Value production is inherently networked. Therefore, in order to thrive, it needs an architecture as granular, scalable, and flexible as possible in order to accommodate the kinds of diverse applications and interactions that will, in turn, support its self-organization. Here at the Economic Space Agency, we want to build an ecosystem in which everyone can launch and participate in crowdsales, and exchange tokens without breaking the network. For these reasons we are building GRAVITY: a new common infrastructure for the crypto-economy. As mentioned in our previous post, GRAVITY is an open source, general purpose computing fabric based on an object-capability paradigm. The logical decentralization that this affords introduces important innovations in terms of scalability and speed, and also the possibility to host on-chain solutions for multi-blockchain integration.
Posts tagged Medium
“We’re still trying to figure out what time is,” Gleick said. Time travel stories apparently help us. The inventor of the time machine in Wells’s book explains archly that time is merely a fourth dimension. Ten years later in 1905 Albert Einstein made that statement real. In 1941 Jorge Luis Borges wrote the celebrated short story, “The Garden of Forking Paths.” In 1955 physicist Hugh Everett introduced the quantum-based idea of forking universes, which itself has become a staple of science fiction.
“Time,” Richard Feynman once joked, “is what happens when nothing else happens.” Gleick suggests, “Things change, and time is how we keep track.” Virginia Woolf wrote, “What more terrifying revelation can there be than that it is the present moment? That we survive the shock at all is only possible because the past shelters us on one side, the future on another.”
“Enjoy the present. Don’t waste your brain cells agonizing about lost opportunities or worrying about what the future will bring. As I was working on the book I suddenly realized that that’s terrible advice. A potted plant lives in the now. The idea of the ‘long now’ embraces the past and the future and asks us to think about the whole stretch of time. That’s what I think time travel is good for. That’s what makes us human — the ability to live in the past and live in the future at the same time.”
It might seem counter-intuitive, but Coleridge’s famous line from the Ancient Mariner could also apply to the desert. Even in some of the driest places on earth, the air holds thousands of litres of fresh water that have remained tantalisingly inaccessible. Until now. Scientists at MIT and the University of California at Berkeley have created a device that can suck water from the air. Even better: it’s solar-powered. So, even in the most remote, arid deserts it can harvest drinking water from the atmosphere.
Over at Superflux, our work investigating potential and plausible futures, involves extensively scanning for trends and signals from which we trace and extrapolate into the future. Both qualitative and quantitative data play an important role. In doing such work, we have observed how data is often used as evidence, and seen as definitive. Historical and contemporary datasets are often used as evidence for a mandate for future change, especially in some of the work we have undertaken with governments and policy makers. But lately we have been thinking if this drive for data as evidence has led to the unshakeable belief that data is evidence.
As the great German theologian Josef Pieper argued, for most of history philosophers and theologians treated overwork as a moral failing. The Stoic philosopher Seneca, for example, made a distinction between leisure and idleness; and importantly, people who were “out of breath for no purpose, always busy about nothing” were, in Seneca’s view, guilty of the worst kind of idleness. Because it occupies our time and feels like accomplishment, but actually produces very little and gives us little opportunity to learn about ourselves, this kind of busyness was to be avoided. As Pieper put it, in this vision leisure “is not a Sunday afternoon idyll, but the preserve of freedom, of education and culture, and of that undiminished humanity which views the world as a whole.” This is not to say that work was something to be avoided. Stoics like Seneca saw work as essential, as one of the things that made life meaningful. But in order to become our best selves, they argued, it was also necessary to take the time to reflect on our lives and choices — and that required both time and an “inward calm” that let us see ourselves and the world clearly.
The next step takes the logic further: not only stealing from the rich and giving to the poor (like Robin Hood did), but exploring, building new ecologies, new ecosystems, new universes, new possibilities, new worlds of value. For this purpose the Robin Hood hydra grew a new head: a start-up company Economic Space Agency, Inc. (ECSA). Economic Space Agency builds tools with which we can create economic space — not only to distribute something existing or produced in a pre-existing space, but to reorganize/rebuild the space itself. Two trends are converging and making open source economy possible: the moldability and plasticity of financial technologies and the decentralization and disintermediation provided by distributed ledgers. ECSA’s DNA contains all these things: hard core research (the team has published over 25 books), direct engagement with the power of art to create unforeseen (economical, social, political, financial, incorporeal) processes, financial first-in-the-world inventions (such as a hedge fund as a coop, and asset-backed cryptoequity), experimental hands-on attitude and an intimate lived experience of how the financial and the social co-determine each other.
For a hundred years, in an Italian palazzo transplanted to the shores of a Swedish lake, the Sigtuna Foundation has been hosting conversations where people from different worlds meet — artists, scientists, theologians, poets. So it seems an appropriate location for the meeting where I’ve spent the past two days, called by Kevin Anderson, professor of climate leadership at Uppsala University, and known (among other things) for being “the climate scientists who doesn’t fly”. At his invitation, the Centre for Environment and Development Studies at Uppsala (CEMUS) brought a group of twenty of us together to ‘develop and collate insights from the social sciences, humanities and the arts, with the purpose of eliciting a richer picture of the challenges facing rapid societal transformation’ to have a chance of reaching the commitment to limit global warming to 2° made at the Paris COP.
“A deep dive into environmental risks” via @Medium https://medium.com/world-economic-forum/a-deep-dive-into-environmental-risks-8cdc6b375b3d?source=ifttt————–1
“Assisted Writing” via @Medium https://medium.com/@samim/assisted-writing-7adea9aed19?source=ifttt————–1
“Convolutional Methods for Text” via @Medium https://medium.com/@TalPerry/convolutional-methods-for-text-d5260fd5675f?source=ifttt————–1
This brings be back to what is likely the most geo-tagged place on earth. It is a place that can be found marked with unambiguous precision on many social media sites or self-crafted mapping projects. The place seems to be relevant in almost any context, and has been tagged and described in an unaccountable number of ways. The place seems to combine many places at once, all sharing the same location — similar to Jorge Luis Borges’ Aleph: “The Aleph’s diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror’s face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe.”
AlphaGo is made up of a number of relatively standard techniques: behavior cloning (supervised learning on human demonstration data), reinforcement learning (REINFORCE), value functions, and Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS). However, the way these components are combined is novel and not exactly standard. In particular, AlphaGo uses a SL (supervised learning) policy to initialize the learning of an RL (reinforcement learning) policy that gets perfected with self-play, which they then estimate a value function from, which then plugs into MCTS that (somewhat surprisingly) uses the (worse!, but more diverse) SL policy to sample rollouts. In addition, the policy/value nets are deep neural networks, so getting everything to work properly presents its own unique challenges (e.g. value function is trained in a tricky way to prevent overfitting). On all of these aspects, DeepMind has executed very well. That being said, AlphaGo does not by itself use any fundamental algorithmic breakthroughs in how we approach RL problems.
We had arrived in the Sonoran desert. A place of desiccated time, layered time, geological, vegetal, human time. Time kneads the Earth’s crust into deep folds, cracks and canyons. Plants lay dormant through cycles of drought or grow slowly for centuries, bursting into blossom after the first rains. Humans come and go. Blown through the ages like tumbleweeds. Things don’t really decay here. They shrivel, dry up or slowly rust, yet remain present, as they gradually erode into dust. A thick, dusty atmosphere of things that were, things that are and things that might be. Densities and intensities coagulating on a larger than human scale, illuminated by stark light or lurking in the deep shadow.
If we give in to the sheer gigantic sweep of Facebook and the convenience it creates, and feed all our collective information into its ever-more-intelligent algorithms; if news is read and messages are sent primarily within the Facebook network so that each of these interactions sows new data points in our profiles; and if we build up thousands upon thousands of these innocuous-seeming interactions over years and years, and those interactions are overlaid with face-recognized images, marketing data from online purchases, browsing histories and, now, GPS-tracked driving data, is this total bartering of privacy worth the buy-in to Zuckerberg’s “supportive,” “safe,” “informed,” “civically engaged,” global community?
If you thought seat licenses were lucrative in the 1990s, wait until its city blocks in the 2020s. All are becoming increasingly embedded in physical systems, supply chains, mobility platforms and the architecture of data that makes these and other elements of the real world. One had only to notice how many seemingly incidental displays were malfunctioning in and around mass transit systems during the recent WannaCry ransomware outbreak to get a sense of where these companies systems are entwined with delivery of public conveniences. AWS, WhatsApp, Gmail and Facebook Messenger are now the mission critical sinews of the modern world. But you knew this.
Seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia was behind several hacking incidents, including the infamous email breach of the Democratic National Committee last year that former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton blames for her electoral loss. Hacking, however, was only part of the equation. The use of social media bots to spread fake news was part of a larger disinformation campaign to help Trump get elected. But now that the United States’ election is over, where are they?
Making music with computer tools is delightful. Musical ideas can be explored quickly and composing songs is easy. Yet for many, these tools are overwhelming: An ocean of settings can be tweaked and it is often unclear, which changes lead to a great song. This experiment investigates how to use evolutionary algorithm and novelty search to help musicians find musical inspiration in Ableton Live.
Society likes saints and moral heroes to be celibate so they do not have family pressures and be forced into dilemmas of needing to compromise their sense of ethics to feed their children. The entire human race, something rather abstract, becomes their family. Some martyrs, such as Socrates, had young children (although he was in his seventies), and overcame the dilemma at their expense. Many can’t.
What we fear is a future in which potent personal data is combined with increasingly sophisticated technology to produce and deliver unaccountable personalized media and messages at a national scale. Combined with data-driven emerging media technologies, it is clear that the use of behavioral data to nudge voters with propaganda-as-a-service is set to explode. Imagine being able to synthesize a politician saying anything you type and then upload the highly realistic video to Facebook with a fake CNN chyron banner. Expect the early versions of these tools available before 2020. At the core of this is data privacy, or as they more meaningfully describe it in Europe, data protection. Unfortunately, the United States is headed in a dangerous direction on this issue. President Trump’s FCC and the Republican party radically deregulated our ISP’s ability to sell data monetization on paying customer data. Anticipate this administration further eroding privacy protections, as it confuses the public interest for the interests of business, despite being the only issue that about 95% of voters agree on, across every partisan and demographic segment according to HuffPo/YouGov. We propose three ideas to address these issues, which are crucial to preserving American democracy.
The Dreams of Santiago Ramón y Cajal is both a portrait of Cajal’s legacy as well as a testament to the beauty and vulnerability that occurs when our brain and body communicates. Though Cajal’s legacy is monumental; he is lesser known than his pioneering counterparts such as Newton, Darwin, and Einstein. For those who are unfamiliar with Cajal, the first part of the book reads as a biography. Readers become acquainted with his life and work, which are heavily intertwined. Before Cajal, the brain was seen as a “continuous web” as opposed to the individual units known as neurons that Cajal discovered them to be through his use of the Golgi stain. He, as well as Golgi, received the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work on the structure of the nervous system in 1906.
The new kind of neural networks are an evolution of the initial feed-forward model of LeNet5 / AlexNet and derivatives, and include more sophisticated by-pass schemes than ResNet / Inception. These feedforward neural networks are also called encoders, as they compress and encode images into smaller representation vectors. The new wave of neural networks have two important new features:
generative branches: also called decoders, as they project a representation vector back into the input space
recurrent layers: that combine representations from previous time steps with the inputs and representations of the current time step
The practice of using people’s outer appearance to infer inner character is called physiognomy. While today it is understood to be pseudoscience, the folk belief that there are inferior “types” of people, identifiable by their facial features and body measurements, has at various times been codified into country-wide law, providing a basis to acquire land, block immigration, justify slavery, and permit genocide. When put into practice, the pseudoscience of physiognomy becomes the pseudoscience of scientific racism.
Rapid developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning have enabled scientific racism to enter a new era, in which machine-learned models embed biases present in the human behavior used for model development. Whether intentional or not, this “laundering” of human prejudice through computer algorithms can make those biases appear to be justified objectively.
To put it simply, Chaos Engineering is one particular approach to “breaking things on purpose” that aims at teaching us something new about systems by performing experiments on them. Ultimately, our goal is to identify hidden problems that could arise in production. Only then will we be able to address systemic weaknesses and make our systems fault-tolerant. Chaos Engineering goes beyond traditional (failure) testing in that it’s not only about verifying assumptions. It also helps us explore the many unpredictable things that could happen and discover new properties of our inherently chaotic systems.
this is a deeper phenonemon called the “tar-baby” principle and is basically: You are attached to what you attack. In academic parlance, the idea is that the currently reigning powers define the space and the terms of engagement. Both the definition of “culture” and “counter-culture” are part of a “hegemonic discourse” (Antonio Gramsci).
History is largely peace punctuated by wars, rather than wars punctuated by peace. When you read historical accounts, you are under the illusion that history is mostly wars, that states like to fight as a default condition, whenever they have the chance, and that the only coordination between entities takes place when two countries have a “strategic” alliance against a common danger.[…] We will be fed by tomes of histories of wars. […] Reading a history book offers a similar bias to reading an account of life in New York seen from an emergency room employee at Bellevue Hospital.
But, in truth, it’s not that difficult to understand Ethereum, blockchains, Bitcoin and all the rest — at least the implications for people just going about their daily business, living their lives. Even a programmer who wants a clear picture can get a good enough model of how it all fits together fairly easily. Blockchain explainers usually focus on some very clever low-level details like mining, but that stuff really doesn’t help people (other than implementers) understand what is going on. Rather, let’s look at how the blockchains fit into the more general story about how computers impact society.
In a world which is rapidly being decentralized — there also needs to be a decentralized way to ensure adequate payment for those who provide us with the infrastructure. We have found a way to get there and now we will present an evolutionary path towards it. For the last month we have been examining existing technology and its potential, to perform POC (Proof Of Concept) experiments — with the goal of understanding how to build a decentralized VPN service and how to provide monetization to people running this network — VPN node operators.
“On Interventionistas and their Mental Defects” via @Medium https://medium.com/@nntaleb/on-neo-cons-and-their-mental-defects-d12685585b11?source=ifttt————–1
“Feudalism and the “Algorithmic Economy”” via @Medium https://medium.com/basic-income/feudalism-and-the-algorithmic-economy-62d6c5d90646?source=ifttt————–1
Once you’re boarded, united may not take your seat for overbooking reasons. You are not obligated to follow any unreasonable or illegal crewmember instruction. The police should not enforce civil contracts without a court order, and they took United’s side when clearly they were in the wrong. Aviation is a special case in many ways, but we don’t abdicate our rights or reason when we decide to fly. Everyone at united — from the CEO on down — has demonstrated a marked lack of thought, compassion and contrition. They deserve the maximum punishment that is possible.
“Ever owned a digital book signed by the author? No you didn’t.” via @Medium https://medium.com/impossible/lets-talk-about-ownership-6e6c82585472?source=ifttt————–1
“A Universe Explodes: A Blockchain Book, from Editions At Play” via @Medium https://medium.com/@teau/a-universe-explodes-a-blockchain-book-ab75be83f28?source=ifttt————–1
What I mean by micro-macro is trying to get a better understanding of the world by accessing it on two levels: for one, there’s the micro-level of anecdotes where we get the good feeling of looking at actual, concrete aspects of the world instead of abstract mathematical descriptions. But we combine this with the macro-level to understand how these relatable anecdotes fit into the whole. This dual approach enables us to estimate if a given example represents normalcy (a stand-in for how things “usually” are) or is an outlier and does not allow conclusions for all cases.
When we open up data, are we empowering people to come together? Or to come apart? Who defines the values that we should be working towards? Who checks to make sure that our data projects are moving us towards those values? If we aren’t clear about what we want and the trade-offs that are involved, simply opening up data can — and often does — reify existing inequities and structural problems in society. Is that really what we’re aiming to do?
So, will there still be enough jobs for everyone a few decades from now? Anybody who fears mass unemployment underestimates capitalism’s extraordinary ability to generate new bullshit jobs. If we want to really reap the rewards of the huge technological advances made in recent decades (and of the advancing robots), then we need to radically rethink our definition of “work.”
There’s nothing resembling a “sharing economy” in an Uber interaction. You pay a corporation to send a driver to you, and it pays that driver a variable weekly wage. Sharing can really only refer to one of three occurrences. It can mean giving something away as a gift, like: “Here, take some of my food.” It can describe allowing someone to temporarily use something you own, as in: “He shared his toy with his friend.” Or, it can refer to people having common access to something they collectively own or manage: “The farmers all had an ownership share in the reservoir and shared access to it.” None of these involve monetary exchange. We do not use the term “sharing” to refer to an interaction like this: “I’ll give you some food if you pay me.” We call that buying. We don’t use it in this situation either: “I’ll let you temporarily use my toy if you pay me.” We call that renting. And in the third example, while the farmers may have come together initially to purchase a common resource, they don’t pay for subsequent access to it.
This is the first attempt I’ve seen at a decentralized alternative to major social networks that feels like a modern, well-designed, user-friendly competitor, actually surpassing the native UI for Twitter in some areas. There are still some bugs, rough edges, and server downtime issues, but overall it cleanly passes the bar for “minimum viable UX”, and this inspires hope for me that open-source alternatives don’t always mean a precipitous drop in user experience quality.
The concept of ‘Evolutionary purpose’ — a central theme from Laloux’s Reinventing Organisations — is a deeply flawed conceptual model. There’s convincing evidence that it doesn’t even exist, and even if you try to implement it anyway there are major flaws including ‘creative entropy’ — a gradual loosening of an organisation’s focus — which may be the opposite of what’s needed to realise a big idea.
This new zeitgeist is less interested in the old social influences of authority and social obligation, and more concerned with demonstrable legitimacy and guaranteeing universal access to the common wealth. Today we are more interested in opt-in/out ways of participation than with committed and consistent roles. We are empowered by communities of practice and peer-to-peer connectivity rather than social status and statutory reputation. We are a generation exploring real abundance in nature and ingenuity that flows from human spirit when it is set free. This shift in attitude signals a reckoning with old ways of power which instrumentalizes the earth, and institutionalizes and bureaucratizes human activity.
I’m here and interested because I’m fascinated with collective intelligence and have been studying and researching it for the last 7 years or so, mostly from a consciousness and identity oriented angle. I undertook a two year research project for my Master’s Degree focusing on what is called “We Space” — Intersubjective Awareness Practices, which you can find here. We Space is one name for the more directly contemplative practices of ‘Collective Intelligence’ though I also include organizational practices such as Theory-U in the rubric.
Badiou notes that the positive programme of Inventing the Future is organised around three points — full automation, universal basic income, and a “post-work” society — and that the first two of these points are really dependent on the third (automation as the means, UBI as the necessary consequence). He therefore addresses his critique to this nexus of ideas
While many things have changed in the world in the past two years, 2016 saw what looks like a phase transition in the political domain. While the overall phenomenon is global in scale and includes Brexit and other movements throughout Europe, I want to focus specifically on the victory of the “Trump Insurgency” and drill down into detail on how this state change will play out.This war is about much more than ideology, money or power. Even the participants likely do not fully understand the stakes. At a deep level, we are right in the middle of an existential conflict between two entirely different and incompatible ways of forming “collective intelligence”. This is a deep point and will likely be confusing. So I’m going to take it slow and below will walk through a series of “fronts” of the war that I see playing out over the next several years. This is a pretty tactical assessment and should make sense and be useful to anyone. I’ll get to the deep point last — and will be going way out there in an effort to grasp “what is really going on”.
The origin of the expression is as follows. It was said that a group of fishermen caught a large number of turtles. After cooking them, they found out at the communal meal that these sea animals were much less edible that they thought: not many members of the group were willing to eat them. But Mercury happened to be passing by –Mercury was the most multitasking, sort of put-together god, as he was the boss of commerce, abundance, messengers, the underworld, as well as the patron of thieves and brigands and, not surprisingly, luck. The group invited him to join them and offered him the turtles to eat. Detecting that he was only invited to relieve them of the unwanted food, he forced them all to eat the turtles, thus establishing the principle that you need to eat what you feed others.
2016 was a year in which modern notions of identity were shut down for short-term political gain. Yet in actual rather than alternative fact, how we live and who we are continues to unfold, dovetail and joyously entwine. Already complex identities, drawn over millennia of trade, migration and social experimentation, become yet more complex with each passing day. Binding that glorious mess to anachronistic approaches to decision-making and identity, rooted in some mythical simpler times, it’s little surprise we are allegedly tearing ourselves apart. The 2016 American presidential election and Brexit referendum results reveal countries apparently rent in two, systems that carelessly allow an almost insignificantly small majority to be described as ‘clear mandates’, by shredding those rich tapestries such that they are perceived instead as crude, diametrically opposed camps. The seams of those political systems are badly misaligned with the reality of how and where we live, clearly foregrounding the concerns of rural voters over urban, a design derived from a previous age of feudal landowners yet still in place.
What we’ve found, over and over, is an industry willing to invest endless resources chasing “delight” — but when put up to the pressure of real life, the results are shallow at best, and horrifying at worst. Consider this: Apple has known Siri had a problem with crisis since it launched in 2011. Back then, if you told it you were thinking about shooting yourself, it would give you directions to a gun store. When bad press rolled in, Apple partnered with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to offer users help when they said something Siri identified as suicidal. It’s not just crisis scenarios, either. Hell, Apple Health claimed to track “all of your metrics that you’re most interested in” back in 2014 — but it didn’t consider period tracking a worthwhile metric for over a year after launch.
At the intersections of culture, gardening and technology we can start to see how plants can become organisational principles for human society in the turbulent times of the 21st century. Although we may need to scavenge at the fringes of contemporary society, we can observe many healing effects that humans can have on their surroundings through a symbiotic collaboration with plants. Some fight desertification and remediate industrial wastelands through natural farming and permaculture. Others design whole lifecycle, closed-loop technological and architectural systems inspired by natural processes, based on the art and science of biomimicry. Yet, these are scattered examples. We still don’t have widespread methods to improve wasteful, often counter-productive human behaviours. How do we encourage broader, longer-term cultural changes? What varieties of culture would be capable of forging symbiotic relationships between postindustrial human societies and the rest of the earth? How do we compost bitterness to grow beauty?
So, while flatpack futures attempt to deliver a whole world, system or universe embedded in one short vignette, lossy futures — be they artifacts, simple scenarios, wireframes of speculation, rich prompts, brief vignettes or some other material object — give us the scaffolding and ask or allow us to determine the details ourselves. In doing so, they transmit the critical data, the minimum viable future, and give us the opportunity to fill in the gaps we think are important to understanding, or have a dialogue around what these gaps may mean. The irony here is that flatpack futures are often high fidelity productions, complex, if flawed, narratives. They are beautiful renderings, but submerge engineering, social, business model, ethical or spiritual problems in favor of presenting a glossy face. Lossy futures are lo-fi, and intentionally omit detail as a feature, not a bug.
The advantage of working together is to get a complex task right, to be successful at making the right decision. The higher the complexity, the more specialists cannot be successful, but teams can be. This is important in healthcare in addressing complex diseases and conditions that can interact with each other. It is also generally important in dealing with complex tasks of all kinds. The cost of having such a team in place might seem high, but for complex cases such a team will prove to be more effective and less costly than the alternative. The challenge is making sure the teams work together smoothly and efficiently. This will yield better results than specialists working separately.
Deep acting, according to research, allows a worker to perform emotional labor with reduced emotional dissonance. Studies on administrative assistants and hotel service providers cite lower levels of stress, exhaustion, and cynicism in those who use the technique. While surface acting has been associated with job burnout and depression, those who practice deep acting tend to feel a greater sense of personal accomplishment at work.But while this and other recommendations to try mindfulness practice, meditation, and exercise may help laborers better manage problem customers and stressful jobs, they squarely place the responsibility of dealing with the rigors of emotional labor on the “victim.” Customers are never told to take ownership for the way they treat those serving them, or encouraged to practice their emotional intelligence when interacting with service representatives. As Laurie Penny writes about turning the ideology of self-care into a politicized anecdote to systemic issues: “Essentially, if we are sick, sad, and exhausted, the problem isn’t one of economics. There is no structural imbalance, according to this view — there is only maladaptation, requiring an individual response.”We can’t, however, shelve the unintended consequences of entirely replacing human service professionals with machines. Specifically, since the professional service industry is mostly comprised of women and, for some paid out on an hourly basis, those with less education. Assuming such work becomes automated in the future, these people may not have to perform the emotional labor associated with their previous professions — but they could find themselves out of a job. If robots begin to replace occupations for specific demographics, this will quickly become a political issue, even if we can get the technology right.
Beyond just another trading instrument, ether is a means to run many services on the Ethereum blockchain, like fuel for energy. Smart contracts when deployed can provide many different use cases. Even as we write, we are already seeing many decentralized applications making use of smart contracts to provide a myriad of services on Ethereum. Below is just a small non exhaustive list of examples.
The war for the open internet is the defining issue of our time. It’s a scramble for control of the very fabric of human communication. And human communication is all that separates us from the utopia that thousands of generations of our ancestors slowly marched us toward — or the Orwellian, Huxleyan, Kafkaesque dystopia that a locked-down internet would make possible.By the end of this article, you’ll understand what’s happening, the market forces that are driving this, and how you can help stop it. We’ll talk about the brazen monopolies who maneuver to lock down the internet, the scrappy idealists who fight to keep it open, and the vast majority of people who are completely oblivious to this battle for the future.In Part 1, we’ll explore what the open internet is and delve into the history of the technological revolutions that preceded it.In Part 2, we’ll talk about the atoms. The physical infrastructure of the internet. The internet backbone. Communication satellites. The “last mile” of copper and fiber optic cables that provide broadband internet.In Part 3, we’ll talk about bits. The open, distributed nature of the internet and how it’s being cordoned off into walled gardens by some of the largest multinational corporations in the world.In Part 4, we’ll explore the implications of all this for consumers and for startups. You’ll see how you can help save the open internet. I’ll share some practical steps you can take as a citizen of the internet to do your part and keep it open.
We believe that developing alternative business models to the startup status quo has become a central moral challenge of our time. These alternative models will balance profit and purpose, champion democracy, and put a premium on sharing power and resources. Companies that create a more just and responsible society will hear, help, and heal the customers and communities they serve.
If you’re already a coder: Glitch makes every other development environment feel lonely and old-fashioned, as coding starts to feel more like simultaneous editing in Google Docs and less like the chore of reviewing pull requests. Everything you create is automatically deployed in realtime onto cloud servers, so there’s no provisioning of servers or management of infrastructure, just the joy of creating. If you’ve never coded before: Glitch is the place to start. We’ve got a friendly and welcoming community (we don’t tolerate people being jerks) and you start by remixing apps that already work, running on real web servers that you don’t have to learn how to manage. If you do get stuck, anyone in the Glitch community can come in and offer to help, just as easy as raising your hand.
What does citizenship look like in ten or 20 years time? Will it be determined by borders and nationality, or a social group or activity? What are the forces that currently, and may exist that influence, transform and manipulate or current understanding of borders and what it means to belong? This February, Changeist were invited by Time’s Up to deliver a three day workshop as part of their Futuring Exercise for the 2017 Maltese presidency of the Council of the EU, with the support of Arts Council Malta and the Valletta 2018 Foundation. We chose to take a keener look at citizenship, migration and borders as it may develop over the next few decades, using Europe as the territory for our speculative “map”.
It has always seemed to me that Twin Peaks was a turning point in the career of David Lynch, a point at which he developed the themes and ideas that would ripple through the rest of his work. Twin Peaks feels like Lost Highway feels like Mulholland Drive feels like Inland Empire in ways his earlier work doesn’t share. There are currents of duality, dream states, dubious identities, the symbiotic relationship between sex and violence, and betrayal in each of these films, but two in particular I’ve come to believe share more than thematic similarities. Brace yourselves: I think Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and Mulholland Drive all exist in the same universe, because I think Mulholland Drive, like those other works, is ultimately about The Black Lodge.
During the noisiest time in history — when the age of the automobile butts up against the era of electronics and gets smashed into dense urban populations — hearing loss is only a portion of what’s at stake. The field of “acoustic ecology” aims to reverse the noise pollution of today’s technology-driven world, but more importantly, to consciously create living environments that actually sound beautiful. The father of acoustic ecology is a composer and pedagogue named Murray Schafer. His 1977 book, The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, shaped a new dialogue around reducing and protecting certain sounds. He asked two big questions: What is the relationship between man and the sounds of his environment and what happens when those sounds change? And which sounds do we want to preserve, encourage, multiply?
Today, with the rapid development of digital technology, we can increasingly attempt to follow Leibniz’s logic. An increasing level of sophistication, to the point of some products becoming highly or fully autonomous, leads to complex situations requiring some form of ethical reasoning — autonomous vehicles and lethal battlefield robots are good examples of such products due to the tremendous complexity of tasks they have to carry out, as well as their high degree of autonomy. How can such systems be designed to accommodate the complexity of ethical and moral reasoning? At present there exists no universal standard dealing with the ethics of automated systems — will they become a commodity that one can buy, change and resell depending on personal taste? Or will the ethical frameworks embedded into automated products be those chosen by the manufacturer? More importantly, as ethics has been a field under study for millennia, can we ever suppose that our current subjective ethical notions be taken for granted, and used for products that will make decisions on our behalf in real-world situations?
At Time’s Up the real, probable, improbable and fantastic blurred. We would probe the interstices of speculation and physical narrative, collectively dreaming and dredging up the fragile, elaborate gossamer webs of a lucid peninsula — a gleaming, satin-dark alternate reality. At the same time, we would celebrate. It seemed that a celebration was always imminent: the launch or conclusion of a project; the completion of a pressure-cooker booksprint; birthday parties, surprise or not; arrivals, departures, beginnings and ends. Here, the blurring of realities was mostly, and most pleasantly, a factor of social euphoria and endless bottles of wine, and it sometimes felt that I had stumbled into an enchanted realm where non-stop parties were the norm. But whether parties or physical narratives, everything we did at Time’s Up was infused with the carnivalesque.
If the creative process were to be seen as a syncopated beat in alternating Dionysian and Apollonian modes, we’d definitely reached a Bacchic ad libitum on Wednesday night. Fuelled in part by the cumulative effects of nearly three days’ commensality and countless glasses of wine, participants were in a riotous mood. Distinctions between work and play grew fine indeed. The mounting insanity, the atrocious DJ’ing, cabin fever induced by the overcast weather — I had to escape. I fled the loft to walk in the twilight and talk to yaks and, returning to an eerily silent downstairs by the fire, became absorbed in black elephant selfies. By the end of this evening (and I don’t exactly know when it ended) we had 34,111 words. Tomorrow, it seemed, the sober process of redaction would have to start all over again.
“#SOLARPUNK is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?” The aesthetics of solarpunk merge the practical with the beautiful, the well-designed with the green and wild, the bright and colorful with the earthy and solid. Solarpunk can be utopian, just optimistic, or concerned with the struggles en route to a better world — but never dystopian. As our world roils with calamity, we need solutions, not warnings. Solutions to live comfortably without fossil fuels, to equitably manage scarcity and share abundance, to be kinder to each other and to the planet we share.
What is happening online is nothing more than a reflection of what is happening offline in Mexico. “Since the war on drugs began in 2006, we´ve lived through the worst period for freedom of expression”, says Alberto. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries on earth to be a journalist, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. It is also in the middle of a human rights crisis, stained by the disappearance of almost 30,000 men, women and children over the last decade — most since the current President, Peña Nieto took office in 2012. The violence — and the impunity shrouding it — has energized a new generation of digitally-savvy Mexican activists who want to see accountability for the human rights abuses committed.
Nearly all of the most valuable companies throughout history were valuable through their strong network effects. If there is one motif in American economic history it is network effects. Every railroad made the railroad network more valuable, every telephone made the telephone network more valuable, and every Internet user made the Internet network more valuable. But no hedge fund has ever harnessed network effects. Negative network effects are too pervasive in finance, and they are the reason that there is no one hedge fund monopoly managing all the money in the world. For perspective, Bridgewater, the biggest hedge fund in the world, manages less than 1% of the total actively managed money. Facebook, on the other hand, with its powerful network effects, has a 70% market share in social networking. The most valuable hedge fund in the 21st century will be the first hedge fund to bring network effects to capital allocation.
Hang’s photographs carried the tags of nude, youth, sexuality, social norms, gay?, even in China!, and seemed enough for a story. That’s what I went with; the significance of Ren Hang would not become clear to me until a few years later. This interview was originally conducted in Mandarin. It has been translated and edited for length and clarity. Interview by Erik Bernhardsson. Translation by Dier Zhang.
This is a story about truth and consequences. It’s a story about who gets to be young and dumb, and who gets held accountable. It’s also a story about how the new right exploits young men — how it preys not on their bodies, but on their emotions, on their hurts and hopes and anger and anxiety, their desperate need to be part of a big ugly boys’ own adventure. It’s a story about how so many of us have suffered the consequences of that exploitation. And it’s a story about how consequences finally came for Milo Yiannopoulos too — the worst kind of consequences for a professional troll. Consequences that nobody finds funny. Consequences that cannot be mined for fame and profit.
Death and change are essential to growth and evolution. The bird has to leave the nest. New trees spring up in the forest where old trees decay. A species only acquires adaptive traits with new generations. The old must make space for the new; anything else is stagnation. This is especially true of purposeful work. Because you’re there for more than just a job, achieving the larger mission in the future can require the end of something in the present.
I find it frustrating to bear witness to good intentions getting manipulated, but it’s even harder to watch how those who are wedded to good intentions are often unwilling to acknowledge this, let alone start imagining how to develop the appropriate antibodies.[…] I have learned that people who view themselves through the lens of good intentions cannot imagine that they could be a pawn in someone else’s game. They cannot imagine that the values and frames that they’ve dedicated their lives towards — free speech, media literacy, truth — could be manipulated or repurposed by others in ways that undermine their good intentions.
How many potentially incriminating things do you have lying around your home? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably zero. And yet police would need to go before a judge and establish probable cause before they could get a warrant to search your home. What we’re seeing now is that anyone can be grabbed on their way through customs and forced to hand over the full contents of their digital life.
The skill of intelligently reading the news is one that is not taught in our schools. But with some easy tricks, and a change in awareness, you can help protect yourself against fake news, hoaxes, and even poor reporting. It takes time to develop these skills, but it is not difficult or labor intensive.
With transfer learning, we can take a pretrained model, which was trained on a large readily available dataset (trained on a completely different task, with the same input but different output). Then try to find layers which output reusable features. We use the output of that layer as input features to train a much smaller network that requires a smaller number of parameters. This smaller network only needs to learn the relations for your specific problem having already learnt about patterns in the data from the pretrained model. This way a model trained to detect Cats can be reused to Reproduce the work of Van Gogh
The Chelsea thrived because it stuck to Philip Hubert’s original vision: to house and nurture New York’s creative community — and do so while still being affordable and open to all. It is unlikely that the Chelsea will house the next wave of American creativity (the hotel was closed in 2011, and the new owners are converting it into a pricey boutique hotel. Many of the rooms, including Bob Dylan’s, have since been destroyed.) Yet while New York city’s greatest art colony is all but dead, its structure and ethos continue to enrich American culture — albeit in a different way, and on an entirely different coast.
Yet despite the lucrative returns of Y Combinator and other startup accelerators sprouting up around the USA (like TechStars, 500 Startups, AngelPad and SeedCamp) no ambitious community-building projects exist for American arts like they do for American tech. While most talented tech gurus can find a startup accelerator to join (and fund them), aspiring artists are told to get a bedroom in Brooklyn or move to Iowa for an MFA — both of which cost upwards of $40,000 a year and don’t come with a patron.
Summing up the net worth of the Chelsea’s most famous residents […] the Chelsea Hotel was responsible for more than 2.1 billion dollars of value creation while it was open. That estimate is only going off of the net worth of the artists themselves — not all of the downstream albums or paintings or ticket sales they contributed to (i.e. a single painting by Pollock fetched $200M and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey took in more than $190M at the box office. A single room of de Kooning paintings was estimated to be worth as much as $4B.) The funny thing? Despite their obsession with wealth, most startup accelerators don’t even come close to matching the economic impact of the Chelsea Hotel — much less its cultural impact.
It’s hard to pin down what Processing is, precisely. I admit, it can be confusing, but here it is: it’s both a programming environment and a programming language, but it’s also an approach to building a software tool that incorporates its community into the definition. It’s more accurate to call Processing a platform — a platform for experimentation, thinking, and learning. It’s a foundation and beginning more than a conclusion. Processing was (and still is) made for sketching and it was created as a space for collaboration. It was born at the MIT Media Lab, a place where C. P. Snow’s two cultures (the humanities and the sciences) could synthesize. Processing had the idea to expand this synthesis out of the Lab and into new communities with a focus on access, distribution, and community. Processing is what it is today because of the initial decisions that Ben and I made back in 2001 and the subsequent ways we’ve listened to the community and incorporated contributions and feedback since the beginning. Processing was inspired by the programming languages BASIC and Logo in general, and specifically by John Maeda’s Design By Numbers, C++ code created by the Visual Language Workshop and Aesthetics and Computation Group at the MIT Media Lab, and PostScript. Processing wasn’t pulled from the air, it was deeply rooted in decades of prior work.
navigating the limited piece of physical reality we encounter in life, and remaining mentally and emotionally secure enough to survive, find mates, and propagate the species, requires an unquestioning, and when you think about it, strikingly unreasonable confidence in ourselves and in the world. Since full awareness of reality as-it-is was not an option for our ancient ancestors (as the overwhelm caused by so much data would have diminished, rather than enhanced, their chances of survival), evolution equipped them –and, as their descendants, us too — with brains capable of generating a convincing illusion of the reality of our own small words.
That is to say, the administration is testing the extent to which the DHS (and other executive agencies) can act and ignore orders from the other branches of government. This is as serious as it can possibly get: all of the arguments about whether order X or Y is unconstitutional mean nothing if elements of the government are executing them and the courts are being ignored. Yesterday was the trial balloon for a coup d’état against the United States. It gave them useful information.
This future fundamentally requires us to reimagine and reinvent the strategic corporate function, it’s capability, behaviors, protocols & strategies.
These names were themselves disputed and used as insults or boasts by either side, as were various taxonomic terms of art. Reading through the pages of Systematic Zoology, it is not uncommon to see authors accuse each other of redefining key terms or to see them attempt such redefinitions (usually in the name of “clarity”) themselves. Determining what a word essentially denoted was a problem not only for naming species of beetles or apes, but also for naming groups of taxonomists. As the advent of genetic sequencing shifted the central focus of biological taxonomy (Woese et al. 1977), determining which side of the debate had “won” became primarily a question of which of their features one took to be definitive. To use a term that anthropologists would later borrow from the taxonomists, the two schools were polythetic classes (Needham 1975) — identifiable through a set of shared characteristics or “family resemblances,” but not defined by any one in particular.
If we are going to idolise makers and create large-scale foundries, incubators and educational programs to inculcate and embrace the love for making, then lets nourish this idea of making as care-giving too, and ensure that the ‘maker-culture’ we build is diverse and inclusive. And in doing so, encourage a relentless inquisitiveness, integrity, and pliancy that it can bring for us, those around us and the environments we live in.
For centuries, artists, authors and alchemists have gazed into the void and extracted new ways of seeing and thinking about our place in the universe. Second Home members super/collider invited two experts in dark matter — Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer Marek Kukula and curator Melanie Vandenbrouck — to our Spitalfields campus to discuss the most notable visual examples of darkness in art, science and literature.
“Nothing is Forbidden, but Some Things are Good” So morality may be a mirage, but it’s a useful mirage that helps us find life-giving meaning in what would otherwise be a desert of pure perception. I found de to be a helpful bridge towards holonic integration, but you might prefer Sharia law, act utilitarianism, or any number of moral or ethical ideas. Whatever your choice, in this way morality serves as an oasis that will sustain you on your journey to find meaning, especially when all meaning seems lost to the harsh winds of an uncaring world.
“Hacking the Attention Economy” via @Medium https://points.datasociety.net/hacking-the-attention-economy-9fa1daca7a37?source=ifttt————–1
“The Information War Has Begun” via @Medium https://medium.com/@zephoria/the-information-war-has-begun-e86a27b8b675?source=ifttt————–1
“Searching for Time-Travelers on the Eve of the Trump Inauguration” via @Medium https://psmag.com/searching-for-time-travelers-on-the-eve-of-the-trump-inauguration-c67fcd8b990f?source=ifttt————–1
“The Women’s March and the Triumph of the Won’t” via @Medium https://psmag.com/the-womens-march-and-the-triumph-of-the-won-t-7db720ad546a?source=ifttt————–1
“January 26th was an assault on a strong, phenomenal culture — and that is why you shouldn’t…” via @Medium https://medium.com/@amymcquire/january-26th-was-an-assault-on-a-strong-phenomenal-culture-and-that-is-why-you-shouldnt-d29389b0c6f1?source=ifttt————–1
“Live coding” via @Medium https://medium.com/potac/live-coding-1eb06f0ddf26?source=ifttt————–1
As a galaxy rotates, the stars move around its core. If it’s edge-on to us, then on one side, the galaxy rotates “towards” us, while the other side rotates “away from” us. The faster the galaxy rotates, the faster the “towards” and “away” motions are. If the rotations are fast enough and your instruments are good enough, you can actually measure this effect. This was the incredible possibility that Vera Rubin began investigating. Thanks to advances in spectroscopy — the capability of breaking light up into individual wavelengths, detecting emission and absorption lines — Vera Rubin and Kent Ford started taking measurements of nearby galaxies in an attempt to measure their rotation speeds.
“How many fundamental constants does it take to define our Universe?” via @Medium https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/how-many-fundamental-constants-does-it-take-to-define-our-universe-938b28277d30?source=ifttt————–1
“An Expert Called Lindy” via @Medium https://medium.com/incerto/an-expert-called-lindy-fdb30f146eaf?source=ifttt————–1
The fact is that capitalist societies already dedicate a large portion of their economic outputs to paying out money to people who have not worked for it. The UBI does not invent passive income. It merely doles it out evenly to everyone in society, rather than in very concentrated amounts to the richest people in society. The idea of capturing the 30% of national income that flows passively to capital every year and handing it out to everyone in society in equal chunks has been around since at least Oskar Lange wrote about it in the early parts of the last century. This is, to me, the best way to do a UBI, both practically and ideologically. Don’t tax labor to give money out to UBI loafers. Instead, snag society’s capital income, which is already paid out to people without regard to whether they work, and pay it out to everyone.
The images and characters of Werner Herzog’s cinema have come to inhabit or possess me deeply, and yet their habitation or possession has occurred so fluidly that I suspect they were inside me all along, requiring only to be articulated in the inimitably concrete and idiosyncratic way they are in Herzog’s films. Few other filmmakers have so silently and gently explored the abysses of ecstasy and darkness; few have observed, from such an inscrutable, Olympian remove, the ludicrous and grotesque minutiae of life. For surely Herzog’s conception of the sublimity and ridiculousness of what is called the human condition brings him as close in spirit to the ancient Greeks as it does to that dark and satirical current of Germanic Romanticism represented by Kleist, Hölderlin, or Büchner, and which remains his indelible cultural heritage. Yet through the eye of Herzog’s lens the world is transfixed, rendered hopelessly, exquisitely weightless, ultimately diffusing beyond grasp the solid structures within which tragedy or satire can take root.
Stevie Wishart was FoAM’s “composer in transience” at the Brussels studio for most of 2015. Her residency emerged as a natural consequence of a long involvement with FoAM spanning several years and numerous projects, including most recently Wheel & Time(less), Candlemas Concerto, FutureFest, Smoke & Vapour, and Inner Garden. When I had the opportunity to talk with her in the spring of 2015 she was deeply immersed in a large composition that would be performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in May. Our discussions therefore gravitated around the particular challenges and musical innovations she was imminently preoccupied with at the time — which made for some fascinating comparisons and contrasts between these and the very different contexts and approaches entailed in working on a musical project at FoAM.
His sense of time was very accurate: The tremor came the moment he expected it, a powerful, violent quake that seemed to originate from deep within the earth. The vibrating silver candelabra hummed, and a wisp of dust that had sat on top of the Great Palace for perhaps a thousand years fell down and drifted into the candle flames, where the motes exploded in tiny sparks.
It was puzzling. I remembered the suggestion that they were outsourcing the email responses to call centers in the Philippines, but these emails were coming from someone not only familiar with construction administration, but with this specific project. That meant the only possible explanation was that they had some artificial intelligence software learn the project inside out by reading my email and automatically generating responses.
I don’t know how we rehabilitate science and fact. Some large subset of our population believes that climate change is a hoax. For them, the fake is completely real. When you look the mid-20th century, you see Germany leaving facts behind too. Citizens cease to debate the German economy, and instead put their faith in a charismatic leader. In the US now there is a large population that can’t understand what’s happening to them politically, economically or culturally. Today, people can’t understand why abortion is legal. They can’t understand why gay marriage is legal. They can’t understand where the factories have gone. It’s the turn from fact that makes fascism possible. If they turn away from reasoning altogether, they can turn toward feeling like part of a body following a charismatic leader.
Since we feel uncomfortable when we’re exposed to media that pushes back on our perspective (like that weird political uncle you see at a family reunion), we usually end up avoiding it. It requires a lot of effort to change opinions, and generally it feels gross to have difficult chats with people that don’t agree with us. So, we politely decline the opportunity to become their friend, buy their product, read their magazine, or watch their show. We insulate ourselves in these ‘information ghettos’ not because we mean to, but because it’s just easier.
You do not create dynamic equality just by raising the level of those at the bottom, but rather by making the rich rotate –or by forcing people to incur the possibility of creating an opening. The way to make society more equal is by forcing (through skin in the game) the rich to be subjected to the risk of exiting from the one percent
Dynamic equality assumes Markov chain with no absorbing states
Our condition here is stronger than mere income mobility. Mobility means that someone can become rich. The no absorbing barrier condition means that someone who is rich should never be certain to stay rich.
Dynamic equality is what restores ergodicity, making time and ensemble probabilities substitutable
Comparing Le Corbusier to the Wahhabi attitude towards ‘heterodox’ architecture one must, in my opinion, pay particular attention to Le Corbusier’s attitude towards the house. In a secular society, there is no more sacred place that the house. And this is precisely why Le Corbusier is attacking the house: he is a religious fanatic. People want their houses to reflect their individual personalities and connect them with the history of their communities. For Le Corbusier this is the equivalent of the Wahhabis’ shirk — the heretical polytheism of the ‘household gods’.
Algorithmic transparency is a necessary prerequisite for a democratic society. Traditionally democratic societies have been based upon the rule of law. In order for this to be possible, the law had to be transparent. Any citizen had to be able to have access to the laws of the land, be able to read and hopefully understand them. While the legal profession exists to help people with this comprehension, there is still a general principle that any individual could, if they so choose, represent themselves in a court of law.
Algorithms similarly need to be accessible to every person. Obviously there will be an industry that exists to ensure that this access is coherent and reasonable, but just as with the law, algorithms need to serve the people, rather than the other way around.
Many disputes reflect differences in how people think as much as in what they think about a particular issue. We can’t always persuade one another simply by expressing our positions, introducing information, and counting “pros” and “cons.” Instead, our disagreements often start upstream, so to speak, as we and others diverge in which modes of thinking we consider legitimate. Frameworks for understanding these modes can help us to translate between them, the “story thought” vs. “system thought” framework.
Over the course of the next few months, we will be launching a prototype of the research already completed in statistical fact checking and claim detection. So far, our work has been in identifying claims in text by the named entities they contain, what economic statistics those claims are about, and verifying if they are “fact-checkable”. At the moment, we can only check claims that can be validated by known statistical databases — we built our system on Freebase (an fact database that came out of Wikipedia’s knowledge graph), and will be migrating it to new databases such as EUROSTAT and the World Bank Databank.
time-based media art installations do not truly exist until they are installed and, thus, these works must be exhibited — or “exercised” — with a certain degree of regularity. This is a concept first championed in the conservation field over a decade ago, by Pip Laurenson of Tate. Lovers, by Japanese media artist Teiji Furuhashi (1960–1995), is an excellent example of this. What follows is the story of how our team rescued this important example of early-1990s Japanese media art from a crumbling foundation of obsolete technologies (MS-DOS and LaserDisc, for starters) and ensured that it will live on so that generations long into the future are able to discover and enjoy it.