Archive for July, 2013

July 24, 2013

How to Survive a Robot Uprising

How to Survive a Robot Uprising

How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion’ is a 2005 semi-satirical book by contributing editor to ‘Popular Mechanics’ Daniel Wilson. The book gives tongue-in-cheek advice on how one can survive in the event that robots become too intelligent and rebel against the human race. The book blends scientific facts with deadpan humor. Wilson received a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh.

In the summer of 2005, Paramount Pictures optioned film rights to the book and hired Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (both members of the State comedy troupe and co-creators of the Reno 911! television series) to write a script based on the book. In 2006 comedian Mike Myers signed with Paramount to star in the movie adaptation.

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July 24, 2013

Butlerian Jihad

The Butlerian Jihad is an event in the back-story of Frank Herbert’s fictional ‘Dune’ universe. Occurring over 11,000 years in the future (10,000 years before the events chronicled in ‘Dune’), this jihad leads to the outlawing of certain technologies, primarily ‘thinking machines,’ a collective term for computers and artificial intelligence of any kind.

This prohibition is a key influence on the nature of Herbert’s fictional setting. Herbert may have coined the name from 19th-century author Samuel Butler, who has the citizens of ‘Erewhon’ enact a prohibition on machines newer than 270 years fearing that, ‘it was the race of the intelligent machines and not the race of men which would be the next step in evolution.’

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July 24, 2013

Kevin Kelly

helmet evolution

Kevin Kelly (b. 1952) is the founding executive editor of ‘Wired’ magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the ‘Whole Earth Catalog.’ He has also been a writer, photographer, conservationist, and student of Asian and digital culture. Kelly was born in Pennsylvania and graduated from Westfield High School in New Jersey in 1970. He dropped out of University of Rhode Island after only one year. He currently lives in Pacifica, California, a small coastal town just south of San Francisco. He is a devout Christian. He is married and has three children; Tywen, Ting, and Kaileen.

Among Kelly’s personal involvements is a campaign to make a full inventory of all living species on earth, an effort also known as the Linnaean enterprise. The goal is to make an attempt at an ‘all species’ web-based catalog in one generation (25 years). He is also sequencing his genome and co-organizes the Bay Area Quantified Self Meetup Group (a lifelogging organization).

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July 24, 2013

What Technology Wants

What Technology Wants‘ is a 2010 nonfiction book by ‘Wired’ magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly focused on technology as an extension of life. In his young adulthood Kelly spent many years traveling remote parts of the developing world, an experience which helped inform his perspective on what he has coined the ‘technium.’ The opening chapter, entitled ‘My Question,’ chronicles this period in Kelly’s life and gives the reader a sense of how Kelly went from being a nomadic traveler with few possessions to a tech guru.

Kelly focuses on human-technology relations and argues for the existence of technology as the emerging seventh kingdom of life on earth. He offers the anthropomorphic conception that technology is one giant force – the technium, ‘…a word to designate the greater, global, massively interconnected system of technology vibrating around us.’

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July 23, 2013

Technological Determinism

Technological determinism [dih-tur-muh-niz-uhm] is a reductionist theory that presumes that a society’s technology drives the development of its social structure and cultural values. The term is believed to have been coined by American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen (1857–1929). The most radical technological determinist in the United States in the twentieth century was most likely economist Clarence Ayres who was a follower of Veblen and American philosopher and psychologist John Dewey. Sociologist William Ogburn was also known for espousing theories of radical technological determinism.

Veblen’s contemporary, popular historian Charles A. Beard, said of the concept: ‘Technology marches in seven-league boots from one ruthless, revolutionary conquest to another, tearing down old factories and industries, flinging up new processes with terrifying rapidity.’

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July 23, 2013

Media Ecology

tetrad

The term ‘media ecology‘ was formally introduced in 1968 by cultural critic Neil Postman (who would later become well known for his 1985 book about television, ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’), but the concept was originally proposed four years earlier by Canadian philosopher of communication theory Marshall McLuhan. Media ecology theory centers on the principles that technology not only profoundly influences society, it also controls virtually all walks of life. It is a study of how media and communication processes affect human perception and understanding.

To strengthen this theory, McLuhan and graphic designer Quentin Fiore claim that it is the media of the epoch that defines the essence of the society by presenting four epochs, inclusive of Tribal Era, Literate Era, Print Era, and Electronic Era, which corresponds to the dominant mode of communication of the time respectively. McLuhan argues that media act as extensions of the human senses in each era, and communication technology is the primary cause of social change.

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July 19, 2013

Psychic TV

Psychic TV (PTV, sometimes spelled Psychick TV) is a video art and music group that primarily performs psychedelic, punk, electronic and experimental music. The band was formed by performance artist Genesis P-Orridge and video director Peter Christopherson (after the breakup of Throbbing Gristle) with Alex Fergusson, musician and producer (a key member of Alternative TV for whom P-Orridge had played percussion).

The band began publishing a monthly series of 23 live albums in 1986, but stopped without explanation after only 17. The tenth, a picture disk most commonly referred to as ‘Album 10,’ could only be obtained by submitting tokens contained in each of the previous nine releases. The band subsequently earned an entry in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ for most records released in one year.

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July 17, 2013

etoy

Leaving Reality Behind

Etoy is a European digital art group. Their slogan is: ‘leaving reality behind.’ Etoy routinely experiments with the boundaries of art, such as selling shares of ‘stock’ in the etoy.corporation, a registered company in Switzerland and travelling the world as well as living in ‘etoy.tanks’ (cargo containers).

The group was founded in 1994 and is owned now by hundreds of etoy.shareholders such as international art collectors, the etoy.agents and toywar.soldiers (who protected the etoy.brand during the toywar — a legal fight with an online toy retailer over the etoy.com domain). The etoy.inventors own, control and protect the corporate ‘sculpture.’

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July 16, 2013

Testament

testament by peter gross

Testament‘ was an American comic book series written by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff with art and covers by Liam Sharp. It was published from February 2006 to March 2008 under DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint.

The story takes place simultaneously in the near future and the biblical past to illustrate the most prominent theme: that history repeats itself. This is done by juxtaposing the two timelines, the purpose of which seems to be to illustrate that religion is a continually evolving, living story that is being written by how people, and specifically the protagonists, live their daily lives. Other themes include increasing numbers of fascist governments, human rights, technology, and information economics in the form of a global currency, manna.

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July 16, 2013

Douglas Rushkoff

Post-industrial Society

Douglas Rushkoff (b. 1961) is an American media theorist, graphic novelist, and documentarian. He is best known for his association with the early cyberpunk culture, and his advocacy of open source solutions to social problems. Rushkoff coined the terms: viral media (or media virus), digital native, and social currency. He has written ten books on media, technology, and culture.

He wrote the first syndicated column on cyberculture for ‘The New York Times Syndicate,’ as well as a regular column for ‘The Guardian of London.’ Rushkoff currently teaches in the Media Studies department at The New School University in Manhattan. He has previously lectured at the ITP at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and taught a class called ‘Narrative Lab.’

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July 15, 2013

Slim Jim

Slim Jim is a brand of jerky snacks or dried sausage manufactured by ConAgra Foods, Inc., the food conglomerate based in Omaha. They are popular in the United States. More than 500 million are produced annually in at least 20 varieties.

The Slim Jim itself has been transformed in the years since Adolph Levis invented it in 1928. He sold the company in 1967 for about 20 million dollars to General Mills, who moved the operations to Raleigh, N.C., and merged them into other meatpacking operations that it renamed Goodmark Foods. It sold Goodmark in 1982 to a group led by Ron Doggett, who sold it to ConAgra in 1998.

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July 15, 2013

Randy Savage

The Mega Powers

Randy Mario Poffo (1952 – 2011), better known by his ring name ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, was an American professional wrestler and occasional color commentator. He has held championships with both the WWF and WCW.

A one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWE (formerly WWF) has named Savage as the greatest champion of all time and credited him for bringing, ‘a higher level of credibility to the title through his amazing in-ring performances.’ Hulk Hogan, face of the WWF during the professional wrestling ‘Golden Era’ of the 1980s and early 1990s, described Savage as, ‘…the only guy we could pass the belt to, and we wouldn’t lose money…things would stay the same, or get better.’

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