“Why data science is a profound threat for queer people.”
Where “queer” here could also be expanded to include “anything non-standard.” And where “data science” is defined as “The quantitative analysis of large amounts of data for the purpose of decision-making”, and later as “The inhumane reduction of humanity down to what can be counted.”
A couple quotes:
“Data science as currently constituted:
- provides new tools for state and corporate control and surveillance
- discursively (and recursively) demands more participation in those tools when it fails
- communicates through its control universalized views of what humans can be and locks us into those views.”
“Let’s look at a common example of what “administrative violence” looks like and what it does. Suppose you want to update the name and gender associated with your mobile phone: You go in, and the company says that you need a legal ID that matches the new name and gender. So you go off to the government and say, Hey, can I have a new ID? And they say, Well, only if you’re officially trans. So you go off to a doctor and say, Hey, can I have a letter confirming I’m trans? And the doctor says, Well, you need symptoms X, Y, and Z. And then when you do this, and jump through all that gatekeeping, everything breaks because suddenly the name your bank account is associated with no longer exists. You attempted to conform, and you still got screwed.”
Arguably, borders have always been this way. (a recent guide from British Columbia about what to do if cops want to search your phone/computer; though it’s not actually helpful as much as depressing.) Classrooms haven’t been. (aughh!) Consumer devices haven’t been. From that (and we’re taking a turn here away from quantification and into centralization):
“platforms have also been able to expand rentier relations in ways that enclose everyday things. The key technology of enclosure is the software license, which allows the new rentiers to claim ownership over the software embedded in and data emanating from increasingly more physical things that we use in our daily lives.”
“By integrating what were once ordinary objects into the internet of things, companies are able to enact a form of micro-enclosure in which they retain ownership over the digital part of a physical thing - and the right to access, control, and shut off the software - even after you purchase it”
“Nobody would look at the dynamic between landlords and tenants and say, “Yep, I’m happy to apply that to my entire life.” Yet that is what’s happening when we accept, or don’t resist, the expansion of extraction-as-a-service.”
How to cope:
I don’t know! I guess it’s like with terrorism or malaria or all sorts of other problems: we realize that the rise of Brazil is a problem somewhere in the world, but we can only do what we can do, so we keep trying to do that and etc etc.
The main thing that gives me hope is that this stuff just doesn’t work. It’s easy to not buy smart toasters. Most schools with “smart devices” soon realize they don’t work, or there’s a software update that breaks them or something, and they collect dust. (citation needed.)
(But as you can probably tell, this is a delay at best, and indeed I’m not feeling so terribly hopeful overall.)
the “coming AI autumn” which, honestly, can’t come soon enough.
Somewhat related: how to actually tell if someone online is fake; should be a required test before you’re allowed to post or retweet or interact with anything anywhere on the internet; tongue sort of in cheek.
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