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The Digital Prism
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Book description

We live in times of transparency. Digital technologies expose everything we do, like, and search for, and it is difficult to remain private and out of sight. Meanwhile, many people are concerned about the unchecked powers of tech giants and the hidden operations of big data, artificial intelligence and algorithms and call for more openness and insight. How do we - as individuals, companies and societies - deal with these technological and social transformations? Seen through the prism of digital technologies and data, our lives take new shapes and we are forced to manage our visibilities carefully. This book challenges common ways of thinking about transparency, and argues that the management of visibilities is a crucial, but overlooked force that influences how people live, how organizations work, and how societies and politics operate in a digital, datafied world.


'A key feature of life in the digital age is that it is lived in public. In a world filled with ubiquitous technologies we have an expectation that the companies that we work for, the governments that represent us, and even the people we hold close will provide us with transparency and accountability. In this ground breaking book, Mikkel Flyverbom shows how transparency is produced, maintained, and manipulated through the way we manage visibilities. At its core, this book helps us to think about how our own behaviors shape what and how we see and it provides useful strategies with which we can be more informed consumers, citizens, and stewards of our world.'

Paul Leonardi - Duca Family Professor of Technology Management, University of California, Santa Barbara and author of Car Crashes Without Cars and Technology Choice

'Flyverbom illuminates the pervasive and poorly understood illumination that has become a condition of our societies. This glass world offers a window onto new vistas, but with jagged edges that cut us to the quick and force us to hide in our own lives. Flyverbom demonstrates that we have yet to reckon with the social and political challenges of this pandemic of transparency, loosed by institutional forces that have, so far, run free of constraint. His book can help us reckon with key political questions of our time: who does transparency serve? Can democracy survive transparency?'

Shoshana Zuboff - author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power

‘Similar to the work of Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, this book concerns the medium rather than the message as a dynamic force in social change and affairs. Specifically, Flyverbom posits that more data, transparency, and clarity in digital technology are not necessarily mutually compatible… Much like McLuhan tried to reveal the profound ramifications of communication technology on social organization, Flyverbom sounds the alarm that more data might not mean more transparency but will rather lead to the opposite: opacity and secrecy without proper governance… Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels.’

P. P. Philbin Source: Choice

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  • 1 - Digital and Datafied Spaces
    pp 25-38


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