Did you see Eric Pickersgill’s photo series Removed last week, showing people staring at their phones – except the phones had been removed from the image? The photos really hit a cultural nerve and were very widely shared. They play to the image of us humans as enslaved to technology, and to the idea that we are less human when we become engrossed in our media technologies.

I’m at IR16, the Association of Internet Researcher’s annual conference, and yesterday I presented a paper about the ways science fiction and social media metaphors dehumanize users of technology. I’ve found three metaphors that keep returning: that of the fetus, the corpse and the zombie.

The video above shows my slides along with an audio recording of the talk. If you’re interested, you can read the short paper that I submitted to the conference too.

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