Modernity’s evolutionary, linearly-driven, attitude towards progress culminates in an obsessive acquisition and accumulation of knowledge. The utopic goal of a state of absolute knowledge, of fully acquired and indexed ‘truths’ is the unchallenged credo arguably ever since the Renaissance. However ‘truth’ is only defined according to the systems (or networks) in which it emerged.
For instance the binary origins of computation in indexing information are arguably the basis for our contemporary understanding of error as a matter of truth OR falsehood – of either or – of ones and zeros. Paul in Le Mepris spends the entire film wondering ‘She Loves Me? She Loves Me Not?’. A lamp blinking, on/off, on/off.
Even the development of Artificial Intelligence is linearly ‘building’ upon these reductive and seemingly pure systems of yes or no. ‘Culture’, and it’s value systems remain alien to epistemological sciences and AI developments – ambiguities which our computational ‘truth’ cannot yet address are potential future glitches – Ethics, moral values, judicial proceedings etc are areas of culture that cannot rely exclusively on binary truths. The need to re-think linear progress and unquestioned matters of ‘fact’ increases as we move towards a world driven by AI systems and where truth aesthetically for our eyes is reduced to the elusive image flattened on a screen – objects and devices weaponised, in the continual erosion of privacy by a society addicted to appearances.
Big Data is our mirror
Big Data IS Big Brother
‘What you show is what you are’ or ‘The more you show the ‘truer’ you are’. Is trustworthyness a quantitative attribute?
What of those who don’t show? Those who stay out of social media, with not enough data traces. Are they non-persons? Will there very existence politically boil down to a binary yes or no? Will all our systems utilize Big Data and plan/predict for a future LIMITED to the data alone and those who have enough of an online identity, thus marginalizing or ignoring glitches in the system (those left outside)?