I am now working on the Metadata Project which is part of the New Media Research Project funded by The Leverhulme Trust. The working title of my PhD thesis is "On the Existence of Digital Objects". The thesis is a philosophical investigation of such digital objects as images, videos, facebook objects which pervade our everyday life online and constitute a digital milieu with which we live. Despite their popularity, philosophical reflection about them has largely been absent. Digital objects in their simplest form are data, which is further formalized through logical metadata schemes or ontologies. The formalized objects present themselves as data which are programmable objects which we create, drag, delete, as well as networks which are created through logical inferences. It argues that investigation of natural objects by traditional metaphysics fails to understand digital objects. It proposes to develop a new method based on the conceptualisation of technical objects in Martin Heidegger and Gilbert Simondon’s works. Heidegger is important because understands it through situating it within its world, Simondson treats it as an evolution towards perfection. The thesis proposes synthesizing the ideas of these two thinkers through the concept of relations by studying the genesis of Mark Up languages from GML to the semantic web and history of artificial intelligence, especially what Hubert Dreyfus calls the Heideggerian AI. It develops a theory of relations from Hume (discursive relations) and Heidegger(existential relations) to analyse digital objects. Both relations refer to two conceptions of temporality. The analysis of relations leads to understand the digital milieu as a technical system, which exhibits the dynamic between these two relations. The thesis further proposes to investigate experiences in the digital milieu through the analysis of both cognitive (Husserl) and existential (Heidegger) meaning, by contrasting them with computational logic, algorithms and the extended mind hypothesis. In general, the thesis demonstrates a new approach and metaphysical understanding of computational objects, which is called machine phenomenology.
I am working under the advice of Professor Bernard Stiegler(philosophy), Dr. Matthew Fuller(Media Theory), Professor Scott Lash(cultural studies), and Professor Robert Zimmer(Computing & Mathematics). In parallel to the philosophical investigations, I am also working closely with the industry. I am one of the founding members of the International Association of Web and Philosophy. Currently I am leading a project to develop a time-based video tagging application in collaboration with the Tate,UK After graduated from Computer Engineering, I worked in the software industry specializing in ERP(Enterprise Resource Planning) system and Web Applications. Later I switched to work in the cultural industry on media and publication to pursuit my interest in writing. The experience in two fields inspired me to have a deep reflection on humanity and technology and pursuit further studies. As a writer, I have published in many Chinese newspaper and magazines. Besides of writing, I also enjoy doing sports, playing music, and arts, I am a co-founding member of the international art/culture research collective DOXA. You can find an interview of me with Theory, Culture and Society
Keywords: Digital Objects, Metadata, Semantic Web, Ontology, Phenomenology, Heidegger, Husserl, Simondon
English, French, German, Mandarin, Cantonese, Chewchau
JAVA, C++, PHP, Processing
Links of Friends