This work takes a look behind the facade of a social transformation that is technically and soberly referred to as digitalization. After a first phase of digitalization of telephony and broadcasting and the beginnings of the Internet in the late 20th century, we have been in a second phase of digitalization since the turn of the millennium: the digitalization of society. It reveals itself to us as a digital trinity, as a co-evolutionary interplay of datafication, algorithmization and platformization.
The datafication of all areas of life doubles the world in the form of Big Data. This is not a one-to-one reproduction in binary code, because it is characterized by omissions and distortions. The algorithmization of selection processes – an automated information selection and personalized relevance assignment – influences our behavior and, in this way, aims to monetize big-data resources. It leads to new inequalities and power shifts based on data ownership and control. Platformization is changing the organization of markets towards multi-sided markets, commercializing the social as well, thus providing optimum conditions for rampant datafication and algorithmization.
The Digital Trinity exhibits religious traits. It is driven by a firm belief in a technically controllable human evolution. This is reflected in the pursuit of enhanced human performance via nano-bio-info-cogno convergence as well as artificial intelligence and is linked to a transhumanism that stands for this belief. The goal of transhumanism is to transcend human limitations and to strive for attributes previously reserved for the gods – such as omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence and eternal life.
On the user side, The Digital Trinity is driven by the convergence of digital technology and religion in the form of an implicit everyday religion. This routinized, often unreflected daily practice changes individual constructions of reality, shapes our view of the world, influences our behavior, and thus creates a digitally transformed social order. The search for adequate governance of the digital trinity is underway worldwide. In view of the special features and increased complexity, it calls for novel strategies and approaches.
Michael Latzer (2021), "Digital Trinity – Controllable Evolution – Everyday Religion"