refers to distributed networks: that is, the outsourcing of cognitive processes to technology via recording devices, computers, phones, apps, and new forms of AI). In the discussion, Prof. Keane examines this third stage in detail. He critiques the belief that digital technology will solve all humankind’s problem. This is sometimes called ‘technological solutionism’ (Evgeny Morozov). Accordingly, He will examine the good, the bad and the ugly. By good Prof. Keane refers to undisputed social welfare benefits of communications technology; by bad, he refers to social, economic and physiological consequences of communications technology; by ugly, he refers to online disruption, intellectual property violation, and nationalism.

Speaker's Bio

Michael Keane is Professor of Chinese Media and Cultural Studies at Curtin University. He is Program Leader of the Digital China Lab. Michael’s key research interests are digital transformation in China; East Asian cultural and media policy; and creative industries and cultural export strategies in China and East Asia. Michael is editor of the Handbook of the Cultural and Creative Industries in China (Edward Elgar 2016). His single authored publications are China’s Television Industry (Palgrave 2015), Creative Industries in China: Art, Design and Media (Polity 2013), China’s New Creative Clusters: Governance, Human Capital and Regional Investment (Routledge 2011), and Created in China: the Great New Leap Forward (Routledge 2007).