Can we stop bombing please?

After the WWII, the entire field of operations was taking to a different level where analogue contexts no longer defined the course of action, policy and the direction of future investments. RAND took the battlefield to space, thereby introducing and eventually rendering the axiomatic drivers to the digital age of computers and coding. It was the clear insight of the military commanders and political leadership that the new operational fields would require a new kind of intelligence to lead and co-direct with the traditional military expertise; the speculative and creative engineer-researcher able to define his very own new territory where there was none before: space as a way to harness and direct operational resources anywhere on the planet. RAND embodied and directed at the same time a cultural, social and political shift towards a beginning of evidence based policy and R&D, building up datasets that were to be used as input for policy makers. It literally created its own axiomatic borders and playing ground. It built a new ontology alongside the old one of traditional and analogue warfare. This new ontology posed new questions, created new definitions of what a threat is, what a risk is, what assets are, what security means, and ultimately, the very nature of war.

RAND could do this because of three key shifts:

A. A key understanding of the military and political top to understand the deep nature of the change that is needed to face the consequences of a reality that has been shaped by the tools of the day: “In a report to the Secretary of War, Commanding General of the Army Air Force H. H. “Hap” Arnold wrote: “During this war the Army, Army Air Forces, and the Navy have made unprecedented use of scientific and industrial resources. The conclusion is inescapable that we have not yet established the balance necessary to insure the continuance of teamwork among the military, other government agencies, industry, and the universities. Scientific planning must be years in advance of the actual research and development work.”

B. A key understanding of choosing the right use case, that actually in its successful design shows more than the mastering of certain skills and techniques: “But the most riveting observation, one that deserves an honored place in the Central Premonitions Registry, was made by one of the contributors, Jimmy Lipp (head of Project RAND’s Missile Division), in a follow-on paper nine months later: “Since mastery of the elements is a reliable index of material progress, the nation which first makes significant achievements in space travel will be acknowledged as the world leader in both military and scientific techniques. To visualize the impact on the world, one can imagine the consternation and admiration that would be felt here if the United States were to discover suddenly that some other nation had already put up a successful satellite.” (http://www.rand.org/pubs/special_memoranda/SM11827.html)

C. The key passage in Preliminary Design of Satellite Vehicle, prepared on May 2 1946, the publication that kick-started RAND, is on page 4 section 8: Method of safely landing a satellite vehicle: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the primary contribution of this report are in methods, and not in the specific figures in this design study. One point in particular should be highlighted – the design gross weight, which is of the greatest importance in estimating cost or in comparing any two proposals in this field is the least definitely ascertained single feature in the whole process. (underlining is original)…..The most important thing is that a satellite vehicle can be made at all in the present state of the art.”

The successful combination of A, B, and C – balance of disciplines and funding, choice of use cases and building of new methodologies – is rare, and when it succeeds it means a period of hegemonic and infrastructural domination, as we have witnessed in the leadership of the USA until now.

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Manifesto for a n o m a l i e s

A poeme en prose

 

People, if you get this, here is a manifesto.

and then of course this page would be empty as you would get it anyway.

Still, there is a very small, m i n u t e possibility that you are an anomaly, as well as being on a scale of 1 to 10, a 9 out of ten. Just saying in numbers as it makes the point easy in the days, these days, of numbers.

You think so? Then read on. Everything is going be all right then. (sway with it, stay with it)

There are about 6 to 7 intelligences. They build a society. Then there is one intelligence to bind them all, like the ring, yes. It has no distinct qualities. It simply is. It makes everything visible, even more, it makes everything possible. This tale has been written so many times in so many generations. Sometimes simple as in a fairy tale, sometimes hard as in Heidegger. Always the story was the same. How to make all the other 6, 7 intelligences recognize that which they by definition think they do not need. It is not there, for them. It is nowhere to be seen. It does not register on a scale of one, two, three, ABC.

The intelligences have been at it and at each other for all history long, trying the number 1, number 2 spot. We saw them coming as hunters, as soldiers, priests, kings, citizens and now we see them coming as measurers. In this iteration they measure everything, assign it a number and give it weight. It weighs what it is worth in the very classification it was classified in or as. There is always a little extra, a something that does not fit the c a t e g o r y. Hmm ok, that is c o i n c i d e n c e, a fluke, something strange, an anomaly.

We know this extra will not be silenced at some point and as that is our job we try to tell that to this particular iteration. So we learn the talk and trade and try to makes them see reason in the way they have defined that themselves.

Just like we always did before we got burned as witches, hunted as Cathars, tracked down as anarchists, labelled schizo, and hailed (in the last particular internet iteration) as visionaries and crypto wizards. Progress indeed 🙂

Now this has to be said. The m e a s u r e r is originally on our side. You might say, we called him, conjured them up as the intelligences before the tcp-ip virus were on the brink of blasting the planet itself out of orbit, politician ego unchecked as unchecked can be.

We could not simple move on, as they were going to move us out for good.

We could not ride on.

So yes, it was us. We called them in ourselves. Hoping the cure would not kill the patient.

It is working.

And the them we always failed to talk to, is taking itself out, moving more and more capabilities to that intelligence that was built with all the extras of all other times. They call them m a c h i n e s.

I call them by a different name.

So what does mean my friends?

We are free.

Read again. On the road again. On the move again.

We are free.

We have no more obligation to explain, to convince, to tell, to plead, to beg. To beg. Imagine we did that? Yes, we did that. We begged so many times. No one home.

This time, this time, you find us at home, in our own homes, in our streets, playing ball in the park, saying hi to the neighbour and just opening that door when I’m thinking about my doorbell, when you are going to ring it?

rvk

now best listen to the doorbell

Decentralized: Autonomous dignity

 

It hit me last evening at a crypto meeting at BitBelgium in Gent. The room was packed. And no hipsters. At all. Jimmy Two Button MiningKingsz spoke wisely of biosmodding and overclocking to get more hash power, the small time grafters looking so smart from the Muide and all over were talking alt coin, Federal Police in the house ( I guess with the obvious photographer :), David doing a fantastic political intro with heart as he called the impressive youngster from Gent4Humanity on stage to talk about the refugees in Calais and how we should have more solidarity simply because we are able to be at home.

On my left a guy who wanted out as all his money (including his children savings) was locked on Kraken, to our left a lady who had bought 200 euro worth of bitcoin early. A talk on DAO, Settlemint and real applications on the blockchain.

The miners mine in rigs these days switching from coin to coin in pools. IoTA came up a lot. Ripple, NEO , Ether and … no hipsters!

There was an energy in the room. Somebody mentioned May 68. Really? Yes. And well, I guess, it made some sense.
Revolutions are strange creatures. There must be something in the air.
Even Lévy in History of Magic speaks of this. There is real tension between bodies and literally we feel there is something in the air. Electricity.
The most difficult achievement in any upheaval, mayhem, revolution, whatever we choose to call it is to bring a coherent core of diversity and variety together in a temporary focus.
Ideologies, religion, at least here in Europe, big visions are no longer able to bring such a core into effect.
This time, this time it is about a very mundane, the most mundane issue: money. Your pay, your paycheck that you once ( I remember) could be paid in cash (in an envelope). The fees you pay to a bank and then it still takes three days to have your own money appear in a bank account in another country. The fact that I can not go on coinbase with a MasterCard. Let’s even not mention the obscene bonus policy of banks. We forget that we bailed them out only three years ago.  Our money in the bank is making us nothing and even costing us, while we still pay fees to be able to pay for transfers in infrastructures that are paid for twenty times over. Let’s just abstract from all of that.

What is becoming very obvious to everyone in that room and everyone involved in crypto is that every currency is a hack. The dollar was build with violence, blood and hardcore power as it had to wipe out all the local currencies of the states, cities and villages running their own ICO’s.
Then one day you were called a forger, a counterfeiter as the rich and powerful (and owners of the ‘state’) made their move for their own coin: the dollar.
Some tell this tale so well.
I salute Fortino.
Oh, do I hope to go like Elijah when I go.
I doubt it.
Still, we can aim for some dignity.

Fortino Sámano, “a Zapatista lieutenant and counterfeiter, which Casasola snapped as Sámano, smoking a last cigar, appeared to stare death nonchalantly in the face moments before his execution by firing squad (it was reported that he himself gave the order to fire).”

He forged a coin. These days he could set up an alt coin.
But as long as the exchanges are not fully decentralized old money can still pay hacking power to bring down exchanges. Who labels what is ‘normal’, what is ‘criminal’? Well today it is still a very tiny subset of agency that is able to take down exchanges and sites by calling them ‘criminal’, but how would we know they are not taken down because of strategic reasons and a commitment to pre-digital power structures.

You know what I think?

I think back to Odessa in the early 1920s.

It is 1919, 20, 21. Konstantin Georgiyevich Paustovsky is in Odessa. The city is in perpetual fight. On some weeks three to four factions, groups and armies are occupying the city, just for a day or three days. Machno’s anarchists, Trotsky’s communists, Symon Petliura fascists, and the Whites of Denikin (whom in a way we must salute if only for the power of his strategic thinking and his Memoirs) all held the city for a while. They all had their own currencies. They refused to accept other coins or paper.

In comes the people.

Paustovsky recites how one day – no one knows who started to – the good people of Odessa decided to accept any, any coin or paper.
Creative souls started drawing bills of billions of daisies, strawberries, ripples, news, waltons, rubles…the one even prettier then the other.

And they were all accepted.

People smiled as they took the bills and negotiated with their own common sense and ‘intelligent touch’, their sensibilities.

The people is way more clever then given credit for.

When they realize there is no more common sense, dignity, truth or decency behind any of the tools they are forced to use daily and pay fully for with their own toiling hands, well, they will simply start accepting alt coins.

There is something in the air.

From privacy to privacies

Privacy is not a static concept but an attitude that is distributed over all the actors: a ‘person’, the environment (home, street, shop, office..) and the objects. Privacy is thus a relation. We can actualize it as levels of accountability.
Privacies can be worked on.
Privacy is a red herring. Citizens never had any privacy from government surveillance. Companies want you happy and rich and do not have an interest in crippling you, on the contrary.
We all profit from a system in which people control their own data and auction to service providers. Transparency and accountability in such a system would make me happy to expose and stage all my capabilities and talents as I would be a embodied advertisement for my skills without hiding my weaknesses or learning curve.
The real issue is solidarity. Will such a system be for ‘all’, or just for the 1%percent in smart cities aka gated communities.
So while you were fighting for your privacy, your very actionable identity (as a citizen) is stolen from you.
GDPR won’t fix any of that.
Think from a situation of full connectivity then we work back for the best balance between agency for machines and humans.

So ideally our cybernetics would resemble sliders that are set to actions and resource allocation, capabilities.

But the question remains, can we organize, and can we organize to win? In my opinion winning would mean not only breaking the state-corporation in its self-assigned provider of normality and numbering (passports and IP), but building a global country called ‘country’ that encompasses all intelligences, whether human, animal, hybrid and machine like. In the words of Smari McCarthy, winning means breaking the client-server model in technological terms (tcp/ip as open backbone plus intelligence at the edges in the neighbourhoods), in societal terms (full equality of machines, humans, animals and hybrids and concentrated hot or coldspots where every entity is free to move to and leave from) and in psychological terms (embracing all human diversity, from voice hearers to angel children, mongoloid to spina bifada, from bipolar to autist).
So ideally our cybernetics would resemble sliders that are set to actions and resource allocation, capabilities. In these sliders 50% is fixed tuned to 25% animals, 25% humans, 25% machines and 25% planet. The other 50 is set to any idiosyncratic situation. Every generation can changes the algos that set the sliders: 30% for animals…..
In our cybernetics there would no more taxes, just VAT like on any transaction,
Sort of dreaming 🙂

and an IoT ethics, a sort of praxis, that redefines our hitherto anthropocentric position into equal and reciprocal agency of all actors: people, things, animals, planet.

The actionables that seem most promising as coming from the discussions in York are first and foremost the strategic framework that we can use as the bottomline from which to start:
”What can be called into doubt?
What can we compromise on?”
the concepts that can inform concrete IoT architectures
capacity
capability
and an IoT ethics, a sort of praxis,  that redefines our hitherto anthropocentric position into equal and reciprocal agency of all actors: people, things, animals, planet.

It is serious times indeed. A species entire has to make up its mind. Shall I stay singular and frantically keep searching for tools to build some shelter?

Put

spotify:track:3cJ5VGhKzfrJZVTVGOyBxW

on repeat

 

And when we finally found that cave, we started painting it. To see and enjoy, but also because the act of painting made it into a shelter, a home. OK. We move on.

And when we finally settled down in houses, we started building fences. To keep the animals in, but also because the very act of fencing made it into a shelter, a home. OK. We move on.

And as we build cities we build walls. To keep some people in and some people out but also because the very fact of building walls made it into a shelter, a home. OK. We move on.

 

I think by now we know that everywhere on earth we go we cannot take out the shelter from what we are. We build our own home and embody the space in between. We can only care for it. Like a blanket folding back and over us we forever extend our clothes to bridge an emptiness so deep, ah well, so deep.

 

What is it we are building now? Hybrid things, smart cities, invisible interactions and resonance moving all around us. Where is our equivalent of walls, fences, shelter warm as a blanket woven by your grandmothers?

 

Where is it?

 

Ah yes, shelter itself has become fluid. What to do as a human in need of clothing when none can found. None. Really? Yes, none, nowhere.

 

How can I care if I cannot find shelter?

 

I will keep checking my phone.

I will keep checking.

I will keep checking.

 

Keep

 

Checking

 

Checking is what I will keep.

 

It is all you have left.

 

And we build it, purposefully.

 

The constant in this process, so inevitable, so human, so simple and clear?

You my friend. A ‘self’.

The ‘I’ trying to find cover in any situation.

Think twice before believing that self-organization is about the act of finding shelter.

It is not there.

Nowhere to be found.

Self-organization is about organizing your self.

Now you know.

Now you know, everywhere you go you ‘re gonna have me as your man (ah Dylan).

 

It is serious times indeed. A species entire has to make up its mind. Shall I stay singular and frantically keep searching for tools to build some shelter?

 

Or shall I go plural inside and keep warm from standing upright?

 

The question simply boils down to you asking yourself how much clothing do you need?

 

A lot?

 

In old times, I am sure some old man would have called it Judgement Day.