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Lingo-Entrainment: The Natural Language Surveillance Of Smartphone Users

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posted on 07.12.2021, 16:28 by Nicholas Fazio

This thesis examines the neuro-cultural implications of: (1) language capture and commodification; and (2) neurological entrainment, two processes that I contend have coextensively emerged with the development of smartphones in a way that is profitable for major smartphone manufacturers and privileged third parties. The phrase “neurological entrainment” in this context refers specifically to the smartphone’s ability to exert affective behavioural control over smartphone users by altering their neurochemical states. I aim to situate this established neurological phenomenon alongside a less scrutinized transformation: that of the smartphone into a site of language-capture. By “language capture” I refer to the intake, collection and brokering of smartphone users’ natural language data and metadata. The goal of this thesis is to contextualize the interfusing of these entrainment and capture processes that cunningly form lucrative linguistic relationships between smartphone users and their devices. This study, through a comparative content analysis of data policies, privacy protocols, and privacy related promotional material pertaining to two major smartphone manufacturers (e.g., Apple and Samsung), substantiates the claim that the foundational documents of each device openly permit this productive union, with its doubled effect of neurological pacification and linguistic divestment. divestment. It also situates these findings within the grander lingo-entrainment systems that influence the future of our living language, and that coincide with Deleuzian premonitions about societies of control.





Master of Arts


Communication and Culture

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Steve Bailey