Diffuse Discipling, Techno-social Control, Automated Systems, Efficacious Justice, Human Factors, Design
This chapter introduces the term diffuse disciplining as a means to articulate the increasingly ubiquitous and pervasive nature of technologies of social control. In particular the term diffuse draws attention to how borders become porous, legal mechanisms ineffective, and accountability and responsibility obfuscated. Three proto-case studies are presented that highlight different aspects in how diffuse disciplining can be observed. These case studies (USA, China, Ireland) show how the use of mediative technologies can discipline thoughtlessly without regard to intentions by proponents, and, how technical systems can discipline and influence social action without regard to political or cultural systems. This chapter calls us to question what unintended disciplinary effects such systems may have and where, if anywhere, we might locate agents of responsibility. The chapter concludes that criminological research needs to expand in both scope and area to cope with technological innovation in an area marked by learning algorithms, autonomous systems and diffuse discipling. If focusing solely on traditional areas of criminal justice and criminology we can miss the wider effects of technological deployment in the age of connectivity, big data, and augmented intelligences.