The use of Bentham’s panopticon in analyses of urban new media is widespread (we’ve done it on this blog here and here). For Foucault the circular prison structure became the emblem of modern institutionalized ‘disciplinary societies’. Despite Deleuze’s observation in ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control‘ (1990) of a shift from top-down induced self-disciplining to distributed peer-to-peer types of surveillance, a host of recent developments go to show that institutional control over information technologies is by no means done away with.
Is that really what we want the Internet of Things to become? According to the Internet of Things Council, we need to find out what could be the opposite of Panopticon. Therefore they have written out a writing contest:
What could be the metaphor of a free society where individuals are endowed with the capability to exploit their talents and realise their dreams, where social groups stand together, and where organisations adopt an ethical conduct? If we accept that Panopticon can be the metaphor for the surveillance society, the City of Control, the human enslaved by his objects, what could be the opposite concept for the freedom society, the City of Trust, the empowered individual?
If you share our analysis and the challenge that we’ve set for ourselves, please feel free to send your ideas to info at theinternetofthings.eu with ‘New Year Contest’ in the header.
Deadline January 31 2012