#33c3 – best of chaos communication congress 2016 (part 11)

Video: The Transhumanist Paradox – Deciding between technological utopias in a liberal state

Speaker Xavier Flory, a researcher in political sciences at Sciences Po offers a very enlightening talk about liberalism and the liberal state and the transforming of this state and its basic principles by millions of individual choices, thus erroding the foundations of our democracies. Flory:

“Liberal states protect individual liberty, but are oblivious that technology is radically transforming the environment in which we exercise this liberty.”

Flory explains, these days individuals constantly make decisions about technology and its use, altering the common ground of our society, shaping its future. This is different from what we used to know, Flory says, because usually:

“Politics is the means by which humans can make collective choices about their future.”

Here the paradox comes in:

“Liberalism is the political doctrine that refuses to endorse or enact substantive collective visions of the future.”

So to speak, liberalism ignores the power of individual decisions shaping the collective future, rendering the power of constitution to some obscure, intransparent algorithms and its developers enacting the digital age. But we should not stop to reclaim the power to shape that future:

“The liberty to choose what to do in a specific situation is nothing without the liberty to deliberate upon and choose our common future.”

#33c3 – best of chaos communication congress 2016 (part 10)

Video: The High Priests of the Digital Age are working behind your back to make you confess, and repent.

Speaker Charleyne Biondi argues that today’s mass surveillance infrastructure, its impact on personal behaviour and the resulting conformism resembles the crusade against masturbation in the 18th century. She devolops her narrative along the lines of the emerging surveillance culture in the families and the public of the 18th century, labeling masturbation as an heinous sin, even though before that noone really bothered…

Biondi relates our digital age to a seemingly long gone age of repression, pointing out that there are plenty of signs in today’s culture that repression is on the verge of taking over again.