HKS Affiliated Authors

Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs and Philosophy


April 21, 2021, Paper: "In contrast to China’s efforts to upgrade its system of governance around a stupefying amount of data collection and electronic scoring, countries committed to democracy and human rights did not upgrade their systems. Instead,those countries ended up with surveillance capitalism. It is vital for the survival ofthose ideas about governance to perform such an upgrade. This paper aims to contribute to that goal. I propose a framework of epistemic actorhood in terms of four roles and characterize digital lifeworlds and what matters about them both interms of how they fit in with Max Tegmark’s distinctions among stages of life and interms of how they generate their own episteme, the data episteme, with its immense possibilities of infopower (a term inspired by Foucault). Epistemic rights that strengthen existing human rights–as part of a fourth generation of rights–are needed to protect epistemic actor hood in those roles. In the long run,we might well need a new kind of right, the right to the exercise of genuinely human intelligence.

HKS Author - Mathias Risse