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 Zeitgeist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zeitgeist. Show all posts

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Revolutionary Automatons, Our New Pandemic Intimates



There are curios called bird boxes, or singing automaton bird cages, which were popular in the late 18th, 19th to mid 20th centuries. These were music boxes, but featured artificial caged birds which would chirp real-sounding bird songs. They are charming, yet disturbing, and were mainly popular among wealthy people in Germany, Switzerland, France, and America.

VINTAGE REUGE CAPODIMONTE SINGING BIRD CAGE AUTOMATON MUSIC BOX (14 October 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Bird boxes were invented in Geneva in the mid-1780s by Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721-1790); these mechanical automatons were once the mark of cutting edge technology from the revolutionary era. In late 19th century France, artificial mechanical life forms were an objet d'art of great importance. One of the most 20th century famous bird box makers was a German music box specialist, Karl Griesbaum. Bird boxes sell on eBay for USD $700-$2000. See related Websites, herehere, and here.

A French pre-revolutionary artefact from 1772, restored in 1864: Joueuse de Tympanon - automate (6 October 2006). Video Source: Youtube.

From the late 19th century, Industrial Revolution: Nancy - The Automaton (12 May 2007). Video Source: Youtube.

It is an odd fact that in revolutionary times, people become obsessed with imitating life using mechanized entities - dolls, golems, robots, androids - or in our case, AI consciousnesses. In the video below, note the creepy anthropomorphization of mobile phones and pandemic tagging and tracking apps, referred to as cousins of Hanson Robotics' gnostic fembot Sophia. The interview also suggests that phones, computers and robots are our new intimate friends as we humans are forced to social distance from one another.

Pandemic Revolution? Sophia Life: Interview with AI Researcher Tina White (7 May 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

Sophia the Robot Gives a Glimpse of What's to Come in 2020 #Sophia2020 (14 January 2020). Video Source: Youtube.

In 2018, the film, Bird Box, borrowed the name of revolutionary singing bird automaton collectables to describe people surrounded by deadly paranormal entities. Only caged birds, which provided a warning against approaching monsters, prevented people from committing suicide.

Bird Box | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix (24 October 2018). Video Source: Youtube.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Online Group Discussion and AMA Bookchat Today


Image Source: Raconteur.

A reminder, there is an AMA Bookchat today on the blog's Discord group (https://discord.com/invite/Zy9XVad). This is a weekly text chat where I talk with readers about technology's legacy in the early 21st century, in the form of red-pilled history. My definition of red-pilling is here. The bookchat is part of my work while I write my book-in-progress, Inside the Potemkin Village.

Everyone is invited to join the discussion. Friday, 3 July 2020. 6-9 pm Eastern (10 pm-1 am UTC).


Theme: New Roots of Domination
Go to the room marked hashtag #bookchat. The blog's Discord was established as a free, mutually-supporting community.



Sunday, May 24, 2020

Coronavirus Fragments 16: The Highest Point of Beta Male Ambition in Human History


Image Source: The Verge.

On 23-24 May 2020, Celeste Solum's video, featured at the top of my 23 May 2020 post, The Birth of the Totalitarian Technocracy, which criticized the World Economic Forum's plans as a roadmap for totalitarian global governance, was taken off Youtube. The account which hosted it, Willem Felderhof, removed all content.

Assuming that the owner of the Willem Felderhof channel did not have a change of heart overnight for other reasons, this could be interpreted through a blue-pilled view, which trusts authority, or through a red-pilled lens, which does not. Was this a question of censoring harmful, crackpot disinformation? Or was this information suppressed because Solum's anti-establishment heresy was correct?

In alt media circles, there is a consensus that one is only shot down if one is over the target, that is, one's interpretation of establishment misdeeds was correct and therefore had to be silenced. Of course, the mainstream perspective is the opposite - that a particular interpretation of information is beyond the pale of reasonable discourse and must be suppressed.


On 19 May 2020, the NYT interpreted this distinction as a question of the dangers of being red-pilled, which it defined in terms of a gulf between left- or right-wing political opinions. But red-pilling is not about conservative politics, so much as it is about crashing out of the whole left-right paradigm. Being red-pilled reflects profound disillusionment about establishment narratives, a shattering of world views, and a refusal to accept top-down interpretations of information. The red-pilled experience of extreme alienation, born out of democratized access to information, countered by the control and manipulation of information, describes the new context of 21st century politics.

On this blog, I have maintained that social alienation and economic decline have been compounded by a misunderstanding of the degree to which things have changed over the past two decades. Outdated terms from previous centuries dominate our political, economic, and social discourses. They have not kept pace with enormous leaps in technology. Within that gap, there lie cognitive dissonance, and the potential for totalitarian exploitation as the public cannot distinguish between propaganda, that is, historical terms used to describe reality, and evident, Protean reality.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Coronavirus: A Pandemic Launch Pad?


Image Source: 4chan.

At the rate things are going with the global pandemic, my main hope has been that the world doesn't go full Mad Max. I don't want to end up running down the 417 highway in my underwear with one shoe on, or negotiating for my survival with armed marauders in a truck decked with burning skulls.

I told fellow blogger, Dia Sobin of Trans-D Digital Art that the world is becoming like a Stephen King novel, and I could handle that, just so long as it doesn't turn into a Clive Barker novel.

We were already living in something like a Stephen King novel, that is, a Norman Rockwell painting gone wrong. But in a Barker-esque horrorworld, we would be dealing with underground cities of mutants who would be communing with demons (watch Barker's Underworld here, while the link lasts). I just don't want to go through that.

There are a lot of references to plagues in modern culture: it is an eternal theme. It should not be taken as 'predictive programming' for a planned agenda, as some have. The eerie similarities between novels, video games, and films and the current pandemic reinforce a message that human ingenuity and resilience can triumph. But nothing is guaranteed. Pandemics reflect pre-existing weaknesses in all systems and populations. They can be launch pads for political oppression and war. It is up to us to recognize what is true, not just what we want to see, and to learn how to adapt to changing circumstances.

- All copyrighted material below is reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Dead and Alive in Time


THE HAUNTED ABANDONED MANSION (SOMETHING GOT THROWN AND SCREAMS IN THE BASEMENT) (31 December 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

For today, see two videos. One is an urbex exploration of a reputedly haunted French château. The incredible workmanship, tiles, wood carving, wallpaper, lamps, fireplaces, the lead paint, and the marble work are a reminder that material wealth is no protection against the waste of ages. Even in our brief lives, or across a few paltry generations, placing faith in materialism it is like holding up an umbrella against a hurricane of time.

Image Source: Bloomberg.

The irony is that in previous eras, people were generally more religious. However, the apex of their world view was plainly defined by solid, physical expressions of wealth to anchor themselves in time. A glance tells us that this is the tragic, beautiful esthetic of the dead, a set of choices no longer available to most of us and sadly no longer relevant. Material immobility entraps us in a dead past. Those who still cling to materialism in this old sense use it to construct their social personae; they are deceived if they think that this will help them survive.

Noah takes a photo of himself every day for 20 years (11 January 2020). 7263 days. Video Source: Youtube.

By contrast, the second video is the monumental output of Noah Kalina, entitled Everyday. I have covered Kalina's work previously here and here. Kalina has photographed himself daily for the past twenty years. Kalina achieves a dynamic permanence in virtual reality. The two videos show the tremendous jump in values and perspectives between the 20th and 21st centuries. 21st century cameras and computers propelled the 20th century's monumental, immovable, time-anchored objects into the virtual sphere, and rendered everything that was once tied down by wealth and authority into evolving, shifting phenomena.

Kalina started his project on 11 January 2000, before the launch of Youtube, yet the project was tailor-made for a Youtube space. Younger Youtubers were unsettled by the video. Some were born after 2000 and they thought that Kalina looks depressed and old.

I see in his valiant effort a distinction between the fragile person with dark circles under his eyes, who physically ages, and the eternal self. There are glimpses of personal habits which gave Kalina temporary comfort, stability and security - a beard, a favourite shirt, a girlfriend or wife, an apartment - but these inevitably fall away. What gives him real security and permanence is the Everyday project, in which, regardless of what was happening, he repeated the same activity every day to create a vision of a higher purpose.

Image Source: Spirituality and Health.

In the video, Kalina looks like a superhero flying through, and transcending, the decades. He remains the central figure, his work provides a subtle message about the positive implications (and applications) of technology for those who will follow after him. He is planting a seed of understanding and wisdom.

Image Source: pinterest.

It is an unusual and admirable artistic statement, to capture through photographs and the Youtube mirror the unchanging true self, moving in time, which is continually clinging to, and divesting itself of, its transitory ego-masks and all its props and crutches.

Image Source: AZ Quotes.

Image Source: Verywell Mind.


See all my posts on Urban Exploration.
See all my posts on Time Lapses.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Our Father, Who Art in Silicon: Censorship of Social Media and the War over the Virtual World


A livecam (here) constantly broadcasts footage of the Centennial Light, a light bulb which has been burning since 1901. The bulb, located in a fire station in Livermore, California, USA, is taken as a proof of planned obsolescence in industry. Image Source: mnn.

Do you know who you are? One can define oneself in terms of the past, present, or future. Tech companies are currently censoring social media to produce a toxic, Orwellian 'now,' in which past content is being erased on the grounds that it is not authoritative. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the main character, Winston Smith, is a 'historian' in that nightmare world. Or rather, he is what historians will become: a censor. Winston Smith erases history and creates new versions of it, from one hundred years ago, right down to yesterday.

In anticipation of the American 2020 election, among other agendas, tech corporations are becoming Orwellian censors. In the past month on Youtube, Google has begun weirdly removing date stamps from videos. Today, Youtube will begin erasing past content of which they disapprove.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

New Post at The Dragonfly: The Professional in the System


Actor Marlon Brando as a professional gone rogue: Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now (1979). Image Source: Fandom.

I have a new post up at The Dragonfly about the evolution of public and private trust:



Monday, October 28, 2019

Epstein's Island Temple Theatre


EXCLUSIVE: First-Ever Look Inside Epstein’s Private Island (28 October 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

The videos of the season are currently going viral on Youtube. They were posted three hours ago. Above, is We are Change's exclusive visit to Jeffrey Epstein's island of Little St. James in the Caribbean. Aside from drone footage from a channel run by an Anon under the name of 'Rusty Shackleford,' this is the first independent media footage of the island.

Not what it seemed. Image Source: Reddit.

The main discovery of alt-media interlopers Jeff Berwick and Luke Rudkowski is that the island is guarded by gargoyles, which are dotted everywhere. They bear shields with a star spanned by two crescent moons. Aside from that, they look like they come straight from a garden centre. For the most part, the place had been cleaned out and the house was unlocked. Berwick and Rudkowski did not have time to search the grounds for tunnels and underground structures, which had been the subject of widespread speculation.

However, Epstein's gaudy temple has a front door which is painted on; and the now-missing dome was not functional. This made the building look up close like a Hollywood movie set. You can see Rusty Shackleford's drone footage of the temple from 12 July 2019 here; the drone had trouble capturing and revealing this illusion.

These details raise the question: how much of the Epstein scandal was real, and how much of it was fake? It seems unlikely that the whole Epstein case was falsified to create a puppet show pantomime, which would deceive the conservative populists and crypto-anarchist part of the masses. It would not be the first time that a Potemkin Village was built to create a false impression of reality.

The possibility that Epstein's island was only theatre, and could have been a Potemkin Village den of child abuse is somehow more horrible than the possibility that it was a real site of torture, mind control, child rape and human trafficking. I do not mention this to play down the sufferings of potential victims. But the paranoia and world view that one would have to have in order to see the island as a Hollywood set for negative fake propaganda is somehow worse than seeing it as a real Island of Doctor Moreau.

The First Independent Media To Invade Epstein's Island [Share Before Taken Down] (28 October 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Epstein's Games without Frontiers


Peter Gabriel - Games Without Frontiers (original video version 1) (16 April 2015). Games without Frontiers (1980) © Peter Gabriel/Charisma. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

There is more to the story of Jeffrey Epstein's Games-without-Frontiers lifestyle and demise than meets the eye. The mainstream and Underground are coming at this story from many angles, but they all conclude that Epstein was a spy. Did he work for the UK? For the USA? For Israel? For Russia?

Epstein's Butler Tells All About Prince Andrew, Bill Gates and Steve Bannon (28 September 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

Epstein's Parisian butler has started talking about Epstein's high-powered connections. Given the status of the perpetrators, most victims are too scared to talk. It is hard to tell where the espionage ends and the debauchery and corruption start.

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.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Housing Crash by Any Other Name


The Roscommon house eviction in Ireland is going viral on the Internet. *FOOTAGE* OVER 1000 PEOPLE PROTEST ROSCOMMON EVICTION (17 December 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Several reports and experts are predicting a huge meltdown of stocks, real estate, and bonds by 2019 or 2020. While we wait for global collapse and, as Kim Dotcom said, "buy crypto and gold," the question of how else to prepare for, and deal with, a huge crash becomes one of adjusting perspective.

More scary tweets from Kim Dotcom, who has been predicting an economic crash all year.

It starts with eroding property rights, headlined by a recent incident in Falsk, outside Strokestown, County Roscommon, Ireland on 16 December 2018. When Belgian KBC Bank hired Northern Irish security guards to evict a small family from a foreclosed farmhouse on Tuesday, 11 December, an armed gang of some twenty men assembled by the Sunday after the family had departed. Just after 5 o'clock in the morning, they attacked the bank's eight guards who had taken possession of the house with baseball bats. They burned out the security guards' four cars, injured their attack dog so badly it had to be put down, and left three guards in the hospital. It looks like the owners of the foreclosed house may shortly be reinstalled in their home.

This vigilantism was obviously the product of local and social media buzz building between last Tuesday and last Saturday. The townsfolk felt that the foreclosure was unnecessarily brutal and they also disliked the fact that the eviction was scheduled right before Christmas. It was inhumane. From The Irish Examiner:
"One man said: 'I felt sorry for the family because I knew them for years, I grew up beside them and I suppose like every family they did try their best. They should have been given time and there should be more people out at that gate.'

A woman said: 'It is shocking. You wouldn't throw an animal outside the door, they were treated like animals.' ...
Independent Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice claims up to 40 to 50 people are walking away from their homes because they are afraid of going through the court system. ... 'A lot of people are losing their home or a piece of land. We are dealing with too many cases, we’re trying to deal with the banks and the vulture funds,' he said."
The bank's hiring of Northern Irish mercenaries was the final straw. One Youtuber remarked: "this is a joke we need to have some balls like the French and yellow vest these orange bastards." Another commented:
"Eviction has a particular connotation, in Ireland, since famine times, and before. There is a visceral reaction to the concept, in the gut of every Irish person over a certain age. A horror of eviction is buried deep in our [psyche], and in our cultural memory. KBC bank clearly has no grasp of the cultural sensitivities in the matter, or cares less. I can't comment on the case details, because I don't know enough to do so. But there is always a right, and a wrong way, to approach every issue."

The aftermath of the Roscommon attack on the security guards who were hired by the KBC Bank to repossess a family's house. Anti Irish Bankster terror gang burnt out after stealing pensioner's home (16 December 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Roscommon Eviction Interview (16 December 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: The Skeleton Key


Olga Neuwirth, Lost Highway opera stills (2003), based on the 1997 film by David Lynch.

In this year's Hallowe'en countdown, I have been describing a malaise that unnerves us. There is a collective sense that things have gone wrong and somewhere, there is an answer why. Somewhere, there is a skeleton key. If you had it, you could unlock all the problems, find their solutions, and blink yourself awake into a better world.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: Julian Assange, Manchurian Candidate?


The Australian cult, 'The Family,' was certainly connected to Julian Assange in his childhood. But the extent of that connection is not well known. Image Source: The Age.

This week in the Hallowe'en countdown, I am covering arcane secrets which lie in plain sight. It is a common theme now that appearances are deceiving. Famous people and politicians hide behind glittering reputations, concealing sinister private realities, backroom deals, abuses, corruption, and weird spiritual beliefs. Another theme is the opposite idea that these truths aren't hidden. The common people are blind to self-evident facts, sitting right under their noses.

Free information reveals those facts. It blows open circles which, in the past, may have been secret, or may have been merely exclusive. This dynamic is being radicalized and is transforming the political landscape. Socialism is passé. The Red Pill - or the more extreme Black Pill - is the new calling card of the common man or woman.

Among those who have weaponized information against the establishment, none is more prominent than Julian Assange, publisher at WikiLeaks.

Image Source: Aangirfan.

However, whistle-blowing and leaks are no certain testament to credibility. Free information can be suppressed, discredited, or counter-weaponized by the establishment in order to harness its radical power.

Cyber activists are paranoid enough to know that there is a level of Millennial horror beyond Black Pilled disillusionment. See through all the façades, and you will reach a point at which you can trust no one, especially when they come to you bearing gifts of revelations. You cannot rely on those new populist leaders and anti-establishment whistle-blowers, who could be controlled opposition, agents meant in the final analysis to lead the flock back into the fold of a compromised establishment. Seeming reforms will come to naught and online freedom will revert to slavery. In this vein, you can read a scathing alt-attack on Assange and his intelligence connections, here.

This is why, where Assange is concerned, the jury is out among his Red Pilled followers. My last post summarized the work of Sam William, who vlogs about London, UK. When the vlogger visited the city's Ecuadorian embassy, his audience elaborated in the Youtube comments section on Assange's background:
"Assange was raised in a cult called 'The family' in Melbourne which was run by a wom[a]n called Anne Hamilton Byrne. The family conducted trauma based mind control on many white haired children. Anne was on the board of the Newhaven private hospital that was found guilty of administering LSD to patients as late as the 1980s. Anne was close fr[ie]nds with Lord Casey, founder of ASIS, Oz Secret intelligence service. Anne was on the run for many years from the FBI, hidden in the USA until they eventually got her. In 1994, she evaded prison and was only fined AUS $5000. These are my observations."
And:
"The cult was called The Family and the great leader was an Australian woman Ann Hamilton-Byrne. All of the children had bleached blonde hair and matching bowl cuts, like Children of the Damned- not just for aesthetics, but to take away individually and institute more control. The cult also dealt in child-trafficking and the sameness was useful in transporting them around with passports that may not be their own. The leader's daughter found she was not her biological daughter and was basically stolen as a baby and wrote a book on her upbringing. The children were systematically abused, drugged, sleep-deprived, trauma-based abuse. It was definitely a Tavistock cult, many cults are CIA/Tavistock inventions or they are co-opted when they show up on their radar and are useful grounds for experimentation. Julian got into the cult through his mother's boyfriend but I don't know if he has ever discussed it. All that matters are the actual wikileak documents and their legitimacy, not who he is. He could be a total Tavistock/CIA/shadow govt/reptilian overlord created persona and it doesn't really matter. It is striking that one would keep the culty hair-do after leaving the cult, unless you never really left ...)."
And:
"After I left this comment, I checked out what the daughter is up to, she is a doctor now- and I saw a comment she made, maybe on twitter, about how Julian couldn't have grown up in this cult and have been a teenage hacker when they didn't even have electricity. So he either did not grow up in the cult or was never a teen hacker. He is a constructed persona, used as a front for politically motivated leaks. The cult of personality built around him is pretty impressive though."
There is a lot to consider here, not least that the daughter mentioned above, Sarah Moore, died in May 2016 at the age of 46. Beyond the possibility that Julian Assange may have been partly raised in a cult, there is a question - as the commenters imply - of whether the cult was connected to a much larger picture. If so, we must ask whether that larger picture had any bearing from the start on Julian Assange's integrity, and on WikiLeaks's founding and agenda.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: They Live ... Don't They?


Still from They Live (1988). Note the book behind the hero: On ESP by Edgar Cayce, which you can read for free online here. All stills and film © Universal Pictures. Reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: IMDB.

On this blog, I have written about poverty and homelessness, the destruction of the middle classes, and how conspiracy theories provide dramatic and supernatural explanations for growing social inequality.

In 1988, horror film director John Carpenter made a film which tackled all these ideas. It was entitled They Live. Carpenter intended his film to be an attack on the Reagan era and 1980s' conspicuous consumption. The film suggests something prevalent in Millennial conspiracists' circles, namely, that the establishment élites are pawns of alien overlords who conceal their true appearance and feed off the energy of the impoverished common people. This is a metaphor for social alienation, racism, and socio-economic distress. But the film raises an additional question as to why They Live presented a story which many netizens now believe to be literally true.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Fascism at a Hairpin Turn


The undercut was an Edwardian haircut which remained popular through the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. It became the iconic male haircut of Nazi fascism. It did not become widely popular again until the 2010s. Today, it is sported in different variations by hipster urbanites on the left and the right, with only some individuals aware of the hairstyle's political message. Image Source: The Bold Italic.

Social control. Censorship. Totalitarianism. They won't arrive in the 20th century varieties we expect. Nouveau Nazis have appeared in dozens of movies, including Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984); V for Vendetta (2005); The Man in the High Castle (2015-present); The Handmaid's Tale (2017-present), and Fahrenheit 451 (2018).

Greater Germanic Reich | Man in the High Castle (5 March 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

An alt-historical adaptation of Philip K. Dick's Man in the High Castle (1962), produced by Ridley Scott, considers what America would be like if the Axis Powers won World War II. The new adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (1985) depicts fascists as rigid, hypocritical, psycho-Christians, who impose a violent, patriarchal and puritanical monoculture, viciously suppress women's rights, and divide American society into uniformed, hierarchical, militaristic-gender castes.

The Handmaid’s Tale Trailer (Official) (26 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Elisabeth Moss Describes A 'Fictional' Totalitarian, Right-Wing Regime (21 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Because of these cultural representations, we expect totalitarianism to dress itself in brownshirts and jack boots. The subtext in liberal adaptations is that Donald Trump's America is an alt-right neo-Nazi régime.

Neo-Nazis have certainly reemerged during Trump's administration more boldly than they have in the previous sixty years. Yet fascism is also exploding into the mainstream from other political quarters. It must be combated at all costs, but to do that, you have to understand what fascism is and how it works. That requires recognizing the menace you can't see coming, as much as the threat you're sure you know.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Lessons from Building the Outer Brain


The NYT reported that smart assistants can be (re-)programmed by ultrasonic signals, which are inaudible to their owners. Image Source: NYT / Lynn Scurfield.

There have been several headlines about AI and robots in recent weeks. All of them involve a gap between what we want to see in technology (and in ourselves) and what we don't want to see.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Artificial Intelligence Nemesis


Image Source: thebodhitrees.

The creation of AI is a story of humanity. It will end where it begins, with a nemesis that will test humankind. This is because human beings grapple with inner knowing on ever more profound levels, driven by self-engineered crises.

Artificial Intelligence: The Nemesis in the Mirror

Anonymous - This Shocking Footage Should Worry You! (2018-2019) (13 January 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

AI is a big mirror. As Google's Cloud Lead Dr. Fei-Fei Li stated, AI began with the question, "Can machines think?" Engineers began building machines to mimic human thinking, to reason, see, hear, think, move around, manipulate. That was AI's foundational dream. In the 1980s, machine learning was born, followed by deep learning, which is rooted in neuroscience. This young discipline is set to explode, due to the exploitation of big data, harvested from around the globe. Thus, no matter how the machines end up evolving, it is worth asking now what we are doing with AI and why we doing it. There are unconscious human impulses that are informing AI design.

Find your museum Doppelgänger: some people have found themselves in paintings at art museums. Image Source: Kottke / My Modern Met / Davidurbon.

This mirror will test a psychological mode which human beings have used to build, change, create: the obsession with the nemesis, the other, the twin, the Doppelgänger.

The nemesis psychological complex works by externalizing something we cannot manage inside our own natures. Once the thing is externalized, we interact with it to create new ways of understanding and operating in the world. One of my posts, I Will Teach You Infinities, described how the nemesis complex informed the structure of language, because language progressively builds away from the starting point of selfhood, or 'I.'

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.

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.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Best Before the Font Date


The statues of Prospero and Ariel by British artist and font designer Eric Gill outside Broadcasting House in London sparked questions in the British Parliament in 1933 over the size of the sprite's genitalia. Image Source: BBC.

Those who consume mass media content passively may not notice that the explosion of information has spawned a huge industry in font design. Of course, computers have spurred on this industry.

You can see a great libre font site here and a list of paid fonts sites here. Google Fonts offers beautiful libre fonts. There are classic pairings which shape how we see information in an aesthetic and visual sense. Almost always, the combination is a mix of classical Roman and plain modern. We are surrounded by typeface pairs which constantly talk to us of the past and the present, the ancient and the new: Garamond and Gill Sans; Helvetica Neue and Baskerville; Minion Pro and Super Grotesk. Fonts are organized into superfamilies. If designers don't choose the classic serif / modern sans serif mixture, they pick fonts which belong to the same superfamily. Fonts turn letters into glyphs, living illustrations, which provide a visual message inside the textual message.