Metrics, Algorithmic Governmentality and the (Shrinking) Space of Ethics: The Example of People Analytics

Richard Weiskopf, Hans Krause Hansen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Building on studies of algorithmic governmentality and ethics as practice, we investigate how algorithmically driven technologies acting at a distance shape the space of ethics and ethical conduct. Specifically, we analyze distancing technologies such as facial recognition and drones, locating them in the discursive field of ‘People Analytics’. We demonstrate how such technologies embody a particular kind of algorithmic governmentality, with profound governing, organizing and ethical implications. First, we explore the capacity of algorithmic governmentality to objectify and create a distance to the subject it purportedly involves and addresses. Second, we examine how algorithmic governmentality removes responsibility from the process of categorizing that goes into the work of datafication and data analysis. Third, we analyze processes of subjectification, including how algorithmic governmentality circumvents reflexivity and thereby comes to condition behavior. In contrast to normative ethics we do not engage in a moral-ethical evaluation of these technologies. In other words, we bracket the question of moral evaluation, and following our ethics as practice approach, we focus on how these technologies shape the conditions of possibility of ethical relations to self and others.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event36th EGOS Colloquium 2020: Organizing for a Sustainable Future: Responsibility, Renewal & Resistance - Virtual Conference, Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 2 Jul 20204 Jul 2020
Conference number: 36


Conference36th EGOS Colloquium 2020
LocationVirtual Conference
Internet address

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