Amidst discussion of the Internet of Things, Fenwick McKelvey studies the Internet as Things. Investigating the machines, bots, artificial intelligence, algorithms, and daemons that make up the digital world around us.
His research takes him from debates at the CRTC to data centres, from Donna Haraway to Harold Guetzkow. He is currently studying the shaping of artificial intelligence and its legitimacy as a solution to media problems building on his past studies of Network Neutrality and the discoverability of online content. He continues to study political communication, exploring social media and politics, computational management in political campaigns, political bots, and the influence of memes in Canadian politics.
To understand the influences, controls, nudges, and optimizations of the Internet as things, he draws on a range of scholarly work in communication studies, media studies, science and technology studies, and political economy. His resulting research has been published in journals including New Media and Society, the International Journal of Communication, the Internet Histories, and the Canadian Journal of Communication.
He is the author of Internet Daemons: Digital Communications Possessed (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), winner of the 2019 Gertrude J. Robinson Book Award. He is co-author of The Permanent Campaign: New Media, New Politics (Peter Lang, 2012) with Greg Elmer and Ganaele Langlois. He has co-edited special issues on the Alt-Rights in Canada for the Canadian Journal of Communication and on Optimization for the Review of Communication. He holds a PhD in the joint program of Communication and Culture between York University and Ryerson University.
Whenever possible, McKelvey participates in public debates and issue-driven discussions related to the Internet as things, frequently serving as a commentator for a variety of media organizations, including CBC’s Power and Politics and The National, The Guardian, and Wired Magazine, among others.
He is co-director of the Applied AI Institute and manages the Machine Agencies working group at Speculative Life at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology. He is also a member of the Educational Review Committee of the Walrus Magazine, Director of the Algorithmic Media Observatory, a member of the Center for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, the Groupe de recherche en communication politique, the Canadian Disinformation Network, and the Montréal Society and Artificial Intelligence Collective (MoSAIC).