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Religions, Technologies, and Civilisations: Neo-animism of the Internet of Things in Connected Societies

DOI: 10.15340/978-625-00-9894-3_3

Published: 2021 | Pages: 41 - 61

Fabienne Martin Juchat
Information and Communication Sciences, Grenoble Alps University, France

Fabienne.martin-juchat@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr

Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) current success in its various forms cannot only be explained by the alliance between financial capitalism and technological development, nor by the relationship between technological innovation and the so-called attention economy. From the viewpoint adopted in this contribution of historical anthropology of technology, it seems insufficient to denounce the risk of submission to techno-determinist logics, themselves conceived as the result of neo-liberal socio-economic dynamics. In this respect, the reading of anthropologists and philosophers of technology who have analyzed the relationship between technology and civilization appears essential to understand what is culturally at stake in the current development of technologies integrating AI like the Internet Of Things (IoT). In the wake of these authors, a central hypothesis will be developed in this article. Success through dependence on technology can also be explained by the fact that an animist compulsion has not disappeared in modern societies. Thanks to AI, IoT carries animist values compatibles with those of modernity. The analysis of advertisings, journalistic discourses on IoT, and consumer reviews present on social media confirm this hypothesis. Social media thus participate in the diffusion of neo-animism, which is being made possible by the development of AI. By this revisited theoretical framework, more studies will be compiled to better understand the meaning of this neo-animism in the age of connected societies.

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Fabienne Martin-Juchat is Professor in Information and Communication Sciences at l’Université Grenoble Alpes, where she is currently project manager of Maison de la Création et de l’Innovation (MaCI). She is developing an anthropology of bodily and emotional communication on technologies and social media. Her publications include her book, Le Corps et les Medias: La Chair éprouvée par les Médias et les Espaces Sociaux (De Boeck, 2008), and articles in journals including Médiation et Information, Studies in Media and Communication, L’Homme Trace: Perspectives Anthropologiques des Traces Contemporaines, Les Enjeux de l'Information et de la Communication, Communiquer: Revue de Communication Sociale et Publique, Degrés: Revue de Synthèse à Orientation Sémiologique, MEI-Médiation et Information, Communication et Organization: Revue Scientifique Francophone en Communication Organisationnelle, Recherches en Communication, Communications Organisationnelles et Management en Contexte Numérique Généralisé, Communication Management, Communication des Organisations: Recherches Récentes, Revue Française des Sciences de l’Information et de la Communication, and ESSACHESS–Journal for Communication Studies.

 

Cite this chapter as:

Juchat, F. M. (2021). Religions, Technologies, and Civilizations: Neo-animism of the Internet of Things in Connected Societies. In: Bakan U. & Lengel M. L. (eds) Social Media Archaeology from Theory to Practice (pp. 41-61). MacroWorld Pub. https://doi.org/10.15340/978-625-00-9894-3_3


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