Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Jodi Sita and Marco Amati, The Panopticons are coming! And they’ll know when we think the grass is greener, The Conversation, August 22, 2016

Eye-tracking technology helps us understand how people interact with their environment. This can improve policy and design, but can also be a tool for surveillance and control.

Extract

[…]we asked park users in the City of Melbourne to view films of walks.

We used eye tracking – a technology that allows us to look deeply into exactly what you are looking at or paying attention to. Eye trackers follow your gaze as you look naturally around a scene. We see where your eye dwells and what things you skip over.

[…]

French philosopher Michel Foucault argued that a panopticon ably maintains social and power imbalances while using that most passive method of control: observation. As governments and private corporations increasingly use eye-tracking data, everyone can act as observers, recorders and the observed – whether they intended to or not.

In this sense we could argue that the increasing development of eye tracking could usher in the age of the mass panopticon. Yet, the relationship between a selfie society, an “all-seeing, all-knowing” culture and the future of eye tracking in open domains remains to be “seen”.

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