Friday, June 12, 2015

A tangent on agency:

One claim (I’m tempted to say “myth,” and I’m tempted to use the adjective “ontological”) for big data is that, given a behavioral dataset of sufficient size, agency in the classical liberal sense gives way to agency in the sense of emergence, in which the subject is no longer in control of her truth; her truth is produced through a predictive analytics. The data show me better than I know myself. It strikes me that these competing notions of agency (liberal subject versus emergent subject) will themselves be applied in discriminatory ways. Privilege will permit some people to derive power from the revelations of big data, to mix and optimize these two kinds of agency, while disadvantaged people will end up having the emergence model applied to them — and be further disempowered as a result. </tangent>

Wednesday, June 3, 2015