TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Cyberethics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cyberethics. Show all posts

Monday, September 16, 2019

What's Left Over? Merge with the Demon


Beware the implantation of a synthetic conscience, crafted by others. Image Source: pinterest.

I have a theory that our religions mirror our levels of technology. This post continues my What's Left Over? series, which describes two contending spiritual stances - the materialist and the anti-materialist - which are appearing in response to the Technological Revolution.

Science and technology refer to ways of doing, while the arts and theology describe ways of being. Neither can exist without the other. Ideally, they are used in balance. But the burgeoning technocracy thrives on doing; it pretends to support the arts and organic freedoms, while actually discouraging them. As a result, technologists have to build simulated versions of being to make up for the shortfall. Their simulacra of moral sensibilities are poor substitutes for the true human love of nature and mystery.

Left unfettered, technocrats will construct your personality and life from the outside in. And while their creed is superficially moral and progressive, it is grossly materialist, anti-human and anti-humane.

If you thought corporations and institutions were already corrupt, and rewarded the worst aspects of your nature and exploited your best instincts against you, imagine what it will be like inside the corporatist technocracy, where their externalized conscience will come from a chip, embedded in your brain and communicating with your cerebral cortex by way of a neural interlace.

This fake, mechanized, embedded chip conscience is the foundation stone of what the people at The Boiler Room podcast call the "technocratic dictatorship." Elon Musk is its leading proponent.

Musk was once Silicon Valley's space cowboy and he had a romantic heart. In a 2010 interview, his ex-first-wife Justine struggled with the loss of Musk's original visionary, who became her own "private Alexander the Great." In 2016, he wasn't completely gone. He named one of his droneships, 'Of Course I Still Love You.'

In 2014, Musk warned against the advent of artificial intelligence as "summoning the demon." Now a shadow of his former self, in July of this year he stammered out his new agenda, a brain-chip interface called Neuralink. Neuralink will allow us to merge with the demon and to "stay one step ahead" of it. This is supposedly the only way to survive the coming Singularity.

Putting a Chip in Your Brain Will Not Make You a Superhero (or a god) (7 August 2019). Video Source: Youtube.


See all posts in the What's Left Over? series on materialism and anti-materialism in technological advancement.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Your Friends, The Dark Overlord


If you want to see the Dark Overlord files, go here. Image Source: Time.

A group called the Dark Overlord claimed responsibility for the 2017 Netflix hacks. They have also lately hacked London Bridge plastic surgery clinic and released celebrities' medical files onto the Web. On 31 December 2018, they rang in the New Year with the announcement that they had breached a law firm and stolen 10 Gigabytes (18,000 documents) of legal papers, video, and audio files relating to 9/11 insurance claims with Hiscox Group. The trolls at 4chan were unimpressed:
"Q: who did 9/11 in your opinion based on the docs?

A: We don't really give a fuck. We want internet money.

We've already released a select few documents to serve as proof of our claims. We're about to change the fucking world. Edward Snowden's NSA leak will be pale in comparison."
And:
"We are all broke and also we don't feel like going to jail as we are all just 16yo virgin keyboard worriers. How come you couldn't find someone to give you a suitcase of money?"
And:
"Q: Hi, thedarkoverlord, Have you considered that information may well be used crash the monetary system you hope to be compensated in?

A: Fantastic question, mate. We're not concerned about that as we receive our payments only in internet money like Bitcoin. The monetary crash will be your problem. We always advise our clients to diversify and acquire different convertible currencies."
Some trolls were less skeptical. After viewing the document below, which was released on 4chan, one noted that 'Iron Mountain' documents had been shredded:
"HEY GUYS THIS IS SOMETHING!!!!

Flight 93 was shot down by National Guard because it was heading to Iron mountain, a military base.

Shredding documents related to that seems like a crime/treason!"


In fact, Iron Mountain is a Boston-based data management company; their history is here. But the company has also partnered with the US government and maintains an underground data storage facility called Iron Mountain in Pennsylvania, USA. They have a staff of 2,700 and they do hold Flight 93 evidence.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The People Who Want to Microchip People


Image Source: CBS News.

In an earlier post, I noted how the BBC is promoting human microchipping as well as larger tech-body implants. Their poster boy for this cause, colour blind guy, Neil Harbisson, merits a special 'cyborg' passport status.

Image Source: NYT.

Image Source: Munsell Color.

The subcutaneous chip was first developed by Siemens in the United States. The human microchip implant was invented by Kevin Warwick: "He is known for his studies on direct interfaces between computer systems and the human nervous system, and has also done research concerning robotics." You can read backgrounders on human microchip technology, here and here.

If this practice becomes widely accepted, it will become an automatic, mainstream practice, and children will be microchipped at birth. There are already brain chips which can affect moods and behaviour. Let this go further, and subcutaneous implants will become an organic user interface. They will also constitute an assault on the integrity of the bodies and minds of individuals both as individuals, and as members of society. Soon, it won't be necessary to talk about human rights and freedoms, because the preconditions for them will be medically removed and technically absent. For a disturbing, unconfirmed original sources on this endgame, see here.

The BBC promoting microchipping for Humans (29 January 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Body, Colonized

China Behavior Rating System V/S Sweden Microchip implants | Must watch technology (18 June 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Of course, rhetoric which promotes rights and freedoms will remain. The political speeches will continue, but rights and freedoms will be erased in reality. Lip service will be paid to these archaic constructions until it is no longer necessary to do so, and people have forgotten them, or been reprogrammed. Expect whatever slavery that follows to be labeled as a new type of freedom. The Chinese have a saying about manipulation and the acquisition of power: point to a deer, and call it a horse.

Human microchipping is part of a new field called 'biointerfaced nano-engineering.' Another catch-all term is 'wearables,' created by firms like Proteus and MC10. This is not the path to convenience, progress or enlightenment. It is the path to slavery. Although it seems that the human body must become the next technological platform, it is not inevitable. Do not do it. Do not accept it.

This post is not a Luddite screed. It is a plea to save the best potentials of technology and keep them on a course that will not destroy us. We are entering a new stage in the Tech Revolution, in which we have to learn to take responsibility for progress and innovation. Thus far, citizens have been accepting actors on the receiving end of research projects released via big tech companies. These were experimental prototypes, presented as exciting consumer goods. Electronic goods were marketed with various political and socio-economic messages to make them palatable in the capitalist endeavour to build self-identity from the outside in.

Image Source: Go into the Story.

We were entranced in the first decades of the Tech Revolution by the gadgets and rapid software upgrades. Most people believed in the opening act that they acted as consumers inside the pre-existing capitalist model. They did not understand that that old system had already been effectively outdated and internally destroyed; only an illusory shell of that model persists as a form of mass behavioural control.

We can all be forgiven for assuming that consumerism was how tech was introduced into our reality. But it never was.

Although glitzy, futuristic marketing campaigns created the illusion that technology turned people into empowered, connected consumers, each new level of hardware and software between the 1980s and the 2010s blinded technophiles to the fact that they were never consumers at all. They were increasingly-conditioned lab rats, running through monitored environments, inside the biggest human behavioural study ever conducted.

Now, things must change. It is time to wake up. It is time to grow up. We can be forgiven for trusting those big corporations, helmed by intelligence agencies and Promethean research groups, as benevolent guides in the opening act of the Tech Revolution.

Image Source: Film Connection.

But we cannot be forgiven if we sleepwalk into Act Two, and deliver our children into immersive slavery. In transhumanism, the commodity is not the microchip or its successor technologies. The commodity will be a new type of interbody imperialism and colonization, developed under the banner of building safer, more efficient societies. This will be a coercive, predictable, micro-legalized system, based on live feed maps of humankind's biological processes, mass consciousness, and psychological and physical reactions as a collective of living beings.

There has to be a moment when we recognize that the integrity of our bodies and souls is worth more than a few everyday conveniences. We are not meant to become 'the Borg.' Planting a gadget in your body is not a form of self-improvement that is good for the environment. To believe this reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the body as an environment in itself, and of the body as an organism functioning within the larger natural environment.

I suspect that what will happen is that humankind will split into two camps. One group will absorb technology fully into the mind and body with erotic abandon. They will love the quasi-sexual interface, and will mistake the enhanced experience for an authentic upgrade.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Awaken the Amnesiacs 11: Depart from the Camera Obscura


A natural instance of a camera obscura: an image of the New Royal Palace at Prague Castle projected onto an attic wall by a hole in the tile roofing (2 August 2011). Image Source: Gampe/Wiki.

For this weekend's solstice, the blog journeys into the darkness, the blind spot. Try this experiment. If you are left or liberal, try watching or reading conservative news and alt-media for a week. If you are conservative or libertarian, force yourself to listen to or read liberal-left media for a week.

The holidays are a good time to do this, when many people encounter friends and family they haven't seen in awhile, and have conversations which reveal uncomfortable political differences. Have compassion for your fellow human beings at holiday dinner tables, because we are all equally hammered by divisive and misleading propaganda.

If you follow the 'wrong' politicized narrative for a few days, you will notice that people are being fed the exact same story with which you may be familiar, but the players are changed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Redefinitions of Currency 3: Kim Dotcom's Scary Tweets



Kim Dotcom (aka Kim Schmitz), the Finnish-German-Kiwi Internet pirate, has decided that the USA is going to go the way of Venezuela. Dotcom is piloting a new crypto-powered ecosystem, K.im, and his own branded KimCoin, to reward content creators. This month, the Megaupload and Mega founder, Assange ally, Deep State foe, and founder of the Internet Party has also been writing scary tweets about the future of the US and global economy.

Dotcom has an axe to grind, because his companies' copyright violations led in July 2018 to a New Zealand court ruling that he could face extradition to the United States for racketeering, money laundering, fraud, and criminal copyright charges. While this gives him a motive to trash talk the US, and he is fundraising for a new project to cover his legal bills, Dotcom really believes that America's economy is about to go bust.

He has thought so for awhile. Originally, the hacker was based on the top floor of the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong. But Dotcom moved to New Zealand because he felt it was the best place to start and raise a family during and after World War III. As he put it:
"You wouldn't want to be stuck in a penthouse at the top of a hotel tower when it's end days. ... That's why I was looking for a place. And I thought that if I had somewhere in the South Island, shielded by mountain ranges on both sides, I would install a really sophisticated solar power plant. I was thinking if I had something like that, you could survive. New Zealand strategically is the safest spot in the world. It has everything that is required to sit it out and start again."
Dotcom is not alone. The very rich are talking about the end of the world and building bunkers in preparation. They see the future just like the backwoods and doomsday cult preppers, except billionaires build nicer bunkers.





Sunday, August 12, 2018

Space and Struggle to Become Responsible


Vice President Pence Unveils U.S. Space Force Plans (C-SPAN) (9 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

The news is full of space headlines. On 9 August, the American Vice President Mike Pence announced that the United States will build a sixth branch of its armed forces, a "space force" to "prepare for the next battlefield." The full statement is here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Defend the Right to Repair


Image Source: LA Times (Hat tip: The Outer Light).

The tech giants have moved one step closer toward criminalizing anyone who refurbishes or recycles old electronics. The hypocrisy of Silicon Valley companies came into sharp relief as a US federal appeals court in Miami ruled to imprison a tech waste e-cycler on 11 April 2018.



HLN LIVE Recycler Eric Lundgren - Stands Up For Repair and Recycling! (2 May 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Unspoil Your Spyware


Samsung self-hypnosis screenshot (Hat tip: Vigilant Citizen).

Last year, WikiLeaks' Vault 7 release included information on how the CIA hacked Samsung's smart televisions. The hacking tool, Weeping Angel,  turned the F8000 TV into a hot microphone, which recorded audio in the room even when owners thought their TV was off.

Samsung self-hypnosis screenshot (Hat tip: Vigilant Citizen).

Later in 2017, the South Korean corporation endured negative publicity as its heir, Lee Jae-Yong, went to prison. In 2016, Forbes considered Lee to be the 40th most powerful person in the world, indicating that this conviction was impressive. The 49-year-old only served one year of his five-year sentence. He was treated as a bystander in his country's huge political corruption scandal.

But Samsung takes a 'What, Me Worry?' attitude to all this. A corrupt Vice-Chairman; TVs as spyware; what's the problem? Why not respond to the negative publicity with a new brainwash feature?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Time and Politics 26: The Age of Divergence


Image Source: 8 tracks radio.

Last week, Michael Morgenstern intellectualized disinformation at The Chronicle of Higher Education: Dear Humanities Profs: We Are the Problem. Dismayed about American politics? Look in the mirror.

Morgenstern stated that postmodern theorists attacked the canon in the second half of the 20th century. According to these theorists, the western canon in arts and literature (and science) was a story of oppression, often intended, sometimes unconscious. This dominant account was written by Dead White Males. The period from the 1970s to 2010s was spent dismantling that canon, attacking power and privilege in the name of liberal civil rights and equality.

This approach extolled cultural relativism: there was no objective truth, no higher class of knowledge, no text, no vision of cultural superiority which could be offered as a mode of control (subtext: unless it was the new, divergent, relativist, postmodernist canon).

The Age of Divergence

Morgenstern has realized that this attack on cultural and intellectual convergence brought about our present circumstances. Postmodern literary critics had stated that every text was equal. Every text had its own 'civil rights.' Boomer intellectuals and their Gen X students recovered silenced voices, women writers, slave poets, indigenous histories, minority views. This was understandable and justified, because so many people had been mistreated and oppressed for decades, centuries, millennia. Without their voices, our histories were incomplete and our whole understanding of reality would be based on injustice and immorality.

However, this recovery of lost texts was also done in the name of undermining established experts and authorities. This was really a generational power struggle inside the academic profession, but it was dressed up in and justified with theory. Old tenured professors were unseated, early-retired, or pushed out. The aim was to supplant the older generation of intellectuals (viewed as 'the 1950s') with a radical new generation (defined as '1968'). But time has finally caught up with the 1968ers, who are now retired or retiring.

It's not as simple as this, but broadly speaking, this is Morgenstern's summary of how radical liberals attacked conservative authorities of the 1950s and built new intellectual value systems from the 1970s onward.

Morgenstern concluded that the liberals were successful. As a result, we now live in a world where no text is taken as true or accepted solely on the basis of the authority of its author or publisher. Unfortunately for this stratum of intellectuals, they now claim expertise, and by their own logic find themselves attacked, just as they once dismantled the institutional and cultural structures which came before them. Only one Chronicle reader, rebek13, pinned down Moregenstern's idea:
"I'm confused by other commenters who seem to have missed the main points I took from this, which were not so much about 'the canon' at all, which the author admits had exclusionary tendencies (though it need not).

What I see here is a critique of our abdication of the very idea of expertise, excellence, and beauty--literary studies serving as a prime example, but only that. We have in a postmodern haze suggested that tweets are just as good as texts, and that anyone's opinion on literature, philosophy, or history is really probably just as good as the expert who has spent years studying these fields. In doing so, we have made ourselves absolutely pointless and suggested the uselessness of our very fields.

Isn't it very odd that professors of literature have such poor defenses of the study of long, dense literary texts? Isn't it odd that many of my colleagues have turned to facebook comments and recipe books as objects of study (not scrutiny, ever, but study) as though these articles were just as precious as a novel? Why should students understand the value of a long text if we are saying 'everything is literature; nothing is any more worthwhile than anything else'?

It's funny. Colleagues with creative writing backgrounds seem to have a much more profound and certain appreciation of literature than those who spend their lives studying it. They would never suggest that a tweet could achieve the same things as a book. They are not that far gone.

The solution as I see it is not a return to canon as much as a return to the idea that some modes of thought and expression ARE better than others, and that experts are in a pretty good position to tell people how and why. Then we need to be those experts."
In short, due to the Internet, we are awash in oceans of information; and the very people who were supposed to decide what information was authoritative staked their own authority over the past fifty odd years on the deconstruction of privilege around information. This overhaul was supposed to offer new freedom for disempowered liberals in the old, conservative system. It was not supposed to spell freedom for disempowered conservatives in the new, liberal system.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Losing Our Addiction


Mark Zuckerberg in 2009: Facebook privacy is central - BBC News (21 March 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

The endgame of social media is becoming clear. The exciting 2000s and early 2010s were the heyday of the Creative Commons. A beautiful ideal established in 2001, the Creative Commons refers to the free-sharing of information, the democratization of data.

The Commons made way for cyber-variants of political ideologies, which attempted to describe and defend new virtual freedoms. Social media seemed to offer soapboxes and development venues for tech-savvy individuals. Some of these individuals became hacktivists and citizen journalists, who used search engines and video platforms like Youtube to expose the power structures of the world. They fell for the tempting promise that the little person could finally be empowered, independent, and free. Having identified themselves in the system as potential leaders, they are now being censored. Each new liberty in this testing ground has led social media users ever deeper into a matrix of control.

It is evident that early Millennial spaces of free discussion, sexual libertinism, and politically liberated behaviour, alongside honeypot offers of cheap hardware and open source toolkits, were always controlled environments. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google and even the chans! - as Petri dishes and you start to get a better idea of what has been happening. As I stated in an earlier post about the Dark Web, anonymity is a myth. These free spaces were merely opportunities to gather vast amounts of human data for future AI systems, dedicated to social control and surveillance.

"Sean Parker, 38, claims social media sites like Facebook are 'exploiting vulnerabilities in human psychology' and said social media pioneers like himself 'understood this consciously and we did it anyway.'": Facebook founder warns of social media addiction (10 November 2017). Video Source: Youtube/ABC News.

Last year, VICE talked to Google ex-designer and ethicist Tristan Harris. Harris confirmed that social media platforms were deliberately designed to addict their users and employed tricks used in casinos, such as intermittent variable rewards. Social media platforms use social reciprocity, social approval, fear of missing out, and fear of social exclusion to trick users into sharing their personal data and their emotional sensibilities around that data. It's all done in a climate of fake positivity, driven by an undercurrent of addiction, social threat, and fear.

Social media platforms also employ principles of deception because they only offer users certain courses of behaviour, with few considering the choices which were not made available. You can read Harris's essays on this topic here.


Facebook's ex-president Sean Parker confirmed the founding principles of the platform in a series of interviews last year; from Slate:
"The thought process was all about, 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?', he said. 'And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever, and that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you more likes and comments. It’s a social validation feedback loop. … You’re exploiting a vulnerabilty in human psychology.'"
Parker's revelations mean that in the 2009 interview at the top of this post, Mark Zuckerberg was outright lying to the BBC about Facebook's endgame. Today's Silicon Valley marketing is reminiscent of cigarette ads from the 1950s through the 1980s, which deliberately misled consumers about the terrible health effects of smoking.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

I Love My Microchip


The new slavery: employers are now microchipping employees the way a veterinarian would microchip the family pet. Image Source: Mark Gasson/BBC.

I Love My Microchip: Employers are now micro-chipping their employees and the BBC thinks this is a good idea.

Predicting the biometric future of 2017 in 2007: NBC Prediction That We Will All Have an RFID Chip Under Our Skin by 2017 (28 May 2010). Video Source: Youtube.

The LA Times reports on BD EpiCenter software, which "provides advanced data management for all BD Microbiology systems" and confirms that the Internet of Things will incorporate biological entities:
"'The biggest benefit, I think, is convenience,' said Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and chief executive of Epicenter. As a demonstration, he unlocks a door merely by waving near it. 'It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.' ... 'I mean, people have been implanting things into their body, like pacemakers and stuff to control your heart,' he said. 'That's a way, way more serious thing than having a small chip that can actually communicate with devices.'"
On 2 August 2017, Dave Williams, a Mozilla systems engineer in the UK, explained the benefits to the BBC:
"'I have the world's worst memory,' says Williams. The fact that he now has a gadget on him at all times that opens doors and unlocks his computer — one that he can’t leave at home or forget — is a huge advantage. 'It's also fun to give someone my number and email address by touching their phone to my hand.'"
Microchipping is recommended for commuters so they don't have to buy transit tickets. Image Source: Independent.


The claims that microchips will be used to monitor public health, improve workplace efficiency, and enhance tech users' convenience distract target audiences from the fact that microchips are the foundational element of a new slavery. Soon, being microchipped will be a prerequisite for being employed. Not only is it possible that you won't get hired without a microchip, you may not even be able to travel to work without a chip in your hand.

In past centuries, slaves were branded like livestock to show ownership. For centuries, serfs and slaves fought to become free citizens, demanding constitutions, democratic elections, and civil rights. The resolution to that journey is to be microchipped, live in a faux-democracy, and await World War III in a 5G supercity.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Dark Ambient and Dark Web Tales



There are new horror genres appearing online, in which the fear factor depends on blurring the line between the virtual and real. It makes the raven girl on the subway, above, oddly reassuring: at least she is honest about how gothic things are these days.

Potion Shop Sounds | Apothecary Ambience | 45 Minutes (24 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Over the past few years, ambient horror soundtracks have appeared on Youtube, which are unsettling because they add a cinematic video game quality to daily work at the desk. Some people listen to them to get to sleep, like the 6-hour Quiet Rusty Sewer Ambient Noise River.

Aaron Dykes at Truthstream Media explains the power of music - related to the frequency at which the eardrums vibrate - and particularly the discordant Locrian mode. From Bridget Mermikides: "From at least the early 18th century this tritone was described as Diabolus in Musica (the Devil in music)." The Secret Power Music Holds Over You (30 August 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Locrian Mode example. Sample Source: Wiki.

Locrian Mode example: Björk's Army of Me (1995). Sample Source: Wiki.

The new horror music is non-music, made up of cinematic sound effects tracks. There is a spectrum of how scary these recordings are; they range (at the top) from vague background noise to (lower down) demonic atmospherics.

Haunted Halloween Mansion Fireplace with Thunder, Rain and Howling Wind (24 October 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

HAUNTED FOREST Scary Sounds of Ghosts in the Darkness 2 HOURS (12 March 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Gathering Darkness - Scary Noises in a Haunted House - 2 Hours (2 May 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Amazing SCARY 3D Holophonic Sound (21 August 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

Another example of horror found in the blurring between the virtual and the real is evident in a new genre of online horror story-telling, an offshoot of creepypastas, which explores the Dark Web. The Dark Web is reputed to be a place where anything goes, outside police jurisdictions, in a No Man's Land of international anonymity. Many Darknet communities are devoted to whistle-blowing, hacking, politics, drugs, crime, and hidden news.

By contrast, the Clearnet is the main, indexed Internet with which everyone is familiar. Clearnet lists of Dark Websites from 2015 to 2017 are here, here, here, here, and here - but don't click on links in those lists or surf further without a Tor browser and a VPN. A May 2017 Motherboard report gave a link to a list of every possible site on the Dark Web, that is, 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176 sites, or just over one septillion Dark Websites beyond the reach of Google. That number directly contradicts Wired's 2015 estimate that there were over a billion sites on the Clear Web and 7,000 to 30,000 Dark Websites. You can see the total number of indexed Clear Websites counted in real time at Internet Live Stats.

Interactive livestream horror. Deep Web Horror Story - Why I Left The Deep Web by TASDiablo (21 May 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Pedogate: Spin and Victimhood


On 18 February 2017, a mansion on Turkey Run Road in McLean, Virginia, USA burned down. Conspiracy theorists assumed that this fire related to their theory of Washington's corrupt establishment, and involved the destruction of child abuse evidence. News sources reported that the mansion was owned by the United Arab Emirates and the people who lived in the house escaped unharmed. Image Source: WUSA-9.

We live in a hybrid condition, between past and future, between the 20th century and the 21st. In this hybrid condition, we see a number of problems: systemic corruption; taboo ideas and extremist language ramp up the energy of discourse; increasing efforts to use technology to impose control in old ways. This leads straight to totalitarianism, the very thing everyone claims they want to avoid.

The only antidote, the only possibility of recovering balance, would be to lay down ideological arms, step back from left-right arguments, and express compassion for those of opposing views and situations. Almost no one seems ready to do that.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Time and Politics 23: The New Third Way of Internet Politics


Probably Chelsea (2017) by Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea Manning. Genetic materials, custom software, thirty 3d prints. Image Source: Joerg Blumtritt. Thanks to Heather Dewey-Hagborg for her press release on the 2 August 2017 opening at the Fridman Gallery in New York City, for the opening of A Becoming Resemblance, a collaborative exhibition with Chelsea E. Manning.

This post is part of a series which considers the impact of Internet leaks, hacks, urban legends, conspiracy theories, and rumours as forms of public discourse. This blog is politically neutral, and my aim here is to step back from left, right, and extremist debates in order to understand how politics is developing in a new environment, informed by online media.

I have a grand theory about current political evolution. Here is the

TL;DR: There are two stances currently merging in political discourses. One is the 20th century paradigm. The other is a 21st century form. It is difficult to understand political change because we are using 20th century terms superficially to describe 21st century trends. Whether left or right, the 20th century paradigm depends on labeling as a mode of organization and control.

The impact of technology makes for a very different 21st century model. Accelerated technology depends on our most visceral responses; its intimate incorporation into our lives and minds creates a political sphere driven by instinct, taboo, fear, projection, confusion, distraction - in short, the shadowy collective unconscious. Thus, we are using highly rationalized and limiting 20th century thought forms to describe the 21st century's exploding unbounded experience and the politicized anti-rational.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Once Upon a Time, Information became Technology


Image Source: Pinterest.

One of the marvels of the middle ages, a moment when technology jumped, is the flying buttress. Perfected by the 12th century, the elegance and grandeur of flying buttresses are obvious. As an architectural innovation, they leap toward the modern world's astounding tall buildings. They have a lesson for us, too, because flying buttresses tell us what technology really means and why we use it.

Image Source: Pinterest.

The flying buttress was not invented for its own sake. The point to the buttress - even with everything it did for architecture - was not the buttress. Its invention was a means to an end. The buttress was incidental to a larger goal that had nothing to do with the buttress itself.

The flying buttress was invented to solve a problem of faith. It was deliberately conceived to narrate a great architectural story about how human beings can reach higher. At that time, the metaphor for that adventure was religious; the flying buttress was created to vault ornate ceilings into the heavens, to make buildings which touched the edge of God's celestial dominion.


Images Source: Pinterest.


Images Source: Thought Co.

Image Source: Aramaic Bible.

Technology is a servant of higher impulses in human nature; it is supposed to expand our tool-using capacity to accomplish greater things. The past decade has confused the meaning of technology, with corporations portraying tech gadgets as autonomous objects, birthed in rapturous marketing campaigns. They present the technology as an end in itself. Some say this is a nihilistic message, and its implications are evident in recent scandals.

Apple Official iPhone 8 Trailer 2017 (26 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Another Benchmark in the Downfall of Modern Society (26 July 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

This summer, I have covered several wild conspiracy theories and the evolving dynamics of memes, alt-news, and fake news in an effort to understand what part information plays as we use technology to reach beyond worship of the gadget. My posts are not advocating or seeking to prove conspiracy theories, rather indicating where their use takes us.


The established mainstream media attack the alt-media as the latter attract huge audiences on the Internet. The MSM insist that only the corporate media may define the narrative of what is happening in the world. They are grounded in reputation, domination, professionalism; these are the compensated establishment voices who wish to control the way we consume information.

Unless the MSM speak of a cherished citizen journalist who supports the mainstream narrative, there is an established media backlash against nearly all alt-media as 'fake news.' Do not believe the unbranded, no-name voices in the online realm of the disreputable, flawed, amateur, or ideologically threatening. For all this criticism, the MSM journalists have spent little effort trying to understand what practical purpose is served by fake news, conspiracy theories, and other dubious information.

To return to the flying buttress, technology serves a purpose larger than itself. In virtual reality, information becomes a technology. Information and disinformation are tools which can build new realities and new potentials. This utility is little understood by those who take information at face value, as an end in itself. Treat information as a new kind of technology, and the endgame of conspiracy theories, alt-news, and fake news makes more sense.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pedogate's Nightmare Realities


"Surrey’s Operation Arundel, which ran for six years from 2000, centred on the disco in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey[, UK,] where [Jonathan] King and Chris Denning picked up victims in the 1970s and 80s." Image Source: Nick Holt/Daily Mail.

One of 2016's most troubling alt-right and alt-media political rumours was the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. It maintained that a well-connected, pro-Clinton pizzeria owner, James Alefantis, ran a child slavery and child sex trafficking ring out of his Washington, DC restaurant, Comet Ping Pong Pizza; this was after conspiracists had examined photos in his Instagram account. Theorists also accused Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta, of involvement, based on his WikiLeaks e-mail leaks.

This is an ugly topic, which the mainstream media condemned as 'fake news,' a pro-Trump political hoax. Pizzagate expanded into the larger conspiracy theory of global child abuse: Pedogate. Pedogate embroidered an extended, hideous, anti-Semitic story of a global child-killing, about a cannibalistic cabal of black magician bankers and world leaders. The discussion grew so politicized, nasty, and insane that the respectable media dismissed it all as fake news, which left conspiracists even more convinced that all the horrors were real.

My posts on this topic step back from the mainstream dismissals of this information, and from the popular investigations on sites like Voat and Reddit and Youtube. I will look at the rumours as a symptom of larger social evolution, as influenced by technology.

Today's post deals with the facts. The Web has enabled and worsened real problems of child abuse, pornography, sex slavery, and sex trafficking. A later post deals with the political exploitation of Pedogate, and its post-truth meme-ification. There are facts, there are fictions. There is a third aspect here: who is responsible?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New UK Export: Police State Tools


How BAE sold cyber-surveillance tools to Arab states - BBC News (20 June 2017). Video Source: BBC via Youtube.

NSA in a box: on 20 June 2017, BBC reported that a UK firm, BAE systems, exported nation-wide surveillance and decryption tools to Arab states, notably the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco. The BBC reporter found that this exported technology will potentially be used against the UK. Takeaway quote: "You'd be able to intercept any Internet traffic. If you wanted to do a whole country - go ahead!"

Image Source: BAE Systems.

The 52nd International Paris Air Show is on now from 19 to 25 June 2017, with reps talking about everything from commercial jets to quantum entanglement. The aerospace industry increasingly considers military applications in space. Jane's reported that BAE is there, seeking to expand its custom for fighter jets in Belgium and Finland. Despite political tensions between Trump's America and a liberal Europe, on 18 June 2017 Defense News stated that US military industry reps were sanguine: it's "full speed ahead" between Europe and the USA when it comes to aerospace and arms deals. While the event is on, you can watch a livestream from the Paris Air Show here.

Le Bourget roundup Day 1 (20 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Inequality, A Function of Virtual Reality


Still from Videodrome (1983) © Universal. Reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: The Dissolve.

Today, academics at the London School of Economics are discussing socio-economic inequality and the rise of a dual-track system between haves and have-nots. The scholars at LSE recognize that whoever understands and commandeers the narrative of inequality will control new Millennial politics. They think there is a need to reframe the terms of debate, which means Millennial inequality is a partly-unknown quantity which is up for grabs. They consider inequality as a form of identity, that is, a subset of populist nationalism. Unfortunately, by using recognized terms from the 20th century political lexicon, these researchers are missing dimensions of the problem.

This blog has been exploring inequality rather differently. I maintain that technology and the Internet intensify the conflict between the establishment and the precariat. Globalization would be impossible without technology; the global economy's most basic motivating source is not political and is instead a function of the tools we are using. Technology has also fragmented 20th century economies and polities. The Internet compounds the breakdown through intensified media experiences, which lead to contrasting views of reality. That is, inequality is related in cryptic ways to the corresponding expansion and deepening of virtual reality.

Still from Videodrome (1983) © Universal. Reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: The Dissolve.

I consider the influence of technology to be poorly understood. Philosophically, it implies that there are disturbing new ways of existing, the ripple effects of which are unprecedented and unknown. Of course, the current president of the United States did not come to the narrative of inequality through conventional politics, but through years of experience with the modality of reality television.

If the philosophical implications are difficult to grasp, consider the physical effects of technology for a start. A recent conspiratorial video from Truthstream Media concerns a 2003 patent, here, entitled, Nervous System Manipulation by Electromagnetic Fields from Monitors. The patent concerned the ways multimedia gadgets could be used to alter the functions of the human nervous system to change mass behaviour. It sounds like something for the tin foil hat crowd, except that the author of the patent expressed misgivings about potential abuses of the technology he designed. He recognized that his invention could damage collective psychology and physiology, but he only considered this outcome as a kind of regretful afterthought.

This Creepy Patent Proves They Can Remotely Hijack Your Nervous System (7 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Crisis in a Box


This image circulates on truther sites. I have not confirmed its origin or supposed associated terror event. Image Sources: here and here.

This summer's blog posts assess how weaponized propaganda in the media and on the Internet is affecting behaviour and perception. I have never seen so much chaotic, dangerous and disturbing information and disinformation.

The problem has arisen in an already uncertain environment. The Internet is culturally anti-statist, an attitude reinforced by leaks, hacks and whistle-blowing. Although leaks and whistle-blowing were and are intended to make the establishment more transparent and less corrupt, revelations also destabilize society. Some quarters now exploit the credibility of whistle-blown information, so that 'real truths' become vectors of disinformation. As a result, no one knows what to believe.

In a climate of disillusionment, everything, including real facts, is disbelieved. On the Internet, all authorities are suspect. Truth in international affairs has become a question of atomized subjective belief, confirmation bias, and personal preference. Trust, rather than rationalism, drives the information sphere. The mainstream and alt-media compete for credibility and dominance in the fight to win the public's trust.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Freedom of the Internet in Virtual and Real Jurisdictions


Image Source: Freedom House.

Today, The Independent reported that the Tories' electoral manifesto promises to allow the UK government to censor the Internet. Part of this is in the name of decency, to control hate speech, terrorism and child pornography. Of course, there is a lot of leeway around how the Tories will define decency. Buzzfeed:
"'Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet,' ... [the manifesto] states. 'We disagree.'

When the manifesto was unveiled by Theresa May in Halifax[, UK] on Thursday morning [18 May 2017], news bulletins understandably focused on the party's taxation policy and Brexit plans rather than the technology section at the end.

But the relatively oblique language hides a major change that will affect the vast majority of Britons who spend hours of their day on the internet: May's party feels it's time to stop treating the internet as an anarchic free-for-all.

... In particular, Conservative advisers suggested to BuzzFeed News that a future Tory government would be keen to rein in the growing power of Google and Facebook, two companies that dominate the flow of information on the internet but have a habit of strongly resisting regulation – as the government found out when it attempted to force Facebook-owned WhatsApp to weaken its encryption after the Westminster terror attack.

Pull the various tech-related manifesto pledges together and – if the polls are correct and May wins a majority in next month's election – the Conservatives could have a mandate from the British public for a significant extension of internet regulation, all based on the idea that a government's duty to protect citizens exists just as much on the internet as it does in the real world.

Legislation would be introduced to protect the public from abuse and offensive material online, while everyone would have the right to wipe material that was posted when they were under 18. Internet companies would also be asked to help promote counter-extremism narratives – potentially echoing the government's Prevent programme. There would be new rules requiring companies to make it ever harder for people to access pornography and violent images, with all content creators forced to justify their policies to the government.

Labour's manifesto covers some of the same ground – it pledges to keep children safe, tackles online abuse, and also allows content posted by under-18s to be wiped. But it stops short of setting out a comprehensive vision of how online culture should look and feel – and what role the government should have in enforcing these moral judgments. The Conservative manifesto has no such qualms.

Ultimately it all comes back to the idea that, after 20 years of widespread internet usage in the UK, the Conservative leadership feels the internet is having such an enormous effect on society that it cannot be left alone.

'Our starting point is that online rules should reflect those that govern our lives offline,' the Conservative manifesto says, giving its justification for a new level of regulation.

'It should be as unacceptable to bully online as it is in the playground, as difficult to groom a young child on the internet as it is in a community, as hard for children to access violent and degrading pornography online as it is in the high street, and as difficult to commit a crime digitally as it is physically.'

New laws will be introduced to implement these rules, forcing internet companies such as Facebook to abide by the rulings of a regulator or face sanctions: 'We will introduce a sanctions regime to ensure compliance, giving regulators the ability to fine or prosecute those companies that fail in their legal duties, and to order the removal of content where it clearly breaches UK law.'

A levy on tech companies – similar to that charged on gambling companies – would also be used to 'support awareness and preventative activity to counter internet harms'. The Conservatives even see this model going further, announcing their desire to work with other countries develop a global set of internet regulation standards similar to those 'we have for so long benefited from in other areas like banking and trade'.

May's manifesto also raises concerns about online news, warning it is willing to 'take steps to protect the reliability and objectivity of information that is essential to our democracy', while pledging to 'ensure content creators are appropriately rewarded for the content they make available online'.

One Tory source told BuzzFeed News this final comment relates to Google and Facebook's growing dominance of the advertising market, which the newspaper industry believes is crushing its business model. The source suggested that if the web giants failed to act voluntarily then they could be forced by legislation to find ways to financially compensate traditional news producers."
Wow. This shows the degree to which the MSM, an increasingly outmoded form of media, are having trouble competing with social media and the alt-media. This statement ties the MSM to the old form of nation-state authority and implies that governments will prop up and enforce the MSM's continued dominance of public discourse and the legacy media's competitiveness, at the expense of innovation and diversity of opinion. There are several problems here. The vast majority of citizens accept the need to curb child pornography and hate speech. Unfortunately, those legitimate imperatives are smokescreens, employed to quell free speech and to reinforce crumbling frameworks of authority. Ultimately, these imperatives will shape how netizens in certain jurisdictions perceive reality. If the Tories have their way, those controls will be global and defined by Britain, not the EU or the USA.

The Brexiteers' view, from a conservative, politically incorrect cartoonist. Click to enlarge. Image Source: Ben Garrison.

This is a complex topic, which also embraces the economy. In an earlier post, I argued that Brexit indicated that Britain was shifting its economic focus, from Euro-Britain to Silicon Britain. Beneath the politicized racists-against-multiculturalists uproar, this was Brexit's true concern. Thus, it is critical to understand how the Tories intend to build Silicon Britain. Perfidious Albion - at least her Little England portion - has the Germans gnashing their teeth. But this is all about business and the never-ending quest for upward mobility. The Brits who know this do not care whom they offend or what values they betray:
"Britain’s future prosperity will be built on our technical capability and creative flair. Through our modern industrial strategy and digital strategy, we will help digital companies at every stage of their growth. We will help innovators and startups, by encouraging early stage investment and considering further incentives under our worldleading Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme. We will help digital businesses to scale up and grow, with an ambition for many more to list here in the UK, and open new offices of the British Business Bank in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newport, specialising in the local sector. As we set out in chapter one, we will ensure digital businesses have access to the best talent from overseas to compete with anywhere in the world. This will be complemented by at least one new institute of technology in the UK, dedicated to world-leading digital skills and developed and run in partnership with the tech industry. When we leave the European Union, we will fund the British Business Bank with the repatriated funds from the European Investment Fund."
It's all onwards, then, into the future. And if you work in the tech sector or the open source underground, never fear, because they will deprive you of your corporate masters and your crowd-funding. Then they will place honey pots before you, to draw you into the service of HM government:
"We will incubate more digital services within government and introduce digital transformation fellowships, so that hundreds of leaders from the world of tech can come into government to help deliver better public services."
You can read the Tories' manifesto, Forward, Together, here. The final part of the manifesto "Prosperity and Security in a Digital Age," starts on page 75 (page 77 in the whole PDF).


Aside from the Tories' moral and qualitative language, their veiled online imperialism, and the free speech issue, there are three interesting jurisdictional and philosophical questions evident in Forward, Together: alt-globalism; corporations' challenges to nation-states; and the cyber body politic.