Colin Koopman is an associate professor of philosophy and director of a graduate certificate program on new media and culture. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, Aeon, and numerous scholarly journals including New Media & Society, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, and Critical Inquiry. His most recent research mobilizes concepts from political philosophy and historiography to explore the political dimensions of ways in which data is increasingly defining our selfhood.
Koopman's latest book, How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person, excavates some of the earlier infrastructures that support today's rapidly accelerating data-tracking technologies. He explores the emergence of mass-scale data systems that store social security numbers and birth certificates, data techniques for categorizing personality traits and measuring intelligence, and the role of data in the shadow of racial inequality. The book shows that we have a longer, more turbulent past with data than we are led to realize when we reflect on social media, big data, and other seemingly-new developments.