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Deleuze’s Postscript on Control Societies highlights an interesting shift in the distribution of power and control. He talks about how we have moved from societies of sovereignty to disciplinary societies to control societies, and points out the way language has shifted to accommodate these changes. A particularly interesting bit reads: “In the societies of control, on the other hand, what is important is no longer either a signature or a number, but a code: the code is a password, while on the other hand the disciplinary societies are regulated by watchwords (as much from the point of view of integration as from that of resistance). The numerical language of control is made of codes that mark access to information, or reject it.” (Deleuze 5) Deleuze is identifying an important change in the way the individual is configured. She is increasingly digitized, authorized by a code, a password. The body is broken up into multiple parts, subject to different and new interpretations.

Thinking of the human as a data body makes me think of CAPTCHAs, the challenge-response tests often used on websites to verify a user’s humanity. CAPTCHA stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” The CAPTCHA will often show a distorted image or string of text and the user gains access to another level of the website by correctly entering that information. It is interesting to think of the CAPTCHA in Deleuzian terms, because it is an example of the way codes become important in verifying one’s identity, but also how distinguishing between human and robot is becoming a trend in the digital era.