Tag: Algorithmic Authoritarianism and Digital Repression

  • The possibility of a digital police state: Hegel, Fichte, Mejias, Couldry, Bauman and Sloterdijk

    In a debate about Fichte’s conception of the police state, Hegel took issue with the logistical demands involved in such over-weaning control of a population. However as points out on pg 28 of Žižek’s Hegel In A Wired Brain, Fichte’s vision seems eerily prescient when we consider the possibilities for control inherent in digitalisation: When […]

  • To what extent is political Twitter pointless?

    There’s a simple question at the end of Andrew Chadwick’s The Hybrid Media System which rewards serious thought. From pg 288: Today, we might ask whether the average citizen interested in influencing politics but without ambitions for high political office should join a political organization or create a Twitter account and start interacting with others […]

  • Machine learning and authoritarianism

    On pg 258-259 of her Don’t Be Evil, Rana Foroohar poses a question which will become more urgent with each passing year, binding political economy and digital governance together in a way which will define the fabric of social life: Is digital innovation best suited to an environment of decentralization, in which many firms in […]

  • The outlook of the digital technocrat

    The outlook of the digital technocrat

    From Automating Inequality by Virgina Eubanks pg 123-124: The proponents of the coordinated entry system, like many who seek to harness computational power for social justice, tend to find affinity with systems engineering approaches to social problems. These perspectives assume that complex controversies can be solved by getting correct information where it needs to go […]

  • Social media as asshole amplification technology, or, the moral psychology of platform architecture

    This is Jaron Lanier’s memorable description of social media in his new book Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. Social media is a technology for asshole amplification. To be clearly seen in the fact that “since social media took off, assholes are having more of a say in the world” (pg 43). His […]

  • The original sin of the digital utopians

    There’s a fascinating mea culpa in Jaron Lanier’s new book Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. On loc 411 he describes how early design decisions, inspired by the libertarian ethos taking hold within the tech community, created the openings for the global monopolies we now see emerging: Originally, many of us who […]

  • CfP: Deception on social media

    Saving this interesting CfP for later look up   Contributors are invited to submit abstracts (about 200 words) toward our new edited collection entitled: *Social Media and the Production and Spread of Spurious Deceptive Contents,* to be published by IGI Global (Hershey, PA), under the series: *Advances in Digital Crime, Forensics, and Cyber Terrorism* (ADCFCT) […]

  • Ubiquitous drone surveillance 

    I’ve been reflecting on a dark but plausible prediction by Edwards Snowden in his forward to The Assination Complex by Jeremy Scahill and the team from the intercept. On loc 195 he argues that the technological barriers to ubiquitous drone surveillance are now minimal: Inevitably that conceptual subversion finds its way home, along with the […]

  • Special Issue on Computational Propaganda and Political Big Data

    How exciting does this look? Call for Papers: Special Issue on Computational Propaganda and Political Big Data We welcome manuscripts from scholars across the social and computer sciences, and are particularly interested in research from teams of authors from both domains of inquiry. Please submit your papers online to our web-based manuscript submission and peer-review […]

  • Digital labour and the epistemic fallacy 

    One of the arguments which pervades Uberworked and Underpaid, by Trebor Scholz, concerns the materiality of digital labour. As someone whose back and neck start to ache if I spend too much time at a computer, I’ve always found the tendency to assume there is something mysteriously immaterial about using computers to be rather absurd. […]

  • Fighting for ‘political correctness’ in an age of Trump

    I’ve recently found myself thinking back to an argument which Jeff Weeks makes in The World We Have Won. From pg 7: The real achievement is that inequality has lost all its moral justification, and this has profoundly shifted the debate. Inequality now has to be justified in ways it never had to be before. […]

  • Educational technology in an age of Trump: a risk to students?

    I find this suggestion by Audrey Watters extremely plausible. Full interview here. I think that education data should be a top priority under the new Trump regime. Schools are wildly obsessed with collecting data. They have been for a very long time, but new digital technologies have compelled them to collect even more, all with […]

  • Metrics and the death of imagination

    In John Thompson’s Merchants of Culture, there’s an interesting remark about the structural position of first time authors which I think has wider purchase. From pg 200: Ironically, in a world preoccupied by numbers, the author with no track is in some ways in a strong position, considerably stronger than the author who has published […]

  • The Affectivity of the Nascent Tyrant

    By far the best film I’ve seen this year was The Childhood of a Leader. It recounts a number of episodes in the life of a nascent tyrant, exploring the emergence of what is hinted to be a boundless rage that might one day transform the world: I’ve been thinking about this film since encountering Auden’s […]

  • A vicious circle of reprisals and hostility

    From this week’s Economist leader. I suspect they’re underestimating the extent to which Trump will largely enact the Ryan-ist mainstream in economic policy. However they’re surely correct about the underlying dynamic: Trump’s policies intensifying the conditions which gave rise to him, creating more anger and encouraging the ethno-nationalist channeling of that anger as a political […]

  • Call for Papers: State Crime and Digital Resistance (Deadline 30 November)

    Special Issue, State Crime Journal (May 2018) STATE CRIME AND DIGITAL RESISTANCE Sign up for 6th January 2017 workshop here: http://statecrime.org/state-crime-research/call-for-papersworkshop-special-issue-of-state-crime-journal/ This special issue of State Crime seeks to investigate how changing patterns of state crime are being shaped by the massive growth of a digital communications infrastructure which permeates everyday life for billions of […]

  • The bureaucratic origins of algorithmic authoritarianism

    I just came across this remarkable estimate in an Economist feature on surveillance. I knew digitalisation made surveillance cheaper but I didn’t realise quite how much cheaper. How much of the creeping authoritarianism which characterises the contemporary national security apparatus in the UK and US is driven by a familiar impulse towards efficiency? The agencies not only do […]

  • The cosmopolitan self vs the endurance self

    I like this contrast drawn by Arlie Hochschild on loc 2780-2795 of Strangers In Their Own Land: Not only her values, but even the kind of self she proudly exhibited—an endurance self—seemed to need defending, because it too seemed to be going out of fashion along with all the blue-collar jobs. “They used to brag […]

  • Are journalists personally afraid of a Trump presidency?

    Are journalists personally afraid of a Trump presidency? That’s the suggestion of this Vox article: In my experience, it goes yet deeper than this. Quietly, privately, political reporters wonder if Trump is a threat to them personally — if he were president, would he use the powers of the office to retaliate against them personally […]