Individuals have never had so much power – from Edward Snowden challenging nation states, to Bill Gates personally deciding to eradicate polio. Medicine is personalized, learning platforms are personalized, and entrepreneurs run global businesses out of their smartphones.
At the same time, individuals have become nothing more than tiny motes in networked systems that are so staggering in complexity as to be beyond understanding, much less control. The idea of individual human agency seems fanciful in a world of Big Data and ubiquitous surveillance.
Emerge 2014 challenges engineers, artists, scientists, designers, story tellers, ethicists, humanists, makers and futurists to explore questions of individuality, autonomy and freedom, as well as control, automation and facelessness.