"The hallmark of that culture is not that it rejects technology. Rather, it is fundamentalist about tech. It reclaims the “techne” (“craftsmanship”) in technology and turns the main event for participants into “making” and not “publishing” or “marketing” or “disrupting."
Virginia Heffernan, Maker’s mark: Why so many young techies are turning to tinkering
Now come socialbots. These automated charlatans […] have quirks, life histories and the gift of gab.
Researchers say this new breed of bots is being designed not just with greater sophistication but also with grander goals: to sway elections, to influence the stock market, to attack governments, even to flirt with people and one another […]
Christian Rudder, a co-founder and general manager of OkCupid, said that when his dating site recently bought and redesigned a smaller site, they witnessed not just a sharp decline in bots, but also a sudden 15 percent drop in use of the new site by real people. This decrease in traffic occurred, he maintains, because the flirtatious messages and automated “likes” that bots had been posting to members’ pages had imbued the former site with a false sense of intimacy and activity. “Love was in the air,” Mr. Rudder said. “Robot love.”
Mr. Rudder added that his programmers are seeking to design their own bots that will flirt with invader bots, courting them into a special room, “a purgatory of sorts,” to talk to one another rather than fooling the humans […]
But the bots are likely to venture into ours, said Tim Hwang, chief scientist at the Pacific Social Architecting Corporation, which creates bots and technologies that can shape social behavior. “Our vision is that in the near future automatons will eventually be able to rally crowds, open up bank accounts, write letters,” he said, “all through human surrogates.”"
this is really fascinating.
Visions of the Now, an international festival and congress on the subjects of art and technology, will take place at Fylkingen in Stockholm on May 24–26, 2013.
New values are being created as a consequence of the rapid pace of technological progress. Through the filters of art, technology and the future, we will investigate where the ‘now’ is situated, while focusing on the impact of technology on humanity, society and artistic practice.
Visions of the Now is a reconsideration of the 1966 festival and congress Visioner av Nuet, which was initiated by Fylkingen and held at Tekniska Museet in Stockholm. This updated version takes place nearly half a century later, in a world that is fully immersed in the technology that in 1966 was still called ‘the new’. What are our visions of the present — now, and what do we imagine for the future?
This occasion brings together a group of international artists, musicians, theorists and scientists to perform real-time research on the now, in lectures, panels and open discussions under the themes: Technology, Values, Image, Music, Language and Environment. The festival will also manifest the interplay between art and technology — at this exact moment in time — with new art and music performances, sound pieces, installations and screenings.
CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS!
"There is an aesthetic crisis in writing, which is this: how do we write emotionally of scenes involving computers? How do we make concrete, or at least reconstructable in the minds of our readers, the terrible, true passions that cross telephony lines? Right now my field must tackle describing a world where falling in love, going to war and filling out tax forms looks the same; it looks like typing."
Here I am giving a talk Monday evening on invitation from Jacquelyn Davis’s Foxhole series, which invites curators, artists and other creatives to share their work and brainstorm future projects to collaborate on.
Mathematical Films of Manfred Mohr
Just stumbled across this collection of digital math and geometry films created by pioneering digital artist Manfred Mohr in the early 1970’s. This stuff puts most modern GIF artists to shame, and he made them in Fortran IV on a CDC 6400, which is considerably less powerful than Photoshop. They had to then be captured by a microfilm printer in order to be converted to 16 mm film!
Super cool look back at early digital art, though. Get inspired! Here’s another, “Cube Transformation Study”:
Saw an exhibition of Manfred Mohr’s work at bitforms gallery (NY) two years ago that was spectacular.
3 excerpted questions about reading from an interview between Tan Lin & Rhizome
- Rhizome: In an interview with Katherine Elaine Sanders for BOMB, you stated that "Reading is a kind of integrated software." Could you elaborate on this?
- Tan Lin: Integrated software is a genre of software that combines word processing, database management, and spreadsheet applications, and communications platforms. This genre has been superseded by various full-function office suites, but I was interested in reading modelled in that way, i.e., different kinds of reading, each with specific functions. I mean, you read Harlequin romances differently than recipes, and you read Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets differently than you read Excel, and you read experimental Japanese novels differently than you read text messages, and in terms of documents processed by software, you have distinctions between, say, end-user manuals, bills of sales, Unified Modeling Language models, and legal contracts. These are genres of reading, and they’re housed or processed in the same generic platform that I call “reading.” So reading is an application that processes or assembles varied kinds of material. I was interested in creating works of literature that could be read like recipes or spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations.
- Rhizome: So how is the experience of reading your works different from a more conventional novel or a Hollywood movie?
- Tan Lin: Usually you go to a movie or read a book to experience an emotion: Hollywood and even independent cinema is excruciatingly good at eliciting (i.e., manipulating) feelings in the audience—that’s why most people read novels and go to movies, and directors like Lars von Trier and Michael Haneke play with this by artificially manipulating an audience’s emotions via specific cinematic genres. Michel Houlbecq does something similar with literature, but less effectively to my mind. Think about the tragedy of “Dancer in the Dark” presented as a Broadway musical! But I think that reading that ends in an emotion is lame; I like it more when literature generates not a distinct emotion or feeling but a more generalized overall mood, and I like this more because I think it’s more reflective of the way we actually spend most of our lives. Psychologists have identified something like 6 major emotions, but the thing is we don’t feel them very often, which is a good thing because most of them are quite unpleasant: disgust, fear, anger, etc.
- Rhizome: How has Internet culture affected your work? How has it affected literature in general?
- Tan Lin: For me, I think of reading as data management rather than passive absorption on a couch, though these dichotomies are ultimately false. Reading is and probably always will be a bit of both. At any rate, ideas about information processing are altering the contours of printed and digital works. Suddenly the book is just one element in a larger system of textual controls, distribution models, and controlled vocabulary systems. [...] The idea of a network as a platform for collaborative work (rather than software housed on an individual’s desktop) might be applied to a book, no longer regarded as discrete, stand-alone object but as something that gets updated on a periodic basis in a social network. But this may not be that new an idea. After all, David Hume praised the printing press because it made it possible to issue countless emendations, revisions, and new editions.
"In the case of voice-to-text technologies, however, all writing becomes a kind of rehearsal for verbal interaction. In this light, an important effect of computerized dictation technologies is that they could lead people to become more skillful speakers, and thus more thoughtful participants in meaningful discussions. If writers of the future are composing text almost exclusively through computerized dictation, then they may become more thoughtful and nuanced speakers in the process. That is, the effect of dictation technologies may not be just on our writing, but that they may train us to be better verbal communicators, not just with our machines but with our fellow humans too."
Thought about this very thing today when I was struggling to compose a letter. I was drowning in descriptors and needed to speak aloud to my iPhone voice memo app in order to sort out what I was trying to get at.
"In a day, sometimes I feel so much love for the world, I think my heart is bursting. Sometimes, I feel so scared, I want to shrink myself even further. I think that’s what happened to us gods and goddesses. Like the dinosaurs, we realized that it’s too dangerous to be so large. So we kept shrinking ourselves to what we are now. We might get even smaller. I see the sign in the engineers making smaller gadgets, smaller and smaller. Pretty soon, our fingers will be too large to operate them. So what are we doing? I trust in the human wisdom. We are incredibly intelligent beings. So we might know something without thinking that we know…."
Have a good day!
New York City