The Data-Empowered Individual: Mythmaking For A Datafied Society

Aktiviteetti: Puhe- tai esitystyypitSuullinen esitys


The National Artificial Intelligence Programme AuroraAI is a visionary programme of social transformation, a techno-solutionistic fantasy, and a plastic context for constructing visions of welfare. The project aims to move Finland towards a “human-centric and predictive society” through a combination of technological interventions paired with a model of well-being centred around empowerment through data. While the project is centrally concerned with developing infrastructure for data collection, analysis and use, a puzzle among the actors in the project remains: what does “human-centered and predictive society” in fact mean, and how does AI figure into it?

Based on my field research on the project, consisting of interviews, official documentation and internal presentations, I’ve traced the bricolage by which the narrative of AI and welfare has been constructed, and how the ambiguous and elastic justifications for the project are interpreted by the diverse actors involved. I focus on the stories, akin to a Barthesian mythology, in the making of this project of datafication. These are stories that situate the public sector in contrast to institutions of contemporary data capitalism, while at the same time enacting the same logics. Further more, these are stories which construct an ideal of the data-empowered individual, making the problem of welfare algorithmically solvable. Drawing on theory from STS, cultural studies and media studies, I aim to contribute to the discourse on the co-production of technology and society, namely, in asking how myth takes part in the legitimation of a datafied society.

Aikajakso7 lokak. 2021
Tapahtuman otsikko4S 2021 Toronto - Good relations: Practices and Methods in Unequal and Uncertain Worlds
Tapahtuman tyyppiKonferenssi
SijaintiToronto / Tkaronto, Kanada
Tunnustuksen arvoKansainvälinen