Reframing Political Power in the Digital Constellation: Taking Technopolitics Seriously
Bötticher, A., Nikiforova, A., Ruhland, J., Kettemann, M. C.
The development of new technologies brings with it "technical superiority", but new technologies can also be a stress test for existing political systems, which may fail as a result, leading to cascading effects that threaten fundamental precepts of democratic societies and their key institutions. If policymakers fail to recognise these challenges, the damage could be massive and human development could be drastically curtailed. The problem, then, is that technological means and their demands on political systems may not be sufficiently understood. Today, the close connection between technological and human development necessitates an eco-systematic approach: technopolitics is based on the interaction and mutual dependency of the dominions of technology and politics – and the normative responses to navigate their interaction. Technological developments and their use make it possible to impact political constellations across the world and have emerged as arenas of political conflicts on a system level. Technopolitics, based on Mayer et.al., is introduced and further conceptualised in this article to capture this phenomenon – and normative responses to it. The article highlights essential developments that underpin the concept. It shows cases how power plays in the role at each stage of development of the technologies of societal interaction, including in early phases like design and standardisation. Just as law is code, tech is power. Technological innovation therefore needs to be politically and normatively framed.