Quantified Life

I recently spoke with Emily Watlington for the LA Review of Books about Technologies of Speculation:

Quantified Life: An interview with Sun-ha Hong

We talk about the book’s themes of data, uncertainty and prediction, and what they mean for us in COVID times:

“Messy data becomes a kind of toxic gas that suffocates the public sphere with bad takes. […] In the United States, given the chronic lack of testing, we will never know how many Americans were infected with the virus. And all of these gaps and margins of error become opportunities for speculation.”

Some resources on COVID surveillance

Below is a loose collection of COVID surveillance developments around the world. We see tales of unproven, hastily duct-taped contact tracing apps that run headlong into predictable train wrecks in actual use cases; thermal cameras that don’t work; fantasies of drone and robot surveillance; and almost comically harmful renditions of workplace surveillance & exam proctoring.

It is a partial, eclectic collection of whatever I spotted between early March & early May (updates potentially to come), but some folks have found it useful so I am putting it up here. Disclaimer that the notes are often going to be messy & full of my initial, personal views. Any questions / errors / concerns let me know at sun_ha [at] sfu.ca!

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