Peer Reviewed





As new and developing technologies impact public and private life, rhetoricians would be remiss to overlook the deliberative rhetorics that justify their development, implementation, use-value, and impact. Using the 2013 joint congressional hearing “Next Generation Computing and Big Data Analytics” as an example, I argue that justificatory rhetorics about technology intersect with rhetoric from technology, obscuring information vital to critical deliberation. I demonstrate that the expert witnesses at this hearing draw upon rhetoric traditionally associated with American industrialization. Doing so allows them to articulate Big Data as a resource situated upon a metaphorical, American landscape and thus encourages the public to treat it as a natural resource that must be exploited for the betterment of the nation. Ultimately, I argue the use of this rhetoric dissuades critical analysis of the worth of Big Data and investigation of its technical aspects. This raises troubling questions about the ability of rhetoric about technology to both veil and guides what the public accepts as ethical rhetoric from technology.


Big Data, Rhetoric of Technology, Congress, Middle-Landscape


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