Technological conspiracies are good conspiracies - at least from the perspective of their proponents. Understanding their dynamics, especially within the context of liberalism, may help shed light upon an apparent puzzle of twenty-first century living: why, when individual privacy is being systematically undermined by both governments and corporations, so few people seem to care. The answer, I suggest, has much to do with rapidly changing conceptions of self and society, but also a prior, fundamental commitment to imagining both self and society as quantifiable and controllable. Leading liberal theorists today tend to see the digital challenge to privacy as undermining one of the core commitments of liberalism. However, I wish to suggest that our current predicament is the result of liberalism's internal logic , a political theory that formally eschews conspiracy thinking in favour of science and modernity, yet one that manages to employ theories of good conspiracy, nonetheless. Technological conspiracies are the fulfilment of a modern, liberal dream, bringing together political power and technology so that citizens are fully known to their governments and corporations such that older concerns with privacy simply become irrelevant.
A public lecture by Professor Lawrence Quill (San Jose).
This event will be followed by a wine reception.
This is part of a series of public talks from the Leverhulme-funded project Conspiracy and Democracy. More information at http://www.conspiracyanddemocracy.org