The digital worlds that we inhabit in our everyday lives are organized by myriad digital devices and infrastructures. From tablets, smartphones, and computers to watches, health trackers and so on, digital devices open up and close down the possibilities of what we can and cannot do as we can interact, transact, connect and communicate. At the same time, they generate enormous volumes of data about our movements, locations, preferences, associations, activities, interests, encounters, and private and public relationships. In doing so they can powerfully shape and have consequences for who we are as both individuals and collectives. Our relations with digital devices and data can close down possibilities because of the limits, tensions, disputes and dangers that they generate through filtering, tracking, and normalizing. At the same time, they can and do open up spaces of possibilities and opportunities to imagine and act otherwise such as witnessing, hacking, and commoning. In this talk I will discuss how data politics involve struggles between closings and openings and how subjects become rights claiming citizens through what they say and do through the Internet.
Evelyn Ruppert is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She studies the sociology of data specifically in relation to how different kinds of data are constituted and mobilised to enact and govern populations. Evelyn is PI of a five-year European Research Council funded project, Peopling Europe: How data make a people (ARITHMUS; 2014-19). She is also Founding and Editor-in-chief of a SAGE open access journal, Big Data & Society: Critical Interdisciplinary Inquiries, launched in June 2014. Recent books are Being Digital Citizens (authored with Engin Isin) published in April 2015 (RLI International) and Modes of Knowing (edited with John Law) published in August 2016 (Mattering Press).
Frank Pasquale, JD, MPhil, is an expert on the law of big data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and algorithms. He has advised business and government leaders in the health care, internet, and finance industries, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, the Federal Trade Commission, and directorates-general of the European Commission. Routinely quoted in global media outlets, including the Financial Times, the New York Times, and The Economist, he is the author of The Black Box Society, (Harvard University Press, 2015), which has been published in Chinese, Korean, French, and other translations. He has also served on the NSF-sponsored Council on Big Data, Ethics, & Society. He co-convened the conference "Unlocking the Black Box: The Promise and Limits of Algorithmic Accountability in the Professions," at Yale University, and is now at work on a book tentatively titled Laws of Robotics (under contract to Harvard University Press).