Associate Professor, Temple University
Media Studies and Production, Klein College of Communication and Media Studies
PhD Science and Technology Studies Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
MS Physiology and Neurobiology. University of Connecticut
email: hector [dot] postigo [at] temple [dot] edu
I’ve been at Temple University since 2008, have been a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research New England, a visiting fellow at Yale University School of Law’s Information Society Project from 2015-2017, and Annenberg Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study of Social and Behavioral Sciences 2017-2018.
My research focuses on new digital media and cultural production both large and small. What counts as “new digital media” is always changing so my research and teaching are either chasing it or trying to get ahead of it. Recently, using open source code and with support from Rutgers School of Law Institute for Information Policy and Law, I fine- tuned the 355M GPT-2 weights to produce AI policy narratives (see link for acknowledgments and more). Ironic, I know.
That project led to another recent project which used another fine-tuned AI model to generate creative content. I’ve been giving talks at Philadelphia law firms about what copyright policy should look like if AI generates novel creative works based on fine-tuning from proprietary content like music, literature or code.
In the past I’ve researched value generation (as in cultural and material capital) in the creative industries, driven by “free” labor or open source culture. I’ve looked at a number of case studies to ask: what kinds of value does the work of fan communities, volunteers, hackers and others add to commercial enterprises? What are their (industry and user) norms, practices and values? And how do they engage with technologies/laws/policies that afford or frustrate participation? I was one of the first researchers to study video game fan communities that make valuable modifications to popular PC games (modders), for example, and have written on the history of AOL volunteer communities and their labor disputes.
My second line of research focuses on technologically mediated activism. I study this topic by asking how ICTs, hacks, workarounds and other circumventions might impact the role of individuals and organizations bent on social change. I’m a fan of Jennifer Earl’s work on that topic. My own contributions in that vein have centered on the digital rights or free culture movement and their use of technological measures as a form of activism. My book on that topic came out from MIT Press. The MIT Press also released portions of my Digital Rights Movement as a part of its MIT BIT initiative. That volume is titled Origins of the Digital Rights Movement and its available here.
My third line of research focused on the US security/privacy industry and its branding and marketing practices. That project was funded by the European Commission 7th Programme Framework. My collaborators and I published a co-edited a volume on that topic. It’s available from Palgrave Macmillan Press.
I also study video games and scientific discovery! With the generous support of the National Science Foundation, I research how video game platforms can create creative spaces to solve long standing questions in biochemistry, engineering and physics. That initial project was in collaboration with Casey O’Donnell from Michigan State University. Currently I’m using VR to explore perception and neurobiology.
In 2011 Tarleton Gillespie (from Microsoft Research and Cornell) and I received funding from the National Science Foundation for a project on cultural production in the digital age. We had great collaborators from all over the world join us for this project founded a blog, Culture Digitally, and it has grown into a wonderful research community.