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content/Essays/marloes-de-valk_if-you-lived-here.md

@ -5,11 +5,10 @@ Date: 24 March 2021
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ine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, I accepted an invitation to join an event. It would take place, like all other events these days, in my house. The organiser send me an enthusiastic email with a Zoom background image attached, mentioning the image would make for a nice tool to hide anything I don't want share on the Zoom grid. I instantly started dreaming of also replacing my voice and face with augmented reality and AI, but was rudely awakened when I couldn't even make the background image work. My laptop's CPU is too old. Video conferencing tools handle background image calculations on the client-side, to reduce network traffic and latency. My laptop can hardly handle video conferencing without augmentation, client-side calculations are well out of its league.
Suddenly this phrase popped into my head: "If you lived here, you'd be at work already". It's an advertisement in the movie "Sorry to bother you" from writer and director Boots Riley. The movie takes place in a dystopian future where a company called Worry Free, offers employees "lifetime labour contracts" including food and housing at the company. At Worry Free you literally live at work. When I saw the movie two years ago, I had no idea how well this ad would reflect 2020's reality of living at the office, even if the office is in the home instead of home being at the office. Somehow all my things -- my house, my laptop, my printer, my electricity, my heating -- are now also used by my employer, and by Zoom, Microsoft and Google. It was an emergency. There was no time to really think this through. Nine months later though, many companies are thinking about making working at home a permanent change. Less traveling, smaller office buildings and thus less overhead and a smaller environmental footprint.

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Title: Measure or Measure Up: Preparing for Unpopulated Futures
Author: Dr. Nishant Shah
Date: 7 April 2021
<div class="first-page">
<div id="title_edition">A Nourishing Network</div>
<div id="title">Measure or Measure Up: <br>Preparing for Unpopulated Futures</div>
<div id="author"> by Dr. Nishant Shah</div>
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<header id="pageheader-issue">A Nourishing Network</header>
<header id="pageheader-theme">Measure or Measure Up</header>
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<p>
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he promise of digital technologies was extension. The capacity to reach out, to engage, to escape the confines of our heads and bodies to roam as data and traffic, in a never-ending stream of engagements and transactions has long since been the aspiration of digitization. From the romantic declarations of the World Wide Web (Lee & Fischetti 2000) onwards, the ambition of computational networks was to not just augment and facilitate the world we live in but to recreate it through 'small worlds' (Watts 2016) that defy the geo-political and chrono-temporal biases and restrictions of our space, offering time as the resource that can be manipulated, spliced, stored, commodified, and used as a powerful tool to catalyse critical transformations. Throughout the last couple of decades of celebrating the 'wealth of networks' (Benkler 2007) as the future of our interconnected lives and the 'wisdom of crowds' (Shirkey, 2009) as the new way of sensing and reproducing the world through digital computation, we have bought into the idea that the web will help us escape both the histories and the materialities of our lives to create something larger than merely the human experience; indeed to create something that is an upgraded version of our idea of the human.
</p>
<p>
The promise of this extension, this travel on the edges of the network to constantly expand our horizon, to dance in streams of data as we connect and create new conditions of life, labour, language, and love (Foucault, 1970) suddenly came to a standstill when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It came as a shock to many of us that the digital extension and extensiveness were deeply rooted in both the intensity and intention of our lives anchored in bodies and spaces. For those of us who could afford it, the digital commute and work from home concepts allowed some semblance of production and labour, thus giving routine and purpose to a life otherwise mired in uncertainty. For some parts of the world, the social and welfare support and the economic resources for planning and lockdowns allowed for contagion to be contained and lives to be lived in small bubbles which ended up glorifying the home as a space for 'shelter and place'. For some communities, who were the ideal demography that was served by these technologies, the shift was easier as the processes, systems, and intimacies were managed with the 'cruel optimism' (Berlant 2011) that this is a temporary situation before we go back to an 'old normal'[^1] \(Trott 2020).
</p>
<p>
However, for a large part of the people who suddenly found themselves locked in their heads, their worlds shrunk to the rectangles of our screens and the squareness of our lives, it was a startling realisation that this was not a temporary situation, but a vision of the future that we had not seen coming. We don't have to take a post-apocalyptic perspective, but even without it, it is clear, that the future that we are seeing is an unpopulated one. An 'unpopulated future' is not a future without people, but a future that is designed and planned for occupation of and by machines and technologies, with people travelling through the channels and pathways created for them in this large cybernetic and self-learning system. It might sound dystopian, but it is also a very lived reality -- for what is dystopia if not a nostalgia of the present? -- that many have experienced in 2020. We have realised that if we wanted to step out of our heads, our thoughts, our bodies, our spaces, the only way out is to be able to connect, to communicate, and to create using these digital spaces and tools that have been created, to give in to their demands, requirements, compromises, and reprimands; to perform the 'promise of happiness' (Ahmed 2010), as an 'affect without experience' (Gregg 2010).
</p>
<p>
This arrival of the unpopulated future is not new. It has been in the making since a while, often presented to us through the rubrics of SMART Cities and Homes, Special Economy Zones, digital twin cities, and augmented and simulated forms of governance. The social web, beyond its seductive black-mirror unfolding has already shown how our identities, privacy, safety, and freedoms will be re-engineered and reshaped in order to meet the 'protocolled mandates' (Galloway 2004) of our digital lives. As we transferred almost all our efforts online and changed our homes and lives to be presentable in the windows of our webcams, it was clear that the accelerated reliance on digital technologies is going to need us to 'update' while 'remaining the same' (Chun 2016). We have experienced, perhaps for the first time, the paradox of having to update our lives to meet the demands of the digital technologies and conditions while continuing to work on 'business as usual'. While these Covid-19 driven changes are new, it is good to recognise that the prototypes and blue-prints of this future have long since been in the making.
</p>
<p>
My first encounter with such an unpopulated space that is designed for machine living and human occupation was in 2015, in Mexico, where in the middle of arid dry lands, surrounded by coyotes and cacti, there was a plan to build a city with no people in it. The 1 Billion USD investment was aimed at creating a 400 acres ghost city called CITE[^2], to house latest technological gadgets and innovations that could test out new forms of transactions, deliveries, transportation, and movement. There were roads for self-driving cars, empty skies for automated drones, minutely mapped spaces for deep surveillance, delivery routes for industrial, agricultural, and aquatic movement, ravines and terrains for robotic machines to march to the beat of their mechanical rhythms, testing grounds for last-mile delivery stations and distribution and sorting units, experimental stations for self-renewing energy, smart hubs for automatic and distributed charging of devices, electric and data grids that would control the flow of information and energy for efficient usage, extensive data centres that give instant cybernetic feedback, a real-time underground data collection network that gives immediate visualisations of the processes -- it is a city that is the most cutting edge in infrastructure that you can imagine. It is a city of your dreams. A real life Sim City exploration where you can build the futuristic city without constraints -- a city that is not made ugly, or unexpected, or irrational by the presence of human beings who, as we know, are creatures of unthinking habits.
</p>
<p>
CITE does not need people. It can house 35,000 citizens, but they are just temporary entities who walk in and walk out, in the service of the machines that are testing, experimenting, innovative and developing new material realities and prototypes of what cities can look like. This model fundamentally challenges the ways in which we think of our city spaces. It presents a future where the city exists without its population. Not a ghost town, not a forlorn space denuded of people, not a barren land without life. Quite the contrary -- it is a city that is teeming with life, filled with motion, buzzing with data, ticking like a well-oiled machine, presenting a dashboard of events and activities, transactions and transfers, intersections and communication, between smart devices performing their tasks with efficiency and discipline. The human subject is an intruder in this space -- a trespasser with a visitor pass, needed to train the data sets and the self-learning algorithms and to generate data for automated systems, but the presence is tolerated only for that purpose. Beyond that, there is no need for the human and there is no infrastructure or facility that can house the human for long term occupation. In that well-controlled system, any unwarranted, unexpected, unintended, or unwelcome presence will be swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with[^3].
</p>
<p>
CITE is the prototype of the unpopulated future that we are experiencing. While CITE remains just a fantasy thought experiment, it is a clear indication that the SMART, connected, digital city is going to be designed, engineered, and governed for housing computation and then for the people who will occupy these computational spaces. If we need instant click deliveries, continuous feedback loops, granular data by the second, self-driving automation, and customized and mobile interfaces to live on, then the city's primary infrastructure is going to be surveillance cameras, flexible electric grids, and data centres. We are going to have to let go of the metaphor of the digital cloud and actually look at the metaphor of earth -- the next phase, for artificial intelligence governed cities is going to be digital earth (Shah, 2020), and our houses and roads are going to be infrastructure that primarily caters to these Internet of Things devices. Out cities might have to become giant electric grids, our houses will have to become data centres, and our roads will be interfaces with limited human-only lanes. We are not going to live with machines, we are going to live in a machine, where all our physical infrastructure will in fact be stacks in a giant supercomputer. As you walk through CITE, you realise that every component there, which might look like home, office, park, or river, is actually a stack in a layered computer that is pretending to be the city.
</p>
<p>
We are thus, essentially looking at a reconfiguration of the human-technology and human-infrastructure questions, not as metaphorical cyborgs or post-humans but as a competition of who gets to populate the futures that we are experiencing. In this competition, there are two futures that are being generated. One of Technological Singularity and the other of Post-Earth Occupations, and I want to propose to us that while neither of these conditions are new, they are signalling an accelerated march into the unpopulated futures.
</p>
<p>
Technological Singularity in itself is not new. Way back in the 1960s, John von Neumann, the father of computation architecture already predicted a moment in future when technological advancements would make it impossible for the human affairs as we know them, to continue as they are. At the same time, it was being predicted that the world will need just 5 super-computers[^4] which will be able to perform all the computation tasks that the future is ever going to need.
</p>
<p>
However, at the SAIL labs in Stanford, there was a team led by physical computer scientist John McCarthy (1955), who was of the opinion that in order for the world to be efficient, we are going to need more computers -- but not computers as things which will be used by human beings, computers as things that will replace a lot of human activity. He was, in fact proposing artificial intelligence and automation as an answer. McCarthy had an irrefutable point -- when it comes to repetitive but significant tasks, like machines that make us live or production line technologies, humans were prone to mistakes that had fatal consequences. McCarthy's vision was that the technologies, but especially computation technologies were a way of replacing the human in specific tasks, and in fact translating the human to data and machinic forms so that it can be made redundant. This idea of translating the human function to machine tasks finds its logical apotheosis in the investments by billionaires like Elon Musk and Pieter Thiel who have started laboratories that seek to replace the human function of life with machine transactions, seeking to translate the entire human system -- biology as genes, experiences as cognition, emotions as brain chemistry, memory as information -- to inorganic computational forms that can make us live beyond our human capacity (Caughill 2017). This technological singularity then, would not be afraid of CITE like experiments but in fact desire it as a pre-requisite for future survival.
</p>
<p>
On the opposite side of McCarthy's spectrum was Douglas Engelbart (1962) who was not interested in replacing but in upgrading the human through its engagement with digital technologies. Engelbart proposed that humans and computers have to meet mid-way, what Karen Barad would later call 'posthumanist performative inter-action' (2003). Engelbart proposed that in order for a meaningful interaction to happen, it will not be enough that machines learn human languages, it will be critically important that humans learn machine logics. In one of his most iconic experiments, Engelbart proposed physical workshops for human beings to learn binary code, and the way in which a computation circuit actually operates -- he would line people up in a row, each one behaving like one conducting chip in a circuit, and showing them how meanings and messages could be produced using human circuits, reminding us, that computation language is just a language and it can find connections with human knowledges, meanings, and lives.
</p>
<p>
Engelbart's vision of changing the human to evolve it for the rising technologies finds its feet in the fields of biogenetics and molecular nanotechnology.[^5] Alphabet, the parent company that also owns the global giant Google, has significantly invested resources into curing Death. In 2013, Alphabet made a startling promise -- they have decided that the problem of human life is death, and instead of focusing on disease, well-being and saving, they are just going to cure the very idea of death (McCracken & Grossman 2013). Looking at stem-cell research that reverses ageing, and thus reverses living, Alphabet's biogenetic subsidiaries are looking at human mutation -- genetically modifying the code and DNA of being human, filling up our bodies with technologies, chips, nano particles, and synthetically fabricated microbial life-forms which will, at some point stop cell decay and ageing, thus granting us immortal life.
</p>
<p>
If these experiments find fruition, we will be in a new age of designer babies, where foetal DNA can be modified to give it particular characteristics, machine measurements will be able to typify individuals before they find a voice, and decisions of who gets to choose and who should not be afforded life, will be taken by algorithms that will determine the efficiency and probability of a genetic sequence. This is no longer thinking about technologies in the service of biology, but instead, understanding biology as a technology, eerily resounding Donna Haraway's (1985) prophecy that our cyborg futures are repackaging eugenics as genetics, creating new futures where only some people (or cyborgs) will survive.
</p>
<p>
In both these visions -- either of the diminished human which has to be offloaded to the artificial superintelligence technologies, or of the human who will be augmented by the insertion of technologies in our bodies -- are the seeds for the unpopulated futures that the CITE experiments offer. Because in both of these, the technological and the human are posited as contradictory, contrary, and in opposition to each other. The contemporary moment is the one where we increasingly see the rise of digital infrastructure as the new order of living, we are no longer examining the human future of digital technologies, but digital futures of human beings. This inversion -- where the human being is a problem to be solved, where the human has to measure up to the scripts of predictive technologies -- is new.
</p>
<p>
And as we continue to normalise our newly confined lives, as we continue to zoom through our social interactions, form intimacies through our digital devices, and create connections that are a function of time rather than space, we are slowly emphasising this script. A transcript of 2020 is going to look like a continuous demand that people measure up to the sudden need of the moment -- to extend beyond our bubbles -- and do it by either learning the ways of existing technologies, or by translating their functions into computational tasks. In either case, when people fail to catch up or replicate their ambitions and competences into this domain, they are made to feel either inadequate and thus in need of professional update, or incompetent, and hence to be replaced by somebody with better skills. In both these responses, unanchored from care and detached from human needs, we see a glimpse of the unpopulated future being normalized by the long now of the current pandemic crisis. This idea of the human as a static, fragile, irrational problem to be solved through the computational scripts of connection and creation, and it is going to be a challenge to ensure that these technologies which are already measuring the human in insidious and extensive ways do not become the standards that we have to measure up to.
</p>
</div>
--------------------------------
**Dr. Nishant Shah** is a Professor of Aesthetics and Cultures of Technology and the Director of Research and Outreach at the ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands. He is a knowledge partner for the Humanist Development Institution Hivos, and a mentor for the Feminist Internet Research Network, at the Association of Progressive Communication. His new co-authored book Really Fake, is coming out in Fall 2020 with the University of Minnesota Press.
<https://nishantshah.online>
---------------------------------
## References
<div class="references_marloes">
<div class="subheading">References</div>
Ahmed, S. (2010). *The Promise of Happiness.* Durham: Duke University Press.
@ -90,6 +128,7 @@ Trott, B. (2020). "Queer Berlin and the Covid-19 crisis: A politics of contact a
Watts, D. (2016). "How small is the world, really?". Retrieved from <https://medium.com/@duncanjwatts/how-small-is-the-world-really-736fa21808ba>
<div class="ref-position">
[^1]: Both Berlant and Trot, in their own way, remind us that the old normal is not a temporal function. It is not about going back to specific space or time but to a state of mind, where the power equilibrium that maintained the well-being of the privileged is sought to be restored and optimistically thought of as making us happy. The call for a nostalgic return to the old normal thus erases the inequities and violences that were endemic in that old system and perpetuate the fold of power without resistance.
[^2]: The Centre for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation (CITE) was described as a ghost town that was scheduled for construction in 2012 but was eventually put into motion in 2018. It was a city with no permanent population (Kieron 2017) and heralded as the city of the future. More information can be found at its Wikipedia page [*The Center, New Mexico -- Wikipedia*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Center,_New_Mexico).
@ -98,4 +137,11 @@ Watts, D. (2016). "How small is the world, really?". Retrieved from <https://med
[^4]: Wrapped in enigma and often presented as one of the worst predictions in the history of computation, this proposition of how we will need only 5 computers is often attributed to Thomas Watson, the chairman of IBM in 1952, who famously said, "I think there is a world market for maybe five comptuers". A similar prediction is also credited to Prof. Douglas Hartree in 1951, where the mathematician who prophesised that "all the calculations that would ever be needed in this country could be done on the three digital computers which were then being built\...". While these quotes might very well be contested and be a part of Internet mythology, they are indicative of the limited imagination of the computer as a machine and have found their place in urban legends about computation history <https://www.zdnet.com/article/top-10-worst-tech-predictions-of-all-time/>
[^5]: Donna Haraway, in her conception of the cyborg (1985), established a clear distinction between biology and genetics. One of the main characteristics of biological sciences and the ways in which they formulated the human, was through producing measures. The human was intended to be the sacred point of origin from which the meaning of the measure was produced, and human interpretation was necessary for it. Genetics turned this notion of measurement around, by establishing non-human readable, machine interpreted standards that presented an information set around in which the humans needed to be sorted in a statistical model of fidelity and probability to the median established as the normal. This was the idea of the human who had to measure up to an abstracted standard. In this, the human would always be lacking and hence in need of an upgrade.
[^5]: Donna Haraway, in her conception of the cyborg (1985), established a clear distinction between biology and genetics. One of the main characteristics of biological sciences and the ways in which they formulated the human, was through producing measures. The human was intended to be the sacred point of origin from which the meaning of the measure was produced, and human interpretation was necessary for it. Genetics turned this notion of measurement around, by establishing non-human readable, machine interpreted standards that presented an information set around in which the humans needed to be sorted in a statistical model of fidelity and probability to the median established as the normal. This was the idea of the human who had to measure up to an abstracted standard. In this, the human would always be lacking and hence in need of an upgrade.
</div>
<br>
<div class="bio"><p>
**Dr. Nishant Shah** <br> Dr. Nishant Shah is a Professor of Aesthetics and Cultures of Technology and the Director of Research and Outreach at the ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands. He is a knowledge partner for the Humanist Development Institution Hivos, and a mentor for the Feminist Internet Research Network, at the Association of Progressive Communication. His new co-authored book Really Fake, is coming out in Fall 2020 with the University of Minnesota Press.
<br>
<https://nishantshah.online>
</div>

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content/Essays/nishant.md

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Title: Measure or Measure Up: Preparing for Unpopulated Futures
Author: Dr. Nishant Shah
Date: 7 April 2021
<pre id="first_letter">
████████╗
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██║
██║
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</pre>
he promise of digital technologies was extension. The capacity to reach out, to engage, to escape the confines of our heads and bodies to roam as data and traffic, in a never-ending stream of engagements and transactions has long since been the aspiration of digitization. From the romantic declarations of the World Wide Web (Lee & Fischetti 2000) onwards, the ambition of computational networks was to not just augment and facilitate the world we live in but to recreate it through 'small worlds' (Watts 2016) that defy the geo-political and chrono-temporal biases and restrictions of our space, offering time as the resource that can be manipulated, spliced, stored, commodified, and used as a powerful tool to catalyse critical transformations. Throughout the last couple of decades of celebrating the 'wealth of networks' (Benkler 2007) as the future of our interconnected lives and the 'wisdom of crowds' (Shirkey, 2009) as the new way of sensing and reproducing the world through digital computation, we have bought into the idea that the web will help us escape both the histories and the materialities of our lives to create something larger than merely the human experience; indeed to create something that is an upgraded version of our idea of the human.
The promise of this extension, this travel on the edges of the network to constantly expand our horizon, to dance in streams of data as we connect and create new conditions of life, labour, language, and love (Foucault, 1970) suddenly came to a standstill when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It came as a shock to many of us that the digital extension and extensiveness were deeply rooted in both the intensity and intention of our lives anchored in bodies and spaces. For those of us who could afford it, the digital commute and work from home concepts allowed some semblance of production and labour, thus giving routine and purpose to a life otherwise mired in uncertainty. For some parts of the world, the social and welfare support and the economic resources for planning and lockdowns allowed for contagion to be contained and lives to be lived in small bubbles which ended up glorifying the home as a space for 'shelter and place'. For some communities, who were the ideal demography that was served by these technologies, the shift was easier as the processes, systems, and intimacies were managed with the 'cruel optimism' (Berlant 2011) that this is a temporary situation before we go back to an 'old normal'[^1] \(Trott 2020).
However, for a large part of the people who suddenly found themselves locked in their heads, their worlds shrunk to the rectangles of our screens and the squareness of our lives, it was a startling realisation that this was not a temporary situation, but a vision of the future that we had not seen coming. We don't have to take a post-apocalyptic perspective, but even without it, it is clear, that the future that we are seeing is an unpopulated one. An 'unpopulated future' is not a future without people, but a future that is designed and planned for occupation of and by machines and technologies, with people travelling through the channels and pathways created for them in this large cybernetic and self-learning system. It might sound dystopian, but it is also a very lived reality -- for what is dystopia if not a nostalgia of the present? -- that many have experienced in 2020. We have realised that if we wanted to step out of our heads, our thoughts, our bodies, our spaces, the only way out is to be able to connect, to communicate, and to create using these digital spaces and tools that have been created, to give in to their demands, requirements, compromises, and reprimands; to perform the 'promise of happiness' (Ahmed 2010), as an 'affect without experience' (Gregg 2010).
This arrival of the unpopulated future is not new. It has been in the making since a while, often presented to us through the rubrics of SMART Cities and Homes, Special Economy Zones, digital twin cities, and augmented and simulated forms of governance. The social web, beyond its seductive black-mirror unfolding has already shown how our identities, privacy, safety, and freedoms will be re-engineered and reshaped in order to meet the 'protocolled mandates' (Galloway 2004) of our digital lives. As we transferred almost all our efforts online and changed our homes and lives to be presentable in the windows of our webcams, it was clear that the accelerated reliance on digital technologies is going to need us to 'update' while 'remaining the same' (Chun 2016). We have experienced, perhaps for the first time, the paradox of having to update our lives to meet the demands of the digital technologies and conditions while continuing to work on 'business as usual'. While these Covid-19 driven changes are new, it is good to recognise that the prototypes and blue-prints of this future have long since been in the making.
My first encounter with such an unpopulated space that is designed for machine living and human occupation was in 2015, in Mexico, where in the middle of arid dry lands, surrounded by coyotes and cacti, there was a plan to build a city with no people in it. The 1 Billion USD investment was aimed at creating a 400 acres ghost city called CITE[^2], to house latest technological gadgets and innovations that could test out new forms of transactions, deliveries, transportation, and movement. There were roads for self-driving cars, empty skies for automated drones, minutely mapped spaces for deep surveillance, delivery routes for industrial, agricultural, and aquatic movement, ravines and terrains for robotic machines to march to the beat of their mechanical rhythms, testing grounds for last-mile delivery stations and distribution and sorting units, experimental stations for self-renewing energy, smart hubs for automatic and distributed charging of devices, electric and data grids that would control the flow of information and energy for efficient usage, extensive data centres that give instant cybernetic feedback, a real-time underground data collection network that gives immediate visualisations of the processes -- it is a city that is the most cutting edge in infrastructure that you can imagine. It is a city of your dreams. A real life Sim City exploration where you can build the futuristic city without constraints -- a city that is not made ugly, or unexpected, or irrational by the presence of human beings who, as we know, are creatures of unthinking habits.
CITE does not need people. It can house 35,000 citizens, but they are just temporary entities who walk in and walk out, in the service of the machines that are testing, experimenting, innovative and developing new material realities and prototypes of what cities can look like. This model fundamentally challenges the ways in which we think of our city spaces. It presents a future where the city exists without its population. Not a ghost town, not a forlorn space denuded of people, not a barren land without life. Quite the contrary -- it is a city that is teeming with life, filled with motion, buzzing with data, ticking like a well-oiled machine, presenting a dashboard of events and activities, transactions and transfers, intersections and communication, between smart devices performing their tasks with efficiency and discipline. The human subject is an intruder in this space -- a trespasser with a visitor pass, needed to train the data sets and the self-learning algorithms and to generate data for automated systems, but the presence is tolerated only for that purpose. Beyond that, there is no need for the human and there is no infrastructure or facility that can house the human for long term occupation. In that well-controlled system, any unwarranted, unexpected, unintended, or unwelcome presence will be swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with[^3].
CITE is the prototype of the unpopulated future that we are experiencing. While CITE remains just a fantasy thought experiment, it is a clear indication that the SMART, connected, digital city is going to be designed, engineered, and governed for housing computation and then for the people who will occupy these computational spaces. If we need instant click deliveries, continuous feedback loops, granular data by the second, self-driving automation, and customized and mobile interfaces to live on, then the city's primary infrastructure is going to be surveillance cameras, flexible electric grids, and data centres. We are going to have to let go of the metaphor of the digital cloud and actually look at the metaphor of earth -- the next phase, for artificial intelligence governed cities is going to be digital earth (Shah, 2020), and our houses and roads are going to be infrastructure that primarily caters to these Internet of Things devices. Out cities might have to become giant electric grids, our houses will have to become data centres, and our roads will be interfaces with limited human-only lanes. We are not going to live with machines, we are going to live in a machine, where all our physical infrastructure will in fact be stacks in a giant supercomputer. As you walk through CITE, you realise that every component there, which might look like home, office, park, or river, is actually a stack in a layered computer that is pretending to be the city.
We are thus, essentially looking at a reconfiguration of the human-technology and human-infrastructure questions, not as metaphorical cyborgs or post-humans but as a competition of who gets to populate the futures that we are experiencing. In this competition, there are two futures that are being generated. One of Technological Singularity and the other of Post-Earth Occupations, and I want to propose to us that while neither of these conditions are new, they are signalling an accelerated march into the unpopulated futures.
Technological Singularity in itself is not new. Way back in the 1960s, John von Neumann, the father of computation architecture already predicted a moment in future when technological advancements would make it impossible for the human affairs as we know them, to continue as they are. At the same time, it was being predicted that the world will need just 5 super-computers[^4] which will be able to perform all the computation tasks that the future is ever going to need.
However, at the SAIL labs in Stanford, there was a team led by physical computer scientist John McCarthy (1955), who was of the opinion that in order for the world to be efficient, we are going to need more computers -- but not computers as things which will be used by human beings, computers as things that will replace a lot of human activity. He was, in fact proposing artificial intelligence and automation as an answer. McCarthy had an irrefutable point -- when it comes to repetitive but significant tasks, like machines that make us live or production line technologies, humans were prone to mistakes that had fatal consequences. McCarthy's vision was that the technologies, but especially computation technologies were a way of replacing the human in specific tasks, and in fact translating the human to data and machinic forms so that it can be made redundant. This idea of translating the human function to machine tasks finds its logical apotheosis in the investments by billionaires like Elon Musk and Pieter Thiel who have started laboratories that seek to replace the human function of life with machine transactions, seeking to translate the entire human system -- biology as genes, experiences as cognition, emotions as brain chemistry, memory as information -- to inorganic computational forms that can make us live beyond our human capacity (Caughill 2017). This technological singularity then, would not be afraid of CITE like experiments but in fact desire it as a pre-requisite for future survival.
On the opposite side of McCarthy's spectrum was Douglas Engelbart (1962) who was not interested in replacing but in upgrading the human through its engagement with digital technologies. Engelbart proposed that humans and computers have to meet mid-way, what Karen Barad would later call 'posthumanist performative inter-action' (2003). Engelbart proposed that in order for a meaningful interaction to happen, it will not be enough that machines learn human languages, it will be critically important that humans learn machine logics. In one of his most iconic experiments, Engelbart proposed physical workshops for human beings to learn binary code, and the way in which a computation circuit actually operates -- he would line people up in a row, each one behaving like one conducting chip in a circuit, and showing them how meanings and messages could be produced using human circuits, reminding us, that computation language is just a language and it can find connections with human knowledges, meanings, and lives.
Engelbart's vision of changing the human to evolve it for the rising technologies finds its feet in the fields of biogenetics and molecular nanotechnology.[^5] Alphabet, the parent company that also owns the global giant Google, has significantly invested resources into curing Death. In 2013, Alphabet made a startling promise -- they have decided that the problem of human life is death, and instead of focusing on disease, well-being and saving, they are just going to cure the very idea of death (McCracken & Grossman 2013). Looking at stem-cell research that reverses ageing, and thus reverses living, Alphabet's biogenetic subsidiaries are looking at human mutation -- genetically modifying the code and DNA of being human, filling up our bodies with technologies, chips, nano particles, and synthetically fabricated microbial life-forms which will, at some point stop cell decay and ageing, thus granting us immortal life.
If these experiments find fruition, we will be in a new age of designer babies, where foetal DNA can be modified to give it particular characteristics, machine measurements will be able to typify individuals before they find a voice, and decisions of who gets to choose and who should not be afforded life, will be taken by algorithms that will determine the efficiency and probability of a genetic sequence. This is no longer thinking about technologies in the service of biology, but instead, understanding biology as a technology, eerily resounding Donna Haraway's (1985) prophecy that our cyborg futures are repackaging eugenics as genetics, creating new futures where only some people (or cyborgs) will survive.
In both these visions -- either of the diminished human which has to be offloaded to the artificial superintelligence technologies, or of the human who will be augmented by the insertion of technologies in our bodies -- are the seeds for the unpopulated futures that the CITE experiments offer. Because in both of these, the technological and the human are posited as contradictory, contrary, and in opposition to each other. The contemporary moment is the one where we increasingly see the rise of digital infrastructure as the new order of living, we are no longer examining the human future of digital technologies, but digital futures of human beings. This inversion -- where the human being is a problem to be solved, where the human has to measure up to the scripts of predictive technologies -- is new.
And as we continue to normalise our newly confined lives, as we continue to zoom through our social interactions, form intimacies through our digital devices, and create connections that are a function of time rather than space, we are slowly emphasising this script. A transcript of 2020 is going to look like a continuous demand that people measure up to the sudden need of the moment -- to extend beyond our bubbles -- and do it by either learning the ways of existing technologies, or by translating their functions into computational tasks. In either case, when people fail to catch up or replicate their ambitions and competences into this domain, they are made to feel either inadequate and thus in need of professional update, or incompetent, and hence to be replaced by somebody with better skills. In both these responses, unanchored from care and detached from human needs, we see a glimpse of the unpopulated future being normalized by the long now of the current pandemic crisis. This idea of the human as a static, fragile, irrational problem to be solved through the computational scripts of connection and creation, and it is going to be a challenge to ensure that these technologies which are already measuring the human in insidious and extensive ways do not become the standards that we have to measure up to.
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**Dr. Nishant Shah** is a Professor of Aesthetics and Cultures of Technology and the Director of Research and Outreach at the ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands. He is a knowledge partner for the Humanist Development Institution Hivos, and a mentor for the Feminist Internet Research Network, at the Association of Progressive Communication. His new co-authored book Really Fake, is coming out in Fall 2020 with the University of Minnesota Press.
<https://nishantshah.online>
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## References
Ahmed, S. (2010). *The Promise of Happiness.* Durham: Duke University Press.
Barad, K. (2003). "Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter", *Signs Journal of Women in Culture and Society*, 28 (3): 801:831.
Benkler, Y. (2007). *The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom.* USA: Yale University Press.
Berlant, L. (2011). *Cruel Optimism.* Durham: Duke University Press.
Berners-Lee, T., and Fischetti, M. (2000). *Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web.* New York: HarperCollins.
Caughill, P. 2017. "Elon Musk: The singularity for this level of the simulation is coming soon". Retrieved from <https://futurism.com/elon-musk-the-singularity-for-this-level-of-the-simulation-is-coming-soon>
Chun, H. K. W. (2016). *Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media.* Cambridge: MIT Press.
Engelbart, D. (1962). "Augmenting Human Intellect: A conceptual Framework". Retrieved from <https://www.dougengelbart.org/content/view/138>
Foucault, M. (1970). *The Order of Things: An archaeology of the human sciences.* UK: Pantheon Books.
Galloway, A. (2004). *Protocol.* Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Gregg, M. (2010). "On Friday Night Drinks: Workplace Affects in the Age of the Cubicle". *The Affect Theory Reader*, (Eds.) Melissa Gregg & Gregory J. Seigworth. Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 250 -268.
Haraway, D. (1985). "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the Late 20th Century", *Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature.* London/New York: Routledge. Retrieved from <https://web.archive.org/web/20130314123032/http://qss.stanford.edu/~godfrey/vonNeumann/vnedvac.pdf>
Kieron, M. (2017). "CITE: The \$1 billion city with no residents", *CNN.* Retrieved from <http://edition.cnn.com/style/article/test-city/index.html>
McCarthy, J., Minsky, M. L., Rochester, N., and Shannon. C.E. (1955). "A Proposal for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence". Retrieved from <https://web.archive.org/web/20210116113537/https://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/history/dartmouth/dartmouth.html>
McCracken, H., and Grossman, L. (2013). "Google Vs. Death". Retrieved from <https://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,2152422,00.html>
von Neumann, J. (1965). "The First Draft Report on the EDVAC". Retrieved from <https://web.archive.org/web/20130314123032/http://qss.stanford.edu/~godfrey/vonNeumann/vnedvac.pdf>
Shah, N. (2019). "Measure for Measure: Human scales of digital infrastructure", *Digital Earth.* Retrieved from <https://medium.com/digital-earth/measure-for-measure-human-scales-of-digital-infrastructures-9330408afc23>
Shirky, C. (2009). *Here Comes Everybody: How change happens when people come together.* New York: Penguin Books.
Trott, B. (2020). "Queer Berlin and the Covid-19 crisis: A politics of contact and ethics of care", *Interface: A journal for and about social movements*, Vol. 12 (1), pp. 88-108.
Watts, D. (2016). "How small is the world, really?". Retrieved from <https://medium.com/@duncanjwatts/how-small-is-the-world-really-736fa21808ba>
[^1]: Both Berlant and Trot, in their own way, remind us that the old normal is not a temporal function. It is not about going back to specific space or time but to a state of mind, where the power equilibrium that maintained the well-being of the privileged is sought to be restored and optimistically thought of as making us happy. The call for a nostalgic return to the old normal thus erases the inequities and violences that were endemic in that old system and perpetuate the fold of power without resistance.
[^2]: The Centre for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation (CITE) was described as a ghost town that was scheduled for construction in 2012 but was eventually put into motion in 2018. It was a city with no permanent population (Kieron 2017) and heralded as the city of the future. More information can be found at its Wikipedia page [*The Center, New Mexico -- Wikipedia*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Center,_New_Mexico).
[^3]: This particular idea of the human as only a temporary occupant of these spaces is one of the key characteristics of an unpopulated future -- where the human is traffic, and it is circulated across these large computational networks that construct the earth as a super-computing ecosystem. Many of the cultural references to the rise of artificial intelligence or autonomous machines have been about making the human obsolete. However, a more feasible future is where the human becomes a resource that travels through these technological interactions.
[^4]: Wrapped in enigma and often presented as one of the worst predictions in the history of computation, this proposition of how we will need only 5 computers is often attributed to Thomas Watson, the chairman of IBM in 1952, who famously said, "I think there is a world market for maybe five comptuers". A similar prediction is also credited to Prof. Douglas Hartree in 1951, where the mathematician who prophesised that "all the calculations that would ever be needed in this country could be done on the three digital computers which were then being built\...". While these quotes might very well be contested and be a part of Internet mythology, they are indicative of the limited imagination of the computer as a machine and have found their place in urban legends about computation history <https://www.zdnet.com/article/top-10-worst-tech-predictions-of-all-time/>
[^5]: Donna Haraway, in her conception of the cyborg (1985), established a clear distinction between biology and genetics. One of the main characteristics of biological sciences and the ways in which they formulated the human, was through producing measures. The human was intended to be the sacred point of origin from which the meaning of the measure was produced, and human interpretation was necessary for it. Genetics turned this notion of measurement around, by establishing non-human readable, machine interpreted standards that presented an information set around in which the humans needed to be sorted in a statistical model of fidelity and probability to the median established as the normal. This was the idea of the human who had to measure up to an abstracted standard. In this, the human would always be lacking and hence in need of an upgrade.

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<div id="title_edition">A Nourishing Network</div>
<div id="title">Alone in an Electric Shock Room</div>
<div id="author"> by Tanja Brandmayr</div>
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<header id="pageheader-issue">A Nourishing Network</header>
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n observation during the first Corona lockdown, on the topic of doing nothing: It was astounding that already after the first few days after the outside world was locked away, numerous texts, commentaries, and newsfeeds started being circulated that suspiciously and hyperactively told of all the things that could finally be done in the sudden nothingness. Going from one hyperactivity to the next taking place mainly on the net. I just remembered a study that was taken in 2014. The setting was straight forward, the question was simply: Do people who are forced into doing nothing actually prefer doing nothing, or would they opt for a (weak) electric shock that THEY GIVE TO THEMSELVES? Many of those who took part of the study chose the electric shock, which was slightly surprising. During a small, non-representative survey among friends, I came to the same conclusion, or rather, the decision for the electric shock came up more often than expected. And yes, it was accompanied by laughter. But it was there. Maybe this says something about the human condition, the human need for "something". Already in the 17^th^ century *Blaise Pascal* said: "The tragedy of humans is that they are incapable of remaining calmly in a room". Blaise Pascal obviously had a good sense for people, maybe even for a future Conditio Humana organized around electricity. Thinking about all those experiments based on electric shocks à la Milgram, the question could be asked why the electric shock is such a popular method for scientific study, and yet the answer to the question why human beings have such a propensity towards torment could be simpler and more complicated at the same time: Because otherwise EVERYTHING feels LIKE NOTHING.
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I am currently working on an SF-exploitation story that begins with early studies on electricity. Historical examples include rich kids from the early 19^th^ century who had electrostatic generators to fulfil their inquisitive pleasures. These machines produce static electricity in order to, e.g. get children's hair to stand on end. As a fledging discipline, science simultaneously -- in the late 18^th^, early 19^th^ century -- set up experimental arrangements on "animalistic electricity", which describes the experiments done with frogs, snails, dogs, oxen, etc (Galvanism). The high point of the research on the electric force of life was the grey area Galvani's nephew, a certain Giovanni Aldini, wandered through, who among other things tried to revive a dead body with electricity. He obtained the body of an executed murderer and hooked it up to a current. A description of the experiment reads as follows: "a mighty, convulsive breath was triggered. The eyes opened, the lips quivered \...". And so on. This was not only absolutely thrilling, but an officially mandated surgical attendant was supposedly so shocked by this that he died in his home shortly thereafter. It was especially these experiments (and the public discourse around them due to the anti-vivisection movement in the late 19^th^ century) that have given science a lasting image problem -- it was seen as a chamber of horror. The execution of a grown elephant on the public "electric chair"around 1900 symbolically completes the picture: After all the small animals, this remained the biggest example of execution through high voltage during the so-called electricity wars in the late 19^th^ century (the fight between direct and alternating current, Edison vs Tesla). This electrocution took place as part of the "animal trials" that were still not unusual at that time: The circus elephant Topsy had killed a human who had been tormenting the animal with a burning cigarette. The execution of Topsy then took place amidst a huge electricity company propaganda campaign and an entertainment complex. In the list of Edison's coin-operated Kinetoscopes the filmed event bore the title: "ELECTROCUTING AN ELEPHANT. Topsy, the famous 'Baby' elephant, was electrocuted at Coney Island on January 4, 1903. We secured an excellent picture of the execution. \[\...\]"
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This goes to show that next to the human horror of nothingness, as well as the need for amusement (electrostatic generators) there is another short but highly intense story to be told, that remains unseen and focuses on electricity and death in numerous aspects. At least that is the plot line for the SF-exploitation that I am working on: It is set in an undefined future and is about weak shocks of a net-"entity", that brings the currency "E°mo" out of human beings. Humans feed the net with the currency time and emotion, they have moved from a regular raw material of tapped data resources, to a controllable, fully exploitable body to the resource. The protagonist Nik is autistic, something that seems to have become normal in this later society ("Autistic people do not feel too little, but rather too much"). However, over the course of the story Nik becomes a "hyper-feeler" more and more. Through so-called "emotional sensations", he is able to feel even the slightest sensations on the "ladder of realms" that quasi represents the inter-applications of the net through an electro-magnetic trigger system. This includes the data of its human hosts, but also all the non-human scripts of nature, and in one chapter also that of animals. The things that "hyper-feelers"then perceive in the entity always smells (generally speaking) slightly burned and faintly dead on the one hand, and on the other, Nik manifests a collective yet unique sensation in his own body from a form of left over emotion that acts as a continued counter script of pain. Under the name "Alone in the Room: Interior 1 - ∞" he sends empathy shocks through the system. At first, to resist. Later on he realizes that he is actually keeping the entity alive through his actions. As it permanently is in danger of collapsing into the systemic death of uniformity, and must keep itself afloat by expanding with more and newer datasets. So-called "InfluencerMs", immediate E°mo-executors, show up with every induced counter script imaginable. However, in the strangest manner possible, after they show up everything remains the same. This will represent the riddle of consciousness per se at the end. Enough spoilers. However, let me say this last thing: Of course war is not eradicated in the future, and of course beneath the surface the bone breaking mechanisms of techno-capitalism keep on turning.
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And with this, I would like to turn to lockdown excursion number 2, a little, true story about the birch tree and climate change. Amidst all the reports on the virus in March 2020, there was one thing that was not talked about as much: The birch was particularly bad for us allergy sufferers this spring. It was said that in its struggle to survive, birch trees emitted a significantly higher amount of pollen this year, because it had become to warm for the tree. Ever since then, I (an allergy sufferer) cannot help but think that this uninterrupted spread of data, this content blast, but also this permanent sending of SM, streams, or whatever is being done to generate data, is nothing other than a struggle to survive -- a human struggle, permanently sending and receiving small impulses of data, in order to take part in the large scale experiment of the dimension-less data shock, so that we may somehow feel alive. Within a culture that is desperately trying to inseminate itself (including tree-to-tree communication) faced with a dead end in its big-data-metabolism, while it is actually dying.
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This text reaches far into the past, into our reality, into a dystopia, and so forth. It does not provide answers. Orientated towards low-tech, I have been working with a premise of art and technology coordinates. What is important to me, is the assessment of fundamental shifts, or rather a re-thinking of banal terms such as "matters", "material", and "things of interest". HERE, I have arrived at the material and medium of a dissolved electro-magnetic total body, permanently in danger of collapsing into itself. That is why I say that a form of "impure, unique experience", thus a feeling body carries THE greatest potential of resistance. At the same time, this feeling resistance forms the dark resource that keep this uniform system alive in the first place. Considering the danger of dissolution and losing context, it is important to me to set up vanishing points far in the distance, of which none of us have the faintest idea during this time of transitional opportunism. However: During this time of flying blind, we should at least try to reconfigure mind and body -- so that we may find entirely different, maybe even inward horizons. It is better than nothing to write scripts like these (<https://nik.stwst.at/>), because: We know how easily human beings can fall from the edge of dimension-less discs.
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**Tanja Brandmayr** <br>Tanja Brandmayr, born 1969, freelance artist and author. Part of the Stadtwerkstatt. She conducts art and context research on Quasi-art - with all the matters that seem relevant here. She is currently completing her publication on this. She is also the editor of the art and culture booklets: Die Referentin, Versorgerin. Lives in Linz/Austria.
<br>
[quasikunst.stwst.at](https://quasikunst.stwst.at), [versorgerin.stwst.at](https://versorgerin.stwst.at), [diereferentin.at](https://diereferentin.at)</p>
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met my best friend at a conference in Linz. One of my friends met her life partner at a festival in Venice. These meetings would have been immensely valuable even if they had "only" created friendships, but connections made at events also bring about collaborations and avenues for new art and research.</p>
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As in-person events were canceled across the world due to COVID-19, organisers have faced questions about how they can recreate such social connections in online events. Many have turned to videoconferencing apps and live chat to try to allow people to connect and chat in real time, while others have explored VR environments, such as Mozilla Hubs, or video-game style environments such as Work Adventure[^1], where users can explore and mingle in more than two dimensions. But recreating the experience of running into an old contact at a panel or making a new friend at the bar has proved to be complicated.</p>
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Events had already started moving online before 2020. In April 2019, Alex McLean proposed that, due to climate change, International *Conference* on Live Coding (*ICLC*) should cease being an in-person, international event, and instead take place at regional hubs connected by video conference. Objections to that proposal were largely focused around concerns that such a change in format would reduce potential for human connection.[^2]
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At the same time, virtually everyone reading this has experience of making friends online. We have connected with people on email lists, IRC, web forums, Second Life, Mastodon, and VR Chat. But have any of us made friends via BigBlueButton, Jitsi Meet, Zoom, House Party, or Microsoft Teams?
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These videoconferencing apps have been widely used to replace face-to-face meetings and events during the pandemic. To me, they call to mind the song "Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds, who described the identikit housing developments around Daly City in California with the lyrics "And they\'re all made out of ticky tacky / And they all look just the same".[^3] In much the same way, users in such video apps are all identically encased in rectangles lined up along the screen.
</p>
<p>
In the video essay, "Why is the use of videoconferencing so exhausting? An analysis on the demands", Annie Abrahams et al argue that such 'ticky tacky' apps create psychological stress by creating stimuli that require an additional processing burden for our minds to comprehend. By compressing space to two dimensions, they say, these apps directly contradict how we have evolved to perceive the world around us.[^4] The effect is an uncanny valley of embodiment between text platforms and well-mapped VR.
</p>
<p>
Early on in the pandemic, some online events attempted to use Jitsi Meet as the "bar" in an effort at builduman connections between sets. I was delighted to be invited to one such gig by APO33[^5] -- but the expence was not terribly successful. In addition to the problems laid out by Abrahams et al, it was sometimes hard to know when the concert was between sets. With the concert running in one window and the bar in another, users had to jump between widows, making it hard to see visual cues on both with just one screen.
</p>
<p>
AMRO undertook several approaches to recreating the event experience, including installations, the Riot chats and a VR space. The VR space was especially beautiful. It was a detailed Mozilla Hubs recreation of the bar. However, no events were scheduled in it. I found myself in a deserted simulacrum, which unfortunately made me feel more isolated, rather than less. The Riot chats were more successful. Some of these included scheduled chat events, which were informative and felt fully participatory.
</p>
<p>
Notably, AMRO also attempted to recreate the festival experience outside virtual reality environments by providing suggested food menus aimed at those missing the festival's cuisine. Engaging with all of them would have turned the festival into full-day events, something that I have looked forward to in the past, but that didn't seem feasible while living at home. Part of the allure of festivals is a break from the quotidian into a liminal space, but staying at home is an obstacle to making this kind of break. However, it was an interesting initiative in that it moved beyond the computer screen to help create a more sensory experience -- no doubt welcome for some with more time on their hands and a potential avenue for other events to consider.
</p>
<p>
Shortly after AMRO, Shelly Knotts, Holger Balweg and I ran the Network Music Festival as on online event. We considered numerous avenues to create community interaction, and chose to offer few outlets, partly because of our limited resources. We ran a Riot chat for performers, had a live web chat for audiences, as well as a Mozilla Hubs VR space used solely for the algoraves. Workshops took place in BigBlueButton.
</p>
<p>
Again, while successful, very little about the festival felt 'social' in the way I would normally associate with festivals. The exception to this was the two algorave events in a VR space in Mozilla hubs, both of which I was not involved in organising and took part in as a participant.
</p>
<p>
One time, across the crowded room, the name tag hovering over an avatar indicated that it was someone I knew. This simulation of recognising a colleague across a room felt authentic. Similarly, coming on Holger having a conversation with another visitor about their avatar also felt like a real social connection -- taking place at the speed of real life.
</p>
<p>
Perhaps the sense of speed and timing is an important factor in building online connections. As mentioned earlier, social connections can be formed over text-based mediums, but these seem to build much more slowly than would occur during a short festival or conference.
</p>
<p>
The three-dimensionality of VR space also seems to have potential to recreate chance meetings and build a sense of community that way. Unlike 'ticky tacky' apps where everyone is crowded into one virtual space together, it gives more agency for users to break off, navigate around independently, and start their own conversations as they would in the real world. Organisers can play a role to encourage users to break the ice and get chatting by providing activities or more structured social time.
</p>
<p>
While the arrival of vaccines offers the prospect of a return to normal life, the climate crisis means that virtual activities are likely to remain a significant part of events of the future. This pandemic has also emphasised how online conferences can bring together people around the world, enabling collaborations and meetings that would simply not have been possible otherwise.
</p>
<p>
The future of online community building will likely take a combination of approaches. ICLC, for example, has an associated email list and also does VR events, allowing for both slower community building through the email list, and chance encounters with people at concerts. Ultimately, the combination of communication and shared experience are how communities are built. Events like AMRO and the Network Music Festival have tended to prioritise intensive experiences, previously relying on participants to make their own connections. As we solve the problem of how to facilitate those, we help fight isolation, help the climate and build our communities.
</p>
</div>
<br>
<div class="ref-position">
[^1]: The Coding Machine. (2020) Work Adventure. *GitHub*. \[Software\] <https://github.com/thecodingmachine/workadventure>
[^2]: McLean A. (2019) Email to Live Code list, 30 April. \[Online\] <https://we.lurk.org/hyperkitty/list/livecode@we.lurk.org/thread/7PTEJ7OIWJLMOSXAZEFOIQMU6Z2FZH6E/>
[^3]: Reynolds, M. (1963) *Little Boxes*. Schroder Music Company
[^4]: Abrahams, A., Pinheiro, D., Carrasco, M., Zea, D., La Porta, T., de Manuel, A., ... Varin, M. (2020) Embodiment and Social Distancing: Projects. *Journal of Embodied Research*, *3*(2), 4 (27:52). DOI: <http://doi.org/10.16995/jer.67>
[^5]: Filiason 10.2 (2020) \[Live Performance\] APO33. 4 April. \[Online\]
</div>
<br>
<div class="bio_rec">
<p>
**Charles Céleste Hutchins** <br>Charles Céleste Hutchins was born in San Jose, California in 1976 and currently lives in London, England. Growing up in Silicon Valley, he started programming at a young age and has continued to do so, even after leaving dot coms to pursue music composition – obtaining an MA from Wesleyan University in 2005 and a PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2012. He teaches music technology at the University of Kent and is a co-founder of the Network Music Festival. His recent work has focused on gendered labour and AI.</p>
</div>

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@ -31,12 +31,12 @@
<div class="essay_content_general">
<blockquote>
<div id="jamie_caroline">
What’s at stake<br>
is the trace of perfume<br>
that has been released.<br>
— “Base Faith”, Harney & Moten
</blockquote>
</div>
<p><pre id="first_letter">
███████╗
@ -45,7 +45,7 @@ that has been released.<br>
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██║
╚═╝ </pre>
For the occasion of the March 2020 Art Meets Radical Openness (AMRO) festival, Jamie Allen and Caroline Sinders prepared a workshop, “Trace Carbon”, that would discuss the histories and metaphors we use for measuring of carbon — as a gas, a metric, and as a projective means of counting and accounting for climate change responsibilities. What are the human impulses, stories, desires, values, systems and institutions that drive the re-composition of carbon and are being transformed into (new?) methods of traceability, cycling, currency, and calculation. The cultural and political ecologies of carbon are ambiguous, as we realise that its distribution, not its existence or essence, are of primary importance in the positioning of element number 6 and its oxidised forms (CO2) as ‘friend’ or ‘foe’. The ambiguous distributions of carbon testify to the element’s allotropic middle positioning on the periodic table: neither highly reactive, nor inert, carbon equivocates, like human attempts to liberate, contain, and count it do.</p>
or the occasion of the March 2020 Art Meets Radical Openness (AMRO) festival, Jamie Allen and Caroline Sinders prepared a workshop, “Trace Carbon”, that would discuss the histories and metaphors we use for measuring of carbon — as a gas, a metric, and as a projective means of counting and accounting for climate change responsibilities. What are the human impulses, stories, desires, values, systems and institutions that drive the re-composition of carbon and are being transformed into (new?) methods of traceability, cycling, currency, and calculation. The cultural and political ecologies of carbon are ambiguous, as we realise that its distribution, not its existence or essence, are of primary importance in the positioning of element number 6 and its oxidised forms (CO2) as ‘friend’ or ‘foe’. The ambiguous distributions of carbon testify to the element’s allotropic middle positioning on the periodic table: neither highly reactive, nor inert, carbon equivocates, like human attempts to liberate, contain, and count it do.</p>
<p>
Likewise, Carbon management techniques trace ambiguous stories of human attention and passions, intentions and interests, benevolence and care. These include techniques that until quite recently seemed the regime of conceptual, speculative and media arts ‘becoming real’[^1], and further opening into suggestive possibilities of things like personal 12-step carbon self-help programs (that might wean us off of our addiction to fossil fuels) and programmes that might limit mobility and personal choice in ways that still offend liberal sensitivities (e.g.: ‘carbon surveillance’[^2] or, more subtly, the way in carbon metrics have become almost the sole metric for all climate and environmental regulation, becoming over-simplifying and reductive).</p>
<p>
@ -71,14 +71,14 @@ Many of these translations of measures originating in industrial nomenclature an
<p>
It is no surprise perhaps, then, that carbon calculations remain difficult for most to grasp or understand, or ‘believe in’. This, as Michel Callon writes of carbon markets, is what makes the “the design of these arrangements therefore… a strategic activity in its own right which is worth organising after careful consideration.”[^15] The way that such metaphorics become nested makes their explicit design somewhat more difficult, however. The sense we have of this obfuscating and lossy nesting can be cynicism inducing, as each layer of analogy necessarily decreases technical exactitude, which always seems to help support and excuse those self-destructive tendencies toward denial, or even shame, that most people in the North and in the West feel (whether we admit it or not) for the lifestyles and consumptive habits we engage in, and at times feel trapped in.</p>
<img id="jamie_3" src="content/images/images_jamie/3.png"></img>
<img id="jamie_3" src="content/images/caroline-sinders-and-jamie-allen_can-hope-be-calculated-3.png"></img>
<p>
Calculators are themselves iconic, models of user friendliness and usability: a detective to decipher confusing calculations and a readable billboard to display the answer. Consider Dieter Rams’ and Dietrich Lub’s ET55 calculator created in 1980 for Braun. Lubs has said that the Braun designers “were trying to eliminate the need for user manuals” and this simplicity in design can be extended to all products, especially everyday objects. The future Rams imagined was user friendly, tangible, and understandable, which lends itself perfectly to ubiquitous products, structures and concepts, like the calculator and calculation. Design critic, Alexandra Lange describes Rams calculator in an essay for the New Yorker, “... in a world where the On button is endangered, there’s something wonderfully clear about Rams and Lubs’s calculator’s green On and red Off buttons, rounded to meet the fingertip.” In a world where a home appliance can seem as complex as global carbon budgeting, there is indeed “something wonderfully soothing about the Braun kitchen appliances, most of which have a single toggle switch.”[^16] Personal calculators are devices, containers for calculations that are minimal, usable, friendly, even if what is being calculated is not. Rams’ pocket calculator, and others like it, were ubiquitously stowed in the shirtfront pocket of day-to-day geeks and hobbyist engineers throughout the pre-smart phone era. They are at the ready for a quick back of the napkin calculation or proof at bar, or a back of the envelope estimation during friendly debate about technical equivalencies.</p>
<p>
A critique of calculators and calculations is that they often give little sense to abstractions. Do they give people a ‘better’ understanding of what numerical values in the calculation mean? What happens when calculators are processing and calculating sums and concepts that are difficult to understand? All counting and calculation works purely with abstraction, and does this necessarily reduce its immediacy? With the proliferation of carbon calculators, the ubiquity of counting and measuring has gotten more complex, not less, as myriad concepts attempt to to bring important material-cultural-political entanglements to the fore: carbon democracy, climate debt, virtuous carbon[^17]. We tend to think that individual calculations and recommendations only “work” if we understand precisely what the means and metrics of calculation are, their units and conversions, what these precisely mean. In this era of accelerated climate change, calculating and documenting carbon footprints for everyday citizens, and the metrics of this calculation must be transparent — but how must it be understood? Isn’t inexactitude the whole point of a metaphor?</p>
<img id="jamie_4" src="content/images/images_jamie/4.png"></img> <p>Carbon footprint scale of transportation means icon</p>
<img id="jamie_4" src="content/images/caroline-sinders-and-jamie-allen_can-hope-be-calculated-4.png"></img> <p>Carbon footprint scale of transportation means icon</p>
<p>
The measurement and management of carbon is wrought with technocratic metaphor, myths and imaginings, that make the accuracy of carbon calculations both of questionable origins and epistemological value, let alone the evaluation of their change-making potentials for veering us off our current path of accelerated climate change. Although imperfect and simple, these calculators are, however, like the humble pocket calculator, readymade for the kinds of broad, general understandings we need to cultivate as eco-subjects. They are just-enough and good-enough supports for the beginnings of what might be a profoundly new literacy. These kinds of calculators — non-totalising, fudgeable and fungible, even inexact — show us how hard it is to recon quantification with lived experience, but they help nonetheless to compose ‘back of the envelope’ calculations for a next car trip to the grocery store. And, importantly, they evoke how these activities measure up to other activities, and the activities of electricity, heating, agriculture, manufacturing, and other types of industrial production. So, get out your calculators!</p>
@ -127,4 +127,5 @@ https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/greatmomentsinscience/bps-carbon-c
(jamieallen.com)
<br>
Jamie Allen is occupied with the ways that technologies teach us about who we are as individuals, cultures and societies. His work has been exhibited internationally, from the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin to the American Museum of Natural History in New York to the Nam June Paik Art Center in Korea. He teaches, lectures and leads workshops widely, engaging with and working to create collaborative contexts that acknowledge how care, attachment and love are central to knowledge practices like art and research. He likes to make things with his head and hands — investigations into infrastructural and material systems of media, energy, and information as public-making projects. He is Senior Researcher with the Critical Media Lab in Basel, Switzerland.</p>
<br>
</div>

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@ -69,9 +69,9 @@ To provide users with access to the worldwide internet, a long range WiFi networ
<p class="subheading">Advantages of Long Range WiFi</p>
<p>
Long range WiFi offers high bandwidth (up to 54 Mbps) combined with very low capital costs. Because the WiFi standard enjoys widespread acceptance and has huge production volumes, off-the-shelf antennas and wireless cards can be bought for very little money.[^11] Alternatively, components can be put together from (http://roelof.info/projects/%282014%29Pretty_Fly_For_A_Wifi/) discarded materials such as old routers, satellite dish antennas and laptops. Protocols like WiLDNet run on a 266 Mhz processor with only 128 MB memory, so an old computer will do the trick.<sup>7</sup></p>
Long range WiFi offers high bandwidth (up to 54 Mbps) combined with very low capital costs. Because the WiFi standard enjoys widespread acceptance and has huge production volumes, off-the-shelf antennas and wireless cards can be bought for very little money.[^11] Alternatively, components can be put together from discarded materials such as old routers, satellite dish antennas and laptops (http://roelof.info/projects/%282014%29Pretty_Fly_For_A_Wifi/). Protocols like WiLDNet run on a 266 Mhz processor with only 128 MB memory, so an old computer will do the trick.<sup>7</sup></p>
<p>
The WiFi-nodes are lightweight and don't need expensive towers -- further decreasing capital costs, and minimizing the impact of the structures to be built.<sup>7</sup> More recently, single units that combine antenna, wireless card and processor have become available. These are very convenient for installation. To build a relay, one simply connects such units together with ethernet cables that carry both signal and power.<sup>6</sup> The units can be mounted in towers or slim masts, given that they offer little windload.<sup>3</sup> Examples of suppliers of long range WiFi components are (https://www.ubnt.com/) Ubiquity, (http://www.alvarion.com/) Alvarion and (http://www.mikrotik.com/) MikroTik, and (https://www.simplewifi.com/) simpleWiFi.</p>
The WiFi-nodes are lightweight and don't need expensive towers -- further decreasing capital costs, and minimizing the impact of the structures to be built.<sup>7</sup> More recently, single units that combine antenna, wireless card and processor have become available. These are very convenient for installation. To build a relay, one simply connects such units together with ethernet cables that carry both signal and power.<sup>6</sup> The units can be mounted in towers or slim masts, given that they offer little windload.<sup>3</sup> Examples of suppliers of long range WiFi components are Ubiquity (https://www.ubnt.com/), Alvarion (http://www.alvarion.com/) and MikroTik (http://www.mikrotik.com/), and simpleWiFi (https://www.simplewifi.com/).</p>
<blockquote>
Long Range WiFi makes use of unlicensed spectrum and offers high bandwidth, low capital costs, easy installation, and low power requirements.</blockquote>
<p>
@ -94,7 +94,7 @@ Consequently, with each new user, the network becomes larger. There is no a-prio
<p>
Despite the lack of reliable statistics, community networks seem to be rather succesful, and there are several large ones in Europe, such as Guifi.net (Spain), Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network(Greece) (http://www.awmn.gr/content.php?s=ce506a41ab245641d6934638c6f6f107), FunkFeuer (Austria) (https://www.funkfeuer.at/), and Freifunk (Germany) (https://freifunk.net/en/). <sup>8</sup> <sup>22</sup> [^23] [^24] The Spanish network is the largest WiFi-based long distance network in the world with more than 50,000 kilometres of links, although a small part is based on optic fibre links. Most of it is located in the Catalan Pyrenees, one of the least populated areas in Spain. The network was initiated in 2004 and now has close to 30,000 nodes, up from 17,000 in 2012.<sup>8</sup> <sup>22</sup></p>
<p>
Guifi.net provides internet access to individuals, companies, administrations and universities. In principle, the network is installed, powered and maintained by its users, although volunteer teams and even commercial installers are present to help. Some nodes and backbone upgrades have been succesfully crowdfunded by indirect beneficiaries of the network.<sup>8</sup> <sup>22</sup></p>
Guifi.net provides internet access to individuals, companies, administrations and universities. In principle, the network is installed, powered and maintained by its users, although volunteer teams and even commercial installers are present to help. Some nodes and backbone upgrades have been successfully crowdfunded by indirect beneficiaries of the network.<sup>8</sup> <sup>22</sup></p>
<p class="subheading">
Performance of Low-tech Networks</p>
<p>
@ -107,6 +107,7 @@ Therefore, the worst-case average bandwidth available per machine is approximate
<p>
Under these circumstances, even the most common internet applications have poor performance, or don't work at all. The communication model of the internet is based on a set of network assumptions, called the TCP/IP protocol suite. These include the existence of a bi-directional end-to-end path between the source (for example a website's server) and the destination (the user's computer), short round-trip delays, and low error rates.</p>
<img id="kris_6" src="content/images/kris-de-decker_how-to-build-a-low-tech-internet-6.png"></img>
<div class="caption"> A node in the Spanish Guifi community network.</div><br>
<p>
Many low-tech networks in poor countries do not conform to these assumptions. They are characterized by intermittent connectivity or "network partitioning" -- the absence of an end-to-end path between source and destination -- long and variable delays, and high error rates.<sup>21</sup> [^27] [^28]</p>
<p class="subheading">Delay-Tolerant Networks</p>
@ -125,6 +126,7 @@ Delay-tolerant networking can take surprising forms, especially when they take a
<p>
Examples are DakNet and KioskNet, which use buses as data mules.[^30] [^31] [^32] [^33] [^34] In many developing regions, rural bus routes regularly visit villages and towns that have no network connectivity. By equipping each vehicle with a computer, a storage device and a mobile WiFi-node on the one hand, and by installing a stationary WiFi-node in each village on the other hand, the local transport infrastructure can substitute for a wireless internet link.<sup>11</sup></p>
<img id="kris_7" src="content/images/kris-de-decker_how-to-build-a-low-tech-internet-7.png"></img>
<div class="caption">Picture: AirJaldi.</div><br>
<p>
Outgoing data (such as sent emails or requests for webpages) is stored on local computers in the village until the bus comes withing range. At this point, the fixed WiFi-node of the local computer automatically transmits the data to the mobile WiFi-node of the bus. Later, when the bus arrives at a hub that is connected to the internet, the outgoing data is transmitted from the mobile WiFi-node to the gateway node, and then to the internet. Data sent to the village takes the opposite route. The bus -- or data -- driver doesn't require any special skills and is completely oblivious to the data transfers taking place. He or she does not need to do anything other than come in range of the nodes.<sup>30</sup> <sup>31</sup></p>
<p>
@ -140,7 +142,7 @@ Obviously, a delay-tolerant network (DTN) -- whatever its form -- also requires
Browsing and searching the web requires more adaptations. For example, most search engines optimize for speed, assuming that a user can quickly look through the returned links and immediately run a second modified search if the first result is inadequate. However, in intermittent networks, multiple rounds of interactive search would be impractical.<sup>26</sup> <sup>32</sup> Asynchronous search engines optimize for bandwith rather than response time.<sup>26</sup> <sup>30</sup> <sup>31</sup> [^35] [^36] For example, RuralCafe desynchronizes the search process by performing many search tasks in an offline manner, refining the search request based on a database of similar searches. The actual retrieval of information using the network is only done when absolutely necessary.</p>
<p>
Many internet applications could be adapted to intermittent networks, such as webbrowsing, email, electronic form filling, interaction with e-commerce sites, blogsoftware, large file downloads, or social media.
Some DTN-enabled browsers download not only the explicitly requested webpages but also the pages that are linked to by the requested pages.<sup>30</sup> Others are optimized to return low-bandwidth results, which are achieved by filtering, analysis, and compression on the server site. A similar effect can be achieved through the use of a service like (http://www.loband.org/loband/) Loband, which strips webpages of images, video, advertisements, social media buttons, and so on, merely presenting the textual content.<sup>26</sup></p>
Some DTN-enabled browsers download not only the explicitly requested webpages but also the pages that are linked to by the requested pages.<sup>30</sup> Others are optimized to return low-bandwidth results, which are achieved by filtering, analysis, and compression on the server site. A similar effect can be achieved through the use of a service like Loband (http://www.loband.org/loband/), which strips webpages of images, video, advertisements, social media buttons, and so on, merely presenting the textual content.<sup>26</sup></p>
<p>
Browsing and searching on intermittent networks can also be improved by local caching (storing already downloaded pages) and prefetching (downloading pages that might be retrieved in the future).<sup>26</sup> Many other internet applications could also be adapted to intermittent networks, such as electronic form filling, interaction with e-commerce sites, blogsoftware, large file downloads, social media, and so on.<sup>11</sup> <sup>30</sup> All these applications would remain possible, though at lower speeds.</p>
<p class="subheading">
@ -148,7 +150,7 @@ Sneakernets </p>
<p>Obviously, real-time applications such as internet telephony, media streaming, chatting or videoconferencing are impossible to adapt to intermittent networks, which provide only asynchronous communication. These applications are also difficult to run on synchronous networks that have limited bandwidth. Because these are the applications that are in large part responsible for the growing energy use of the internet, one could argue that their incompatibility with low-tech networks is actually a good thing (see the previous article (https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/10/can-the-internet-run-on-renewable-energy.html).</p>
<p>
Furthermore, many of these applications could be organized in different ways. While real-time voice or video conversations won't work, it's perfectly possible to send and receive voice or video messages. And while streaming media can't happen, downloading music albums and video remains possible. Moreover, these files could be "transmitted" by the most low-tech internet technology available: a sneakernet. In a sneakernet, digital data is "wirelessly" transmitted using a storage medium such as a hard disk, a USB-key, a flash card, or a CD or DVD. Before the arrival of the internet, all computer files were exchanged via a sneakernet, using tape or floppy disks as a storage medium.</p>
<img id="kris_9" src="content/images/kris-de-decker_how-to-build-a-low-tech-internet-9.jpeg"></img><figcaption>Stuffing a cargo train full of digital storage media would beat any digital network in terms of speed, cost and energy efficiency. Picture: Wikipedia Commons.</figcaption>
<img id="kris_9" src="content/images/kris-de-decker_how-to-build-a-low-tech-internet-9.jpeg"></img><div class="caption">Stuffing a cargo train full of digital storage media would beat any digital network in terms of speed, cost and energy efficiency. Picture: Wikipedia Commons.</div> <br>
Just like a data mules network, a sneakernet involves a vehicle, a messenger on foot, or an animal (such as a carrier pigeon (https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/02/sneakernet-beats-internet.html). However, in a sneakernet there is no automatic data transfer between the mobile node (for instance, a vehicle) and the stationary nodes (sender and recipient). Instead, the data first have to be transferred from the sender's computer to a portable storage medium. Then, upon arrival, the data have to be transferred from the portable storage medium to the receiver's computer.<sup>30</sup> A sneakernet thus requires manual intervention and this makes it less convenient for many internet applications.</p>
<p>
There are exceptions, though. For example, a movie doesn't have to be transferred to the hard disk of your computer in order to watch it. You play it straight from a portable hard disk or slide a disc into the DVD-player. Moreover, a sneakernet also offers an important advantage: of all low-tech networks, it has the most bandwidth available. This makes it perfectly suited for the distribution of large files such as movies or computer games. In fact, when very large files are involved, a sneakernet even beats the fastest fibre internet connection. At lower internet speeds, sneakernets can be advantageous for much smaller files.

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<div class="first-page">
<div id="title_edition">A Nourishing Network</div>
<div id="title">If You Lived Here, You'd Be at Work Already</div>
<div id="author"> by Marloes de Valk</div>
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</div>
<header id="pageheader-issue">A Nourishing Network</header>
<header id="pageheader-theme">If You Lived Here, You'd Be at Work Already</header>
<div class="essay_content_general">
<p>
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ine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, I accepted an invitation to join an event. It would take place, like all other events these days, in my house. The organiser send me an enthusiastic email with a Zoom background image attached, mentioning the image would make for a nice tool to hide anything I don't want share on the Zoom grid. I instantly started dreaming of also replacing my voice and face with augmented reality and AI, but was rudely awakened when I couldn't even make the background image work. My laptop's CPU is too old. Video conferencing tools handle background image calculations on the client-side, to reduce network traffic and latency. My laptop can hardly handle video conferencing without augmentation, client-side calculations are well out of its league.</p>
<img id="marloes_1" src="content/images/worry_free.png"></img>
<p>
Suddenly this phrase popped into my head: "If you lived here, you'd be at work already". It's an advertisement in the movie "Sorry to bother you" from writer and director Boots Riley. The movie takes place in a dystopian future where a company called Worry Free, offers employees "lifetime labour contracts" including food and housing at the company. At Worry Free you literally live at work. When I saw the movie two years ago, I had no idea how well this ad would reflect 2020's reality of living at the office, even if the office is in the home instead of home being at the office. Somehow all my things -- my house, my laptop, my printer, my electricity, my heating -- are now also used by my employer, and by Zoom, Microsoft and Google. It was an emergency. There was no time to really think this through. Nine months later though, many companies are thinking about making working at home a permanent change. Less traveling, smaller office buildings and thus less overhead and a smaller environmental footprint.
</p>
<p>
It is an industry trend to shift network bottlenecks into local computational tasks. It's called edge computing. It is not a new method, it started in the 90s with the advent of Content Distribution Networks for a faster distribution of video to end users. Today, data storage and computational tasks are both offloaded to the edge node in order to improve latency and reduce network traffic. It is particularly helpful for tasks that require fast processing speed, such as facial recognition and augmented reality, but also for bandwidth heavy applications such as cloud gaming and the growing pile of smart objects on the edge of networks, that are constantly phoning home to corporate servers generating massive amounts of data to be processed, real-time data generated by sensors and users, with zero tolerance for latency[^1]. After all these years of Software as a Service and cloud storage, moving our software and data onto corporate servers many hops away from our modem, now some of that is once again decentralized, just like the office.
</p>
<p>
It seems I am living on the edge -- edge working, edge computing, both promising a lower carbon footprint, but how? First I was told that the cloud was more green, because it is more efficient than my crappy hardware. Now, when I'm in a video conference and my laptop is sucking the power grid dry to be able to keep up with the conversation, I'm being told it's more efficient to use edge computing because it lessens network traffic. Total energy consumption is going up either way. My energy provider installed a smart meter so I can gain insight into my usage and thus magically become more energy efficient. And so climate change became my responsibility. Perhaps the smartness of the meter is its ability to distract from the urgent need to switch to renewable energy (Gabrys, 2015)? It's yet another device on the edge of the network, consuming resources well before and after its use-phase, near future e-waste, increasing the need for bandwidth, increasing power consumption. Technology as problem and solution. Is that what they mean with the circular economy?
</p>
<img id="marloes_2" src="content/images/keep-america-clean-campaign-50s.jpeg"></img>
<p>
This shift of responsibility away from corporations, or the state for that matter, is an old strategy. It privatizes and centralizes services, while outsourcing responsibilities of care and maintenance. It is also one of the oldest forms of greenwashing. In the 1950s the disposable packaging industry started a campaign, "Keep America Beautiful", in response to an attempt at legislation to reduce waste. The campaign was the launch of the concept of littering. Instead of attacking the problem of plastic waste by stopping the production of disposable packaging, the campaign placed the responsibility with consumers. "People start pollution. People can stop it."[^2] We are still dutifully reaping the rewards, picking up after ourselves, updating our hardware, lowering the thermostat, hiding our mess.
</p>
<p>
Edge computing is promising endless streams of low latency game play and video streaming. It is promising to be useful for managing renewable energy, to be more energy efficient than data centers and to reduce network traffic. On closer inspection, it is yet another example of capitalism profiting from the problems it creates, of neoliberal doctrine outsourcing burdens, while privatizing once public infrastructures and centralising those once decentralised,. Since the start of the pandemic, the tech industry has seized the opportunity to profit from disaster and followed Airbnb into people's homes. Web 2.0 introduced a business strategy that, by giving access to the means of production of content, could gain ownership over and generate profit from the product (Carr, 2006). While edge computing and remote working, users have to also pay for access to and buy elements of the means of production, through the costs of electricity, hardware, heating and housing. As Jodi Dean puts it: "personal property becomes an instrument for the capital and data accumulation of the lords of platform" (Dean, 2020).
</p>
<p>
Can we still get rid of the almighty lords that have wedged themselves in between us and our work, between us and those we want to communicate with? Dean points out that current leftist dreams of small communities creating local commons, with a snarky mention of artisanal cheese, are in some sense elistist. These dreams can only be realised by the few, are culturally specific and their localism expresses tendencies to, rather than resistance against, neofeudalism (ibid.). A refusal of the silent creep of appropriation of personal property through the imagining and building of communal, more sustainable computational infrastructures, however small, is a meaningful form of resistance though. Combined with a refusal of individual responsibility for global problems such as climate change, it is about holding those who lead harmful industries, and those governments aiding them, responsible. Rather than an escapist retreat, nourishing networks reimagine the infrastructures we depend on for organising collective action and refuse to put these in the hands of the lords of platform.
</p>
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<div class="references_marloes">
<div class="subheading"> References</div>
Carr, N. (2006) Digital sharecropping, *ROUGH TYPE*. Available from: [http://www.roughtype.com/?p=634](http://www.roughtype.com/?p=634) \[Accessed 15 January 2021\]
Dean, J. (2020) Neofeudalism: The End of Capitalism?, *Los Angeles Review of Books.* Available from:<https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/neofeudalism-the-end-of-capitalism/> \[Accessed 13 January 2021\].
Gabrys, J. (2015) Powering the Digital: From Energy Ecologies to Electronic Environmentalism, in: *Media and the ecological crisis*. New York: Routledge.
Engelsman, M. (no date). How not to waste energy on 5G, *TU Delft*. Available from: [https://www.tudelft.nl/en/stories/articles/how-not-to-waste-energy-on-5g/](https://www.tudelft.nl/en/stories/articles/how-not-to-waste-energy-on-5g/) \[Accessed 15 January 2021\].
Keep America Beautiful (1953). \[advertisement\] <https://www.npr.org/2019/09/04/757539617/the-litter-myth>
*Sorry to Bother You.* 2018. \[film\] Boots Riley. Los Angeles: Annapurna Pictures.
</div>
<div class="ref-position">
[^1]: 5G is linked to this development, even though mostly targeted at mobile broadband for handheld devices, it offers the transfer speed needed for businesses to use edge computing without needing to rethink their centralized core infrastructure. 5G is notoriously energy inefficient. According to Earl McCune, professor in the Electronic Circuits and Architectures group at TU Delft, 2G had an energy efficiency of 60%, "For 5G, the efficiency will be only 10%, meaning that \[for every 10 watts\] nine watts will be turned into heat." (Engelsman, no date)
[^2]: The campaign still exists, among the sponsors are many companies responsible for disposable plastic packaging and pollution -- such as Pepsico, Dow Chemical Company, McDonald's, Mars Wrigley and UPS -- and their trade associations -- the Plastics Industry Association, the International Bottled Water Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores and the American Chemistry Council. <https://kab.org/about/partners/>
</div>
<div class="bio_marloes">
<p>
**Marloes de Valk** <br>Marloes de Valk (NL) is a software artist and writer in the post-despair stage of coping with the threat of global warming and being spied on by the devices surrounding her. Surprised by the obsessive dedication with which we, even post-Snowden, share intimate details about ourselves to an often not too clearly defined group of others, astounded by the deafening noise we generate while socializing with the technology around us, she is looking to better understand why. She is a PhD researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University, in collaboration with The Photographer's Gallery. She's a thesis supervisor at the master Experimental Publishing at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. With Iodine dynamics she released the 8 bit NES game What Remains. Her latest project is Villains and Heroes, a game blending interactive fiction and investigative journalism in which you mingle with the supporters of Trump’s presidential campaign and bullshit your way through conversations with members of the think tanks and lobby groups that promote the denial of climate change.
<br>
<https://bleu255.com/~marloes/></p>
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<div id="title_edition">A Nourishing Network</div>
<div id="title">Measure or Measure Up: <br>Preparing for Unpopulated Futures</div>
<div id="author"> by Dr. Nishant Shah</div>
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<header id="pageheader-issue">A Nourishing Network</header>
<header id="pageheader-theme">Measure or Measure Up</header>
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he promise of digital technologies was extension. The capacity to reach out, to engage, to escape the confines of our heads and bodies to roam as data and traffic, in a never-ending stream of engagements and transactions has long since been the aspiration of digitization. From the romantic declarations of the World Wide Web (Lee & Fischetti 2000) onwards, the ambition of computational networks was to not just augment and facilitate the world we live in but to recreate it through 'small worlds' (Watts 2016) that defy the geo-political and chrono-temporal biases and restrictions of our space, offering time as the resource that can be manipulated, spliced, stored, commodified, and used as a powerful tool to catalyse critical transformations. Throughout the last couple of decades of celebrating the 'wealth of networks' (Benkler 2007) as the future of our interconnected lives and the 'wisdom of crowds' (Shirkey, 2009) as the new way of sensing and reproducing the world through digital computation, we have bought into the idea that the web will help us escape both the histories and the materialities of our lives to create something larger than merely the human experience; indeed to create something that is an upgraded version of our idea of the human.
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<p>
The promise of this extension, this travel on the edges of the network to constantly expand our horizon, to dance in streams of data as we connect and create new conditions of life, labour, language, and love (Foucault, 1970) suddenly came to a standstill when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It came as a shock to many of us that the digital extension and extensiveness were deeply rooted in both the intensity and intention of our lives anchored in bodies and spaces. For those of us who could afford it, the digital commute and work from home concepts allowed some semblance of production and labour, thus giving routine and purpose to a life otherwise mired in uncertainty. For some parts of the world, the social and welfare support and the economic resources for planning and lockdowns allowed for contagion to be contained and lives to be lived in small bubbles which ended up glorifying the home as a space for 'shelter and place'. For some communities, who were the ideal demography that was served by these technologies, the shift was easier as the processes, systems, and intimacies were managed with the 'cruel optimism' (Berlant 2011) that this is a temporary situation before we go back to an 'old normal'[^1] \(Trott 2020).
</p>
<p>
However, for a large part of the people who suddenly found themselves locked in their heads, their worlds shrunk to the rectangles of our screens and the squareness of our lives, it was a startling realisation that this was not a temporary situation, but a vision of the future that we had not seen coming. We don't have to take a post-apocalyptic perspective, but even without it, it is clear, that the future that we are seeing is an unpopulated one. An 'unpopulated future' is not a future without people, but a future that is designed and planned for occupation of and by machines and technologies, with people travelling through the channels and pathways created for them in this large cybernetic and self-learning system. It might sound dystopian, but it is also a very lived reality -- for what is dystopia if not a nostalgia of the present? -- that many have experienced in 2020. We have realised that if we wanted to step out of our heads, our thoughts, our bodies, our spaces, the only way out is to be able to connect, to communicate, and to create using these digital spaces and tools that have been created, to give in to their demands, requirements, compromises, and reprimands; to perform the 'promise of happiness' (Ahmed 2010), as an 'affect without experience' (Gregg 2010).
</p>
<p>
This arrival of the unpopulated future is not new. It has been in the making since a while, often presented to us through the rubrics of SMART Cities and Homes, Special Economy Zones, digital twin cities, and augmented and simulated forms of governance. The social web, beyond its seductive black-mirror unfolding has already shown how our identities, privacy, safety, and freedoms will be re-engineered and reshaped in order to meet the 'protocolled mandates' (Galloway 2004) of our digital lives. As we transferred almost all our efforts online and changed our homes and lives to be presentable in the windows of our webcams, it was clear that the accelerated reliance on digital technologies is going to need us to 'update' while 'remaining the same' (Chun 2016). We have experienced, perhaps for the first time, the paradox of having to update our lives to meet the demands of the digital technologies and conditions while continuing to work on 'business as usual'. While these Covid-19 driven changes are new, it is good to recognise that the prototypes and blue-prints of this future have long since been in the making.
</p>
<p>
My first encounter with such an unpopulated space that is designed for machine living and human occupation was in 2015, in Mexico, where in the middle of arid dry lands, surrounded by coyotes and cacti, there was a plan to build a city with no people in it. The 1 Billion USD investment was aimed at creating a 400 acres ghost city called CITE[^2], to house latest technological gadgets and innovations that could test out new forms of transactions, deliveries, transportation, and movement. There were roads for self-driving cars, empty skies for automated drones, minutely mapped spaces for deep surveillance, delivery routes for industrial, agricultural, and aquatic movement, ravines and terrains for robotic machines to march to the beat of their mechanical rhythms, testing grounds for last-mile delivery stations and distribution and sorting units, experimental stations for self-renewing energy, smart hubs for automatic and distributed charging of devices, electric and data grids that would control the flow of information and energy for efficient usage, extensive data centres that give instant cybernetic feedback, a real-time underground data collection network that gives immediate visualisations of the processes -- it is a city that is the most cutting edge in infrastructure that you can imagine. It is a city of your dreams. A real life Sim City exploration where you can build the futuristic city without constraints -- a city that is not made ugly, or unexpected, or irrational by the presence of human beings who, as we know, are creatures of unthinking habits.
</p>
<p>
CITE does not need people. It can house 35,000 citizens, but they are just temporary entities who walk in and walk out, in the service of the machines that are testing, experimenting, innovative and developing new material realities and prototypes of what cities can look like. This model fundamentally challenges the ways in which we think of our city spaces. It presents a future where the city exists without its population. Not a ghost town, not a forlorn space denuded of people, not a barren land without life. Quite the contrary -- it is a city that is teeming with life, filled with motion, buzzing with data, ticking like a well-oiled machine, presenting a dashboard of events and activities, transactions and transfers, intersections and communication, between smart devices performing their tasks with efficiency and discipline. The human subject is an intruder in this space -- a trespasser with a visitor pass, needed to train the data sets and the self-learning algorithms and to generate data for automated systems, but the presence is tolerated only for that purpose. Beyond that, there is no need for the human and there is no infrastructure or facility that can house the human for long term occupation. In that well-controlled system, any unwarranted, unexpected, unintended, or unwelcome presence will be swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with[^3].
</p>
<p>
CITE is the prototype of the unpopulated future that we are experiencing. While CITE remains just a fantasy thought experiment, it is a clear indication that the SMART, connected, digital city is going to be designed, engineered, and governed for housing computation and then for the people who will occupy these computational spaces. If we need instant click deliveries, continuous feedback loops, granular data by the second, self-driving automation, and customized and mobile interfaces to live on, then the city's primary infrastructure is going to be surveillance cameras, flexible electric grids, and data centres. We are going to have to let go of the metaphor of the digital cloud and actually look at the metaphor of earth -- the next phase, for artificial intelligence governed cities is going to be digital earth (Shah, 2020), and our houses and roads are going to be infrastructure that primarily caters to these Internet of Things devices. Out cities might have to become giant electric grids, our houses will have to become data centres, and our roads will be interfaces with limited human-only lanes. We are not going to live with machines, we are going to live in a machine, where all our physical infrastructure will in fact be stacks in a giant supercomputer. As you walk through CITE, you realise that every component there, which might look like home, office, park, or river, is actually a stack in a layered computer that is pretending to be the city.
</p>
<p>
We are thus, essentially looking at a reconfiguration of the human-technology and human-infrastructure questions, not as metaphorical cyborgs or post-humans but as a competition of who gets to populate the futures that we are experiencing. In this competition, there are two futures that are being generated. One of Technological Singularity and the other of Post-Earth Occupations, and I want to propose to us that while neither of these conditions are new, they are signalling an accelerated march into the unpopulated futures.
</p>
<p>
Technological Singularity in itself is not new. Way back in the 1960s, John von Neumann, the father of computation architecture already predicted a moment in future when technological advancements would make it impossible for the human affairs as we know them, to continue as they are. At the same time, it was being predicted that the world will need just 5 super-computers[^4] which will be able to perform all the computation tasks that the future is ever going to need.
</p>
<p>
However, at the SAIL labs in Stanford, there was a team led by physical computer scientist John McCarthy (1955), who was of the opinion that in order for the world to be efficient, we are going to need more computers -- but not computers as things which will be used by human beings, computers as things that will replace a lot of human activity. He was, in fact proposing artificial intelligence and automation as an answer. McCarthy had an irrefutable point -- when it comes to repetitive but significant tasks, like machines that make us live or production line technologies, humans were prone to mistakes that had fatal consequences. McCarthy's vision was that the technologies, but especially computation technologies were a way of replacing the human in specific tasks, and in fact translating the human to data and machinic forms so that it can be made redundant. This idea of translating the human function to machine tasks finds its logical apotheosis in the investments by billionaires like Elon Musk and Pieter Thiel who have started laboratories that seek to replace the human function of life with machine transactions, seeking to translate the entire human system -- biology as genes, experiences as cognition, emotions as brain chemistry, memory as information -- to inorganic computational forms that can make us live beyond our human capacity (Caughill 2017). This technological singularity then, would not be afraid of CITE like experiments but in fact desire it as a pre-requisite for future survival.
</p>
<p>
On the opposite side of McCarthy's spectrum was Douglas Engelbart (1962) who was not interested in replacing but in upgrading the human through its engagement with digital technologies. Engelbart proposed that humans and computers have to meet mid-way, what Karen Barad would later call 'posthumanist performative inter-action' (2003). Engelbart proposed that in order for a meaningful interaction to happen, it will not be enough that machines learn human languages, it will be critically important that humans learn machine logics. In one of his most iconic experiments, Engelbart proposed physical workshops for human beings to learn binary code, and the way in which a computation circuit actually operates -- he would line people up in a row, each one behaving like one conducting chip in a circuit, and showing them how meanings and messages could be produced using human circuits, reminding us, that computation language is just a language and it can find connections with human knowledges, meanings, and lives.
</p>
<p>
Engelbart's vision of changing the human to evolve it for the rising technologies finds its feet in the fields of biogenetics and molecular nanotechnology.[^5] Alphabet, the parent company that also owns the global giant Google, has significantly invested resources into curing Death. In 2013, Alphabet made a startling promise -- they have decided that the problem of human life is death, and instead of focusing on disease, well-being and saving, they are just going to cure the very idea of death (McCracken & Grossman 2013). Looking at stem-cell research that reverses ageing, and thus reverses living, Alphabet's biogenetic subsidiaries are looking at human mutation -- genetically modifying the code and DNA of being human, filling up our bodies with technologies, chips, nano particles, and synthetically fabricated microbial life-forms which will, at some point stop cell decay and ageing, thus granting us immortal life.
</p>
<p>
If these experiments find fruition, we will be in a new age of designer babies, where foetal DNA can be modified to give it particular characteristics, machine measurements will be able to typify individuals before they find a voice, and decisions of who gets to choose and who should not be afforded life, will be taken by algorithms that will determine the efficiency and probability of a genetic sequence. This is no longer thinking about technologies in the service of biology, but instead, understanding biology as a technology, eerily resounding Donna Haraway's (1985) prophecy that our cyborg futures are repackaging eugenics as genetics, creating new futures where only some people (or cyborgs) will survive.
</p>
<p>
In both these visions -- either of the diminished human which has to be offloaded to the artificial superintelligence technologies, or of the human who will be augmented by the insertion of technologies in our bodies -- are the seeds for the unpopulated futures that the CITE experiments offer. Because in both of these, the technological and the human are posited as contradictory, contrary, and in opposition to each other. The contemporary moment is the one where we increasingly see the rise of digital infrastructure as the new order of living, we are no longer examining the human future of digital technologies, but digital futures of human beings. This inversion -- where the human being is a problem to be solved, where the human has to measure up to the scripts of predictive technologies -- is new.
</p>
<p>
And as we continue to normalise our newly confined lives, as we continue to zoom through our social interactions, form intimacies through our digital devices, and create connections that are a function of time rather than space, we are slowly emphasising this script. A transcript of 2020 is going to look like a continuous demand that people measure up to the sudden need of the moment -- to extend beyond our bubbles -- and do it by either learning the ways of existing technologies, or by translating their functions into computational tasks. In either case, when people fail to catch up or replicate their ambitions and competences into this domain, they are made to feel either inadequate and thus in need of professional update, or incompetent, and hence to be replaced by somebody with better skills. In both these responses, unanchored from care and detached from human needs, we see a glimpse of the unpopulated future being normalized by the long now of the current pandemic crisis. This idea of the human as a static, fragile, irrational problem to be solved through the computational scripts of connection and creation, and it is going to be a challenge to ensure that these technologies which are already measuring the human in insidious and extensive ways do not become the standards that we have to measure up to.
</p>
</div>
<br>
<br>
<br>
<div class="references_marloes">
<div class="subheading">References</div>
Ahmed, S. (2010). *The Promise of Happiness.* Durham: Duke University Press.
Barad, K. (2003). "Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter", *Signs Journal of Women in Culture and Society*, 28 (3): 801:831.
Benkler, Y. (2007). *The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom.* USA: Yale University Press.
Berlant, L. (2011). *Cruel Optimism.* Durham: Duke University Press.
Berners-Lee, T., and Fischetti, M. (2000). *Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web.* New York: HarperCollins.
Caughill, P. 2017. "Elon Musk: The singularity for this level of the simulation is coming soon". Retrieved from <https://futurism.com/elon-musk-the-singularity-for-this-level-of-the-simulation-is-coming-soon>
Chun, H. K. W. (2016). *Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media.* Cambridge: MIT Press.
Engelbart, D. (1962). "Augmenting Human Intellect: A conceptual Framework". Retrieved from <https://www.dougengelbart.org/content/view/138>
Foucault, M. (1970). *The Order of Things: An archaeology of the human sciences.* UK: Pantheon Books.
Galloway, A. (2004). *Protocol.* Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Gregg, M. (2010). "On Friday Night Drinks: Workplace Affects in the Age of the Cubicle". *The Affect Theory Reader*, (Eds.) Melissa Gregg & Gregory J. Seigworth. Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 250 -268.
Haraway, D. (1985). "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the Late 20th Century", *Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature.* London/New York: Routledge. Retrieved from <https://web.archive.org/web/20130314123032/http://qss.stanford.edu/~godfrey/vonNeumann/vnedvac.pdf>
Kieron, M. (2017). "CITE: The \$1 billion city with no residents", *CNN.* Retrieved from <http://edition.cnn.com/style/article/test-city/index.html>
McCarthy, J., Minsky, M. L., Rochester, N., and Shannon. C.E. (1955). "A Proposal for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence". Retrieved from <https://web.archive.org/web/20210116113537/https://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/history/dartmouth/dartmouth.html>
McCracken, H., and Grossman, L. (2013). "Google Vs. Death". Retrieved from <https://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,2152422,00.html>
von Neumann, J. (1965). "The First Draft Report on the EDVAC". Retrieved from <https://web.archive.org/web/20130314123032/http://qss.stanford.edu/~godfrey/vonNeumann/vnedvac.pdf>
Shah, N. (2019). "Measure for Measure: Human scales of digital infrastructure", *Digital Earth.* Retrieved from <https://medium.com/digital-earth/measure-for-measure-human-scales-of-digital-infrastructures-9330408afc23>
Shirky, C. (2009). *Here Comes Everybody: How change happens when people come together.* New York: Penguin Books.
Trott, B. (2020). "Queer Berlin and the Covid-19 crisis: A politics of contact and ethics of care", *Interface: A journal for and about social movements*, Vol. 12 (1), pp. 88-108.
Watts, D. (2016). "How small is the world, really?". Retrieved from <https://medium.com/@duncanjwatts/how-small-is-the-world-really-736fa21808ba>
<div class="ref-position">
[^1]: Both Berlant and Trot, in their own way, remind us that the old normal is not a temporal function. It is not about going back to specific space or time but to a state of mind, where the power equilibrium that maintained the well-being of the privileged is sought to be restored and optimistically thought of as making us happy. The call for a nostalgic return to the old normal thus erases the inequities and violences that were endemic in that old system and perpetuate the fold of power without resistance.
[^2]: The Centre for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation (CITE) was described as a ghost town that was scheduled for construction in 2012 but was eventually put into motion in 2018. It was a city with no permanent population (Kieron 2017) and heralded as the city of the future. More information can be found at its Wikipedia page [*The Center, New Mexico -- Wikipedia*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Center,_New_Mexico).
[^3]: This particular idea of the human as only a temporary occupant of these spaces is one of the key characteristics of an unpopulated future -- where the human is traffic, and it is circulated across these large computational networks that construct the earth as a super-computing ecosystem. Many of the cultural references to the rise of artificial intelligence or autonomous machines have been about making the human obsolete. However, a more feasible future is where the human becomes a resource that travels through these technological interactions.
[^4]: Wrapped in enigma and often presented as one of the worst predictions in the history of computation, this proposition of how we will need only 5 computers is often attributed to Thomas Watson, the chairman of IBM in 1952, who famously said, "I think there is a world market for maybe five comptuers". A similar prediction is also credited to Prof. Douglas Hartree in 1951, where the mathematician who prophesised that "all the calculations that would ever be needed in this country could be done on the three digital computers which were then being built\...". While these quotes might very well be contested and be a part of Internet mythology, they are indicative of the limited imagination of the computer as a machine and have found their place in urban legends about computation history <https://www.zdnet.com/article/top-10-worst-tech-predictions-of-all-time/>
[^5]: Donna Haraway, in her conception of the cyborg (1985), established a clear distinction between biology and genetics. One of the main characteristics of biological sciences and the ways in which they formulated the human, was through producing measures. The human was intended to be the sacred point of origin from which the meaning of the measure was produced, and human interpretation was necessary for it. Genetics turned this notion of measurement around, by establishing non-human readable, machine interpreted standards that presented an information set around in which the humans needed to be sorted in a statistical model of fidelity and probability to the median established as the normal. This was the idea of the human who had to measure up to an abstracted standard. In this, the human would always be lacking and hence in need of an upgrade.
</div>
<br>
<div class="bio_rec"><p>
**Dr. Nishant Shah** <br> Dr. Nishant Shah is a Professor of Aesthetics and Cultures of Technology and the Director of Research and Outreach at the ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands. He is a knowledge partner for the Humanist Development Institution Hivos, and a mentor for the Feminist Internet Research Network, at the Association of Progressive Communication. His new co-authored book Really Fake, is coming out in Fall 2020 with the University of Minnesota Press.
<br>
<https://nishantshah.online>
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width: 300px;
float: right;
margin-left: 10px;
margin-bottom: 10px;
@ -208,10 +208,19 @@
}
#kris_6, #kris_7, #kris_9 {
width: 320px;
margin-left: 10px;
margin-bottom: 10px;
margin-top: 5px;
width: 280px;
margin: 5px;
}
#marloes_1, #marloes_2, #stwst {
width: 350px;
float: right;
margin: 5px;
}
.caption {
font-family: 'Unifont';
font-size: 12px;
}
/*Colophon*/
@ -260,7 +269,7 @@
.essay_content {
font-family: 'Unifont';
font-size: 14px;
line-height: 22px;
line-height: 20px;
page-break-before: always;
hyphens: auto;
columns: 2 auto;
@ -322,10 +331,18 @@
.bio {
font-family: 'Unifont';
font-size: 12px;
margin-top: 520px;
margin-top: 320px;
margin-left: 380px;
/*page-break-before: always;*/
line-height: 1.4;
}
.bio_marloes {
font-family: 'Unifont';
font-size: 12px;
margin-left: 380px;
page-break-after: always;
line-height: 1.4;
margin-top: 30px;
}
.bio_4 {
@ -355,8 +372,8 @@
font-size: 12px;
line-height: 1.5;
font-family: 'Unifont';
margin-left: 250px;
margin-top: 30px;
margin-left: 300px;
margin-top: 520px;
page-break-before: always;
}
@ -394,6 +411,15 @@
}
blockquote {
font-family: 'Unifont';
font-size: 10px;
}
#jamie_caroline {
margin-left: 450px;
}
#ascii_blob {
position: absolute;
margin-top: 2em;
@ -427,10 +453,17 @@ sup {
page-break-before: avoid;
line-height: 0.9 !important;
position: inherit;
columns: 3 auto;
/*columns: 3 auto;*/
}
.references_marloes {
font-family: 'Unifont';
font-size: 10px;
color: black !important;
text-decoration: none!important;
line-height: 0.9 !important;
position: inherit;
}
[role=doc-endnotes] {
position: inherit;

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