Envisioning the Digital Sustainability Panopticon: A Thought Experiment how Big Data may help advancing Sustainability in the Digital Age (accepted)
The starting point for a theoretical vision of digital big data and sustainability builds on the situation of a currently unsustainable world threatening present and future generations regarding all three dimensions of sustainability. Given the paradigmatic changes the era of Big Data brings about, this paper proposes a thought experiment based on Bentham’s panopticon theory, where real-time data availability offers technical opportunities to promote and transform sustainability in a preceded way. Hence, different panopticon theories are discussed and merged with the concept of sustainability to arrive at the concept of the Digital Sustainability Panopticon (DSP) defined by six criteria. This vision is framed by the ten “quality criteria for visions and visioning in sustainability science” (Wiek & Iwaniec 2014) and critically discussed regarding the totalitarian potential of digital surveillance and negative freedom.
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