The new project SOCIALITY by artist Paolo Cirio investigates the interplay of technologies behind the Internet that conceal social control, manipulation, and surveillance. The conceptual artwork researches over 20,000 patents for online platforms, interfaces, algorithms, and devices in public repositories to reveal thousands of these apparatuses.
SOCIALITY acts as an artistic provocation by proposing the oversight, flagging, and banning of socially harmful inventions which may employ devious psychological and profiling tactics through AI, algorithms, data mining, social media, user interfaces, and tracking, in favour of a more ethical use of technology.
Cirio’s various ongoing works aim to address the politics of Internet regulations, such as his projects Open Society Structures (available on Sedition), Obscurity (where connected individuals affected by the mugshot publishing industry), and Right2Remove which was created to regulate the exposure of abusive content on Internet search engines. After two years, Right2Remove grew into an international community of activists, lawyers, and journalists, and is now forming as an organization partnering with the Association for Accountability and Internet Democracy.
Exploiting intellectual property laws for monitoring and regulating information technology, SOCIALITY seeks to inspire better regulations, accountability, and public awareness. This artwork documents the history of the unscrupulous business of engineering human sociality with the introduction of technology for social networks, Internet advertising, even mind-reading and manipulation. Social behaviours are now being owned and traded by private companies without public scrutiny.
On SOCIALITY’s website, anyone is able to browse, search, submit, and rate patents by their titles, images of flowcharts, and the companies that created them. Both the artist and participants perform the oversight of invasive inventions designed to target demographics, push content, coerce interactions, and monitor citizens through algorithmic bias, amplification of misinformation, behaviour modification, tech addiction, and corporate surveillance, etc.
Expanding from privacy and bias, this new project focuses on technology programmed for the manipulation of human behaviours and psyche. Attention economy, steered social validation, and habit forming products can be psychologically damaging and impact social relationships to the point of harming the fabric of society and endangering democracy.
As information technology impacts society perilously, Paolo Cirio raises discussion for the regulation of both centralised and decentralised platforms, infrastructures, and interfaces with inventive, restrictive, and reflexive policies.
Visit and read more about the SOCIALITY project here