Capitalism, Commons, Economy, Ethics, Media, Social intelligence, Society

Why and how should we build a basic income for everybody?

“What would Heaven on Earth mean in reality? It would mean that each and every person on the planet has access to an an abundant supply of healthy food and clean water. That each and every person has access to luxurious housing and clothing. That we are all safe. That we can all communicate with everyone. That we all have free and open access to education and entertainment. That cutting edge health care is available freely to everyone, and the cutting edge is advancing as rapidly as possible, curing more and more diseases and ailments as fast as we can. And so on. We do that in an environmentally sustainable way. Obviously there would be no wars. Obviously we would have to find safe, compassionate ways to resolve our differences. Obviously we would need for Heaven on Earth to be environmentally sustainable – otherwise we poison the planet and destroy ourselves. What if we made Heaven on Earth our world-wide, species-wide goal?”


Anthropology, Bacteria, Farming, History, Medicine, Nature, PDF, Society

‘Darwinian Gastronomy: why we use spices’ (1999) Sherman and Billing

“An early attempt to use statistical analysis of cookbooks to reveal deeper patterns about what we eat and why. The paper theorizes that there is an evolutionary benefit to eating spices: “by cleansing food of pathogens before consumption, spice users contribute to the health, longevity and fitness of themselves, their families and their guests.” There is more disease in the tropics and this is also where most spices are added to food, or so the paper seems to argues. Personally I think the argument runs the risk of putting the horse behind the carriage. Spices predominately grow in tropical areas and it makes sense to expect that this is where they eat them most.”


Anthropology, Archeology, Capitalism, Commons, Economy, History, Society

Mediterranean Containerization

“Over at least the last five millennia, certain commodities have been defining features of Mediterranean economies and have moved around all or part of the region in comparatively large quantities. Olive oil and wine are perhaps the most famous, but to these we can add metals, cereals, salt, textiles, stone, fish products or indeed certain classes of people (tourists, slaves, economic migrants). The massive advantages of maritime travel, in terms of speed and cargo capacity, have long knitted together otherwise quite distant Mediterranean coasts and have encouraged unusual patterns of economic codependence (e.g., Braudel 1972; Broodbank 2013; Horden and Purcell 2000), as well as wider flows into, out of, or through the basin. Even a cursory glance at the physical appearance of Mediterranean trade goods, or the way they are treated in documentary sources, also makes it clear that, for thousands of years, they have been standardized, marked and packaged in ways that adapt them for long-range transactions and position them for certain kinds of producer, distributor and consumer.”


AI, Algorithm, Automata, Biological Computation, Code, Cybernetics, Deep Learning, Emergence, Man/Machine, Neural Networks, Robots, Science, Social intelligence, Society

Can a robot be too nice?

“Designing artificial entities perfectly groomed to meet our emotional needs has an obvious appeal, like creating the exact right person for a job from thin air. But it’s also not hard to imagine the problems that might arise in a world where we’re constantly dealing with robots calibrated to treat us, on an interpersonal level, exactly the way we want. We might start to prefer the company of robots to that of other, less perfectly optimized humans. We might react against them, hungry for some of the normal friction of human relations. As Lanier worried, we might start to see the lines blur, and become convinced that machines—which in some ways are vastly inferior to us, and in other ways vastly superior—are actually our equals.”


Art, Biology, Biometrics, Brain, Education, Mind, Psychology, Science, Society

Secrets of the Creative Brain

“Part of what comes with seeing connections no one else sees is that not all of these connections actually exist. “Everybody has crazy things they want to try,” that same subject told me. “Part of creativity is picking the little bubbles that come up to your conscious mind, and picking which one to let grow and which one to give access to more of your mind, and then have that translate into action.””


Anthropology, Archeology, Biology, History, Media, Science, Social intelligence, Society

Mapping Intel­lec­tual Migra­tion Net­works

“We’re starting out to do some­thing which is called cul­tural sci­ence where we’re in a very sim­ilar tra­jec­tory as sys­tems biology for example,” said Schich, now an asso­ciate pro­fessor in arts and tech­nology at the Uni­ver­sity of Texas at Dallas. “As data sets about birth and death loca­tions grow, the approach will be able to reveal an even more com­plete pic­ture of his­tory. In the next five to 10 years, we’ll have con­sid­er­ably larger amounts of data and then we can do more and better, address more questions.”


AI, Algorithm, Biometrics, Brain, Capitalism, Cybernetics, Economy, Education, Emergence, Ethics, Man/Machine, Robots, Science, Social intelligence, Society

Will You Lose Your Job To a Robot?

“The biggest exception will be jobs that depend upon empathy as a core capacity — schoolteacher, personal service worker, nurse. These jobs are often those traditionally performed by women. One of the bigger social questions of the mid-late 2020s will be the role of men in this world.” — Jamais Cascio, technology writer and futurist


Archeology, Commons, Education, History, Media, Society

Paper Knowledge : Toward a Media History of Documents (Gitelman 2014)

“Paper Knowledge is a book about the mundane: the library card, the promissory note, the movie ticket, the PDF (Portable Document Format). It is a media history of the document. Drawing examples from the 1870s, the 1930s, the 1960s, and today, Lisa Gitelman thinks across the media that the document form has come to inhabit over the last 150 years, including letterpress printing, typing and carbon paper, mimeograph, microfilm, offset printing, photocopying, and scanning. Whether examining late nineteenth century commercial, or “job” printing, or the Xerox machine and the role of reproduction in our understanding of the document, Gitelman reveals a keen eye for vernacular uses of technology. She tells nuanced, anecdote-filled stories of the waning of old technologies and the emergence of new. Along the way, she discusses documentary matters such as the relation between twentieth-century technological innovation and the management of paper, and the interdependence of computer programming and documentation. Paper Knowledge is destined to set a new agenda for media studies.”


AI, Animals, Brain, Emergence, Ethics, philosophy, Religion, Robots, Science, Society

Buddhist perspectives on AI

“From the viewpoint of Buddhism, all life is emergent, entities functioning at a capacity greater than the sum of their parts. There is no special qualifier that separates any form of intelligence from another (note that even consciousness is on the list of things that we aren’t.”. This means that an intelligence inside of a robot body, a computer, or existing on the Internet would be just as worthy of being considered “alive” as a squirrel, a human, or a bacteria. Further, Buddhism accepts the existence of life that does not have a physical body. In the Buddhist mythology, beings that exist in realms without physical bodies are described and treated the same as those with physical bodies. Although this ethic is ascribed to mythical beings, if we begin to see actual beings that exist in “formless realms”, most Buddhists would likely see no problem accepting them as living. In Buddhism, a computer intelligence would be viewed by most as a new form of life, but one equally possessed of the heaps and equally capable of emergent behavior and enlightenment. The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and several other high profile Buddhist thinkers have already spoken in support of AI as a living being.”


Anthropology, Art, Biological Computation, Biology, Biometrics, Brain, Deep Learning, Music, Neural Networks, Psychology, Science, Social intelligence, Society, Sound

The Neuroscience of Improvisation

Charles Limb has been investigating rap. “It’s what kids are doing spontaneously when growing up… and improvisation is a strong theme. It incorporates language and rhythmic music very equally.” Limb has been scanning the brains of rappers the same way he looked at jazz musicians: comparing fMRIs when they recited memorized passages to when they “freestyled,” or improvised in rhyme. Although the study is still in progress, preliminary data suggest “major changes in brain activity when you go from memorized rap to freestyle.” Can studies of improvisation unlock more general secrets of creativity? Limb hopes to do similar investigations of artists as they draw or paint. The moderator ended with an inevitable question about art and science: “It is worth the effort to measure and quantify something abstract and artistic… to demystify what we enjoy the mystery of?” Limb saw nothing “threatening or reductionist” in the work of neuroscientists. “Humans are hardwired to seek art, and there are very few things that engage the brain on the level that music does. To understand the neural basis of creativity teaches us something fundamental about who we are, why we’re here.” Improvisation “shows us what the mind can do,” Marcus added. “The ability of human beings to improvise tells us a lot about the ultimate scope of our capabilities.”


Architecture, Art, Biology, Biometrics, Brain, Capitalism, Economy, Education, History, Mathematics, Medicine, Nature, philosophy, Psychology, Science, Society

Kantian Legacy in Nineteenth Century Science

“The book examines Kant’s influence on five strands of nineteenth-century scientific thought: Naturphilosophie and the effect of German Romanticism (especially Goethe) on biology; Fries’s philosophy of science; Helmholtz’s rejection of Naturphilosophie and Romanticism; neo-Kantianism and its return to “methodological” concerns in natural science and academic philosophy; and Poincaré and his reflections on scientific epistemology. The essays give a nuanced picture of Kant’s legacy to nineteenth-century thinkers and of the rich interaction between philosophical ideas and discoveries in the natural and mathematical sciences during this period. They point to the ways that the scientific developments of the nineteenth century link Kant’s thought to the science of the twentieth century.”


Anthropology, Archeology, Biometrics, Economy, Farming, History, Medicine, Nature, Science, Society

Phytoliths in Pottery Reveal the Use of Spice in European Prehistoric Cuisine

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum)
Dill (Anethum graveolens)
Caper (Capparis spinosa)
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
A kind of mustard ? (Cruciferae family)
“Figure 1. Early contexts from which spices have been recovered, with photomicrographs of globular sinuate phytoliths recovered from the pottery styles illustrated. Showing, A) A map of Europe showing an inset of the study area and sites from which the pot residues were acquired;, including also the Near East and northern Africa indicating early contexts where spices have been recovered: a) Menneville, France (Papaver somniferum L.), b) Eberdingen, Germany (Papaver somniferum L.), c) Seeberg, Switzerland (Papaver somniferum L.), d) Niederwil, Switzerland (Papaver somniferum L.), e) Swiss Lake Villages, Switzerland (Anethum graveolens L.), f) Cueva de los Murcielags, Spain (Papaver somniferum L.), g) Hacilar, Turkey (Capparis spinosa L.), h) Tell Abu Hureya, Syria (Caparis spinosa L.), i) Tell ed-Der, Syria (Coriandrum sativum L. and Cuminum cyminum L.), j) Khafaji, Iraq (Cruciferae family), k) Tell Aswad, Syria (Capparis spinosa L.), l) Nahal Hemar Cave, Israel (Coriandrum sativum L.), m) Tutankhamun’s tomb, Egypt (Coriandrum sativum L.), n) Tomb of Kha, Egypt (Cuminum cyminum L.), o) Tomb of Amenophis II, Egypt (Anethum graveolens L.), p) Hala Sultan Tekke, Cyprus (Capparis spinosa L.), q) Heilbronn, Germany (Papaver somniferum L.), r) Zeslawice, Poland (Papaver somniferum L.) [compiled using 8–17]. B) Hunter-gatherer pointed-based vessel (on the left) and Early Neolithic flat-based vessel (on the right). C) Scanning Electron Microscope image of a globular sinuate phytolith embedded in a food residue, D) optical light microscope image of modern Alliaria petiolata globular sinuate phytoliths, and E) optical light microscope image of archaeological globular sinuate phytolith examples.


Algorithm, Architecture, Art, Automata, Biological Computation, Chaos, Code, Cybernetics, Drawing machine, History, Interface, Kinetic, Light, Logic, Maker, Man/Machine, Mathematics, Neural Networks, PDF, Social intelligence, Society, Tactical Media

Cybernetic Serendipity the Computer and the Arts – (1968)

Exhibition catalogue. Edited by Jasia Reichardt (Studio International Special Issue, London. 1968)


Anthropology, Art, Capitalism, Code, Commons, Economy, Ethics, History, Interface, Media, Memory, PDF, philosophy, Social intelligence, Society, Tactical Media

Kittler Friedrich : Gramophone Film Typewriter

“Part technological history of the emergent new media in the late nineteenth century, part theoretical discussion of the responses to these media—including texts by Rilke, Kafka, and Heidegger, as well as elaborations by Edison, Bell, Turing, and other innovators—Gramophone, Film, Typewriter analyzes this momentous shift using insights from the work of Foucault, Lacan, and McLuhan. Fusing discourse analysis, structuralist psychoanalysis, and media theory, the author adds a vital historical dimension to the current debates over the relationship between electronic literacy and poststructuralism, and the extent to which we are constituted by our technologies. The book ties the establishment of new discursive practices to the introduction of new media technologies, and it shows how both determine the ways in which psychoanalysis conceives of the psychic apparatus in terms of information machines.”


Anthropology, Art, Capitalism, Chaos, Commons, Economy, Education, Ethics, Media, PDF, Recycling, Society, Tactical Media

Materiality of Information Technology and Electronic Waste

‘The digital realm is an avant-garde to the extent that it is driven by perpetual innovation and perpetual destruction. The built-in obsolescence of digital culture, the endless trashing of last year’s model, the spendthrift throwing away of batteries and mobile phones and monitors and mice . . . and all the heavy metals, all the toxins, sent off to some god-forsaken Chinese recycling village . . . that is the digital avant- garde’ (Cubitt, non-dated)


AI, Algorithm, Biological Computation, Brain, Code, Cybernetics, History, Interface, Logic, Man/Machine, Mathematics, Neural Networks, PDF, Science, Social intelligence, Society

Computing Machinery and Intelligence : Turing, A.M. (1950).

The fact that Babbage’s Analytical Engine was to be entirely mechanical will help us to rid ourselves of a superstition. Importance is often attached to the fact that modern digital computers are electrical, and that the nervous system also is electrical. Since Babbage’s machine was not electrical, and since all digital computers are in a sense equivalent, we see that this use of electricity cannot be of theoretical importance. Of course electricity usually comes in where fast signalling is concerned, so that it is not surprising that we find it in both these connections. In the nervous system chemical phenomena are at least as important as electrical. In certain computers the storage system is mainly acoustic. The feature of using electricity is thus seen to be only a very superficial similarity. If we wish to find such similarities we should took rather for mathematical analogies of function.


Animals, Biology, Biometrics, DNA, Economy, Education, Nature, Neural Networks, Science, Social intelligence, Society

Twittering bacteria: on bacteria… social intelligence

“New research suggests that microbial life can be even richer: highly social, intricately networked, and teeming with interactions [47]. Bassler [3] and other researchers have determined that bacteria communicate using molecules comparable to pheromones. By tapping into this cell-to-cell network, microbes are able to collectively track changes in their environment, conspire with their own species, build mutually beneficial alliances with other types of bacteria, gain advantages over competitors, and communicate with their hosts – the sort of collective strategizing typically ascribed to bees, ants, and people, not to bacteria. Eshel Ben-Jacob [6] indicate that bacteria have developed intricate communication capabilities (e.g. quorum-sensing, chemotactic signalling and plasmid exchange) to cooperatively self-organize into highly structured colonies with elevated environmental adaptability, proposing that they maintain linguistic communication. Meaning-based communication permits colonial identity, intentional behavior (e.g. pheromone-based courtship for mating), purposeful alteration of colony structure (e.g. formation of fruiting bodies), decision-making (e.g. to sporulate) and the recognition and identification of other colonies – features we might begin to associate with a bacterial social intelligence.”


Algorithm, Anthropology, Biometrics, Economy, Interface, Medicine, Society

Computational Anthropology

“The increasing availability of big data from mobile phones and location-based apps has triggered a revolution in the understanding of human mobility patterns. This data shows the ebb and flow of the daily commute in and out of cities, the pattern of travel around the world and even how disease can spread through cities via their transport systems.”


Algorithm, Architecture, Automata, Bio hacking, Brain, Cybernetics, DIY, Interface, Light, Maker, Man/Machine, Mathematics, Music, Neural Networks, Robots, Science, Society, Sound, Tactical Media

History of Computer Art : Cybernetic Sculptures

“In 1968 artists and musicians like Stephen Antonakos, Terry Riley, Charles Ross and Robert Whitman realised installations producing light and sound events for the exhibition “The Magic Theatre”. James Seawright constructed “Electronic Peristyle” 37: an uncommon work for an uncommon exhibition. He installed “power supplies” in a base under a sphere. The sphere was made of transparent plastic and contained 12 photocells. A “cylindrical metal box” with 12 “light beam projectors” was mounted underneath the “plastic sphere”. The electronics in this vertical structure with round segments “was either digital (the earliest family of Motorola RTL logic chips)” or it contained “conventional analog transistor circuits.” These electronics controlled the generation of sounds by “electronic synthesizer modules”. These modules were developed by Robert Moog. He integrated his analog equipment in Seawright´s installation.”


Architecture, Art, Astrology, Automata, Economy, Light, Society, Sound

Nicolas Schöffer and Luminodynamism

“Echoing El Lissistsky’s ‘prouns’ defined as the midway point between architecture and painting, Schöffer would extend the scale of his sculptures to monumental proportions. His 52m high Cybernetic Tower in Liège, created in 1961, senses its immediate environment using microphones, hygrometers and anemometers (wind measurement). The information collected from these sensors is used orchestrate the movement of mirrors and lights on the towers, and also to generate environmental sounds to be played back to the city. Viewed at night time the mirrors act more as colour switches giving an overall impression of network interactions and connections inferred via pulsing colours. With nodes of interconnected light existing in a lattice perhaps Schöffer was attempting to mimic the invisible communication infrastructures that were developed during the 50′s and 60′s and who’s influence had grown to create the science of Cybernetics.”


Algorithm, Architecture, Astrology, Automata, Commons, Economy, Farming, Man/Machine, Mathematics, Society, Water

Crypto Water Computers from 1936

“In the front right corner, in a structure that resembles a large cupboard with a transparent front, stands a Rube Goldberg collection of tubes, tanks, valves, pumps and sluices. You could think of it as a hydraulic computer. Water flows through a series of clear pipes, mimicking the way that money flows through the economy. It lets you see (literally) what would happen if you lower tax rates or increase the money supply or whatever; just open a valve here or pull a lever there and the machine sloshes away, showing in real time how the water levels rise and fall in various tanks representing the growth in personal savings, tax revenue, and so on.”


Algorithm, Art, Astrology, Automata, DIY, Drawing machine, History, Interface, Maker, Man/Machine, Mathematics, Music, Science, Society, Sound

Lord Kelvin’s Harmonic Synthesizer

“Originally designed as a tide predictor in 1873, the system can combine numerous component waves—in some devices, up to 64 separate components—into a single curve. It is based on the earlier pin-and-slot device, which produces simple harmonic motion with the turn of a crank.”


Algorithm, Ethics, Interface, Man/Machine, Mathematics, Nature, Neural Networks, philosophy, Robots, Science, Society, Tactical Media

Robot Ethnography

“Rather, the point of anthropology is typically to locate a people who are typically strange and foreign to us, and then relate the way in which those people live, showing not only how they are different from us but also how they are the same. In doing so, we learn not only about others, but also ourselves. So in that framework, I tend to agree with the critics who say that only way to give a vitalistic account of a robot society is by projecting too many human qualities onto the non-human. What is then left is a non-vitalistic ethnography: an account of a culture devoid of life. Like with Latour and agency, once we show that life is not a necessary criterion for this thing called culture, then the fun really begins — and you can see why lots of people would oppose this.”

Art, Automata, Biology, Biometrics, Film, History, Interface, Man/Machine, Music, Nature, Neural Networks, PDF, Robots, Science, Society, Sound, Tactical Media

Sholpo, Russian sound Art Histories and Generation Z

“Graphical (Drawn) Sound is a technology of synthesizing sound from light that was developed in Soviet Russia in 1929 as a consequence of the newly invented sound-on-film technology, which made possible access to the sound as a trace in a form that could be studied and manipulated. It also opened up the way for a systematic analysis of these traces such that they could be used to produce any sound at will. The laboratories that were soon created became the first-ever prototypes of the future centres for computer music. While most inventors of electronic musical instruments were developing tools for performers, the majority of methods and instruments based on Graphical Sound techniques were created for composers. Similar to modern computer music techniques, the composer could produce the final synthesized soundtrack without need for any performers or intermediates. At exactly the same time similar efforts were being undertaken in Germany by Rudolf Pfenninger in Munich and, somewhat later, by Oscar Fischinger in Berlin. Among the researchers working with Graphical Sound after World War II were the famous filmmaker Norman McLaren (Canada) and the composer and inventor Daphne Oram (UK)”


Algorithm, Art, Automata, Biometrics, Brain, History, Interface, Man/Machine, Mathematics, Music, Neural Networks, PDF, Robots, Science, Society, Sound

When Machines Play Chopin

“However, as the eighteenth-century androids show, machines and or­ ganic nature, including human cognition, were not always polar opposites. Philipp Sarasin writes in his book on machines and the body that the machine and the organic were interchangeable in pre-Romantic thought (75). In another study on machines in human history, Herbert Heckman explains that the relationship between the body and the machine starts with the stone-age necessity to build tools as extensions of the body in order to survive (11). The nineteenth-century desire to separate the mechanical from the organic was a reaction to Enlightenment philosophy and an attempt to break away from this thinking in favour of an emphasis of expression and spirit over form.”


Algorithm, Biometrics, Economy, Interface, Man/Machine, Robots, Science, Society, Tactical Media

Algorithm predicts your next action on video

“Just as in some languages nouns can go before or after verbs but adjectives have to precede nouns, in a particular action, like making tea, the preparer could put a tea bag into an empty cup before or after putting the water on to boil, but no matter what the kettle will go on the stove before the water is poured. The grammar model has another advantage: The algorithm can make educated guesses about partially completed actions in a streaming video. The software makes its best guess as to what the action is and subsequently revises it if necessary.”

Animals, Biology, Brain, Ethics, Nature, Science, Society

Canine Morality

“Interestingly, dogs even outsmart chimpanzees on some theory-of-mind tests. When a researcher points at one of two cups, for example, dogs almost always run to the cup that is pointed to, a sign that they have intuited what the scientist was thinking — i.e., that the researcher was trying to show the dog something. Chimps, by contrast, have no idea what we mean when we point at something.”

Algorithm, Bio hacking, Biology, DNA, Ethics, Man/Machine, Medicine, Nature, Science, Society

Autodesk Builds Its Own Virus, as the Software Giant Develops Design Tools for Life Itself

“Of course, putting these tools into more people’s hands carries risks as well. While scientists see great potential to create novel medicines, vaccines and nanomaterials, bad actors could attempt to use them to create bio-weapons.”