Report: Data Bodies

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  Global data bodies - intro

- Education files, insurance files, tax files, communication files, consumption files, medical files, travel files, criminal files, investment files, files into infinity ...

Critical Art Ensemble

Global data bodies

1. Introduction

Informatisation has meant that things that once were "real", i.e. whose existence could be experienced sensually, are becoming virtual. Instead of the real existence of a thing, the virtual refers to its possibility of existence. As this process advances, an increasing identification of the possible with the real occurs. Reality migrates into a dim and dematerialised grey area. In the end, the possible counts for the real, virtualisation creates an "as-if" experience.

The experience of the body is also affected by this process. For example, in bio-technology, the human body and its functions are digitised, which prepares and understanding of the body exlusively in terms of its potential manipulation, the body becomes whatever it could be. But digitisation has not only affected the understanding and the social significance of the body, it has also altered the meaning of presence, traditionally identified with the body. The advance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has meant that for an increasing number of activities we no longer need be physically present, our "virtual" presence, achieved by logging onto a electronic information network, is sufficient.

This development, trumpeted as the pinnacle of convenience by the ICT industries and governments interested in attracting investment, has deeply problematic aspects as well. For example, when it is no longer "necessary" to be physically present, it may soon no longer be possible or allowed. Online-banking, offered to customers as a convenience, is also serves as a justification for charging higher fees from those unwilling or unable to add banking to their household chores. Online public administration may be expected to lead to similar effects. The reason for this is that the digitalisation of the economy relies on the production of surplus data. Data has become the most important raw material of modern economies.

In modern economies, informatisation and virtualisation mean that people are structurally forced to carry out their business and life their lives in such a way as to generate data.

Data are the most important resource for the New Economy. By contrast, activities which do not leave behind a trace of data, as for example growing your own carrots or paying cash rather than by plastic card, are discouraged and structurally suppressed.

browse Report:
Data Bodies
0   Global data bodies - intro
+1   Dos and donts of the data body economy
+2   Virtual body and data body
+3   Like that car? The tricks of the data body industry
Become your own data merchant!