SFB 1187 ›Medien der Kooperation‹ an der Universität Siegen
Ringvorlesung: „Politics of Data – Politics of Semi-Autonomy“ – Orit Halpern: „The Smartness Mandate“
Wednesday, 18. January 2023, 14:15 - 15:45 Uhr

„The Smartness Mandate“

Today, growing concerns with climate change, energy scarcity, security, and economic volatility have turned the focus of urban planners, investors, scientists, and governments towards computational technologies as sites of potential salvation from a world consistently defined by catastrophes and “crisis”. From large scale computer simulations of the weather, to smart cities and infrastructures, to geo-engineering projects, we have arguably transformed the planet into a test-bed and experiment for computational technologies. The penetration of almost every part of life by digital technologies has transformed how we understand nature, culture, and time. But what futures are we imagining, or foreclosing through these planetary “experiments”? How have we come to see human survival as fundamentally dependent on computational networks? This talk maps the rise of this “smartness mandate”. Tracing genealogies from population biology, artificial intelligence, finance, urban planning, and ecology I will develop an account of how ubiquitous computing has become one the dominant governing logics of our present and to what effects.

About the Lecture Series

This semester we focus on concepts that can critically address the ongoing crises of the digital age (e.g. information, climate, resources, discrimination) and might help to develop new critical practices, an understanding of the present and the future that we are facing. These concepts are Aesthetics & Evidence, Critique and Imagineries, (Data) Governance and Activism, (Interactive/value-sensitive) Design and Decolonialism. Even though all of these concepts deserve a lecture series on their own, we chose to have for each of these topics one lecture in order to create a kaleidoscopic and interdisciplinary perspective on what critical practices and future “Politics of Data and Semi-Autonomy” can look like.

The lecture series takes place as a hybrid event Wednesday from 2 to 4 pm c.t.. External guests can join online by registering here.

See also:

23|11|22 – Investigative Aesthetics with Matthew Fuller
7|12|22 – Sensing Machines with Chris Salter
31|1|23 – Hacking into Aesthetics and Politics of (AI-)Avatarization and algorithmic facialitiy with Alexander Gerner


Universität Siegen
Campus Herrengarten
AH-A 217/18