Thursday, December 13, 2018

recordar eh viver e/ou: 5G?! get real, who cares less for this shit!! Internet of things, adapt-or-die?! the crap of Occidental beastly corporate superficial unimaginative predatory innovation... Genetic medicine, be-the-next-plastic-hermetically-sealed-immutable-imortal-doll?! who ever needed this fucking nightmare in the first place?!



... what happens in today’s society, with its decline of 
the Master-Signifier and the rise of consumption, 
is the exact obverse: the basic fact is the loss of symbolic
identity, what Eric Santner called the ‘‘crisis of investiture,’’
and what we get in exchange for this loss is that we are all 
bombarded with forms and gadgets of enjoyment...
The key point here is that the expert rule of ‘biopolitics’ is 
grounded in and conditioned by the crisis of investiture; 
this crisis generated the ‘post-metaphysical’ survivalist 
stance of the Last Men, which ends up in an anemic 
spectacle of life dragging on as its own shadow.
Slavoj Zizek

Quando as pessoas pensam em consumo, às vezes pensam
 em consumismo, como se o crescimento do consumo se refletisse
 no que é supérfluo. Isso ignora a realidade do Brasil, a miséria de milhões 
de pessoas excluídas do mercado consumidor e que têm um padrão de vida
 muito mais baixo do que seria digno. Quando essas pessoas não estão gastando
 todo o dinheiro que ganham para se alimentar, tendem a consumir mais coisas.
 Um cabeleireiro, cultura, restaurante, serviços. Bens essenciais para que
 passem do nível da pobreza. São eletrodomésticos básicos, geladeiras,
 celulares. As pessoas olham para esse período de redistribuição de renda
 na base [durante o governo Lula], que teve muito esse consumo, e acham
 que isso é condenável. Eu acho que isso é parte sim do que a economia
 brasileira precisa para ser retomada, o que não não significa que eu
 defenda o modelo de capitalismo mundial, que fica incentivando
 a troca de bens tecnológicos. São coisas diferentes.
Laura Carvalho (Revista Trip)



twenty years later, this should sound like a collection of platitudes, but it really doesn't:

"The human nervous system does not process any information (in the sense of discrete elements existing ready-made in the outside world, to be picked up by the cognitive system), but interacts with the environment by continually modulating its structure... certain tasks should never be left to computers..."
"'... those of us who have contributed to the new science of cybernetics... stand in a moral position which is, to say the least, not very comfortable. We have contributed to the initiation of a new science which embraces technical developments with great possibilities for good and for evil... Let us remember that the automatic machine is the precise economic equivalent of slave labor. Any labor which competes with slave labor must accept the economic conditions of slave labor' [Norbert Wiener, 1946]..."
"... computers and the many other information technologies developed in the meantime are rapidly becoming autonomous and totalitarian, redefining our basic concepts and eliminating alternative worldviews... all forms of culture are being subordinated to technology, and technological innovation, rather than the increase in human well-being, has become synonymous with progress..."
"This spiritual impoverishment and loss of cultural diversity through excessive use of computers is especially serious in the field of education... the powerful computer industry... encourages teachers to use computers as educational tools at all levels... The use of computers in schools is based on the now outdated view of human beings as information processors, which continually reinforces erroneous mechanistic concepts of thinking, knowledge, and communication. Ideas are integrating patterns that derive not from information but from experience..."
"In the computer model of cognition... language is seen as a conduit through which 'objective' information is communicated. In reality... language is metaphoric, conveying tacit understandings shared within culture. In this connection it is also important to note that the language used by computer scientists and engineers is full of metaphors derived from the military—command, escape, fail-safe, pilot, target, and so on—which introduce cultural biases, reinforce stereotypes, and inhibit certain groups..."
"... when an animal is study while it is awake and behaving... its neural responses can no longer be interpreted in terms of stage-by-stage information processing... the most ordinary visual tasks, even by tiny insects, are done faster than is physically possible when simulated sequentially...  a shift in focus, from symbols to connectivity, from local rules to global coherence... from information processing to emergent properties of neural networks... nonlinear mathematics... the living system also specifies which perturbations from the environment trigger [structural changes]... even a bacterial brings forth a world of warmth and coldness, of magnetic fields and chemical gradients... Francisco Varela describes cognition as embodied action..."
****Everything from Fritjof Capra's The Web of Life (1998, p. 68-71, 265-68).

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More:
'the colonisation of everyday life by information processing...'
'The internet of things isn’t a single technology. About all that connects the various devices, services, vendors and efforts involved is the end goal they serve: capturing data that can then be used to measure and control the world around us.'
'Ask restaurateurs and front-of-house workers what they think of OpenTable, for example, and you will swiftly learn that one person’s convenience is another’s accelerated pace of work, or worse. You’ll learn that restaurants offering reservations via the service are, according to the website Serious Eats, “required to use the company’s proprietary floor-management system, which means leasing hardware and using OpenTable-specific software”, and that OpenTable retains ownership of all the data generated in this way. You’ll also learn that OpenTable takes a cut on reservations per seated diner, which obviously adds up to a significant amount on a busy night.'
'... the largely preconscious valuations, priorities and internalised beliefs of the people who devised Google Home. As throughout the industry, that is a remarkably homogeneous cohort of young designers and engineers. But more important than the degree of similarity they bear to one another is how different they are from everyone else.'
'Internet-of-things devices are generally conceived by people who have completely assimilated services such as Uber, Airbnb and Apple Pay into their daily lives, at a time when figures from the Washington DC-based Pew Research Center suggest that a significant percentage of the population has never used or even heard of them.'
'...the main problem with the virtual assistant is that it fosters an approach to the world that is literally thoughtless, leaving users disinclined to sit out any prolonged frustration of desire, and ever less critical about the processes that result in gratification,' Rise of the machines: who is the ‘internet of things’ good for? (The Guardian) (if you read the entire article you are going to realize that Adam Greenfield's criticism is still greyfully & disgracefully mild, because definitely no, 'it wouldn't be foolish to dismiss' the internet of things' rhetoric out of hand, we should have done that already; it is just pseudo-innovation, it doesn't even make the best of what we have in AI, it doesn't improve the world, it doesn't give you more time, instead, it helps big corporations to keep things structurally the way they've been, stealing the little time you've been left with, stimulating your complacent laziness and passivity);
-------------------------

'The communications industry could use 20% of all the world’s electricity by 2025, hampering attempts to meet climate change targets and straining grids as demand by power-hungry server farms storing digital data from billions of smartphones, tablets and internet-connected devices grows exponentially.'
'The industry has long argued that it can considerably reduce carbon emissions by increasing efficiency and reducing waste, but academics are challenging industry assumptions.'
'A 2016 Berkeley laboratory report for the US government estimated the country’s data centres, which held about 350m terabytes of data in 2015, could together need over 100TWh of electricity a year by 2020. This is the equivalent of about 10 large nuclear power stations.'
'The data will be stored in vast new one million square feet or larger “hyper-scale” server farms, which companies are now building. The scale of these farms is huge; a single $1bn Apple data centre planned for Athenry in Co Galway, expects to eventually use 300MW of electricity, or over 8% of the national capacity and more than the daily entire usage of Dublin. It will require 144 large diesel generators as back up for when the wind does not blow,' ‘Tsunami of data’ could consume one fifth of global electricity by 2025 (The Guardian) (cf. ''Much work needed' to make digital economy environmentally sustainable,' The Guardian);
---------------------------

'Programmed to learn through trial and error, it shows just how difficult it is to teach a robot to complete a simple chore that we can do without thinking. This clumsy steel toddler may be at the cutting edge of AI and robotics, but here it struggles to even do the laundry. Domination by our robot overlords seems a safe way off.'
'Most of the domestic items on show... are seemingly geared towards the same end: saving us time [great! but why should we all have to live in such a tearing hurry first of all no one ask]... But these labour-saving devices have increasingly been revealed to be serving a different purpose: the collection of masses of monetisable data. Simply by going about our business in our voluntarily surveilled homes, we are unwittingly carrying out huge amounts of valuable market research for the tech companies and online retailers waiting to sell us more stuff,' Drunken droids and solar-powered shirts: what the smarthome will look like (The Guardian);

The Very Good News and/or when you realize people are not that stupid lazy bitches corporations take them to be (there should be more, but even The Guardian is only complacently critical, after all, what would be of countries like ex-imperialist ferocious England without an unspeakable swarm of infantile-demential global gadgets?):
-------------------------

Parallel topics (on the total idiocy of the contemporary consumer, yes you get your glorious genetic physician together with trash food, so the 0,001% become richer & richer and everyone is a consummate imbecil totally lost in the void):
'... the profits in olive oil crime are, as one EU official puts it, "comparable to cocaine trafficking, with none of the risks", and the regulations less effective than at any time in the last two millennia.'
'They got rich on the back of the incomprehensible twist in European law that, until 2001, allowed any olive oil bottled in Italy to be sold as "Italian olive oil", which, absurdly, is what we all pay most for. In fact, even now 80% of the oil Bertolli uses comes from Spain, North Africa and the Middle East. It it is still flogged in bottles with "Lucca" and "Passione Italiana" on the label. Today, Italy still sells three times as much oil as it produces.'
'"Gentle", "smooth" and "not peppery on the throat" are the sort of words Bertolli and its rivals used in ads promoting their generic extra virgin oil. But true extra virgin oil is peppery – it bites the back of the throat so fiercely it can make you cough. The flavours are vivid.'
'But you could tell the same story of almost any artisan's product we put in our mouths, from bacon to cheddar cheese or smoked salmon. Industrial production techniques and the supermarket's tendency to strip out quality in order to give "value" will debase any foodstuff once it becomes popular to the point where the producer has to abuse his animals, sin against tradition or commit fraud in order to stay afloat,' Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller – review (The Guardian) (cf. Extra virgin '100% real' olive oil goes on sale in UK, The Guardian);

And just in case you don't wanna be the-next-plastic-homogeneous-hermetically-sealed-downright-stereotypical-immutable-imortal-unbreakable-impervious-doll:
'This newfound embrace of grey hair is, according to Prof Dr Carolyn Mair, who specialises in the psychology of fashion, an extension of the “anti anti-ageing movement that is taking hold”. She notes that “this outward display of self-acceptance and self-confidence brings a sense of empowerment and authenticity,' Glad to be grey: how women changed the debate on hair colour, (The Guardian);

What looks like an interesting book (unfortunately I didn't as yet read): '... we are lost in a sea of information, increasingly divided by fundamentalism, simplistic narratives, conspiracy theories, and post-factual politics. Meanwhile, those in power use our lack of understanding to further their own interests. Despite the apparent accessibility of information, we’re living in a new Dark Age,' James Bridle's New Dark Age (Verso, 2018);

James Bridle (from the Youtube & Verso website):






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Some history:
"... the big acceleration towards microelectronics did indeed begin with the invention of the integrated circuit, when at first small and later large circuits were formed on a single chip fo silicon. The net result was systems far larger and far more complex than could even have been dreamed of before..."
"The forerunner of today's devices was the point-contact transistor made by John Bardeen and Walter Brattain at Bell Laboratories in December 1947, hailed by some as the most important invention of the 20th century..."
"Within ten years the transistor itself underwent massive changes and emerged in new applications in integrated circuits (ICs)..."
"... the key to the whole future of semiconductor work was the planar process developed by the new Fairchild Semiconductor Company from 1958 to 1960."
"... silicon integrated circuit... enabled miniaturization to be pushed to such limits that the essential components of a computer that would outperform ENIAc (one of the first digital electronic computers, which occupied a volume of over 100m3) could be held easily in one hand..."
"The U.S. military proved to be a major marked for electronics as well as a major source of finance as the nation went through the Cold War, the space race, and the Vietnam war."
"In twenty years the industry's most complex devices have changed from chips containing one component in 1959, to about 10 in 1964, about 1000 in 1969, about 32000 by the mid seventies, and around 250000 by the late seventies... Costs have also fallen dramatically... The industry may run out of adjectives if the trend continues, though some see signs that economic limits are being approached..."
"... electronic computers have given us undreamt of powers for 'number crunching' and logical manipulation..."
"... in 1843... Charles Babbage was at work designing an 'analytical engine,' the first design for a genuine computer. It was to be a full-scale, general-purpose mechanical computer with a memory, arithmetic unit, Jacquard-type punched cards for input and output, and card-controlled programs that allowed iteration and conditional branching... This machine was never built partly because of Babbage's hunt for perfection and partly because of the limitations of the mechanical engineering of the day; but the design incorporated the major features of today's digital computers except that they were to be achieved mechanically instead of by electronics... Lady Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, worked closely with Babbage and today is honoured with the title of the world's first computer programmer..."
"... digital computers are the successors to the abacus and Babbage's Analytical Engine..."
"Programming a computer involves breaking down the problem to be solved into small steps and then instructing the machine how to perform them. Around the time of the French Revolution a famous French engineer called M. R. de Prony, who is also remembered for his dynamometer, was given the task of calculating a vast set of mathematical tablets that were to be bigger and better than any previously made or even conceived. He solved this immense problem by using a handful of mathematicians who broke the work down into relatively simple tasks of addition and subtraction, which were then performed by a small army of mathematical slaves. In a sense Prony had programmed a computer of around 90 people."
****Everything from W. A. Atherton's From Compass to Computer (1984, p. 237-304).
[Besides all the mysterious mystifying names, one should note that all the hardware developments  referred above depend on insights going back to Faraday's experiments with electricity and magnetism, later mathematised by Maxwell; further innovations rely also in paradoxical theories such as quantum mechanics, but the overall approach has always been mainly computational, that is, derived from a mechanistic and stereotypical, that is, ROUGH, if not primitive understanding of information processing processes.] 

See also: