Politics/Economics Pop Culture Speculations Technology [reading list]
Been dipping in and out of Eli Parisier’s The Filter Bubble (2011), as part of a longer piece I’m working on. Had some rough thoughts and jottings I wanted throw out into the darkness:
- ‘Personalized search for everyone’ (Google’s stated mission, for a time)
- The filter bubble provides ‘a unique universe of information for each of us … which fundamentally alters the way we encounter ideas and information’ (Parisier, 2011: 9)
- ‘When the technology’s job is to show you the world, it ends up sitting between you and reality, like a camera lens.’ (Parisier, 2011: 13)
- ‘Spain’s first gay retirement home passes its first hurdle‘ (The Guardian, 03/01/2011)
- ‘Something in the Air‘ (Frieze interview with Peter Sloterdijk)
- ‘State of Air‘ (BLDBLOG)
- Pillarisation (verzuiling) — ‘a term used to describe the politico-denominational segregation of Dutch and Belgian society … ”vertically” divided into several segments or “pillars” (zuilen) according to different religions or ideologies.’
- Doorbraak (‘breakthrough’) — ‘an attempt to renew the politics of the Netherlands after the Second World War.’
- ‘Openness and the Metaverse Singularity‘ (Jamais Cascio, 2007 — good on AR filtering)
- ‘Bridging Capital and Social Cohesion in an English village setting‘ (Roy Greenhalgh, 2008)
Starting to wonder if the our best chance of filter bubble-busting Doorbraak might have been something like ChatRoulette. Certainly, one of my highlights of 2010 was encouraging my neighbour to play guitar to a baffled Chilean dentistry student.
Tonight, from 2100 GMT, Guy Yeomans and I will be co-chairing an hour-long Twitter discussion on the future of relationships.
Hosted by the Association of Professional Futurists on Twitter, the ‘Futrchat’ format is a monthly, open, multi-party conversation on a specific topic: usually, ‘the future of X’. Guy has already posted our list of questions for this month, but I wanted to supplement this with a couple of clips and links to get you thinking.
First, a clip from the opening titles of Brit-director Michael Winterbottom’s ambient sci-fi romance Code 46 (2003):
On the ‘sufficiently advanced technology’ front, from that same film, Winterbottom introduces the notion of an ‘empathy virus’. Of dubious plausibility, sure, but one hell of a wild card:
For a bitingly satirical, compelling, and ultimately heartbreaking vision of romance across the generation gap, I can enthusiastically recommend Gary Shtenyngart’s 2010 novel, Super Sad True Love Story. Check out this extract, hosted over at Nerve:
“I volunteer at a refugee shelter near the train station,” Eunice said, apropos of something.
“You do? That’s so fantastic!”
“You’re such a nerd.” She laughed cruelly at me.
“What?” I said. “I’m sorry.” I laughed too, just in case it was a joke, but right away I felt hurt.
“LPT,” she said. “TIMATOV. ROFLAARP. PRGV. Totally PRGV.”
The youth and their abbreviations. I pretended like I knew what she was talking about. “Right,” I said. “IMF. PLO. ESL.”
She looked at me like I was insane. “JBF,” she said.
“Who’s that?” I pictured a tall Protestant man.
“It means I’m ‘just butt-fucking’ with you. Just kidding, you know.”
On the subject of surveillance, privacy, and group psychology, I tend to roll this one out with alarming frequency. We Live in Public (2009):
And, finally, from the fine folks at Intel, a pdf of Scarlett Thomas’ excellent short story, ‘The Drop‘. Great attention to detail, with a real eye for the social and personal impacts of ubiquitous computing and the internet-of-things.
So, that should be enough to keep you guys ticking over until tonight. Hope to see you there!
Academics Science! Speculations Technology [reading list]
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Since finishing the MA back in September, I seem to have been slipping sideways into the cultures and ethnography of the biological (loosely defined), as the flip side of Haraway’s cyborg theory. Currently chewing my way through any number of articles on synthetic/marine/astro biology, and multispecies ethnography, I’ve thrown together this – partial – reading list as a way of structuring my research.
‘I am a creature of the mud, not the sky. I am a biologist who has always found edification in the amazing abilities of slime to hold things in touch and to lubricate passages for living beings and their parts. I love the fact that human genomes can be found in only about 10 percent of all the cells that occupy the mundane space I call my body; the other 90 percent of the cells are filled with the genomes of bacteria, fungi, protists, and such, some of which play in a symphony necessary to my being alive at all, and some of which are hitching a ride and doing the rest of me, of us, no harm. I am vastly outnumbered by my tiny companions; better put, I become an adult human being in company with these tiny messmates. To be one is always to become with many.’
– Donna Haraway (2008), When Species Meet (University of Minnesota Press) , pp. 3-4.
‘So far, microbes have been described as bearers of important messages, as in need of protection from contamination, as versatile, as possibly chimerical, as invasive, as smelly, and as shit bugs. If not strictly taboo, microbes are certainly objects of interest and anxiety; their relations to humans matter to these scientists. And they come to matter precisely through their manifestation as media—as symbolic intermediaries between human selves and an oceanic other, as material things whose functions can be investigated as biomedia.’
– Stefan Helmreich (2009), Alien Ocean (University of California Press), p. 58.
‘Any search for a shadow biosphere must consider the role of ecological niches and address the issue of why standard life could not/did not invade and conquer the locales harboring weird life.’
– P.C.W. Davies et. al. (2009), ‘Signatures of a Shadow Biosphere’, Astrobiology, Vol. 9 (2), p. 242.
… weird life, culture(s) beyond the human, xenobiologies (artificial or extraterrestrial), cross-species politics, geoengineering, FOXP2, protocells, biofilm, bios/zoe, Cetacean personhood, ‘Blue-Green capitalism’, the bureaucracy of the hive, Lovelock/Lovecraft, the possibilities of uplift …
- Thrilling Wonder Stories II — Rachel Armstrong; Geoff Manaugh & Nicola Twilley; Dunne & Raby
- ‘Signatures of a Shadow Biosphere‘ (2009), Astrobiology 9(2), P.C.W. Davies et. al.
- ‘Mars, Media, and Metamorphosis‘ (2010), Culture Machine 11, Sarah Kember
- Cultural Anthropology 25:4 (2010), various
- ‘The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography’, S. Eben Kirksey & Stefan Helmreich
- ‘Fingeryeyes: Impressions of Cup Corals’, Eva Hayward
- ‘Viral Clouds: Becoming H5N1 in Indonesia’, Celia Lowe
- ‘Ecologies of Empire: On the New Uses of the Honeybee’, Jake Kosek
- When Species Meet (2008), Donna Haraway
- ‘Staying with the Trouble: Becoming Worldly with Companion Species‘, Donna Haraway