Infotality: On Living, Loving, and Dying Through Information

American Journal of Bioethics 18 (2):33-35 (2018)
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Responding to Danaher et al. on self-tracking technologies, I argue that human lived experience is becoming increasingly mediated by generalized, statistical information, which I term our "infotality." Drawing on the work of Foucault, I argue that infotality is historically novel and best understood as the product of biopolitics, healthism, and informatics. I then critique the authors' "stance of cautious openness,” which misunderstands the aims of the technology in question and the fundamental ambiguity of the role information plays in the achievement of human wellbeing. Self-tracking technologies are not primarily designed to change behavior; they are designed to create and sustain the desire for their use. I conclude by suggesting that infotality names a new way to fall for an old ruse: the promise that more information means more wellbeing.
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