One example is collective intelligence according to philosopher Pierre Lévy (@plevy), whose ideas have, early on, orientated the French approach towards the logic of digital cooperation; the economy of contribution according to philosopher Bernard Stiegler, which is integrated into a global vision of the current hyper-industrial political economy and develops (in its way) this logic of cooperation; the psychological experience of new technologies according to psychoanalyst Serge Tisseron, who develops an empathic psychology of the relationship with machines but based on the extremely problematic concept of the ‘virtual’; the new opportunities of Internet democracy according to sociologist Dominique Cardon, in opposition to the demonization of the internet of which the media are so fond; or, in the younger generation, the new hybrid forms of sociability introduced by the digital liaisons according to the sociologist Antonio A. Casilli (@bodyspacesoc), the new ontology that emerges from the architecture of the Web according to Alexandre Monnin (@aamonnz) or the new structures of perception introduced by digital ontophany into the phenomeno-technological approach that I suggest (1).
I’m not saying that French thinkers are not interested in the issue of surveillance as it may be raised again or in a new way due to Internet technologies. What I’m saying is that it’s not what concerns them the most with regard to the internet, even if young philosophers such as Cléo Collomb (@CleoCollomb) are currently working on the ‘digital traces’ we leave behind us in the era of Big Data. Moreover, when discussing this with Lev Manovich (@manovich) during the After Party at Slattery’s Pub, I had the feeling that I was right to consider the theme of surveillance as excessive. Manovich was telling me that, according to him, this could be explained by the importance given to the individual and to ‘privacy’ in the culture of English speaking countries. For my part, I was thinking that a country that dominates the world like the United States does, and is so focused on performance, can only be extremely concerned about all forms of power that exist between individuals. But these reflections may be too simplistic in addressing this issue.
By the way, thanks to Theorizing the Web 2013, I am now more aware of surveillance issues in digital media and I even agree on the assholishness of Google Glass.