Novel Entanglements of Law and Technology
Chapter 4: The digital unconscious: back to Diana
If we retrace Diana’s footsteps and those of her significant others, a number of issues come to mind that relate to privacy, identity and autonomy, though often entangled with vulnerabilities better qualified in terms of manipulability, digital sorting, the presumption of innocence and due process. We will assess some of these vulnerabilities by discussing the fact that diagnoses of Diana’s preferences, moods, health, stress levels, and professional or personal success are made by machines tapping into Big Data Space, taking into account that many subsequent decisions are taken without human intervention, while her emotional behaviours are expressly targeted. All based on the distributed, heterogeneous, digital unconscious that co-constitutes her onlife world. Most notably, we will chew on the fact that she develops an intimate relationship with her DPA and that the entire setting displays a novel configuration of transparency and opacity. This intermezzo is meant to raise issues and to sensitize the reader to what is at stake in an onlife world. What should concern us in the changing landscape of ‘agential’ environments? As an intermezzo, this chapter is not meant to be exhaustive or to resolve matters, as if that were at all possible. Rather, it should function as a prelude to the next chapter that hopes to investigate in a more systematic manner the potential threats of the onlife world. Diana is treated as a person who suffers from mild winter depressions and nervousness.
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