Sociotechnical Infrastructures of Dominion in Sorgner’s We Have Always Been Cyborgs
In We Have Always Been Cyborgs (2021), Stefan L. Sorgner argues that, given the growing economic burden of desirable welfare programs, in order for Western democratic societies to continue to flourish it will be necessary that they establish some form of algocracy (i.e., governance by algorithm). This is argued to be necessary both in order to maintain the sustainability and efficiency of these programs, but also due to the fact that further integration of humans into technical systems provides the only effective means to bridge gaps in functionality and governance. However, Sorgner’s position is entirely insensitive to the design turn in applied ethics, which argues against the neutrality of technology, instead maintaining that technology and society co-construct each other with persistent feedback loops. This, I argue, is a problem for his account inasmuch as technologies, as they become more ubiquitous, likewise become pervasive and inextricable from our sociotechnical infrastructures. As such, less-than-beneficent forces, as current trends illustrate, can appropriate these seemingly banal infrastructures to gear them towards oppressive ends, thereby ultimately threatening the social democracies that Sorgner’s position aims to buttress.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Steven Umbrello, "Sociotechnical Infrastructures of Dominion in Sorgner’s We Have Always Been Cyborgs" in: "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2023) XXV/1", EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, Trieste, 2023, pp. 336-351
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