University of São Paulo: Surveillance technology can reproduce violence present in society itself

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The Center for the Study of Violence (NEV) will hold debates in partnership with the University of the Arts London on technological violence in September. Dealing with the maintenance of citizens’ rights with advances in technology, from the analysis of surveillance technologies, autonomous vehicles and weapons systems, the proposal of the discussion is based on the impacts of these tools today.

The associate researcher at the Center for the Study of Violence and responsible for some of the panels at the event, Alcides Eduardo Peron, highlights that the objective of the debates is “to observe the role of certain technologies that reproduce forms of contemporary violence”, whether it is of a direct or indirect nature. indirect, by reproducing inequalities and presenting segregationist biases. The problem is related to the adoption of systems that have not passed through a “social scrutiny” and “risk analysis”, which do not usually undergo evaluations.

With the growth of research and studies in this sense, the discussion is also complemented with the impacts of technology, from the philosophical and theoretical point of view of the relationship between technology and violence and from a localized analysis on the subject, both in the security sector public and in the Brazilian penal sectors.

He explains that the growth in the use of algorithmic systems in surveillance and monitoring systems provides an increase in the complexity of existing technologies. For this type of technology to work, data collection is necessary, since artificial intelligence software is “armed with data that we provide, often unconsciously, to commercial platforms”. Thus, these can reproduce violence and biases, as they are “loaded with values ​​and fissures of society itself in its socio-technical apparatus of technology, as Peron points out.

Engine controls
The growth in the number of regulatory laws, such as the General Data Protection Laws, follows the growth of the security discussion. However, in Peron’s opinion, it is still necessary to develop specific legislation based on artificial intelligence, since they have been fundamental for the creation of surveillance and monitoring systems.

In conjunction with a more accurate observation of these technologies and their functioning in everyday life, he also says that it is necessary to think about the social structures and institutions involved in the development of technology. Therefore, it is essential to think about civil organizations, acting as whistleblowers of the malfunction and misuse of these systems. “They [technologies] are adapted to social realities and work according to the reality they are embedded in, therefore, they change from the context in which they were developed”, concludes the researcher.

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