From Figure to Ground: How Humans Became Technology’s Tools

Wednesday, September 22nd, 7 pm



The GVSU School of Communications is proud to present the 2021 James W. Carey Memorial Lecture featuring Douglas Rushkoff

Digital technology is being developed with little or no awareness of the underlying operating system: corporate capitalism. New technologies are developed purely for their ability to extract value from people and places, instead of providing human beings with the capabilities they need to create and exchange value for themselves. As a result, we now live in a media environment where technologies use people more than people use technology.  One of the greatest promises of new media technologies was to unlock closed-ended narratives, and offer people the opportunity to participate, actively, in the creation of a new human story.

In this talk, media theorist and author Douglas Rushkoff will use the lens of critical economic analysis to explain how this potential renaissance for human connection and flourishing was leveraged instead to amplify the most predictable, extractive and dehumanizing aspects of the market - as well as what we can do to reclaim agency in the digital media environment.

Portrait of Douglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff

Named one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an author and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age.

“...we are simply fighting to stay employed, pay our mortgages, save for our kid's college, and make sure we have something left for retirement. And in spite of the digital boom, or maybe because of it, it's getting harder to do any of those things.”

Douglas Rushkoff - from "Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity"

Hosted by

GVSU School of Communications and the Communication Studies Major.
290 LSH
Allendale, Michigan 49401


Zoom Room registration link will be made available at the beginning of September.


Corey Anton, Communication Studies Area Coordinator (  616-331-3321

2021 James W. Carey Memorial Lecture - Registration

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