new extractivism, Vladan Joler

narrator Vladan Joler
term new extractivism

At this moment in the 21st century, we see a new form of extractivism that is well underway: one that reaches into the furthest corners of the biosphere and the deepest layers of human cognitive and affective being. The stack behind contemporary technological systems goes well beyond the multi-layered ‘technical stack’ of data modeling, hardware, servers and networks. The full stack reaches much further into capital, labor and nature, and demands an enormous amount of each. The true costs of these systems – social, environmental, economic, and political – remain hidden and may stay that way for some time. It’s necessary to move beyond a simple analysis of the relationship between an individual human, their data, and any single technology company in order to contend with the truly planetary scale of extraction. From cosmological model for the universe to the world of human emotions as interpreted through the tiniest muscle movements in the human face, everything becomes an object of quantification. There are deep interconnections between the literal hollowing out of the materials of the earth and biosphere, and the data capture and monetization of human practices of communication and sociality. Drawing out the connections between resources, labor and data extraction brings us inevitably back to traditional frameworks of exploitation. These processes create new accumulations of wealth and power, which are concentrated in a very thin social layer dominated by a few global mega-companies, which are creating new infrastructures and mechanisms for the accumulation of capital and exploitation of human and planetary resources.