"Smart digital technologies are seemingly about future-oriented temporalities, however, anticipation, prediction and pre-emption constitute a multiplication of the present rather than the future (Coleman, 2018). The temporalities of smart digital technologies are in that sense not about projecting a visionary future that needs to be actively constructed but instead reinforce established models and analyses. Rather than being concerned with the future, temporalities of smart digital technologies seem to be trapped in the past and present.

From the outset, smart media technologies seem to create an increasing desynchronization of the different modes of prison time. For the individual inmate, the experience of doing time is often one of slowness, routine, waiting and the general – and intentionally created – feel of time (one’s individual life-time) as inhibited or put on hold. The smart digital technologies increase, on the contrary, the pace of data collection and processing that is – and always has been – a part of how time is ‘done’ to the inmates. When procedures of gathering and making sense of data is increasingly automated and integrated in smart systems, they can furthermore produce immediate results and actions.


Since a multitude of different kinds of data is not only collected but also stored and continuously analysed, and since smart systems rely on predictions from past patterns, this temporal dimension becomes increasingly important for the management of incarcerated individuals and the predictions of their future that is used in attempts to rehabilitate them and help them adjust to a future life outside of the prison. Paradoxically then, the speeding up and increased efficiency that is promised by smart technologies reinforces the experience of trapped temporality of incarcerated individuals, while they remain objects rather than subjects of emerging temporalities of smart technologies and hence are included in ‘the digital imperative’ only one-sidedly."

~ Anne Kaun & Frefrik Stiernstedt (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1461444820914865)