My recent thinking has been focused on the role that knowledge plays in a democratic society. Worries about the arrival of a post-truth society seem both ahistorical and overblown but seem to misunderstand the whole point of democracy. My most recent book, The Divide, tackles the challenges, trade offs, and seeming paradoxes of realizing the potential intelligence of democracy while legitimating the political system, building public trust, and allowing all citizens' values to influence policy
My early research was focused on the role that technological change plays in human social relationships and the organization of community. A healthy skepticism of networked individualism, technological liberalism, and the rhetoric of choice as well as an interest in concepts like engagement and the good life drives my thinking. This research culminated in my first book, Technically Together. It focused on the question of how societies could more reliably realize artifacts, infrastructures, organizations, and built environments that are communally ergonomic - that is, technologies that encourage local community engagement as an integral part of everyday life.
My articles have appeared in journals such as AI & Society, Technology in Society, Social Epistemology, Philosophy & Technology, the Journal of Responsible Innovation, and the Journal of Urbanism. I am also interested in investigating the barriers to the more democratic technological societies.
Prior to becoming a professor of social science at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, I earned a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from RPI - which came after a bachelors and masters in mathematics from New Mexico Tech. My life before academia included stints crunching large data-sets for a multinational chemical company and teaching mathematics courses on a reservation in North-Central Montana. I also play rugby (when not rehabbing an injury).
Research Areas: communitarian technologies; urban design; the good life; the politics of technology; the barriers to more democratic technological societies; water-energy-food nexus; epistemological luddism; responsible innovation; intelligent trial and error; political scientism; democratic pluralism