The Coming Authoritarianism.

Corpsey

call me big papa
I was thinking yesterday about how people younger than me would perhaps never understand why on earth there might be anything preferable about the technology we had in the 90s to the technology we have now. Like for example the romance of taping radio shows vs. everything being available all the time at the click of a button. Now obviously back then I probably was dreaming of something like the internet existing so I didn't have to use those fucking rubbish cassettes, but that's beside the point. It made me think there must be a lot of technology that I have used all my life that I take for granted, and take for granted as being better in every way, that supplanted technology that had its own unique pleasure-points.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
The other thing you're talking about is a movement to eliminate chance itself. And, perhaps, also to elimate fate.


Where you hear people about this most is in reference to book shops and record shops. Finding the thing you didn't know you wanted. You lose that with Amazon and the streaming sites.

But it relates to people and ideas too.
Machine learning (AI) is - currently - geared towards this. In advertising, for example, the selling point of AI is that it can predict exactly what customers will want to buy next.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I was thinking yesterday about how people younger than me would perhaps never understand why on earth there might be anything preferable about the technology we had in the 90s to the technology we have now. Like for example the romance of taping radio shows vs. everything being available all the time at the click of a button. Now obviously back then I probably was dreaming of something like the internet existing so I didn't have to use those fucking rubbish cassettes, but that's beside the point. It made me think there must be a lot of technology that I have used all my life that I take for granted, and take for granted as being better in every way, that supplanted technology that had its own unique pleasure-points.
Mcluhan's Four Laws of Media

A. “What recurrence or RETRIEVAL of earlier actions and services is brought into play simultaneously by the new form? What older, previously obsolesced ground is brought back and inheres in the new form?”

B. “When pushed to the limits of its potential, the new form will tend to reverse what had been its original characteristics. What is the REVERSAL potential of the new form?”

C. “If some aspect of a situation is enlarged or enhanced, simultaneously the old condition or un-enhanced situation is displaced thereby. What is pushed aside or OBSOLESCED by the new ‘organ’?”

D. “What does the artefact ENHANCE or intensify or make possible or accelerate? This can be asked concerning a wastebasket, a painting, a steamroller, or a zipper, as well as about a proposition in Euclid or a law of physics. It can be asked about any word or phrase in any language.” (1988)
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Emerson (brace yourself for some 19th century non PC-ness):

“Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelioration. For every thing that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts. What a contrast between the well-clad, reading, writing, thinking American, with a watch, a pencil, and a bill of exchange in his pocket, and the naked New Zealander, whose property is a club, a spear, a mat, and an undivided twentieth of a shed to sleep under! But compare the health of the two men, and you shall see that the white man has lost his aboriginal strength. If the traveller tell us truly, strike the savage with a broad axe, and in a day or two the flesh shall unite and heal as if you struck the blow into soft pitch, and the same blow shall send the white to his grave.

The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle. He has a fine Geneva watch, but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun. A Greenwich nautical almanac he has, and so being sure of the information when he wants it, the man in the street does not know a star in the sky. The solstice he does not observe; the equinox he knows as little; and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind. His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance-office increases the number of accidents; and it may be a question whether machinery does not encumber;"
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
This is one reason why reading 19th century novels might be useful - it allows you to explore a version of the world that predates ours, and consider what might have been lost in the gaining of modernity.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
This is one reason why reading 19th century novels might be useful - it allows you to explore a version of the world that predates ours, and consider what might have been lost in the gaining of modernity.
Definitely. McLuhan talks about this a lot actually. The necessity of going back. The time barrier has to be broken. There should be no limits to time travel. That's what that thread is about
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Utopianism in science fiction has more or less died out, right? At least on the mainstream level at which someone like me would be aware of it. Utopianism is a very 1950's/60's sort of thing. Is it simply because many of the advances that were prophesied back then have come to pass, and haven't made us happier?
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I suppose every generation feels the same way as mine does about our position re: technology - that we grew up in a world "without" it (taking TV, radio, etc. for granted) and then witnessed its advent (the Internet). So that we know the world before and after the Fall — and the kids today don't.

But I do think the Internet is different to "just" TV. It abolished the demarcation between technology and the world.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
It abolished the demarcation between technology and the world.
It's possible to quibble with this but I think it's an important point nonetheless.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Definitely.

Also I'm writing from the perspective of someone living in London. You're never offline in London (unless you decide to be), except for brief pockets of time on the Tube.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
My parents used to insist that I only go on the internet an hour a day. Now when I go home they must spend at least two or three hours a day on their phones.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
My phone has been broken for weeks now and it's such a relief to go off to work and be free of the Internet. I love the Internet. But to be able to occupy a single space instead of being pulled between two competing spaces (or is it multiple spaces?) is fantastic.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
It's amazing that, when your phone breaks and it's like a spell has been broken. Like you've awoken from the Matrix.

At first its disturbing and annoying and then within a few days you're starting to notice birdsong again.

I more commonly experience something like this when my headphones break or run out of battery and I walk around London able to actually hear people talking and stuff.
 

yyaldrin

in je ogen waait de wind
It's amazing that, when your phone breaks and it's like a spell has been broken. Like you've awoken from the Matrix.

At first its disturbing and annoying and then within a few days you're starting to notice birdsong again.

I more commonly experience something like this when my headphones break or run out of battery and I walk around London able to actually hear people talking and stuff.
i had a long walk the other day through the city and played a music mix on my headphone. somehow, telecom coverage in germany is quite bad compared to other countries so in some parts, even in the city (big parks) you sometimes lose your internet connection. at these points the mix would stop playing and instead i'd hear the sound of what was going around (dogs barking, trees swaying in the wind, children's voices, an highway in the distance). whenever i'd get a signal again the music would start playing. i very much liked the experience because it makes that what is invisible more visible, you can walk in and out of the internet.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
The increasing prevalence of private space in which the public are tolerated under conditions determined by the owners (or barred without any need for a justification) over public space is another important development.

The shopping mall and not the street.
 

yyaldrin

in je ogen waait de wind
i feel increasingly intimidated by so called "scandinavian" fashion and design. neutral colours, lot's of grey and beige tones. clean, neat, minimal. emphasizes on rectangular shapes. a touch of steel or iron. even kebab places are starting to look like this.
 

yyaldrin

in je ogen waait de wind
also something that has gotten really big lately: neighbourhood watch whatsapp groups where neighbors inform each other when they notice something "unusual". and the omnipresence of "smart" doorbells such as the "ring doorbell" (owned by amazon of course) that works together with local law enforcement.
 
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