Archive for June 15th, 2012

June 15, 2012



Equiveillance is a state of equilibrium, or a desire to attain a state of equilibrium, between surveillance (third-person recording) and sousveillance (first-person recording). This balance allows the individual to construct their own case from evidence they gather themselves, rather than merely having access to surveillance data that could possibly incriminate them. It is sometimes confused with transparency (accessibility and understandability of information). Sousveillance, in addition to transparency, can be used to preserve the contextual integrity of surveillance data.

For example, a lifelong capture of personal experience could provide ‘best evidence’ over external surveillance data, to prevent the surveillance-only data from being taken out of context. Equiveillance also represents a situation where all parties of a society or economy are empowered to be able to use the tools of accountability to make beneficial decisions. Humanity has always sought to establish authority relationships: the increasing trend to record information from our environment, and of ourselves creates the need to delineate the relationships between privacy, surveillance, and sousveillance.

read more »

June 15, 2012

Technological Utopianism


Technological utopianism is the belief that advances in science and technology will eventually bring about a utopia, or at least help to fulfill one or another utopian ideal. A techno-utopia is therefore a hypothetical ideal society, in which laws, government, and social conditions are solely operating for the benefit and well-being of all its citizens, set in the near- or far-future, when advanced science and technology will allow these ideal living standards to exist; for example, post scarcity, transformations in human nature, the abolition of suffering, and even the end of death.

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, several ideologies and movements, such as the cyberdelic counterculture, the Californian Ideology, transhumanism, and singularitarianism, have emerged promoting a form of techno-utopia as a reachable goal. Cultural critic Imre Szeman argues technological utopianism is an irrational social narrative because there is no evidence to support it. He concludes that what it shows is the extent to which modern societies place a lot of faith in narratives of progress and technology overcoming things, despite all evidence to the contrary.

read more »

June 15, 2012

Guilt Society

portnoys complaint

In cultural anthropology, a guilt society is the concept that the primary method of social control in a given society is the inculcation of feelings of guilt for behaviors that the individual believes to be undesirable. The US is a guilt society, in contrast to Japan, a shame society. A prominent feature of guilt societies is the provision of sanctioned releases from guilt for certain behaviors either before the fact, as when one condemns sexuality but permits it conditionally in the context of marriage, or after the fact. There is a clear opportunity in such cases for authority figures to derive power, monetary and/or other advantages, etc. by manipulating the conditions of guilt and the forgiveness of guilt.

Paul Hiebert characterizes the guilt society as follows: ‘Guilt is a feeling that arises when we violate the absolute standards of morality within us, when we violate our conscience. A person may suffer from guilt although no one else knows of his or her misdeed; this feeling of guilt is relieved by confessing the misdeed and making restitution. True guilt cultures rely on an internalized conviction of sin as the enforcer of good behavior, not, as shame cultures do, on external sanctions. Guilt cultures emphasize punishment and forgiveness as ways of restoring the moral order; shame cultures stress self-denial and humility as ways of restoring the social order.’