Share, flag or ban potential hazardous information technologies

  • Sociality - An exhibition by Paolo Cirio 

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    Human sociality is being engineered and patented.

    The exhibition Sociality by Paolo Cirio(IT), reveals technology enabling social manipulation through twenty-thousand patents. It invites the oversight, tracking, flagging, and banning of algorithms, interfaces, and devices concealing social discrimination, polarization, addiction, deception, and surveillance. Open from June 3rd!

    In his recent project Sociality, Cirio documented over twenty-thousand patents exposing socially hazardous information technology. In Sociality, Cirio collected and rated inventions submitted to U.S. patent office. Participants are invited to share, flag, and ban these technologies designed to monitor and manipulate social behaviours. The patent images and data were obtained by Cirio through hacking the Google Patents search engine.

    Cirio rated the patents and created thousands of compositions with images of flowcharts and titles of inventions published on the site The visual compositions on the website are printed in form of flyers and a colouring book for informing on devices which enable discrimination, polarisation, addiction, deception, and surveillance. The concept of turning patents into vehicles for regulations aims to exploit intellectual property law as a tool for democratic oversight.

    On Sociality’s website everyone 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 the online participants perform oversight of invasive inventions designed to target demographics, push content, coerce interactions, and monitor citizens. In the exhibition, the public confronts large-scale compositions with images of flowcharts that abstractly invoke the complexity and magnitude of uncanny plans to program people. Images of flowcharts of patents are composed with short descriptions and patent numbers to be shared online or through printouts.

    Furthermore, this artwork engaged with debates concerning the regulation of artificial intelligence and the Internet by involving technology centres, academics, and legislators. Sociality both integrates the dystopia surrounding technology and the utopia of democratic oversight with flowcharts of patents taking the form of documentary and protest art.

    With this piece, Cirio exposes evidence of social manipulation and questions the ethical, legal, and economic structures of such technological apparatuses. Initial presentations of Sociality took place late 2018 at MIT and Harvard University.
    Read more about the Sociality project here:

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