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inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #176 of 240: Rob Myers (robmyers) Mon 16 Jan 12 04:37
    
Oh I spoke to a guy last year who was convinced that NATO are dumping
millions of tonnes of ALUMINUM OXIDE into the sky over the US.

That was the saner part of the conversation. Weirdest thing is he was
Canadian and I'm British so I don't really understand what was meant to
be at issue.

If he's the future it's not the sky I'm afraid of...
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #177 of 240: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 16 Jan 12 05:09
    
DARPA continues to be busy bees...drones for clones, clones for
drones?

http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/MTO/Programs/Hybrid_Insect_Micro_Electromechanic
al_Systems_%28HI-MEMS%29.aspx
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #178 of 240: Email from George Mokray (jonl) Mon 16 Jan 12 05:52
    
"Hezbollah is a terrorist group and a religious faction in virulent
permanent opposition to a nation-state..."

Hezbollah has built a telecom network, which they are trying to expand
- by force if necessary.  Does that make them a business as well?
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #179 of 240: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 16 Jan 12 06:11
    
Chemtrails have a soundtrack... odd sounds recorded and reported from
various places around the world: http://strangesoundsinthesky.com/
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #180 of 240: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 16 Jan 12 06:46
    
Here's a futurist outfit's Slideshare "trends for executive summary."

http://www.slideshare.net/jwtintelligence/jwt-10-trends-for-2012-executive-sum
mary

If you've never seen how contemporary trendspotting gets packaged for
the net these days, this is a nice cogent example.  Note how the
graphics make this look like a designer mood-board, and how the user
isn't troubled by any of the facts and figures of the firm's "desk
research" (which, frankly,  probably consisted mostly of websurfing).

People often complain about "futurist jargon."  Like, in this case,
"Objectifying Objects."  Come on, what could that possibly mean?  But,
when you're trying to get people to reperceive something -- "that's not
an oddity, that's a trend" -- it helps a whole lot to re-name it.  To
re-name it is to re-think it.

In the case of "objectified objects," you can check out this year's
design-hipster cult gizmo, the BERG "Little Printer."  This thing may
or may not become a commercial success, but it got tremendous mindshare
among the net designerati.

http://bergcloud.com/littleprinter/

This gizmo's basically as cheap and low-down as a thermal printer out
of a cash register. However, you can see it's been reconceptualized as
a means of giving physical form to a cloud of social media snippets. 
In other words, some fading thermal pic of my Facebook boyfriend, all
crumpled up in my purse, is "actually" part of a megatrend of
"objectified objects."  

And if I believe that, am I better off?  Well, yeah. I am. At least,
I'm probably better off than somebody who gets a BERG Little Printer as
a Christmas present.  Because then I just stare and think, "gee, this
really makes me feel out-of-it."
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #181 of 240: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 16 Jan 12 07:00
    
<bruces> found this bit of street art, a shot of an "Authorized Drone
Strike Zone" in NYC:
https://twitter.com/#!/BaLueBolivar/status/158728329225179137/photo/1/large
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #182 of 240: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 16 Jan 12 07:03
    
Re<inkwell.vue.180>: that slide deck seems more of a review of
recent-past trends, than a view of the future. 
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #183 of 240: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 16 Jan 12 09:43
    
Weirdness is Free, on Triple Canapy...article re: Anonymous
http://canopycanopycanopy.com/15/our_weirdness_is_free

How do you both see hactivism playing out 30 years from now? Same
issues of freedom and open source and surreptitiously watching Big
Brother, or something new? Or do these issues finally get resolved?
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #184 of 240: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 16 Jan 12 10:31
    
Pilotless cargo drone delivers "Meals Ready to Eat."  Might be a
harbinger of little urban aircraft that deliver pizzas.

"Amazon Drone Delivery," maybe.  After all, drones are basically GSP
smartphones with wings.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2083673/Military-reveals-revolutionary
-pilotless-cargo-drone-deliver-supplies-territories-plagued-roadside-bombs.htm
l
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #185 of 240: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 16 Jan 12 10:36
    
Oh and, by the way, the "roadside bombs" these cargo drones are
avoiding are basically the poor-guys' Predators; they're remote-control
explosives without the wings.

This guerrilla ground-war versus global air-power thing has been going
on since the Vietnam days of Huey choppers versus punjee sticks. 
That's pretty interesting, but what's REALLY interesting is the
business of global punjee sticks versus guerrilla air drones.  9/11 was
all about guerrilla air power and the world hasn't been the same
since.
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #186 of 240: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 16 Jan 12 11:06
    
Here's the stats on the drone being used by the green enviro Sea
Shepherds to embarrass whatever malefactors the Sea Shepherds are
interested in embarrassing.

"Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate,
document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal
activities on the high seas."

http://www.suasnews.com/2011/12/10803/the-sea-shepard-drone/

*So, if drones are being used by guys you agree with politically, then
drones must be great gizmos all-around.  I think this conclusion is
formally known as "confirmation bias."

*I got to inspect the Rainbow Warrior this year.  The brand-new
spanking high-tech Rainbow Warrior on her maiden cruise. No drones
aboard yet.  Matter of time, I reckon.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brucesterling/sets/72157628109640718/
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #187 of 240: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 16 Jan 12 14:06
    
This makes me think of those dadaist punks in Kessel's _Good News from
Outer Space_. They broke into cars and installed new stereo systems.
We should see attack drones that explode overhead and spray a
substantial radius with caramel popcorn or images of Zooey Deschanel's
tuxedo-encrusted fingernails.
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #188 of 240: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 17 Jan 12 06:15
    

*This NASA open-source software ought to be handy if you want to
parametrically generate some homemade drones.  Then you can fabricate
'em out of recycled plastic and unleash 'em on an unsuspecting
populace.

*The best part is that when the cops show up looking for your
"criminal drone lab," there isn't one.  It's all been outsourced to the
cloud and then crowdsourced to fab labs.

http://www.openvsp.org/
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #189 of 240: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 17 Jan 12 06:35
    
Here's an article about Italy that's recommended by Alex Roe, the
commentator I was quoting earlier.  It begins with an abstract economic
argument about what Italy supposedly ought to do as a rational
nation-state in a global economic system, but as it rambles on, it
begins to describe how Italy actually exists.

Makes you wonder what will last longer: the phantoms of the global
financial elite or the shadows of the "extra-governmental entities." 
Nice map of a "mafia index" in the article here.  Interesting that
we've lived to a point where stuff like that gets a nifty info-viz
graphic.

The finance crisis isn't about "law and order" versus "crime," it's
about one entrenched system of extralegal corruption against another
entrenched system of extralegal corruption.  The Italian population is
about as likely to pay their taxes as the financiers are likely to pay
a Tobin Tax.

http://creditbubblebath.blogspot.com/2012/01/prospects-for-structural-reform-i
n.html
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #190 of 240: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 17 Jan 12 13:23
    
*Deepak Chopra waxing all perky and positive about the bright side of
mankind's great crises.  Gosh what terrible rubbish this is.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/global-trends-optimism_b_1195330.h
tml
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #191 of 240: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Tue 17 Jan 12 17:57
    
I quit even trying to make sense of him.
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #192 of 240: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 17 Jan 12 21:30
    
I've been thinking that some of the most interesting and contradictory
comments are about movements, crowds, mobs, gangs, armies, criminal
associations and the like, and that is is hard to look at trends in
group behavior without paying some attention to political histories and
political patterns.

Thanks be to Saint Synchronicity, I read something earlier today that
shed an interesting light on that concern.

    "Technology foresight has been stuck for the last 10-20 years; we
need to be paying more attention to social-cultural futurism."

http://www.openthefuture.com/2012/01/the_future_isnt_what_it_used_t_1.html

 What do you think?  How important are social patterns and shifts
versus technical innovations? 
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #193 of 240: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 17 Jan 12 21:31
    
(Sorry, I should have clarified -- the most interesting and
contradictory comments in this conversation, not in general.)
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #194 of 240: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 17 Jan 12 22:05
    
I'm not sure exactly what Jamais means when he refers to
"social-cultural futurism," but "social" and "cultural" are both
prominent in my bag of thoughts. Those categories, though, are
practically too broad to be meaningful. 

Right now "social" is tied to marketing, via "social media," and
cultures intimately intertwingle with markets, fertilized with money:
"All currency is neurotic currency." (Norman O. Brown, who also said
"In its famous paradox, the equation of money and excrement,
psychoanalysis becomes the first science to state what common sense and
the poets have long known - that the essence of money is in its
absolute worthlessness."
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #195 of 240: Rob Myers (robmyers) Wed 18 Jan 12 04:07
    
NASA's "open source" license isn't. The future is one in which more
and more people claim that more and more things that are less and less
open source are "open".
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #196 of 240: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 18 Jan 12 06:20
    
Bruce's new book of short stories, _Gothic High Tech_, has just been
released: http://amzn.to/ziMNot

"He roams our postmodern planet, from the polychrome tinsel of Los
Angeles to the chicken-fried cyberculture of Austin... From the
heretical Communist slums of gritty Belgrade to the Gothic industrial
castles of artsy Torino...always whipping that slider-bar between the
unthinkable and the unimaginable."
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #197 of 240: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 18 Jan 12 08:39
    
http://www.openthefuture.com/2012/01/the_future_isnt_what_it_used_t_1.html

Yeah, that Cascio thing is super.   I loved that.  It's part of the
peril of looking at the aspects of futurity that are easiest to number
and study -- "searching for the keys under the streetlights."

Unfortunately what Jamais is describing there is the basic difference
between the sciences and the humanities.  It's part of the intellectual
legacy of futurism to describe history in terms of scientific advances
and market forces.  That's where futurism came from.

Once you drift from that field and start talking about futurity like
Italo Calvino did -- "The future's all about
'Lightness,''Quickness,''Exactitude,' 'Visibility,' 'Multiplicity,'
'Consistency' -- well, you can say some truly fascinating stuff, but
you're also getting very, uh, literary.  A lot of the issues Cascio
claims we're overlooking are issues that should have been properly
tackled by public-spirited, campaigning novelists.
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #198 of 240: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 18 Jan 12 08:42
    
"NASA's "open source" license isn't. The future is one in which more
and more people claim that more and more things that are less and less
open source are "open"."

*Every piece of "open-source" anything is considered an act of fascist
oppression by somebody somewhere.
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #199 of 240: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 18 Jan 12 10:00
    
I'm surprised at Jamais' list that "very few of us even came close to
imagining." I found nothing on that list surprising. Perhaps Jamais and
his futurist friend were blinded by science?

The "collapse of American hegemony" is just an aspect of the erosion
of the power of nation-states. The people who set out to bankrupt the
U.S. and weaken its government weren't shooting themselves in the foot.
They were aligned with more powerful and wealthy forces, and
acknowledging that those corporate powers didn't want to contribute to
entities that they don't own and control.
  
inkwell.vue.430 : Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2012
permalink #200 of 240: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 18 Jan 12 11:06
    
It might be a bit generational, too, Jon. Us old folks were thinking
about the future before tech permeated our lives. My original
fascination with sci-fi and futurism was about how otherly different it
all was. It was informing me of tech that actually existed or was in
the near future; of which I was unaware. Jamais' and the younger
generation are immersed in it a bit differently, and you're right, it
may have resulted in some blind spots. Apparently he sees it now.
Bruce's point in #197 is well-taken. Talking about the "whole
enchilada" is speculation at best. I barely grasp the currents of the
'humanities', wouldn't know how to extrapolate them into future
scenarios. Back to Bruce's original statement about knowing what the
"drivers" are.
  

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