Governing the Median Estate: hyper-truth and post-truth in the regulation of digital innovations
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Original versionIn: Rommetveit, K. (Ed.). (2021). Post-Truth Imaginations: New Starting Points for Critique of Politics and Technoscience. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429053061-10
This chapter focusses on governance of digital innovation, making two claims: first, that post - truth is not a mere surface phenomenon, but rather grounded in the general production of knowledge and ignorance. Second, it connects post truth discourse to the “hyper - truth” status of digital innovation agendas. The significant issue is one much commented on in STS (and related) scholarship, namely the intentional blurring and merger of boundaries (hybridisation) in technoscientific and digital innovation. The chapter points to two cases where such hybridisation becomes problematic: the design of privacy into ICT technologies, and a debate over personhood for robots. Both are “post truth” insofar as they intentionally blur the normative with the factual and technological. Hence hybridisation itself has become part of mainstream legitimation and cannot therefore be relied upon by scholars as a critical corrective to idealised and simplified legitimations based in science or law. The authors propose a concept of “boundary fusion”, according to which sources of authority are merged together, as an extension on traditional ideas of “boundary work”, according to which authority is made by separation of sources, such as science and law.