The Emergent Limbic Media System
Life and the Law in the Era of Data-Driven Agency, eds. Mireille Hildebrandt & Kieron O'Hara (Edward Elgar, Forthcoming)
16 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 13, 2019
For several hundred years, political philosophers and legal theorists have conceptualized media technologies as ‘technologies of freedom’. Some things about that equation have not changed; certainly, access to information, the capacity for reason, self-determination, and democratic self-government are inescapably interrelated. In other respects, however, the operation of contemporary platform-based media infrastructures has begun to mimic the operation of the collection of brain structures that mid-twentieth-century neurologists christened the limbic system and that play vital roles in a number of precognitive functions, including emotion, motivation, and habit-formation. Today’s networked information flows are gradually being optimized for subconscious, affective appeal, and those choices have proved powerful in ways their designers likely did not intend or expect.
Keywords: media, platforms, information, cascades, polarization, reputation, surveillance, microtargeting
JEL Classification: L82, L86, Z10, Z19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation