According to any operations based on data, who we are is static and predictable. In the eyes of the organisations interacting with us through data – from public powers to private service providers – our contradictions and evolutions are just background noise. Ghanaian-American philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah speaks of a ‘Medusa Syndrome’
, writing that ‘what the state gazes upon, it tends to turn to stone.’ This is the only way a state has of making its people legible or, in other words, of ‘watching’ its population. Check out this great read about the implications of top-down limits to being our true and fluid selves.
“These are all spaces where depressurized conversation is possible because of their non-indexed, non-optimized, and non-gamified environments. The cultures of those spaces have more in common with the physical world than the internet. (…) The dark forests grow because they provide psychological and reputational cover. They allow us to be ourselves because we know who else is there.”
“Facebook does not need to see the content of what people are saying in order to advertise to them. The metadata — who, or what (as in a business), you’re talking to, and even where you are or what time the conversation is taking place as it comes together with other pieces of information — provides more than enough information to make a very educated guess about what you’re interested in, to the point that knowing specifically what you are saying adds almost nothing.”
Beware of who owns the room you are retiring to.