Ep. 113 Jamie Cohen “The Commodity of Authenticity”

December 05, 2018

Playing for Team Human today: media and technology scholar Jamie Cohen. Jamie will be helping us understand the commodity of authenticity. His work looks at the ways authenticity is quantized and codified on media platforms such as YouTube. It’s a process through which trust and connection become instrumentalized as tools for the monetization and manipulation of audience attention. Jamie warns how, coupled with powerful algorithms, the gaming of authenticity threatens serious social consequences. Jamie joins Douglas to discuss his research, including his case studies of famous YouTubers like Tyler Oakley and Casey Neistat. Together they dig into the promise and peril of “populist” digital technologies; blogging, VR, and beyond.

Jamie Cohen Is a professor at Molloy College where he started the New Media Program. He researches social media, memes, digital culture, and virtual reality. Learn more about Jamie’s work at http://www.jamesncohen.com/

Douglas opens with a monologue on how we all became Russia’s “useful idiots.”

Selected works cited on today’s show:

 “Open TV” Aymar Jean Christian

Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechnical Reproduction

Zeynep Tufekci “We’re Building A Dystopia Just To Make People Click On Ads”

Douglas Rushkoff’s 2004 PBS FRONTLINE documentary The Persuaders and his 2014 documentary Generation Like

Music Credits: Opening the show, we’re trying out a new Team Human original, recorded and performed by TH producer Stephen Bartolomei fading into a track from Team Human Episode 31 guest R.U. Sirius. Mid-show transition music thanks to Herkimer Diamonds and outro music thanks to the mighty Mike Watt: beak-holding-letter-man.

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Medium: Versions of Douglas’s monologues as well as streams of this podcast can be found on Medium

Photos by Josh Chapdelaine

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