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Define the Digital

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The 3 Generations of Human Rights Expansion 

The cyclical influence between society and the environment has led to a gradual expansion of legal systems articulating human rights. Over time, changes in the environment alter our understanding of existence and our existence changes the environment. The expansion of human rights law has been organized as three generations. 

Civil and Political Rights

(17th and 18th centuries)

Economic, Social, & Cultural Rights

(19th century)

Solidarity Rights

(20th century)

The first generation of rights are associated with the English, American, and French revolutions. The rights are set forth in Articles 2-21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

The second generation of rights broadens the primarily political focus of the first generation to include economic, social, and cultural rights. This view originates primarily in the socialist traditions of Marx and Lenin. These rights are demonstrated in the Articles 22-27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The third generation developed through various international agreements that emphasize positive collective rights of peoples

Where are we now?

As the digital world has integrated into the daily life of societies, it has become a vital source of positive rights. The direct translation of pre-existing rights into the digital world have proven to be insufficient, therefore Mathias Risse and other scholars have called for a fourth generation of human rights.

Life 1.0 referring to biological origins, Life 2.0 referring to cultural developments in humanity, and Life 3.0 referring to the technological age of humans.

Life 3.o

Today we have emerging technology such as artificial intelligence and big data that may someday, in addition to being able to learn, be able to also redesign its own hardware and internal structure.


What are the components 

supporting this system?



Modern computational power and algorithms allow of the collection of large data sets. 



Intention of developing “economic, social, technical, and legal claims.” 



Represents the “widespread belief that large data sets offer a higher form of intelligence” that would otherwise not be attainable. In No Funeral Bells, Jasanoff and Simmet expands on the societal acceptance of technological development, such as big data, since “once carved, there is a naturalness to the creation that makes it seem as if right and whole, even intended.”

In Power of the Powerless, Victor Havel warns that a system “is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess the omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights."

1/ Myth of Inevitability

In No Funeral Bells, Jasanoff and Simmet expands on the societal acceptance of technological development, such as big data, since “once carved, there is a naturalness to the creation that makes it seem as if right and whole, even intended.”

2 / Myth of Objectivity

The narrative that big data is a source of objective and important truths has led to an overall passive response towards the claims supported by analyses of data from social media users. 

3 / Lack of Transparency (Blackbox Problem)

. The lack of education is an institutional issue as social media companies have been able to develop an asymmetrical balance of knowledge by designing systems of big data usage that are not transparent to the public, this practice is often referred to as the black-box problem

4/ Lack of Accountability

Furthermore, as the Age of Big Data is governed by a system based on the cyclical relationship between society and the digital environment, there is no one to hold accountable. Even the small group of individuals gaining profit and power from social media platforms are still creating the reality they must live within. Vaclav Havel notes that "position in the power hierarchy determines the degree of responsibility and guilt but it gives no one unlimited responsibility and guilt, not does it completely absolve anyone." Once again, everyone in society is complicit to the system that gives social media platforms influence. Within this context we must accept that users “need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.”

5/ Lack of Consent

Though the practice of consent for intangible property has created asymmetrical power balances between users and social media platforms.

1) Lack of education/transparency means, at best, we have uninformed consent

2) Consent does not matter as platforms have the capability of collecting information outside of the scope of the user’s online presence.

Myths &  Mechanisms
Sunset Skies

What would you do differently?

As digital users, we have the right and responsibility to help shape the Digital World!

To do so, we all must reflect critically and creatively on our relationship with technology.

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