The Big Data Bluff

Michel Foucault taught us how modernity made us subjects by subjecting us to diciplinary regimes. All these displinary regimes operated by confining individuals. Power was mainly exercised on the body of the individual. Modernity trived on instuitions that became spaces of confinement. Foucault studies prisons, hospitals, mad houses etc. He declared that modernity produced disciplinary societies.

Gilles Deleuze teaches that with arrival of postmodernity , we have stepped into societies of control. Now power works seamlessly without being contained by confinements. In societies of control power works on the psyche through continous communication. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in thier famous book, Empire, speak of world as factory without walls. The biopower of Modernity which required institutions has been replaced by psychopower that operates without borders .

The panopticon is replaced by Ban-opticon. Capital moves across transnational borders. New big data analysis provides control and power over lives of people. No wonder, firms like Cambrige Analytica has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons . Big data has become a gold mine to companies to sell thier products to unsuspecting buyers and to politicians to influence gullibe voters. The debate between Cogress and BJP about the using of the services of Cambrige Analitica and its proxy in India already demonstrated that we have stepped into a society of control.

Maybe the analysis of Georgio Agamben will assist us to understand our predicament. Agamben teaches that by declaring war on terrorism, George Bush created open holes in our society that can be used to isolate, confine and ban people. Banopticon came out of a war on terror. Now these polarisations of setting apart some people in a prison without walls through demonization has spread through social media and has taken control of our minds. Elections are won by polarising people. We are indeed in a society of control and power that is operating over our psyche pushes us into deeper confines of a banopticon.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao