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SXSW Interactive 2015

World War A: Humans vs. Algorithms

The central idea of Foucauldian Panopticisim concerns the systematic ordering and controlling of human population through subtle and often unseen forces. Such ordering is apparent in increasingly digitized modern world of information. The digitized world is loaded with personal data. This data becomes a sought after commodity, readily feeding an infrastructure of algorithmic surveillance. These systems of surveillance act as a form of control by manipulating our future consumption patterns. Control and manipulation over society creates constant vulnerability under the gaze of surveillance. Sous, Inc. uses dynamic media technologies to create a new line in fashion and interior design. The panel proposes Sous, Inc. as a model for understanding how to overcome such vulnerability. We will look at these products and discuss their ability to expose the invasive existence of dataveillance and to act as shields of privacy, to protect their customers from the threat of control and manipulation.

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  1. How did World War A. begin?
  2. What are the byproducts of algorithmic identification processes?
  3. What is a glass consumer, and how does it function?
  4. Is Foucault’s Panopticism a utopian scheme for social reform or a dystopian critic of today’s companies?
  5. How are the consumer products designed by Sous, Inc. contributing to the effort to subvert the oppressive systems of surveillance in the war on algorithm?



Ceren Paydas, Designer/Researcher, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

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