from Dropbox http://ift.tt/2mkCTmt
Puppet on a stringThis journal article by Nishant Shah describes the Data Subject and Quantified Self as incarnations of the individual in networked societies, exploring the themes of his podcast on the Disconnected Self and with the aim of “rethink[ing] the political and social landscape” (2015, notes, p.25) of the posthuman.
Shah paints a portrait of the individual as she is constructed through datasets, where identity is conflated with identification, the result of a
crucial shift where the identity of a person is ontologically defined through the logics and logistics of networked computation
He unpacks the abiguity in whether
the data subject is the individual whose identity becomes the basis of validating the data, or whether the data subject is the identity of the individual as it gets constructed through the data sets (p.23).
Shah states that the individual
comes into being through predictive and self-correcting algorithms that develop correlations, curations and connections between disparate individuated transactions to produce a new understanding of the individual
and describes how, in an attempt to keep pace with this technological reinterpretation of the human (posthuman),
legal theories and regulatory mechanisms have already started facing the crisis of post-human action, trying to bridge the gap between the acting avatar and the culpable body. … Structures of law, governance, care and control have all been facing challenges as the individual becomes greater than and lesser than the human that has always been at the centre of our discourse and practice (p.25)
Shah’s description of the Aadhaar system and the protocols exacted by the database resonate with my current role as a system administrator in which, to me, the student has lost her affective, narrative and iterative personalities and become a unique id. Data integrity is paramount; it must be clean, finite, discrete, unique without individuality.
- Students with the same name are frowned upon until blessed with the award of a unique number.
- Students whose names are marked out by diacriticals are not tolerated, such blots on their identifiers removed to make them worthy records for the set.
- Twins are a nuisance.
- Double-barreled surnames are approached with caution.
Rendered database-fit, these non-beings have scattered articulations of additional information in discrete tables which are pulled together contingently to dance as puppets of themselves as demanded by censuses, government requests for information, organisational need or to number among the irrefutable statistics marshalled to support the argument of the day.
What relationship do these metonymic dolls have with the girls and boys I pass in the corridors, full of life and irreplicable irregularity?
I am wondering what I will make of my self as she is constructed by my own choices, ifttt algorithms, the requirements of EDC and the architecture of the WordPress platform?
Shah, N. (2015). Identity and Identification: The Individual in the Time of Networked Governance Socio-Legal Review, 11:2, pp.22-40