Swiss Public Prosecutor seizes and seals work by !Mediengruppe Bitnik

!Mediengruppe Bitnik, Dark Net, shopping, online shopping, Agora, art, crime, intention, software

What does it mean for a society, when there are robots which act autonomously? Who is liable, when a robot breaks the law on its own initiative? These were some of the main questions the work Random Darknet Shopper posed. Global questions, which will now be negotiated locally. On the morning of January 12, the day after the three-month exhibition was closed, the public prosecutor’s office of St. Gallen seized and sealed our work. It seems, the purpose of the confiscation is to impede an endangerment of third parties through the drugs exhibited by destroying them. This is what we know at present. We believe that the confiscation is an unjustified intervention into freedom of art. We’d also like to thank Kunst Halle St. Gallen for their ongoing support and the wonderful collaboration. Furthermore, we are convinced, that it is an objective of art to shed light on the fringes of society and to pose fundamental contemporary questions.

https://wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.bitnik.org/r/2015–01–15-statement/

75k Futures by Gunnar Green & Bernhard Hopfengärtner

algopop:

75k Futures by Gunnar Green & Bernhard Hopfengärtner

Named after the source of a flash crash of the American stock market in May 2010, caused by 75,000 algorithmically traded futures, 75,000 Futures is a book illustrating algorithms in action, with data sourced from the HFT research firm Nanex. The book explores a typology of algorithmic actors, whose motives and strategies must be reversed-engineered from market behaviour, exposing a systems aesthetic of structured logic backed up by an ambiguous rationality.

The founders of Fairphone said from the word go that creating a totally fair phone would be a monumental task, because of the…

The founders of Fairphone said from the word go that creating a totally fair phone would be a monumental task, because of the labyrinth of suppliers and companies involved. So far, only two of the minerals in the phone – tin and tantalum – come from conflict-free validated mines.

Fairphone believe the only way to make a phone genuinely fair is through trying to incrementally produce one and to keep adjusting it while putting pressure on the supply chain. Its website shows behind the scenes of its journey, and it should be commended for trying to change the status quo.

Fairphone review: ethics trumps everything else | Technology | The Guardian (viaiamdanw)

Once you adopt skepticism toward the algorithmic- and the data-divine, you can no longer construe any computational system as…

Once you adopt skepticism toward the algorithmic- and the data-divine, you can no longer construe any computational system as merely algorithmic. Think about Google Maps, for example. It’s not just mapping software running via computer—it also involves geographical information systems, geolocation satellites and transponders, human-driven automobiles, roof-mounted panoramic optical recording systems, international recording and privacy law, physical- and data-network routing systems, and web/mobile presentational apparatuses. That’s not algorithmic culture—it’s just, well, culture.

If algorithms aren’t gods, what are they instead? Like metaphors, algorithms are simplifications, or distortions. They are caricatures. They take a complex system from the world and abstract it into processes that capture some of that system’s logic and discard others. And they couple to other processes, machines, and materials that carry out the extra-computational part of their work.

The Cathedral of Computation - Ian Bogost (viaalgopop)

Fifteen seconds before the transfer, the bluish-green LEDs turn yellow and a voice tells you autopilot will be turned off. Ten…

“Fifteen seconds before the transfer, the bluish-green LEDs turn yellow and a voice tells you autopilot will be turned off. Ten seconds before the transfer, the LEDs turn red and the steering wheel extends to meet you. If you fail to respond, the car activates its hazard lights and slows to a stop, moving to the shoulder if possible.”

I Rode 500 Miles in a Self-Driving Car and Saw the Future. It’s Delightfully Dull | WIRED (viaiamdanw)

Charlie Hebdo: Understanding is the least we owe the dead

charlie hebdo, je suis ahmed, je suis charlie, complexity, polarisation, war, jihad, understanding

The war will go on until it doesn’t, until it runs out of fuel and the historians take over, arguing about who or what won. I no longer expect to see an end in my lifetime. It will take a generation, and many enormous geopolitical shifts, before the wheels of this juggernaut shudder to a halt. Until there are no more self-dramatising young men who prefer the abstraction of death to living a meaningful life, until there are no more wealthy pious bigots to fund them, until there are no more disenfranchised migrants pressed against the border fence and no more hard-faced “realists” eager to turn the war dial up to 11, this will go on and we will have to live through it.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/08/charlie-hedbo-collusion-terror-jihadi-twisted-logic

On the future of the U.S., or of Western civilization in general, I tend to be quite pessimistic. Perhaps that is simply because…

On the future of the U.S., or of Western civilization in general, I tend to be quite pessimistic. Perhaps that is simply because “collapse” is what I do. As an archaeologist, I have excavated single trenches, just a few meters deep, in which you can see stratigraphic levels of several civilizations. We find layers of artifacts and evidence indicating periods of great prosperity, but always separated by levels of burned earth, ash and artifacts that reflect the epochs of social disintegration, chaos and tragedy that seem to conclude the achievements and aspirations of every society.

With that caveat about my gloomy perspective, I would say that today I see most of the symptoms of societies on the brink of collapse, not just in the U.S., but in the tightly interconnected societies of Western civilization – now essentially world civilization.

With apologies to the green movement, “sustainability” is a myth. History and archaeology show that societies are always moving to the edge of crisis, “falling forward” through growth, but then responding (often successfully) to the problems created. What we can hope for is that with a somewhat more controlled level of growth, and with longer-term preparations for change, we can keep responding to the inevitable smaller crises, as they arise, and continue to postpone until later and later the (perhaps ultimately inevitable) end of our civilization.

The real Indiana Jones on why Western civilization is a bubble (viafuckyeahdarkextropian)

Manichaeism

religion, history, gnosticism, dualism, gnostic, world religions, shadow

Manichaeism was a major Gnostic religion that was founded by the Iranian prophet Mani (c. 216–276 AD) in the Sasanian Empire. Manichaeism taught an elaborate dualistic cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness. Through an ongoing process which takes place in human history, light is gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light whence it came. Its beliefs were based on local Mesopotamian gnostic and religious movements.

Manichaeism thrived between the third and seventh centuries, and at its height was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Manichaean churches and scriptures existed as far east as China and as far west as the Roman Empire. It was briefly the main rival to Christianity in the competition to replace classical paganism. Manichaeism survived longer in the East than in the West, and it appears to have finally faded away after the 14th century in southern China, contemporary to the decline in China of the Church of the East. While most of Mani’s original writings have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived.

Until discoveries in the 1900s of original sources, the only sources for Manichaeism were descriptions and quotations from non-Manichaean authors, either Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Zoroastrian. While often criticizing Manichaeism, they also quoted directly from Manichaean scriptures. This enabled Isaac de Beausobre, writing in the 18th century, to create a comprehensive work on Manichaeism, relying solely on anti-Manichaean sources.

(via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism )

Hackers can’t “solve” Surveillance

hackers, surveillance, economics, californian ideology, silicon valley, solutionism, culture, ventur

Since libertarian ideology is often at odds with social solutions, holding private enterprise as an ideal and viewing private provisioning as best, the solutions presented are often pushing more entrepreneurship and voluntarism and ever more responsibilization. We just need a new start-up, or some new code, or some magical new business model! This is what Evgeny Morozov calls Solutionism, the belief that all difficulties have benign solutions, often of a technocratic nature. Morozov provides an example “when a Silicon Valley company tries to solve the problem of obesity by building a smart fork that will tell you that you’re eating too quickly, this […] puts the onus for reform on the individual.”

http://www.dmytri.info/hackers-cant-solve-surveillance/

«Charlie» vivra

Libération, Charlie Hebdo, Charlie, religion, journalism, terrorism

Quant à nous, journalistes, amis des journalistes assassinés, nous continuerons. Avec un peu moins de cœur à l’ouvrage, sans doute, pour quelque temps, mais avec une résolution plus forte. Nous savons que cette profession est parfois dangereuse. C’était jusqu’à présent le lot des reporters qui partent nous informer sur les pays en guerre. Il en meurt des dizaines chaque année. Maintenant on veut porter la guerre jusque dans nos salles de rédaction. Nous ne ferons pas la guerre. Nous ne sommes pas des soldats. Mais nous défendrons notre savoir-faire et notre vocation : aider le lecteur à se sentir citoyen. Ce n’est pas grand-chose mais c’est quelque chose. Avec une certitude mieux ancrée : maintenant, nous savons pourquoi nous faisons ce métier.

http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2015/01/07/charlie-vivra_1175771

Among the Disrupted

NYT, technology, humanism, religion, posthumanism, singularity, metrics, quantifiction, humanities

Aside from issues of life and death, there is no more urgent task for American intellectuals and writers than to think critically about the salience, even the tyranny, of technology in individual and collective life. All revolutions exaggerate, and the digital revolution is no different. We are still in the middle of the great transformation, but it is not too early to begin to expose the exaggerations, and to sort out the continuities from the discontinuities. The burden of proof falls on the revolutionaries, and their success in the marketplace is not sufficient proof. Presumptions of obsolescence, which are often nothing more than the marketing techniques of corporate behemoths, need to be scrupulously examined. By now we are familiar enough with the magnitude of the changes in all the spheres of our existence to move beyond the futuristic rhapsodies that characterize much of the literature on the subject. We can no longer roll over and celebrate and shop. Every phone in every pocket contains a “picture of ourselves,” and we must ascertain what that picture is and whether we should wish to resist it. Here is a humanist proposition for the age of Google: The processing of information is not the highest aim to which the human spirit can aspire, and neither is competitiveness in a global economy. The character of our society cannot be determined by engineers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/18/books/review/among-the-disrupted.html?_r=1

Before the availability of the tape recorder and during the 1950s, when vinyl was scarce, people in the Soviet Union began…

objectoccult:

Before the availability of the tape recorder and during the 1950s, when vinyl was scarce, people in the Soviet Union began making records of banned Western music on discarded x-rays. With the help of a special device, banned bootlegged jazz and rock ‘n’ roll records were “pressed” on thick radiographs salvaged from hospital waste bins and then cut into discs of 23-25 centimeters in diameter. “They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole,” says author Anya von Bremzen. “You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan — forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens.”

Ingredients: ​1 cup magnesium ​1 cup silicon ​2 cups iron ​2 cups oxygen ​1/2 teaspoon aluminum ​1/2 teaspoon nickel…

Ingredients:

  • ​1 cup magnesium
  • ​1 cup silicon
  • ​2 cups iron
  • ​2 cups oxygen
  • ​1/2 teaspoon aluminum
  • ​1/2 teaspoon nickel
  • ​1/2 teaspoon calcium
  • ​1/4 teaspoon sulfur
  • ​dash of water delivered by asteroids
Blend well in a large bowl, shape into a round ball with your hands and place it neatly in a habitable zone area around a young star. Do not over mix. Heat until mixture becomes a white hot glowing ball. Bake for a few million years. Cool until color changes from white to yellow to red and a golden-brown crust forms. It should not give off light anymore. Season with a dash of water and organic compounds. It will shrink a bit as steam escapes and clouds and oceans form. Stand back and wait a few more million years to see what happens. If you are lucky, a thin frosting of life may appear on the surface of your new world.”

The Recipe for Making an Earth-Like Planet | Motherboard (viafuckyeahdarkextropian)

In his full first interview as surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter – a former senior counter-terrorism officer – said the…

In his full first interview as surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter – a former senior counter-terrorism officer – said the public was complacent about encroaching surveillance and urged public bodies, including the police, to be more transparent about how they are increasingly using smart cameras to monitor people.

Porter stressed that he was not anti-surveillance and insisted he was helping to improve standards by encouraging the adoption of a voluntary code. But he added: “The lack of public awareness about the nature of surveillance troubles me.”

Porter, who was appointed to the independent role in March, is responsible for overseeing around 100,000 publicly operated CCTV cameras out of total of up to 6m surveillance cameras nationwide. He said: “When people say ‘the public love CCTV’, do they really know what it does and its capability? Do they know with advancing technology, and algorithms, it starts to predict behaviour?”

He said he was very nervous about the “burgeoning use of body-worn videos [BWV]”, not just by the police but by university security staff, housing and environmental health officers – and even supermarket workers.

“If people are going round with surveillance equipment attached to them, there should be a genuinely good and compelling reason for that. It changes the nature of society and raises moral and ethical issues … about what sort of society we want to live in … I’ve heard that supermarkets are issuing staff with body-worn videos. For what purpose? There is nothing immediately obvious to me.”

UK public must wake up to risks of CCTV, says surveillance commissioner (viaiamdanw)

JOMO n. The pleasure derived from no longer worrying about missing out on what other people are doing or saying.

“JOMO n. The pleasure derived from no longer worrying about missing out on what other people are doing or saying.”

The Word of the Year from website ‘The Word Spy’, which tracks contemporary neologisms:

If new words reflect the culture that coins them, then 2014 should have seen lots of neologisms related to the events, people, and obsessions that dominated our lives. Sure enough, as you’ll see in the awards that follow, new terms related to Ebola, Ferguson, selfies, and social networking are thick on the ground.

Sometimes, if you look at new words a certain way, you can also detect undercurrents that reflect what wewish was happening in the culture.In 2014, by far the most dominant of these sub-trends was the desire to disconnect. The phraseboiling the frog might not have any scientific merit, but it still works as a metaphor and in 2014 many people began to feel like they were frogs slowly being boiled in a pot of information. Stress caused byFOMO (the fear of missing out) and the anxiety of nomophobia (being without one’s mobile phone) were turning us into nervous wrecks.

[Highlight above is my own]

More Here

(viaprostheticknowledge)