|“Eclairage”, in Nouveau |
Many social categories were designed to control, coerce and even oppress their targets. The poor, the unmarried mother, the illegitimate child, the black, the unemployed, the disabled, the dependent elderly – none of these social categories of person is a neutral framing of individual or collective circumstances. They are instead a judgement on their place in modernity and material grounds for research, analysis and policy interventions of various kinds. Two centuries after the first big data revolution many of these categories remain with us almost unchanged and, given what we know of their consequences, we have to ask what will be their situation when this second data revolution draws to a close?
On many a dark hour I have pondered technology's impact on science...and it usually comes down to the fact that the existing social and economic order is almost definitely going to make its mark on the tools of progress, as our author's here write: Where they find reason to be fearful is the likelihood of "the continuity of ideologically informed notions of ourselves and others and the reproduction of such ideologies in and through our new digital environments." Or as Pogo would have it: We have met the enemy and it is us.