No School! Automatic for the People V

A reading group on the hopes and struggles of technology.

6.30 – 8.30pm, Tuesday 25 February 2020, Basic Mountain

Join us for the fifth session of Automatic for the People, a reading group on the hopes and struggles of technology – you can read more about the reading group here. You do not have to have attended the previous reading sessions in order to join us for this one. Pre-reading whilst helpful and encouraged, is not required.

For the fifth session, we will be reading extracts from texts* exploring data accumulation and surveillance. We will examine the rise of machine power and the resulting centralisation of our social, legal and economic systems.

In an era of gathered metadata and increasing technocratic urbanisation, lie systems of extensive algorithmic control and observation. On a micro scale, the internet of things lies within the use of simple biometric sensors; devices employed to measure bodily rhythms and the data from which individuals willingly submit to large corporations for analysis. Yet on a broader scale, it posits critical dilemmas for democracy in the face of inevitable machine interaction and processed networked information within systems of surveillance capitalism.

Although marketing, consumption and dissemination of collective data remain a relatively transparent activity, the networked storage of gathered information remains distant. As societies strive towards a techno-utopia and implementation of the ‘smart city’, they increasingly alienate their subjects from both themselves and each other. Inherent in algorithm pathways are political agendas, while moral positions and legal frameworks become increasingly fragile under a regime of technology.

The extracts selected for this session explore techno-social, urban and legal possibilities that surveillance posits for the future; how integrated the internet of things has become within our everyday life and the problematic ethics of drone warfare in an era where machines have the potential to implement decisions autonomously.

*Adam Greenfield, ‘The Internet of Things’ in Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life (Verso: 2017), pp. 31-62.

*Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, ‘Intelligence: Data Architectures’, e-flux, 22 January 2020.

*Susan Schuppli, ‘Deadly Algorithms’ in Radical Philosophy, vol. 187 (Sept/Oct 2014), pp. 2-8.

Further information:

No School! is a learning programme inspired by the value crisis of desperate measures, desiring the political agency of wrongness, badness, inefficiency, laziness and defeat, heartbreak and loneliness. No School! also wants for contradiction, publics, furniture, hooting joyous clapping shouts of laughter, good food shared and the logical contortions of revolutionary praxis.

Practically, No School! is a series of workshops and events, whose existence is in debt to histories of radical pedagogy and self-organised education.


This event is open to everyone. If you have any accessibility requirements please let us know via and we can advise if we are able to accommodate.