Today’s required reading: Sherry Turkle’s TED talk on “how modern technology has become a phantom limb” and how to go forward.
“I think it’s very important to know, to remember, that not very long ago, we were trying to figure out how we would keep computers busy. And now we know that once we networked with each other, once computers were our portal to being with each other, we really don’t have to worry about keeping computers busy. They keep us busy.”
The recent development of live-cams on the Internet [contributes] to the inversion of the usual conceptions of inside and outside. Finally, this generalized visualization is the defining aspect of what is generally known today as virtualization. As much-vaunted ‘virtual reality’ is not so much a navigation through the cyberspace of the networks. It is, first and foremost, the amplification of the optical density of the appearances of the real world.
—Paul Virilio, The Information Bomb, 2000. 14.
Oh. Shit. Hm.
We tend to think about privacy in personal terms: my data, my personal information, my relationship with Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest. As our social networks grow and normalize, though, it’s increasingly more accurate to think about privacy as a communal affair, something heavily contextual and owned, collectively, by networks. Which means that privacy is something that all of us, as individuals and as a group, are responsible for.
Take Facebook. Aside from the standard, personalized privacy concerns — algorithms guessing your social security number, say, based on your profile information — there are also the concerns that expand with network effects. Photos, in particular, can reveal not only a user’s favorite places, vacation spots, and closest friends and family members, but also that same information for the other members of the user’s network. For those who have an interest, commercial or otherwise, in figuring out users’ identities and interests and overall persona on Facebook, your data can reveal your friends’ data — and vice versa.
Read more. [Image: João Paulo Pesce, Gustavo Rauber, Diego Las Casas, Virgílio Almeida]
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”