ICYMI: My “Stop & Drone” post over on Cyborgology
Anyway, my first guest post is up. It’s on drones, human judgment, and implicit understanding. Here’s a snippet:
In other words, our implicit understanding is just as, if not more fallible–in this case, racist–than any explicit knowledge. Human beings already make the bad, inuhman judgments that some fear from drones. Stop-and-frisk is just one example of how real people already suffer from our bad judgment. We’re really good at targeting threats to white supremacy, but really crappy at targeting actual criminals.
We make such bad calls when we rely on mainstream “common sense” because it is, to use philosopher Charles Mills’s term, an “epistemology of ignorance” (RC 18). Errors have been naturalized so that they seem correct, when, in fact, they aren’t. These “cognitive dysfunctions” seem correct because all the social cues we receive reinforce their validity; they are, as Mills puts it “psychologically and socially functional” (RC 18). In other words, to be a functioning member of society, to be seen as “reasonable” and as having “common sense,” you have to follow this naturalized (if erroneous) worldview. White supremacy and patriarchy are two pervasive epistemologies of ignorance. They have trained our implicit understanding to treat feminine, non-white, and non-cis-gendered people as less than full members of society (or, in philosophical jargon, as less than full moral and political persons). Mainstream “common sense” actually encourages and justifies our inhumane treatment of others; the “human factor” is actually an epistemology of ignorance. So, maybe without it, drones will make better decisions than we do?