Aarogya Setu

Platform cultures thrive not just by extracting and collecting data, but by discovering an operability, a pattern which might have a future use and value. This promise of future capitalization drives its totalizing art of capture. Every bit of data must be collected for its potential future value. Contact tracing apps thrive on this temporality. As platforms, they seek to anticipate the unknowability of our futures. The future, like the pandemic, is unknowable: marked with constant risks and the threat of exposures to harmful elements, against which immunity has to be developed. Contact tracing apps thus collect data to not only know and inform our presents but also to guard us against a threat from our future. This securitization is embodied in constantly recording contacts, movements, networks and trails, everything that might save us from the incursion of the absolute unknown. Contact tracing apps thus fold upon our present forms of habitation –  daily movements, social spaces, our very habits – an evolving set of future possibilities. GPS and Bluetooth map out infection rates and its probabilities, trace infected networks spatially – in terms of their spread, routes of travel and so on. Thereby, they shape and delimit our futures on the basis of our spatialized presents.