C2 Ucaryilmaz & Deibel: Honesty by design (2/2)

11.00-13.00 / 28.07. pre-register here.

Honesty By Design? Wearable Technology and Cyber-gaze. Workshop (Part 2) by Talya Ucaryilmaz & Eric Deibel

UPD: The second part of the workshop would center itself on the case-studies of wearables to think about both utopian and dystopian applications of them.

Smartwatches, smart glasses or fitness activity trackers have become increasingly popular. They are generally referred as ‘wearable technologies’ because they operate in many frontiers of technology: Health, fitness, military, fashion. In other words, there is no wearable technology, there is wearable information. The primary focus of such technologies is not about the wearablity but the commodification of information by using wearability as a tool. Wearable technologies come with lower expectations about our privacy as well as the distraction of our intimate sphere. This research concerns itself with the fashion technology as an unexplored territory in this debate. Will the wearable information be the next way of cyber-surveillance in a future synchronized by multiple sensors? Is our personal data worthless? Do we need to be transparent all the time?

Tomorrow, we will face the cyber-gaze in the form of intelligent garment that can collect, process, store and transmit information within an infrastructure of an integrated feedback system. This process already started in biomedical and sports industry with intelligent maternity clothes or Nordic survival suits. Fashion items designed for rich young adult city dwellers are on the way of turning our private data to materialized wearable data. Real fashion does not necessarily require digitization. However, it benefits from the digital marketing practices to produce an automatized individual called the ‘consumer’, reinforcing the class inequalities. In the near future as our clothes will interact with the AC depending on our body temperature data, the design of the smart room will be programming us instead of us, programming our devices. Our designer purse will soon ask our mobile number for confirmation, sending our personal data to not only the government but also to other private actors in the market because we will have already agreed on the standard terms and conditions with just one touch screen move. Our t-shirt will have an idea about our psychological needs, giving us the related advertisement about our next holiday options.

The cost of the fashionable cyber-gaze is not only our privacy but also our personhood and intimacy as a result of this reverse relationship between human-technology. Creating knowledge banks about us will be legitimized since they will increase our ‘life quality’, providing entertainment, health and security. Capturing intimate details about someone’s life on the other hand results with demolishing the labile boundaries of intimate, private, social and public sphere. Our personality will become transparent, honesty will become an ethically neutral and inevitable result of the process, leaving us no room for private information. Such ‘honesty’ will not manifest itself mutually, since there is no good faith balance between the new humans as the objects of the economy and the system itself.

Unlike its original connotation, wearable technology is about penetrating under the skin of the humans, creating a new cybiosis.

The two day workshop will include a web lecture and visual presentation inviting the participants to critically engage with the wearables. 

You can join the discussion in our zoom room.


Talya Uçaryılmaz graduated from Bilkent University Law Faculty in 2011 cum laudae. She completed her masters (LL.M.) program in 2012 in law and economics summa cum laudae. In 2012, she started her Ph.D. program in Private Law in Bilkent University Law Faculty where she also worked as a researcher. Dr. Uçaryılmaz completed her Ph.D summa cum laudae in 2018 and she published her book on “bona fides (good faith)” in 2019. Her areas of research are Roman law, comparative private law, contract law, law and technology and legal philosophy. Dr. Uçaryılmaz is the co-author and editor of the book “Business Law”. She has several articles published on Roman law, contract law, international law and human rights law in different languages. She speaks Turkish, English, Latin, French, Italian, German and Dutch. She aims to integrate her interest in linguistics and philosophy to her inter-disciplinary academic works. Dr. Uçaryılmaz has recently won a postdoc grant due to her academic success. She was a visiting scholar in UNIDROIT Institute in Rome and Oxford University Institute of European and Comparative Law. She is currently conducting her research at the Max Planck Institute of Comparative and Private International Law, Hamburg.

Eric Deibel received his Ph.D. in science and technology studies (STS) from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The PhD program was based in the sociology department of Wageningen University, the life sciences faculty of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and associated with philosophy of biology at Egenis, Exeter University. After completing his PhD he won an Andrew W. Mellon fellowship at the university of Indiana-Bloomington and an IFRIS research fellowship in Paris (Institut Francilien Recherche Innovation Société). During this time he developed his PhD topic on open source in biology into a comprehensive research agenda that examines how life is known as well as shared (copied), owned (claims over information) and optimized (remade through optimizing the code based on standard languages and biotech engineering visions. This subject area includes scientific practices in fields like bio-informatics, software development, genomics, systems biology, synthetic biology as well as its influence on plant biotechnology, plant breeding and biodiversity conservation. Returning to the Netherlands he renewed his empirical work examining the global bio-economy. He is a lecturer in STS at the engineering faculty of Bilkent University since 2017. His most recent work is a co-authored book called: Recoding life: information and the biopolitical which was published with Routledge in 2019.