Welcome to the Matrix
Cyberspace – the digital reality of William Gibson’s Science Fiction novel “Neuromancer” from 1984 is described as the Matrix, a virtual reality with its own rules. In this dystopian future, access to the Matrix determines the socio-economic status.
Where as this vision is not yet reality, it becomes clear that many of Gibson’s predictions become increasingly true – the cyberspace has become a parallel reality, and access to it and through it to other people inhabiting that space as well as the ability to draw from its virtual resources (think of Big Data as the new oil) increasingly determines agency and structure. If this cyberspace is getting more important also for the physical reality, it needs to be governed just as we govern states, cooperations and citizen. This cannot happen from the outside through national and international law but only from the inside through code as law. Because right now the Matrix is anarchical and its only inherent law is the survival of the fittest. Andrej Zwitter is Professor of International Relations and Ethics at the University of Groningen (Netherlands). Zwitter conducts research into the ethics and law of Big Data and artificial intelligence. Most recently he published "Big Data and International Relations" in the journal Ethics & International Affairs and "Big Data Ethics", in Big Data & Society.