What Is Technocultures

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  • 1. What is Technoculture Phillip Simmonds • The Internet – Discipline and Control – The participatory Panopticon
  • 2. Chun, Wendy H. K. (2006). Control and freedom: power and paranoia in the age of fiber optics. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. This piece focuses on the cultural influence of the internet. An increasingly important part of technological progress in recent years.
  • 3. The Internet • The internet “broke media monopolies by enabling the free flow of information, reinvigorating free speech and democracy” Although.. “..some condemned the Internet for its excessive freedoms, for the ways in which it encouraged so-called deviant behaviour that put our future at risk”. Chun, Wendy H. K. (2006). Control and freedom: power and paranoia in the age of fiber optics.
  • 4. Deviant behaviours? • Who can gain access to our information? • When browsing a web page we send: Internet Protocol (IP) address, browser type, language preference, and userdomain often contains information such as your physical location or username
  • 5. “Using a packet sniffer, however, you can see that your computer constantly wanders without you” Chun, Wendy H. K. (2006). Control and freedom: power and paranoia in the age of fiber optics. Image Source: http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/chapters/0262033321intro1.pdf
  • 6. • “Your screen, with its windows and background, suggests that your computer only sends and receives data at your request. It suggests that you are that all-powerful user Microsoft invoked to sell its Internet Explorer by asking, ‘‘Where do you want to go today?’’” Chun, Wendy H. K. (2006). Control and freedom: power and paranoia in the age of fiber optics.
  • 7. Michel Foucault – Discipline Societies • French philosopher who’s ideas of discipline societies and sexuality from his works ‘Discipline and Punish’ (1975) and ‘The History of Sexuality’ (1984) are used by Chun to envisage the Internet as a sort of modern day prison
  • 8. Gilles Deleuze – Control Society • Another French philosopher who used the ideas of Foucault’s discipline societies from ‘Discipline and Punish’ (1975), to form his idea of ‘control societies’ described in his ‘Postscript on Control Societies’(1990)
  • 9. “The computer, with its emphasis on information and its reduction of the individual to the password, epitomizes control societies. Digital language makes control systems invisible: we no longer experience the visible yet unverifiable gaze but a network of nonvisualizable digital control.” Chun, Wendy H. K. (2006). Control and freedom: power and paranoia in the age of fiber optics.
  • 10. The Panopticon Image Source: http://mapage.noos.fr/dcolas/panopticon.jpg
  • 11. What is the Panopticon • The idea of the panopticon came from English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. • The idea is commonly used as a metaphor for the surveillance of internet users by persons such as governments, corporations, criminals/hackers , and even regular citizens
  • 12. What is the Panopticon “The Panopticon encapsulated the disciplinary mechanism for Foucault” The general idea is of a prison composed of a central tower that is surrounded by an outer structure with individual cells that can be observed from the middle. “In the Panopticon, visibility was a trap—the inhabitants could always be viewed by the central tower, but since the windows of the central tower were to be covered by blinds they could never be certain when they were being Image Source: http://www.library.auckland.ac.nz/subjects/socio/images/Panopticon.jpg watched” Chun, Wendy H. K. (2006). Control and freedom: power and paranoia in the age of fiber optics.
  • 13. • “The major effect of the Panopticon was to ‘‘induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power.’’ • “To work, power had to be visible, yet unverifiable.” Chun, Wendy H. K. (2006). Control and freedom: power and paranoia in the age of fiber optics.
  • 14. Taking Liberties • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb0sY_p94 cM • part of a UK documentary ‘Taking Liberties’ • - available on YouTube
  • 15. • The internet Panopticon is not something that is being forced on us • If the internet becomes the most viable option of doing tasks such as reading the news, talking to others, watching movies, shopping etc then it becomes a cultural necessity • “Further, the implementation of the panopticon model may be perceived by users as a necessity if they are convinced that such a structure would protect them or make their transactions online more efficient” Brignall, T (2002), The New Panopticon: The Internet Viewed as a Structure of Social Control, Theory & Science, [http://theoryandscience.icaap.org/content/vol003.001/brignall.html]
  • 16. • “The inmates (are) caught up in a power situation of which they are themselves the bearers” (Foucault, 1972: 201). • Those within the panopticon becomes less concerned of a ‘Big Brother’ but rather of ‘Little Brothers’ (such as other inmates) who may keep on eye on you for their own gains. • The panopticon becomes: • “a faceless gaze that transformed the whole social body into a field of perception: thousands of eyes posed everywhere, mobile attentions ever on the alert” (Foucault, 1972: 214). Foucault, M. (1972). The Archaeology of Knowledge & The Discourse On Language. Trans. A. Sheridan. New York: Pantheon Books. Foucault, M. (1995). Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. A. Sheridan New York: Vintage Books.
  • 17. • In one of his article from WorldChanging.com, Jamais Cascio refers to this as a ‘participatory panopticon’ • “constant surveillance is done by the citizens themselves, and is done by choice. It's not imposed on us by a malevolent bureaucracy or faceless corporations. The participatory panopticon will be the emergent result of myriad independent rational decisions, a bottom-up version of the constantly watched society.” Cascio, J (2005), The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon, WorldChanging, [http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/002651.html]
  • 18. • Cascio refers to the idea of the individual citizens using technology to watch those in charge as ‘sousveillance’ • “..a recent neologism meaning quot;watching from belowquot; - - in comparison to quot;surveillance,quot; meaning quot;watching from above.”” • “Proponents of the notion see it as an equalizer, making it possible for individual citizens to keep tabs on those in charge. For the sousveillance movement, if the question is “who watches the watchmen?” the answer is ”all of us.”” Cascio, J (2005), The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon, WorldChanging, [http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/002651.html]
  • 19. • “Digital devices and network connections can allow individuals to bypass chains of command and control” • A picture of a prisoner being abused by the American military in Iraq, which was then sent via email to the rest of the world • In reaction to the photos, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said: quot;We're functioning ... in the Information Age, where people are running around with digital cameras and taking these unbelievable photographs and then passing them off, against the law, to the media, to our surprise, when they had not even arrived in the Pentagon.”” Image Source: http://www.worldchanging.com/images/Abu_Ghraib.jpg Cascio, J (2005), The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon, WorldChanging, [http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/002651.ht ml]
  • 20. The I.T. Generation • Are we living in an easier and more advanced age than ever before? Or • Is technology impairing and hindering us.. Even controlling us more than it is providing freedom?
  • 21. URL Reference List • Control & Freedom: Power & Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/chapters/0262033321intro1.pdf • Deleuze and the Internet • http://www.australianhumanitiesreview.org/archive/Issue-December- 2007/Buchanan.html • Why Web 2.0 will end your privacy: • http://www.bit-tech.net/columns/2006/06/03/web_2_privacy/ • Panopticon.com: online surveillance and the commodification of privacy: • http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/summary_0199-871016_ITM • The New Panopticon: The Internet Viewed as a Structure of Social Control: • http://theoryandscience.icaap.org/content/vol003.001/brignall.html • The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon: • http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/002651.html • Gilles Deleuze ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’: • http://tannerhiggin.the-means.com/blog/2008/04/06/gilles-deleuze- postscript-on-the-societies-of-control/ • Taking Liberties: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb0sY_p94cM