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FictionAt the end of the play, I remain in my seat, as to stand would risk such a huge amount of pain and blood loss I am not sure I would survive. Having been allocated this ‘best available seat’ I don’t know how to leave. The actors smile in a strained way as they take their curtain call and each of them casts an eye at me. I make them uncomfortable, perched as I am on these horns. Stuck as I am while the rest of the audience applauds and exits.
IntroductionIn 2008, Finnish performance artist Pilvi Takala embarked on an audacious project called The Trainee. For one month, she worked as a marketing intern at the global accounting firm Deloitte. Instead of carrying out the usual responsibilities expected of this role, Takala did…nothing.
Non-fictionThe sheer speed and volume at which data is processed, coupled with popular imaginings of the infallibility of machines, means that predictions produced by such processes are imbued with the aura of objectivity. As a result, hard decisions – acting in contexts of radical uncertainty, and having to determine winners and losers – become easy ones based on limited considerations directed towards improving the lot of as many individuals as possible while doing least harm. In other words, big data transforms the need to act politically into the possibility of acting only technically.