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Ch 1. Hello, It’s me…

John S. Seberger is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Informatics at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at University of California, Irvine (UCI). John prides himself on his multidisciplinary (and somewhat unorthodox) approach to the human-centered, social study of emerging technologies and hopeful infrastructures. His dissertation work, which was partially subsidized by a substantial research gift from the Internet of Things Group at Intel, concerned the discursive transformations of ‘the human’ and ‘the thing’ in the context of the Internet of Things (IoT) at the scales of the body, home, and city. By approaching IoT through the lenses of The Archive, infrastructure studies, media theory, historiography, and both humanistic and third wave HCI, John seeks to answer one persistent question: (1) What will it mean to be in and know the world in the temporality of the day-to-day — to be a human — in a future where the vision of a ubiquitous IoT is realized?

John is currently developing a long-term project that identifies and theorizes the novel forms of civic personhood that emerge within the imaginary of the ‘smart city.’ This project has its roots in an ongoing collaboration with the city of Long Beach, California’s Office of Civic Innovation. John’s other current research interests are: humanistic approaches to infrastructure studies; the ontology of the self in relation to information and interaction practices in the smart home; and the epistemology and phenomenology of the data doppelgänger. He has recently presented on this work at The Center for Advanced Studies at the Norwegian National Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo, Norway, the Media Ecology Association, the Society for the Social Studies of Science, and the Southern California Postdoctoral Symposium. He will also present on this work at Goldsmiths, University of London in December 2019. All of this work is ultimately situated within an emergent theory of archival bifurcation, which will be the subject of John’s first major manuscript intended for the Infrastructure Series at MIT Press.

Before starting as a postdoc at UCI, John received his PhD in Information and Computer Science from UCI, his MLIS from University of Pittsburgh, his MSc in Research Methods in Psychology (Music Psychology) from Keele University, and his BA in Psychology from Kenyon College. He has held various professional positions in bands, libraries, database production companies, and even a large corporate law firm. He currently lives a few blocks from the beach with his fiancee in three rooms full of books, musical instruments, screens, windows, furniture, and a cat named Linus. His hobbies and interests include word games, minimalist music, 1970s cinema and television, comic strips, and writing detective fiction. Sometimes he squeezes in some maintenance practice on his guitars and piano. (NB: John does not usually write or speak about himself in the third person.)

John is a founding member of the Evoke Lab & Studio at UCI and a former Graduate Fellow of the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing. He has presented his work in conferences and invited talks at top tier universities in the North America, Scandinavia, and Australia. In addition to numerous awards and fellowships, John is the recipient of substantial research funding from the Internet of Things Group at Intel. His dissertation was supervised by an interdisciplinary committee of four: Geoffrey C. Bowker (Chair), Peter Krapp, Simon Penny, and Tess Tanenbaum.

To download John’s CV (last updated in September of 2019), please click on his photo.