[-empyre-] resistance is shiftless\ "In its current state now it's a weapon, " said Ms. Law. "Do I want it to get in the hands of the Syrian Electric Army? No!" /futility is the paradigm

simon swht at clear.net.nz
Mon Jul 8 09:13:33 EST 2013

Dear empyreans,

by happy accident - twitchy trackpad - the quotation pasted itself into 
the subject. It comes from an article about a cookie fishing game, 
developed by Rachel Law, which exploits the fluidity of online identity 
to confuse trackers, potentially hiding player's behaviour both within 
and without the game: "It acts like a translator.... It basically fucks 
up algorithims." It 'weaponises' identity presumably by anonymity. And 
who wants their algorithms fucked up? Not Mozilla, evidently, neither 
can one imagine the NSA nor, here in New Zealand, the GCSB endorsing the 
product if it does make it to beta. (Not that either GCSB or NSA have 
their proprietary algorithms, rather use contractual than ownership of 
patents - a liability of outsourcing.) [here 

In addition, "Vortex" - name of game - automatically assigns the 
location Narnia to players hiding geolocative information, whether for 
reasons nefarious or playful. The comments that follow the item discuss 
the relative merits of Vortex  concerning themselves less with cyber 
warfare and surveillance than the question of whether we really want 
irrelevant ads.

I am interested in Terry Flaxton's new, "incoming" or "developing" 
paradigm. I'm surprised that it requires behavioural adjustment, the end 
of theory and careful attendance to that learnt trick of the mind where 
clarity of thinking is preferred over obscurity of intuition, or 

And I felt the need to apologise by expanding a little on my last note, 
the point of which was not clear: bad abstractions are inadequate 
critically or analytically. They are not up to the task in hand and, 
even as we experience them falling short, we identify the failure with a 
further and more distant layer of abstraction or false problem, 
language, theory, cognitive habit, bourgeois individualism, the body, 
the mind, technoscience, marketing - or we identify with it ourselves, 
closing a circuit of personal fantasy and fictionalising the results - 
rather, their lack - through reflexivity: that's my story. A fantasy of 
traversal without encounter.

Is there a link between the Borg Complex, brilliantly exposed by Michael 
Saracas (via Simon Biggs), and Big Data and the "distributive cognition" 
of next paradigm sociality described by Terry at Glastonbury or the 
"physical shared event, a kind of dance, but also expression of 
political will" described by Johannes in Houston?

Reading your latest post, Terry, there seems to be foregrounded what was 
behind "distributive cognition" from the start: networks. Glastonbury 
arises "out of the alternative networks of the 60's, where Buckminster 
Fuller, Stafford Beer, Edmund Carpenter, McLuhan etc were leading 
thought and early user generated ecological and cybernetics oriented 
ideas were networked at early festivals such as this." From a colonial 
perspective that it become emblematic of an ideal Albion and embody 
Arthurian virtue sounds a sour and quaintly nationalistic note. But 
resistance or liking different types of network to me links the Borg, 
Big Data and the observation in mass events of an emergent political 
will, again, either resisted or liked. Unless the last is mere projection.

As to the requirement that this emergence - welcomed as a new paradigm 
or resisted - ring also the death of theory, I think the refusal of 
encounter or enclosing theory kills it more effectively than opening it 
on to an outside which this phase-shift in networked phenomena, whether 
human, molecular, or geophysical instantiates.

Big Data has, however, no self-organising characteristics. Algorithms 
are blind to describe it. Consultants invoke it as a shibboleth to 
inflate their fees. Big Data is generated not generative and companies 
invested in its problem ramify by extending the graph functions from 
which it is derived.

Is the Social Graph productive of Social Capital? and isn't this a newly 
emergent form of networked capitalism? Isn't this a new money because it 
is a new measure of human sociality?

If this is the case, then there is neuroscientific 'hard' evidence to 
support the idea that networking is 'hard-wired' into human behaviour - 

Or, having abstracted from a false problem to an abstraction layer of 
enclosed and calcified theory - called code - is the convention that 
resistance to capitalism is futile only being amplified?

I would add that a bad abstraction is one which not only is not 
empirical - open on to an outside - but also not transcendental - 
drawing a line one may add to, making a new connection. The revolution 
is elsewhere.

Simon Taylor

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