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Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine

Second Edition

Michael J. Bugeja

Publication Date - July 2017

ISBN: 9780190600990

208 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

Seeks to answer the question: have media and technology created a social gap, eroding our sense of community?


Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine challenges us to scrutinize data science and take inventory of ourselves through the lens of the human condition, from which media and technology offer escape. Through a rich telling of media history and deep discussion of media and civic issues from an applied perspective, Bugeja illustrates how each medium changes the message, resulting in cultural upheaval that also causes deep rifts in personal and professional relationships. This new recasting of the Interpersonal Divide addresses the impact on society of machines in the age of big data and artificial intelligence and urges us to remain focused on the importance of consciousness, conscience, and community.

New to this Edition

  • An examination of big data shows how machines correlate for profit.
  • An exploration of artificial intelligence considers how technology using big data and robotics is changing the world as we know it.
  • Focuses more on the intimate or personal relationships found in community rather than just the more public contexts of marketing, advertising, and mass mediated messaging.
  • Presents more opposing viewpoints to give students a broader and more nuanced perspective of technology and its influence on society.
  • Includes student reactions as well as more concrete narratives, anecdotes, humanizing examples, and real-world solutions to current crises.
  • Reads more easily for undergraduate students to understand and enjoy.
  • Features added visuals like charts for students that draw heavily on visual information to make sense of information.
  • Provides more applicable journal exercises and projects that current students can better relate to.
  • Suggests additional resource such as books, web sites, blogs, and more where students might engage questions in more depth related to a research project.


  • An emphasis on media history helps readers understand how techonlogical innovation changes society.
  • A focus on the ethics of techno-culture illustrates how technological values are distinct from media and cultural values.
  • An examination of big data shows how machines correlate for profit.
  • An exploration of artificial intelligence considers how technology using big data and robotics is changing the world as we know it.

About the Author(s)

Michael J. Bugeja is an ethicist and author of twenty-three books, including Living Ethics Across Media Platforms and Vanishing Act: The Erosion of Online Footnotes and Implications for Scholarship in the Digital Age. Living Ethics, along with the first edition of Interpersonal Divide, won the prestigious Clifford G. Christians Award for research in media ethics. Dr. Bugeja directed the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University of Science and Technology.

Previous Publication Date(s)

January 2005


"Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine builds on the work of Postman, Turkle, and Carr to clarify what is at stake if we don't recognize how the media we use may be affecting more than individuals and culture. It may be changing who we are as human beings."--Janet McMullen, University of North Alabama

Table of Contents

    About the Author

    Introduction: The Need to Belong
    Thought, Word, Deed
    The Search for Acceptance

    Chapter One: Impact of Media and Technology
    Real and Virtually Real
    McLuhan, Revisited
    The Dawning of Mass Media
    Advent of Marketing
    Vision and Values
    Journal Exercise: "On Demand Contact"

    Chapter Two: The Age of the Machine
    Rise of Techno-Culture
    Cultural Values
    Machine Values
    Commercial Values
    Media Values
    Journal Exercise: "Your Personal Code"

    Chapter Three: Big Data, Little People
    How People Became Nodes
    From Knowledge to Consumer Economy
    The World without Why
    The End of Theory
    Journal Exercise: "48-Hour Social Media Experiment"

    Chapter Four: Interpersonal Divide at Home
    Changing Families
    Changing Relationships
    Changing Values
    Journal Exercise: "Your Digital Inventory"

    Chapter Five: Interpersonal Divide at School
    Educational Distraction
    Digital Education
    Educational Diligence
    Journal Exercise: "Real Time and Place"

    Chapter Six: Interpersonal Divide at Work
    Interpersonal Analytics
    Interpersonal Interference
    Interpersonal Integrity
    Journal Exercise: "Digital Discretion"

    Chapter Seven: Machine v. Moral Values
    Artificial Emotion v. Intelligence
    Impersonal v. Personal Computing
    Utopia v. Dystopia
    Journal Exercise: "Artificial v. Human Acumen"

    Selected Bibliography

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