I managed to take in Mathias Klang’s seminar Disruptive Technology: Effects of Technology Regulation on Democracy over the HUMlab internet stream, in the comfort of my own homeâ€¦as they say. The archived stream will be online soon so I thought I would blog here what it was that I found most interesting about Mathias’ presentation rather than recount the whole thing.
My own research seems to be following many of the same leads that were present in the seminar but I am taking the approach that what we recognise or understand as a text is changing (being “disrupted”) as an effect of technology. Mathias approaches these disruptions from the perspective of judicial law. But it is not law that is the center of focus rather Klang stated in his seminar; “Life is organized around technology”. This is a big statement and one that could be debated for a long time. My own perspective rests more with exchanges or dialogue that must have technology in context, and resist as much of the dreaded determinism as is possible in market driven economies (“Buy this it, will change your life” type scenarios). I happen to be reading Yochai Benkner’s “The Wealth of Networks” at the moment and recommend it to anyone interested in new technology, law and social change. Benkner writes that “property also constrains action. The rules of property are circumscribed and intended to illicit a particular datum â€“ willingness and ability to pay for an exclusive control over a resource.” (Benkner 2006:24). This is the dilemma for Klang, myself and many others like us; we are stuck between the “organizing” and the “life”. The organizing is somewhat behind the life and they often move into open conflict with each other. Law is from the organizing side of the equation and it is often used to maintain equilibrium. The dialogue between the two is often patchy and at times non-existent. Control is the aim.