chapter  8
19 Pages

The anticipative medicalization of life

Governing future risk and uncertainty in (global) health 1
WithUrsula Jasper

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The chapter seeks to demonstrate how governing and managing the uncertain future has become an increasingly important reference point in individual and global public health. It is argued that both domains – while building upon different methodologies and tools – are driven by a growing ‘anticipative medicalization’: they are shaped by attempts to implement comprehensive and all-encompassing networks of diagnostics and disease surveillance that allow fewer and fewer risks to our wellbeing – from defective genes to newly emerging pathogens – to go unnoticed. This development has largely been enabled by the unprecedented progress in digital health technologies and artificial intelligence and by the accumulation of massive amounts of health-related data. Yet, while we currently witness an almost unfettered optimism in technological feasibility and the benefits of these advances, many fundamental ethical and political-regulatory questions remain unsolved.