COVID-19 - Are we seeing a new architecture of global power?
In this new post on the ISS blog BlISS, researchers Jacqueline Gaybor and Henry Chavez discuss the long-term effects of increased surveillance mechanisms on societies. Will these mechanisms be turned back after the crisis abates or will governments maintain them to better control their populations in the future?
Central to efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic has been the monitoring and prevention of the spread of the virus. To do so, governments need to keep discipline amongst their populations and limit their movements.
While new big data, artificial intelligence technologies and control mechanisms are being implemented, we are witnessing the emergence of a new global structure of power built with our digital traces. As the intertwined history of epidemics and states shows, the utility of these new trends and devices should not be solely evaluated in terms of their effectiveness in controlling the spread of the virus, but also in terms of their consequences for the global structure of power and the future functioning of states.
About the authors
Jacqueline Gaybor is a Research Associate at the International Institute of Social Studies/Erasmus University Rotterdam, in The Netherlands. She holds a Ph.D. in development studies and has an interdisciplinary background in law, gender, social studies of science and technology, and sustainable development. She is also a lecturer at Erasmus University College.
Henry Chavez is a Research Associate at the Science, Technology and Society Lab (CTS-Lab) FLACSO, in Ecuador. He holds a Ph.D. in Social Sciences from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France. He has an interdisciplinary background in social sciences, economics, and politics; and is a specialist in social studies of science, technology and innovation; anthropology of global systems; public policy design and evaluation.