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jenlindblad

writer // curator /// stockholm // new york
hej [at] jenniferlindblad [dot] com

Jaron Lanier - Information Doesn’t Deserve to Be Free

[excerpt from his 2012 book You Are Not a Gadget]

“Information wants to be free.” So goes the saying. Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, seems to have said it first.

I say that information doesn’t deserve to be free.

Cybernetic totalists love to think of the stuff as if it were alive and had its own ideas and ambitions. But what if information is inanimate? What if it’s even less than inanimate, a mere artifact of human thought? What if only humans are real, and information is not?

Of course, there is a technical use of the term ‘information’ that refers to something entirely real. This is the kind of information that’s related to entropy. But that fundamental kind of information, which exists independently of the culture of an observer, is not the same as the kind we put in computers, the kind that supposedly wants to be free.

Information is alienated experience.

You can think of culturally decodable information as a potential form of experience, very much as you think of a brick resting on a ledge as storing potential energy. When the brick is prodded to fall, the energy is revealed. That is only possible because it was lifted into place at some point in the past.

In the same way, stored information might cause experience to be revealed if it is prodded in the right way. A file on a hard disk does contain information of the kind that objectively exists. The fact that the bits are discernible instead of being scrambled into mush— the way heat scrambles things— is what makes them bits.

But if the bits can potentially mean something to someone, they can only do so if they are experienced. When that happens, a commonality of culture is enacted between the storer and the retriever of the bits. Experience is the only process that can de-alienate information.

Information of the kind that purportedly wants to be free is nothing but a shadow of our own minds, and wants nothing on its own. It will not suffer if it doesn’t get what it wants.

But if you want to make the transition from the old religion, where you hope God will give you an afterlife, to the new religion, where you hope to become immortal by getting uploaded into a computer, then you have to believe information is real and alive. So for you, it will be important to redesign human institutions like art, the economy, and the law to reinforce the perception that information is alive. You demand that the rest of us live in your new conception of a state religion. You need us to deify information to reinforce your faith.

— 2 years ago with 18 notes
#Jaron Lanier  #information  #technology  #experience 
"Most of our cultural lives now, and particularly our literatures now, are spent in coded spaces. We live in a world where we increasingly outsource our memories and experiences to the network, which is fine… it’s good, but it has these intense consequences for us— that our time is spent in negotiation with the network in order to understand these memories and these experiences that we have. And that our experiences are co-created with these repositories of memory, experience, and so on online, on the networks."
James Bridle’s talk “We found love in a coded space”

(Source: videos.liftconference.com)

— 2 years ago with 5 notes
#James Bridle  #the internet  #memory  #experience  #technology  #networks  #co-creation 

"Personal technophobia and technophilia was a trigger which led Nina Bačun and Anders Mellbratt to the process of re-questioning the world of existing and emerging technologies. While aiming to locate themselves into technologically driven society, Bačun and Mellbratt are investigating the rising quota of personal fears. Can design take responsibility for the treatment of man-machine affairs? If yes, how? These are main questions that derived from looking into man-machine relations. Within the concept of ”man-machine affairs”, Bačun and Mellbratt would like to question new perspectives on man-machine relations, desirable ends, visibility of hidden processes of technology logic, potentials and limits of new roles and context of design. Should exposure to a new syntax of metaphors serve as an additional tool to help people navigate their relationship towards technology?"

(via Anders Mellbratt – Konstfack - Vårutställning 2011 / Degree Exhibition 2011)
Saw this project at Konstfack’s spring show, and it was among the only pieces that really sustained my attention and spurred my imagination. Definitely worth checking out!

"Personal technophobia and technophilia was a trigger which led Nina Bačun and Anders Mellbratt to the process of re-questioning the world of existing and emerging technologies. While aiming to locate themselves into technologically driven society, Bačun and Mellbratt are investigating the rising quota of personal fears. Can design take responsibility for the treatment of man-machine affairs? If yes, how? These are main questions that derived from looking into man-machine relations. Within the concept of ”man-machine affairs”, Bačun and Mellbratt would like to question new perspectives on man-machine relations, desirable ends, visibility of hidden processes of technology logic, potentials and limits of new roles and context of design. Should exposure to a new syntax of metaphors serve as an additional tool to help people navigate their relationship towards technology?"

(via Anders Mellbratt – Konstfack - Vårutställning 2011 / Degree Exhibition 2011)

Saw this project at Konstfack’s spring show, and it was among the only pieces that really sustained my attention and spurred my imagination. Definitely worth checking out!

— 3 years ago
#konstfack  #varustallning  #anders melbratt  #Nina Bačun  #technology  #machines  #technophilia  #technophobia  #robots  #design  #experience