Algorithmic Force & Fascism @danmcquillan

“The historical connection of fascism to big business is a well-researched phenomenon, starting with Daniel Guerin’s book in 1936. Who amongst us would truly trust Google or Facebook to firewall regressive uses of their data if government made it part of an accommodation, and do we need to read all the NSA and GCHQ slides leaked by Edward Snowden to know the answer? But deeper than that, I suggest, is the potential affinity of mechanisms based on correlations and a far right ideology. As the historian Roger Griffin has observed, a common core to all forms of fascism is a rebirth of the nation from its present decadence, and a mobilisation to deal with those elements of culture and population that are the sources of the contamination. A programme for the automated elimination of undesirability is exactly the pattern offered by algorithmic regulation. The danger in this case, the situation of far right governance, is not only the usual tendency of big data and algorithmic processing to produce false positives with real world impacts through processes that lack accountability. It is also that the fluidity of the vision that can be read into the correlations is a welcome mat for a politics that has already read the world through paranoid correlations, has already judged the categories that should be blamed, and is ready to implement that through the levers at hand. The prospect is a pinball machine of social policy with the algorithmic and progressive excision of citizenship. These ghosts are already among us, in the form of asylum seekers regarded as having ‘no recourse to public funds’. If we are to anticipate this, we should be asking ourselves before it’s too late: how do we develop an anti-fascist approach to algorithms? – See more at:

About dmf

alienist @ large, mostly on foot
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