2015 Conference Stream

Noology and Technics: Algorithmic governmentality, automation and knowledge in the age of the digital economy

In developing her notion of algorithmic governmentality, Antoinette Rouvroy (2013) has recently questioned how regimes of operativity replace regimes of truth in an increasingly seamless and immanent reality. She defines ‘Big Data ideology’ by fluidity and reliability in opposition to doubt and hesitation, as it is developed through a data-oriented and quasi-exhaustive objectivity. Rouvroy’s diagnosis leads to the question: how is knowledge organised today in the age of neoliberalism and the digital economy?

This stream aims to revisit the questions of Ideologiekritik, as proposed by Deleuze and Guattari in 1980 who discarded the term of ideology for noology. At that time, noology was chosen to enlarge the understanding of ideology based on an impersonal conception of thinking and to do away with a certain Marxist legacy. To them, noology is not merely the study of the ‘inverted world’ and mobilized idealism that the masses need to be emancipated from, but rather the study of the images of thought and how they are wired into society. In short, it is not the brains that should be cured from ideology (such as religion or capitalism) but the modes of production. To be more precise, it is the machines and devices composing the noosphere that should be reimagined. That this noosphere is also a mecanosphere has never been more explicit: in today’s digital economy, relations of production are modulated by algorithms that predict behavioral responses to the market, pre-empting the νοῦς in the automated control of drives and desires.

Given this context, critical theory, after Benjamin, Adorno and Feenberg, is neither a matter of opposing nor describing the contemporary world as being post-thought (or post-poetry). What forms do ideology critique take in the age of the digital economy? What modes of production and consumption are forgotten or political unthought? Noology implies ‘taking thought seriously’, and if today the images of thought are explicitly encoded in the algorithms of social control and modulation, our task is that of both diagnosing these nootechnical assemblages in their functional composition and inventing new nootechnical assemblages.

We welcome contributions on such topics as the Big Data ideology, critical theories of the digital, the restructured post-2008 economy, algorithmic governmentality, the sharing economy, artificial general intelligence, digital labour, cognitive capital and accelerationism.

Please send abstracts for 20-minute papers to paper-subs@londoncritical.org with ‘Noology and Technics’ in the subject line. Submissions should be no more than 250 words and should be received by the deadline of Monday 16th March 2015.