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...
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
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?
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/
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."
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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/
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.
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/
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
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
those Andropovian bongs (rik) Tue 17 Jan 12 17:57
I quit even trying to make sense of him.
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?
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.)
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."
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".
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."
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.
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.
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.
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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