Ubiquitous Commons: governance in the age of hyper-connectivity

(this post comes from our sister project, the Ubiquitous Commons: http://www.ubiquitouscommons.org/ubiquitous-commons-article-on-nova-24-on-il-sole24ore-governing-hyperconnectivity/)

An article has appeared today on Nòva 24 on il Sole 24 Ore, explaining the major concepts regarding the Ubiquitous Commons, as well as a series of scenarios on health, science, open access, privacy and the transformation of the concept of property.

The article can be seen in the print version of the newspaper on sale today (March 1st 2015) and you can see a preview in the scans below.

A series of accompanying articles (also accessible through the augmented reality application for Nòva24) can be accessed here:

The articles are in Italian, and they will soon be translated in other languages.

Here are some preview scans below:

Stakhanov, a BigData god, predicts human futures

Stakhanov is a BigData god.

It is a reflection about the role which we, as human beings and as members of society, are attributing to data, information and algorithms.

Stakhanov installation

Stakhanov installation

Stakhanov captures public information from millions of people on social networks, and searches for patterns through it, using people’s locations, emotions, topics of interests and relations.

When it finds these patterns, it uses them to make predictions about people.

Predictions about where people will be, about their emotions in certain contexts, about at what time they will be doing which activity, about who they will relate with, or who they will be close to in space.

Stakhanov continuously harvests social networks for information and data, making connections, assumptions, correlations, using them to predict the future.
 
Line-by-line, it emits its verdicts about what will be and that which won’t.
 
Millions of people agree on the probability of a certain event? Fine, Stakhanov agrees, too, and it predicts it as a certain future.

Stakhanov prints out predictions

Stakhanov prints out predictions

 
You went running on the last three tuesdays, as documented by neat little maps published on Facebook? Well, Stakhanov predicts that you shall happily jog next tuesday, too: the gods-of-data say so.
 
This is the Word, coming from the Data-Above, in The Cloud.
 

A playful neo-religious data-invasion of privacy, false-hopes and the ingenuity in contemporary determinism.

During transmediale’s opening ceremony, Stakhanov gave a short speech which was generated by capturing all of the relations which the festival established in the past 3 years on social networks with thousands of people. The topics and emotions expressed in all of the social network conversations captured in this way were processed using natural language analysis to attempt a prediction on the possible topics for the festival’s next editions, and to express the major concerns and interests of the transmediale’s audience and reference communities.

Here is what came out:

 

Here are some images from the exhibit:

In the exhibit, a series of prints showed Stakhanov’s cosmology.

Stakhanov is a wordplay between Alexey Stakhanov, the epic russian mine worker who became famous for breaking all production records, and the Stacks, a term described by Bruce Sterling to indicate how we are not really using Internet anymore, but a series of Stacks, closed ecosystems owned by large corporations, such as Fecebook, Google, Amazon or Apple.

Thus, Stakhanov is the god using the Stacks to continuously and constantly mine people’s information, to produce the future.

We can use the images below to understand more about Stakhanov’s cosmology.

Stakhanov's cosmology 1

Stakhanov’s cosmology 1

In this image, we see how human beings live in the Socialis Continuus, in which we are ourselves, with our identities, relations, emotions.

We are influenced by Stacks, large corporations which now largely control how we access the Internet, and which also define large parts of the ways in which we relate, are fulfilled, gain access to knowledge, etc.

The Stacks use our actions to understand who we are, creating profiles which represent us, in the Stack Veritas.

Algorithms process our profiles and their relations to create other information about us, a description of reality, in the Res Algoritmica.

Stakhanov grabs all of this and searches for patterns within it, to make predictions, which might influence us.

Stakhanov Cosmology 2

Stakhanov Cosmology 2

In our daily lives we are Hacceitas, our selves, with our relations, identities, emotions, actions, thoughts, etc.

In the transition to our digital lives, some of this information is transformed: we become an Imago, a representation of ourselves.

Stacks create this Imago, the representation of ourselves in the digital domain. Thus, they are the Artifex (the artists, creating the representation of life)

Stakhanov captures the Imago of people, and searches for patterns in them, across time, locations, emotions and activities. When it finds patterns, it organises them into a Forma.

The Forma are used to create predictions, the Prophetia, which we come to know, and influence us.

Stakhanov Cosmology 3

Stakhanov Cosmology 3

Our Imago is represented in the Cloud, which is only truly accessible by the Stacks and a limited number of other, interrelated, subjects and entities, in the Caelum Internum.

Through the APIs other entities, among which is Stakhanov, are able to access the Imago of people, with many limitations and incompletenesses.

This is the Caelum Externum, in which the Imago is partially available, as the Stacks keep most part of them for themselves.

Stakhanov Cosmology 4

Stakhanov Cosmology 4

The last image, shows the Stack’s phylosopy.

In all of this Omnia Sunt Adventores, “everyone is a customer”.

Every person and entity is a customer for the Stacks, with different levels of engagement.

The Hospes, are the people who dedicate attention (Adtentio). Anyone who, for any reason, dedicates time and attention, is already a customer.

The Benevolens are the ones who share information (Informatio), such as their email, behaviour, actions.

The Cliens actually spend money ($).

The Stacks are obsessed with Clients (Clientibus Obsesses).

Here are some of the reactions to the Stakhanov exhibit at transmediale:

http://video.tagesspiegel.de/transmediale-2015-der-krieg-um-unsere-daten.html

http://lorezmag.com/transmediale-2015/

http://www.berlinartlink.com/2015/01/29/exhibition-transmediale-capture-all-disengagement-or-acceleration/

http://www.bln.fm/2015/01/transmediale-2015-die-digitale-komfortzone-als-sanftes-gefaengnis/

http://www.lastampa.it/2015/02/06/torinosette/rubriche/globalisti-a-torino/globalisti-a-torino-j5lIybcZqeGuxKypsCqSeN/pagina.html

http://www.berlin.de/kultur-und-tickets/fotos/events/3755387-1744873.gallery.html?page=3

http://breitband.deutschlandradiokultur.de/brb150131/

http://www.art-in-berlin.de/incbmeld.php?id=3471

http://www.taz.de/1/archiv/digitaz/artikel/?ressort=ku&dig=2015%2F01%2F31%2Fa0217&cHash=058fe10ed80597763dc301c1d6b73131

http://www.ka-news.de/kultur/kunst/art139,1569731

https://www.wired.de/collection/latest/transmediale-ausstellung-kunst-berlin

http://gloriabiberger.de/?p=1854

http://www.srf.ch/kultur/kunst/medienkunst-zeigt-wir-sind-komplizen-der-ueberwacher

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/transmediale-Das-Smartphone-als-Folterknecht-der-Gedankenpolizei-2534422.html

http://lesflaneurs.de/2015/01/29/der-mensch-und-die-technik/

http://las-berlin.com/transmediale-%E8%BF%9E%E6%8E%A5%E8%89%BA%E6%9C%AF%EF%BC%8C%E6%96%87%E5%8C%96%E4%B8%8E%E7%A7%91%E6%8A%80/

http://www.dattelner-morgenpost.de/freizeit/kunst/Kunstfestival-Transmediale-zeigt-Macht-der-Algorithmen;art256,1485701

Stakhanov: the BigData Oracle for a new era

From Wikipedia:

“In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to interface wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods.
The word oracle comes from the Latin verb ōrāre “to speak” and properly refers to the priest or priestess uttering the prediction. In extended use, oracle may also refer to the site of the oracle, and to the oracular utterances themselves, called khrēsmoi (χρησμοί) in Greek.
Oracles were thought to be portals through which the gods spoke directly to people.”
Stakhanov bigdata oracle

Stakhanov: our new religion?

Stakhanov is the BigData Oracle of the new era.
In the era of Data, Information and Knowledge, Stakhanov is the expression of our new global data-religion.
Stakhanov continuously harvests social networks for information and data, making connections, assumptions, correlations, using them to predict the future.
Line-by-line, it emits its verdicts about what will be and that which won’t.
 
Millions of people agree on the probability of a certain event? Fine, Stakhanov agrees, too, and it predicts it as a certain future.
 
You went running on the last three tuesdays, as documented by neat little maps published on Facebook? Well, Stakhanov predicts that you shall happily jog next tuesday, too: the gods-of-data say so.
 
This is the Word, coming from the Data-Above, in The Cloud.
 
A playful neo-religious data-invasion of privacy, false-hopes and the ingenuity in contemporary determinism.
Join us at the transmediale festival in Berlin from Jan. 28th to Feb. 1st, in Berlin, at the HKW to experience Stakhanov and a workshop on the Ubiquitous Commons, exploring the opportunities and dangers coming from the wide availability of ubiquitous data coming from our lives, relations, bodies and activities, and he ways in which we can turn this scenario to our advantage, as individuals and as a society.
Read more on the transmediale website:

 

NOTE: More detailed explanations about the concept, process and working details (including source code and data-sets) for Stakhanov will be published on Art is Open Source during the festival.

Incautious Porn at SSN2014 in Barcelona

We’ll be attending SSN2014 (the 6th Biannual Surveillance and Society Conference) in Barcelona to present the outcomes of our Incautious Porn project: an anthropological experiment in blackmail and the perception of private/public space online.

From the conference site:

Contemporary surveillance is characterised by ambiguities and asymmetries. Surveillance results from different desires and rationales: control, governance, security, profit, efficiency but also care, empowerment, resistance and play. Surveillance is never neutral. Surveillance is always about power and that power is increasingly asymmetric. Surveillance practices are also changing and as ‘smart’ surveillance systems proliferate utilising and generating ‘Big Data’ new forms of ambiguity and asymmetry arise.

We will be presenting the Incautious Porn project:

Incautious Porn, an anthropological experiment in blackmail and the perception of private/public space online

 

“We have radically changed our perception of what is public and what is private.

 

While using social networks, search engines and websites determining who has access to our information, our personal details, our habits and preferences is often complex or not easily accessible.

 

Each person‘s information is sold hundreds of times each day, while surfing websites and social media sites, with information passing from one provider to the other in ways that are subtle and non-transparent: data collected on one site may be used on other sited to sell us advertisements or to investigate on our lives.

 

On top of that, most people tend to interpret social media sites as new forms of public spaces, and it is fundamental for service providers‘ strategies that this perception is maintained, to promote our full disclosure, allowing them to collect even more data about ourselves.

 

We used the project Incautious Porn to investigate on this scenario, to explore the shifting and blurring of the boundaries of what we perceive as our privacy and as our private and public spaces.

 

Incautious Porn uses the operations of a fake company systematically invading our privacy (even to the point of performing simulated forms of blackmail) to collect enormous amounts of information which we have used to analyze this scenario.

 

In Incautious Porn art acts both as a sensor on the transformation of human societies and as a tool for analyzing its effects.

 

The effects of the Incautious Porn project and communication campaign have been massive, bringing it to the attention of a large, global, audience and, thus, allowing the research team to benefit from a large data set.

 

Furthermore, the actions of the blackmailing fake-company have been led using an ethical approach: no money was taken from people, and all their personal data has been preserved, also using the initiative as a testing lab for novel privacy and security preservation techniques, and as a campaign for awareness about the transformation of people‘s perception of contemporary private/public spaces.”

On: 25th April 2014, at SSN2014, at the CCCB, street Montalegre 5

Anthropological Innovation: observing and understanding the mutation of human life

Anthropological Innovation on il Sole 24 Ore

Anthropological Innovation on il Sole 24 Ore

Our article about an Anthropological view on Innovation appeared today on Nòva24, the inset of Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy’s most influential financial newspaper. Our impressions after the 7 weeks on the Eisenhower Fellowship.

Here it is, below, translated in English and with some information and links added.

Anthropological Innovation

Private spaces change and they become “privatised”. A network exploration withe the Eisenhower Fellowships. Searching for meaning. With urgency.

By Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico

Published on Nòva24, Il Sole24Ore, July 28th 2013

 

Everything has changed.

But what is the meaning of this change?

We know that it starts with the emergence of different factors:

  • the ubiquitous accessibility of digital technologies and networks;
  • the shifting of the boundaries between what we perceive as our private and public spaces;
  • the crisis of the global finance, of identity, and of the models we used before the rise of the era of information, of knowledge and of global interconnection.

But we don’t know the consequences.

With this latent question in mind, we set off for two months of travelling in the United States for our Eisenhower Fellowship.

We discovered that at the White House Office for Science & Technology Policy they are actively searching for tools and methodologies to observe and comprehend this anthropological mutation.

That at the Institute for the Future they are asking themselves what happens when an organization realizes that their objectives can be filled only by establishing a wider perspective on what it means to have a vision about the future.

That at the Aspen Institute they are starting to go beyond the idea of objective privacy, reflecting about the concept of expectation, our perceived privacy, the one that we have learned to recognize around us through society and culture.

That at the Institute for Human Centered Design, Valerie Fletcher highlights the importance and richness of the diversity and poliphonicity of the world.

We act as engaged observers, taking part in the conversations.

At the MIT MediaLab Sep Kamvar invites us for a public talk about the transformation of the concept of map: generative info-scapes (informational landscapes) created by harvesting ubiquitous digital interactions.

Organizations such as the University of Texas, the Kauffman Foundation, KCNext, Stanford, Harvard and Carnegie Mellon show deep interest when we offer to promote joint efforts to design and implement anthropological observation environments based on social networks, sensors and networks, to highlight recipes, emerging rituals, errors, opportunities and mutations.

But our search for meaning is not the mere sum of all these research approaches.

We now can benefit from the availability of many of the tools and methodologies we need to confront with the present, such as BigData, Open Data, the Cloud, social networks and infinite ways to share informations and knowledge.

Despite this, we all really have a hard time in promoting a transformation which is not about “consumption”, and which represents a real opportunity for the development and well-being of humanity.

A large part of the meaning that we were searching for can be found by observing the mutation of the ways in which perceive public and private spaces.

Hundreds of years of cultural development have taught us to establish reasonable expectations about the effects of our behaviour in public and private spaces. In the digital era everything changes: identity becomes a floating, fluid concept, expressing itself through spaces that we perceive as public or intimate, but which are really a privatized something else.

On one side is Anonymous, on the other is Facebook. And a whole lot is in between.

On one side is the possibility to use the network to be “uno, nessuno e centomila” (“one, no-one and one-hundred-thousand“). On the other side are spaces which we perceive as being public, but which are truly privatized, in which our information is sold hundreds of times each time we click, it doesn’t matter if to the NSA or to the companies trying to sell us french fries or sneakers.

Google is a good example for this. A new, super-national, entity which is able and willing to assume an active role in trying to find solutions for humanity’s most pressing problems (just think about the Google Cars project, assessing energy and transport, or Project Loon for digital divide).

But Google is also a representation of the condition which is needed to access these solutions: to completely transform the ways in which we perceive the difference that runs between the public and private domains, to adhere to a vision which is in total favour of business objectives of the service provider.

This state of continuous disruption causes cognitive dissonance: the solution to the world’s largest problems and issues – such as environment, sustainability, energy and access – at the price of a radical transformation and what is, to all effects, a jump into the void.

We are in no way able to predict the long terms effect of this jump into the void (it is a disruption, after all).

What is given is the possibility to comprehend the radicality of the transformation.

Large operators have learned to highlight and to valorize their vision about their proposed social, political, energetic and ecosystemic transformation, using it in “performative” ways to engage people in this mutation, thus making it perceptible and palpable: an object of desire for global conversations.

It is important to understand that this is a top-down process: a suggestive vision is made available to people to try and determine their active participation to a certain agenda.

Too little is being done to promote the cultures whose objective is to create the perceptive access to the possibility for joint efforts to design the present and the future, to comprehend and desire that this process takes place at civic level, to establish the practices of coexistence and participation.

For example, the practices of Open Innovation – in which challenges are published onto which wide communities gather to collaboratively find solutions and answers – don’t have a whole lot to say about the Hows and Whys that will enable those same communities to let their own challenges emerge, with the objective to improve the practices for coexistence among human beings.

The dynamic interweaving of the relations in human ecosystems goes well beyond what can be obtained by counting hashtags on Twitter.

It is about perceiving and using the anthropological complexity of communities and societies.

And it implies the possibility of conceiving radical transformations that will enable and support the opportunity for coexistence of the recombinant communities which constitute the digital era.

And this is a reflection on which the Mediterranean, with its mix of cultures and approaches can have a lot to say, share and give.

Anthropological Innovation of il Sole24Ore

Anthropological Innovation of il Sole24Ore