Insurance dark boxes and the observation state – how free are you, really? - Bio Walis

Insurance dark boxes and the observation state – how free are you, really?

Over the final few a long time there’s been a discernible rise within the number of drivers picking to fit a “black box” to their cars in arrange to get cheaper protections. Agreeing to a few later reports, these dark boxes might spare drivers as much as £300 a year.

The thought is that the boxes send area information to adjacent satellites, allowing insurance companies to monitor how people are driving, offering discounts and indeed discounts to those considered to be driving more safely. As a result, dark box drivers tend to drive very cautiously, avoiding quick increasing speed and never exceeding the speed limit, wherever they happen to be. While this sort of driving can be or maybe irritating to more experienced drivers, the entire concept of the “black box” exposes a few principal truths almost the way rules work. For illustration, you’ll take note the trend of a few black box drivers including bumper stickers to their cars, informing individual street clients that they’re not driving gradually on reason, but or maybe that they’re as it were

These bumper stickers put into words a handle that we all implicitly acknowledge on a day-to-day premise, but never very concede. That’s , that there’s a certain sum of “flexibility” within the application of law – whether it be on Britain’s streets or somewhere else. This “flexibility” is based on the truth that it is very basically outlandish for the specialists to uphold all rules on all individuals at all times.

These bumper stickers put into words a handle that we all implicitly acknowledge on a day-to-day premise, but never very concede. That’s , that there’s a certain sum of “flexibility” within the application of law – whether it be on Britain’s streets or somewhere else. This “flexibility” is based on the truth that it is very basically outlandish for the specialists to uphold all rules on all individuals at all times.

In this case, the black box driver openly admits that they’d break the rules if they weren’t driving under the careful look of their electronic manager; they’re as it were complying the rules since they’re being observed.
But what’s most interesting approximately this illustration is that consistently talking, the dark box doesn’t indeed got to contain any electrical gadgetry at all.
Certainly, the driver wouldn’t know any distinctive, as they’d still drive with the same intense awareness of the rules of the street. Of course, this would cruel the insurance companies wouldn’t get any telemetric information, but at that point, what are they using the data for, in case not to compel “safe” driving?
Rules, codes and conventions
The reason I discover this all so curiously is because it ties in exceptionally much with my claim inquire about relating to human and automated conduct, and the control structures that shape our ordinary lives. Think CCTV caution signs for example, or target pictures painted on men’s urinals.
But past these more obvious forms of control, there are also many hidden social structures that encode our behaviour and provoke us to act in a certain way. The cinema could be a great example. Whereas there will continuously be those who ridicule the rules to a minor degree – such as individuals who check their phone whereas film is on or loudly chat to their friends – occasions of major disturbance are few and distant between, as most individuals follow to the implicit rules of cinema etiquette.

In a similar vein, there are no formal rules about how to behave at a wedding ceremony, a funeral, or a job interview. While there may not be a written code as such, we all tend to have an idea of what constitutes appropriate behaviour. In this way, we self-manage our own conformity, and in so doing also share the same hidden cultural codes with those around us. We do this to avoid censure and bad feeling, as we are constantly aware of the gaze of others.

The invisible black box
To bring this back to the car insurance example, what’s fascinating is that it doesn’t matter whether or not the black box really is watching our every move. Much rather, what’s important is that we think we might be being watched and we modify our behaviour to suit.

This concept links somewhat with Jeremy Bentham’s famous panopticon concept from the 18th century. In his writings, Bentham describes an “ideal” form of prison where inmates live under the constant threat of surveillance. While in reality, each individual prisoner is barely watched at all, there remains the chance that they might be being watched at any point.

While Bentham’s panopticon has since fallen out of favour, the concept continues to this day, and ties in very closely with our understanding of surveillance culture and biopolitics – that is, the way the state takes life as its central objective, and frames our lives as constantly under threat. You may for example, notice that in many shopping outlets, the warning signs about CCTV coverage are far more prominent than the cameras themselves. This is because the security team can’t watch all people at all times. But the possibility of surveillance is used as a means to encourage good behaviour.

This same concept moreover applies to the protections dark box. Whereas protections companies without a doubt do screen the propensities of drivers, the reason of the box isn’t so much to screen but to implement great conduct. For this reason, it doesn’t truly matter whether or not there are any electronic gizmos interior the box at all. The vital thing isn’t that we are observed, but or maybe, that we obey.

Whose rules are they anyway?

This entirety concept of the dark box and what it says approximately our observation culture postures a few curiously problems. We acknowledge congruity and control as a way to keep us secure from hurt. But at the same time, we moreover need “freedom”, and to feel as in spite of the fact that we’re still in control. This is why transgression is such an critical portion of present day life. If we don’t accept we have the free will to break rules, at that point we are constrained to confront the pressure at the heart of our regular lives. On the one hand, we need “freedom”, but we too need safety, and to live our lives free