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Technology and the VirtuesA Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting$
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Shannon Vallor

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190498511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190498511.001.0001

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Surveillance and the Examined Life

Surveillance and the Examined Life

Cultivating the Technomoral Self in a Panoptic World

(p.188) 8 Surveillance and the Examined Life
Technology and the Virtues

Shannon Vallor

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 explores the ethical challenges presented by today’s emerging technologies for digital surveillance and self-tracking. Keeping technomoral virtues such as honesty, self-control, flexibility, justice, and perspective in view, this chapter examines ideals of transparency and control in contemporary discourse on the new world of dataveillance that enables a sousveillance society, one in which even the watchers are watched. Moreover, our lives are increasingly shaped by self-surveillance, self-tracking, and nudging, practices borne of wearable digital monitors and other ‘smart’ devices that let us analyze virtually every aspect of our bodies, our habits, and our days. These new modes of seeking the good life, crystallized in the emerging “Quantified Self” movement, are contrasted with traditional methods of self-examination and cultivation. The former are shown to promote a dangerously impoverished view of self-care and improvement, one that bypasses the genuine potential of surveillance technologies to promote human flourishing.

Keywords:   dataveillance, sousveillance, self-tracking, nudging, Quantified Self, transparency, wearable digital monitors, surveillance technology

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