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The entrance door

In social theory, Bruno Latour (2021) discussed how nonhumans are delegated with functions traditionally given to human actors, such as the automatic door or the speed bump that act as their human counterpart would do but in a different way. Early 2022, our compound installed a facial recognition door entry system at its three entrances. I first had to register my face with a photograph at the local bureau. Then, every time I would come back from work or from a walk outside, the doors would automatically open after scanning my face. This would not replace the guards as they were still at the entrance to open the door in case there was an issue or if delivery drivers would come in, but that probably facilitated their job in managing people’s entrances under a strict zero-covid policy. In such an extreme scenario, the facial recognition system was linked to our health kit and the door would open if a PCR test was done according to the latest policies. The door would remain closed if it could not recognize the face or the PCR test was not done correctly, the latest inducing morality and indirectly restraining one’s basic right to return home. Guards would still open the door or even let people enter behind others as the norm was rather to regulate than to prohibit, but this would be enough to show how technology would take agency over people in rather sensitive ways.

Latour, B. (2021) Where Are the Missing Masses? The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts, in Deborah G. Johnson and Jameson M. Wetmore (eds.), Technology and Society, Second Edition, MIT Press, pp.103–120.

Posted: December 25th, 2022

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