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03 May 2019

Surveillance Capitalism with Aral

One of my favourite “Cyborg” activists is Aral Balkan. He is a motivated clear speaker on the current and future problems we face under a global regime of oppressive surveillance capitalism via technology.

Explore his work [1]

Rather than try to summarise all the issues myself, in a rather clumsy way, I would urge you to watch his recent lecture entitled “Small Technology - A vision for Europe?” over at the Bucerius Lab.

Bucerius Lab Lecture w/ Aral Balkan: Small Technology - A vision for Europe? (Bootleg recording) [2]

Unfortunately the audio isn’t very good because the lecture was recorded as a bootleg, the organisers of the event had one or two choice lectures recorded professionally and sadly Aral’s wasn’t one of them. Still worth a view.

Aral delivers a very powerful overview of the situation not only historically but also contextually going forward. I would argue that this privacy issue is at the very core of everything holding our societies and democracies back today. We need a fundamental change in the way we operate as technologically expanding civilisation, in terms of how we treat people and how we reconfigure our politics and economics to address the existential threats our species face on this fragile planet.

The problems are clearly identified, explained and steps towards finding acceptable solutions are discussed. Aral himself works under the indie intiative (with Laura Kalbag) [3], supporting ethical design, individual control over their own data and accessibility for everyone.

Indie has now broadened its goals and has become the Small Technology Foundation [4]

It is clear we need to take back control of our own data. The money engines built around us and the emergent algorithmic technologies are never going to have our best interests at heart, nor the planets.

It really is time to take notice of this issue, and Aral is one of the tech savvy people who can shine a clear light on it for everyone.

[1] https://ar.al [2] https://vimeo.com/333198966/cd7c9c3b15 [3] https://ind.ie/ [4] https://small-tech.org/

Tags: Muse