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Philosophy

Personal Data, Privacy and the Normative Ubiquity of Technological Self-Surveillance

An introspective taxonomy of labels and the grammatical order of participatory technology in – and as – systems of knowledge and control has always been the nature, kernel and subjective essence of personal identity. It is difficult to identify a particular inflection point at which this Linnean, categorical game evolved from constructive personal boundary and interior surface to a token for external information-processing analysis and commercial exploitation; the internal and exterior surfaces of complex systems are intimately interdependent in ways that mathematics and physics have only relatively recently come to realise.

What (I think) is transparent here is that the hyper-inflating combinatorial complexity of intrusive information technologies and associated analytical processing has acquired an essential property of autonomous self-propagation. All incentives, expectations, inducements and rewards exist on an arc and trajectory that optimally and recursively reproduces the systems in which all these qualitative and quantitative variables are normative. It will not be long before we do not even notice these everyday interrogations and at least partially because the distributed intelligence of data analysis will become as ubiquitous as the data itself.

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