Automation Anxieties and Infrastructural Technologies (New Formations 98, )



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Publication date: January 1, 2020

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Andrew Goffey

Contesting binaries that tend to underlie claims about automation, this article seeks to complicate arguments that are made about digital technology and the processes and practices of automation essential to it. In particular, it contests a well-entrenched distinction between infrastructures and culture, so as to consider more carefully the relationship between processes and practices of automation distributed throughout the increasingly planetary web of digital infrastructures, and subjectivity. Rather than viewing the logic of automation through the lens of value extraction, the paper links post-Foucauldian arguments about governmentality and the production of subjectivity to the strategic origins of computation in war, on the one hand, and processes and practices of infrastructure production on the other. This in turn facilitates a more nuanced, micropolitical, view of the grey area of human-machine relations worked on by automation. 

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