Reflection: The Peripheral

When Netherton and Lev met officer Ainsley Lowbeer, I was intrigued by her abilities. Without prior interaction with others, she had access to their criminal records, unread messages and recent whereabouts. She could sample DNA with a mere handshake. This led me to find an article that lists some recently developed technology in law enforcement and evaluates their success and controversy. Lowbeer’s abilities don’t seem constitutional in today’s standards. My group discussed whether tools in law enforcement would remain constitutional, or that laws will change to better adapt to technology. Throughout the novel, lines between legal and illegal activity are blurred. Laws change as our society changes.

Flynne’s discovery of police corruption and her county’s economic dependence on drugs led me to share an article about police corruption in the US with my group. Our discussion ranged from morality, economy and class roles in technology. Drugs are a viable economic source for small town/low income areas. Just as Netherton’s timeline benefits from the labor of individuals in the stub, today’s technology relies on unseen labor in third world countries.

Compared to Flynne’s life in the beginning of the book, it was interesting to see how influential her existence became. She fell into a position of power that potentially enabled her family’s survival through the jackpot. I found a post that discussed the effects of income inequality on our social structure. Since Flynne had become aware of the jackpot, and her own contribution to it, I was interested in whether she should assume responsibility in lessening the economy’s damage. Flynne was written with respectable values, and I was relieved to find at the end of the novel that Coldiron started to divest in attempts to get the economy closer to normal. It’s interesting to wonder whether wealthy corporations in our world would take a similar approach if necessary.

I don’t think I would have been able to critically think about concepts found in The Peripheral if I hadn’t been expected to teach and facilitate a discussion. I was able to make connections to our society and form conclusions about the ethical and financial impact of technology.

Posted in Applied Digital Studies

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