Imposter Paranoia in the Age of Intelligent Surveillance
Policing Outlaws, Borders and Undercover Agents
Artificial intelligence, deep learning and big data analytics are viewed as the technologies of the future, capable of delivering expert intelligence decisions, risk assessments and predictions within milliseconds. In a world of fakes, they promise to deliver ‘hard facts’ and data-driven ‘truth’, but their solutions resurrect ideologies of purity, embrace bogus science reminiscent of the likes of anthropometry, and create a deeply paranoid world where the Other is increasingly perceived either as a threat or as a potential imposter, or both. Social sorting in the age of intelligent surveillance acquires a whole new meaning. This article explores the possible effects of algorithmic governance on society through a critical analysis of the figure of the imposter in the age of intelligent surveillance. It links a critical analysis of new technologies of surveillance, policing and border control, to the extreme ethnographic example of paranoia within outlaw motorcycle clubs – organizations that are heavily targeted by new and old modes of policing and surveillance, while themselves increasingly embracing the very same logic and technologies themselves. With profound consequences. The article shows how in the quest for power, order, profit, and control, we are sacrificing critical reason and risk becoming as a society not unlike the paranoid criminal organizations.
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