Why Is It Not OK to Be Smart? The Evil Genius of Platform Capitalism and Psychopower (Descartes, Foucault, Stiegler)

Michał Krzykawski (University of Silesia in Katowice)


In this paper I will tackle the Cartesian famous assumption that some evil genius [genius malignus] employs his whole energies [omni sua industria] in deceiving us and use this assumption as a starting point to ask about the problem of evil in the age of platform capitalism from a radically non-theological and deliberately Greek perspective. Drawing upon the vital though forgotten difference between smart and intelligent, I will take new technologies for what Bernard Stiegler refers to as pharmaka and comment on his concept of psychopower as opposed to Foucault’s biopower. The heuristic aim of my talk is to defy the tricky idea of smart culture (from phones to cities) and oppose to this ignorant culture [fr. inculture], out of elitist/technophobic claims, what I call intelligent digitalopolis. At this challenging moment we are all stateless in this both fascinating and disturbing space, which is entirely to be reinvented and may be given a new lease of the actual and updated political life, provided that we’re smart enough to spot the error and find the techno-logical metron of our times. I should like this presentation to be a harbinger of my forthcoming book (in Polish) Larval Words. A Philological Critique of Political Economy in the Age of Big Data.


E-mail: michal_krzykawski@poczta.fm