Is the ‘I’ in Me – a Data-bank?

The oculo-centric digital world has converted us into a data-bank. We feed the online database obediently. Big tech knows us more than we know ourselves. We have volunteered to be prisoners of the data world. We are our own prisoners. Data about us is gathered put to predictive analysis. Our moods, our vulnerabilities, our strengths and weaknesses are studied. Whether we are loan worthy, fat holiday worthy, insurance worthy, home worthy is being scrutinized. Our privacy and intimacy are for sale. But we enjoy this sale. We like the perks of the digital world.

This is so because our voice seems to have acquired divine powers. We no longer need our hands to turn on or off or dim the lights or regulated the temperatures to our comforts in our homes. When we utter our command the oven, the dish washer, the washing machine, the toilet flush, the networked blinds, the Tv and the door lock, the alarm system, the surveillance cameras obey. Alexa and Sri provide information, crack jokes, play music all at the power of our voice. But this brave new world comes at a cost. The internet of Things (IoT) funnels information about our lives into the clouds and gather it there alongside other data.

The ears of IoT are good at listening. We are dissembled and reduced to data. Data that is dissembled from us is assembled in the cloud and is waiting for us. It is getting ready to read our minds, to know the wishes from our lips , even before we utter them. But our play with the digital world is not on our side. We cannot easily end on the wining side. There will come a time when our voice will be silenced and only the voice of IoT will be heard in our smart homes, in our connected cars and everywhere outside. Our voice being silenced, we will not be able to live our own free life.

Our future is not just predictable. It is actively determined. We are living a life of an idiot under the labels of smart homes , smart cars, smart cities. This future is fast coming. Our tomorrow stands canceled. We are to live in a new ‘ Plato’s Cave ‘ of the digital beehive. Unfortunately, this self-submission is masquerading as grace, as happiness, pleasure. We have come to enjoy our own enslavement. We seem to love our remote controlled life.

But we have to ask our selves: are we willing to come out of this ‘ Platonic cave’ ? To do this we have to seek a point that will open a way out to see the sun, the trees and the animals. That point is a powerful point. It will enable us to disassemble from the assemblage of the digital beehive. It will bring us a time for disobedience. It is a time of the anti-Oedipus. It is the time of the anti-Oculo. It is a time to dissent. It is the time of Schizo. It is a time of resistance. It is unruly time. It is time to regain our voice silenced by the digital noise. Regaining the power of our voice will scare the data thief.

But we cannot really escape the digital spider and his net. But we can find lines of escape. To do that we have to become a disassemblage. The networks will still fire. Sri or Alexa will still answer our questions yet when we refuse to tune in, no one can play with us (the disassemblage). We have the opportunity to be dissemblers who creatively leave one’s data consciously. We are a data-bank. This is our position of power. We can divert the future shaped and constructed for us. We can disrupt the predefined future. To do this we have to play the dissemblers who assemble innumerable minor semblances and thus escape predictability. We can still live our life that is un-scrutinized by predictive analysis of the Big Data Analytics. Though this is not easy . It is not impractical.

Anti-Oculo that has to stand in each of us is a digital subject. But he/ she refuses to subject himself/ herself to the tunes of the big digital hive. To be an Anti-Oculo, we have to learn to cultivate several ambiguous tastes. When we have only singular tastes, we become predictable. To escape predictive analytics, we may have to play with the similar and not the same. It does not allow are digital double, our data-ized self to be assembled and used to hack us by the big tech. We need anti-Oculo to rise up in us so that we are able to live our life in full freedom. This means we can still wish our wishes and not allow intelligent machines to read our minds even before we articulate or think them. We will no longer have to live a walled future. The future will still be future. Life will still remain an open adventure. We can still jump to new level of meaningful life out of the Chaosmosis of the digital hive.

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GREETINGS

Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao