My PhD research is currently being developed into a monograph for publication. The version that was submitted for the examination is currently available open-access at Utrecht University’s depository.
Time and Biopower in the Age of Algorithms
Technological advances can cause a rupture from past forms of experience. The invention of the clock instilled a new sense of time-consciousness, and provided the technological tools to manage schedules and exert control over labour. This has been examined in light of plantation labour in times of American slavery (Mark Smith) and in English factories during the Industrial Revolution (E. P. Thompson). The invention of clocks gave rise to a logic of quantification and measurement, a logic which has since been co-opted into a regime of control and management, signifying the onset of industrial capitalism, and a new method in disciplining of the other. This project maps the influence of past and current technologies on human perception of time and its biopolitical implications through what I term ‘techno-chrono-biopolitics’. If the invention of clock-time as a technology harnesses the standing-reserve of human bodies into labourers and inaugurated new types of bio-power, what does the invention and proliferation of algorithmic operations of 21st century media (Mark Hansen) today harness and challenge forth?
Just as the clock enabled quantification of time, data-crunching algorithms today enable abstraction of user input into a future-oriented, predictive regime of calculations, subjecting users to new rhythms such as push alerts, biometric data-tracking and statistics-based predictions. These new logics of quantification, tracking and counting create re-mediations of time-consciousness, as one which undercuts human participation and pre-mediates the future. The techno- and the chrono- provide an important orientation today from which we can observe how the biopolitical is expressed and reconfigurated through media inventions. Which bodies are most susceptible to the new logics of microtemporal algorithms? How does biopower express itself today from the assemblage of codes, apps and devices? From clock-use in colonisation and slavery to tracking algorithms on the Apple Watch, the project traces the onto-historical relations of how technology mediates time and inaugurates regimes of biopower.