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Mark Andrejevic's Presentation as part of The Internet as Playground and Factory
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  • On the one hand, we are confronted by the overlay of physical space with interactive capabilities – space as interface: the grafting of the interactivity associated with the virtual enclosure of the internet onto the physical spaces of daily life. On the other, we are witnesses to the unprecedented construction of giant data-centers around the globe. Rather than a “cloud,” the spatial formations associated with digital enclosure are vast data repositories – so-called “server farms” – sprouting up in locations where land and electricity are relatively inexpensive: along the Columbia River Basin in Washington State and Oregon, in Texas, North Carolina, and elsewhere. Google has reportedly budgeted some $1.5 billion in 2006 as part of a project to build “a worldwide string of data centers” nicknamed “Googleplex” (Markoff & Hansell, 2006) and its rivals Microsoft and Yahoo have embarked on similar data warehouse construction projects. For a business that seems to have no tangible products, Google relies heavily on very real “bricks-and-mortar” facilities. As one analyst put it, “Google is as much about infrastructure as it is about the search engine…They are building an enormous computing resource on a scale that is almost unimaginable” (Markoff & Hansell 2006, p. 1). The physical corollary of computing as pervasive and invisible as air is the concrete condensation of information represented by the construction of such data enclosures on a giant scale – acres of “air-conditioned warehouses filled with thousands upon thousands of computer servers” (Harden, 2006). These loom on the landscape like depopulated afterimages of industrial-era factories, inhabited not by workers, inmates, or patients, but by the combined data doubles of all of them: enclosures not of people, but of information about people assembled for the purposes of both assisting them and managing them more effectively.
  • The essence of the proposal is to identify sensitive subjects that advertising companies should not keep track of. Here is the list: 1) Certain medical/health conditions– HIV/ AIDS status Sexually-related conditions (e.g., sexually transmitted diseases, erectile dysfunction) Psychiatric conditions Cancer status Abortion-related 2) Certain personal life information– Sexual behavior/orientation/identity (i.e., Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) Criminal victim status (e.g., rape victim status)

Transcript

  • 1. ex·ploit “ unfolding” “bringing out” “a thing settled, ended, displayed” “having advantage” “achievement” “accomplishment” “selfish use” (1838) “coercive instrumental use of another” “appropriation of the product of forced, unpaid, surplus labor”
  • 2.  
  • 3.  
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  • 6.  
  • 7. Rhetoric of dematerialization
    • “ The central event of the 20th century is the overthrow of matter. In technology, economics, and the politics of nations, wealth in the form of physical resources is steadily declining in value and significance. The powers of mind are everywhere ascendant over the brute force of things. This change marks a great historic divide.” – Gilder, Toffler, Dyson, Keyworth, 1994
  • 8.  
  • 9. Appirio Press Release
    • “ This extension helps increase the size of a company's "virtual account team" by leveraging relationships that employees might already have…The employee can see if a friend has become a lead, bought a product, attended an event…etc. If the employee chooses they can contact their friend through Facebook to make a connection and ultimately help contribute to their company's bottom line (and maybe even their own bonus!)”
  • 10.
    • Viral marketing: Based on a search of keywords in friend profiles, the application makes recommendations of friends who might be interested in the offer, which users can then choose to take action on. Because of the integration with Salesforce CRM, customers can use the native functionality to track leads, make follow-up offers, and report on campaign success to see how their viral campaigns stack up to other marketing programs.  
  • 11. Exploitation 1.0
    • What it’s not:
      • Reducible to a sense of victimization (“Why do people fight for their servitude as stubbornly as though it were their salvation?” – D&G A-O).
      • The mere of fact of benefit from an another’s productive activity. Collaboration is not exploitation.
      • The mere fact of lack of payment (see above)
  • 12. Exploitation 1.0
    • Some form of coercion (even if this is embedded in “free” relations of exchange)
    • Capture of value (surplus, unpaid) that results from this coercion.
    • Alienation: Exploitation does not merely deprive the individual of the full value realized from his or her creative activity, but of the freedom to make this activity an object of will and consciousness.
  • 13. Alienation
    • Estrangement occurs when our own activity appears as something turned back against us as, “an alien power” over and against oneself (ibid.).
    • An update? (Daniel W. Smith on Deleuze): What an ethics of immanence will criticize, then, is anything that separates a mode of existence from its power of acting.
  • 14. Exploitation 1.0a: Capitalism
    • Separation as a mode of appropriation (a background of force)
    • Relations of coercion embedded in the logic of “free exchange” of the labor commodity for a wage.
  • 15. Exploitation 2.0?
    • A background of coercion (an unwaged economy that piggybacks on a waged one)
    • Marketing channeling Marx:
      • to return control to producers of their creative activity (that is, to overcome their estrangement from the product of their efforts)
      • to build community (to overcome estrangement from others)
      • to facilitate our own self-understanding (to overcome estrangement from themselves).
  • 16. Exploitation 2.0 (cont.)
    • A lack of coercion?
      • On top of relations of coercion (how are the wages of the unwaged earned)
      • Is this ostensible lack based on a conserved notion of surpassed forms of differentiation?
    • Surplus (appropriated or free?)
    • Unpaid (unwaged but compensated?)
    • Alienated (in part?)
  • 17. Matter Matters: Enclosure
    • A process of separation that reproduces separation.
    • In order to access our data, we are separated from it.
    • Privatization of the network facilitates (separation from communicative resources) reproduces separation from data.
  • 18. Google is as much about infrastructure as it is about the search engine…They are building an enormous computing resource on a scale that is almost unimaginable”
  • 19. Some implications
    • Second-order forms of coercion (willing submission to monitoring against the background of existing waged labor).
        • the offer to overcome estrangement or alienation produces a second-order form of separation: that of users from the data they generate
    • Direct forms of coercion: Appirio (generalizable?)
        • social networking sites serve, as one employer put it, as, “ a fundamental communication tool to probably more than half our workforce”
  • 20. Alienation
    • Autonomy ≠ overcoming alienation
    • Access ≠ control (enclosure of the means of communication, expression, socializing, distribution).
  • 21. A conserved/surpassed perspective
    • The lens of consumer choice
      • overlooks both the value-generating work done by consumers and the logic of enclosure whereby this value is captured.
      • naturalizes the process whereby private ownership of productive resources structures the terms of exchange.
      • backgrounds forms of coercion that structure free participation.
      • concedes permeated of social life by target marketing.
  • 22.  
  • 23.
    • “ it is clear who exploits, who profits, and who governs but power nevertheless remains something more diffuse.”