ComputerSaysNo

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Description I breathed the promise of liberation through IT technology for three decades, yet now can't help but notice different trajectories in our brave new software driven world. I was the odd nerd bringing internet, mail, google, mobile phone usage to friends and communities. Instruments of liberty, as the still strong going Sillicon Valley narratives pitch it. Now i see more and more people regulated and alienated by what what others allow them (i.e. software), be they waiters in Cafe's, people working in customer support, cashiers at supermarkets, and the other hundreds of millions who sit in front of screens. However, human freedom luckily keeps creeping in and there are examples and opportunities for autonomous uses of technology. It must begin with a slowdown, un-busying ourselves, because it is the increasing speed of movement and information flows which stabilize the grip of cybernetic capitalism.
Website(s)
Type Discussion
Kids session No
Keyword(s) social, political, hacking
Tags technology, capitalism, alienation
Processing assembly Anarchist Village
Person organizing Hpk
Language en - English
en - English
Other sessions...

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Starts at 2016/12/27 21:00
Ends at 2016/12/27 22:00
Duration 60 minutes
Location Hall C.2

In this lecture I try to talk about what I've learned over the last years from reading anthropology, philosophy, and from the many discussions around hacking and other contexts. This includes stories and ideas developed in "Utopia of rules" from David Graeber, "Cybernetic revolutionaries" from Eden Medina, "Seeing like a state" and "The art of not being governed" from James Scott, "the cybernetic hypothesis" from the Tiqqun collective, "To our friends" from the invisible committee, and "communication and control in the animal and the machine" from Norbert Wiener. That's a mouthful but i do think we need to move beyond the elitist attitude that our understanding of programming and hacking qualifies us to understand the many cultural, social, and economic arcs of history at play in relation to the rise of software.

Take for example automation. It promised for hundreds of years freedom from toil. Up to a point that kind of worked, surely the invention of the wheel saved us quite the hassle. Almost a hundred years ago, unions brought the 40 hour work week. With thirty-fold increase in productivity since then, where are we now? Many are at more than 40 hours. Arguably, this is not a problem of technology itself, but one of the economic-social framing under which it is put to use. But what does it mean now to try to automate things even more and faster? This also individually felt pressure for more speed certainly means one thing: time becomes our enemy when it could be our ally. Having more and more apps to help us keep up to speed is not liberation, but increased alienation.