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<nettime> Ippolita Collective, In the Facebook Aquarium Part Two,
Patrice Riemens on Wed, 4 Jun 2014 18:14:13 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Ippolita Collective, In the Facebook Aquarium Part Two,

NB There was an interuption due to no-connex stay in France. There might
be one more next week, due to a 10 days trip to Spain, where I might, or
might not have xs to a machine.

Ippolita Collective, In the Facebook Aquarium Part Two

Social networks as seen through the anarcho-capitalist lens - or the
management of sociality through Big Data. (section #4, continued)

Meanwhile life is made up of what happens to us while we sweat it out
amending our digital profiles, and thus automatically contributing to an
even larger amount of data. To this, one could object that there exists a
natural limit to digital computing and that the libertarian faith in
endlessness is a logical absurdity. But even in the absence of limits,
this faith lacks pertinence, as we would not longer be able to manage our
data in an autonomous fashion anyway. We would no longer be able to handle
by ourselves the very knowledge that keeps us afloat. So time to say
goodbye to such pipe dreams of omnipotence and to come back to Earth! The
very act of doing a specific search with a concrete, defined connective
aim, exposes the trap laying behind the sheer endless availability of
data. Our goal is to write something for curious people. Well, there is
quite a difference between writing a serious, useful essay and making a
compilation without end - and inevitably imperfect still - of critiques,
general observations, and alternative proposals. The mere accumulation of
more data does not by itself results in a better quality of research.
There is not something as an objectively best choice because it supposedly
represents the 'natural' outcomes of a search in an unbelievable large
amount of data. There are only subjective, well defined choices, based on
personal preferences, which in their turn are passionate statements of
love for something that we do not just like for the short spell of a
click, but do really care for because they really matter to us.
(end of section #4)

(section #5)
The Hacker Spirit and the disease of Anarcho-Capitalism: long time buddies?

Some people absolutely love machines. They 'must' know of the devices
work, and nothing will stand in the way of their curiosity, least of which
the fear to make acquaintance with the finer points of the criminal code.
They have big fun taking these machines apart and putting them back
together, tinkering with them in the process so as to make them better. In
the case of 'digital machines', they write codes to make them interconnect
and to function in a certain way. They literally feed the machines and
give them life. These passionate people we call hackers.

There are different types of hackers. Code hackers write in various
(computing) languages - and their 'dialects' - and create programs.
/Security hackers/ invent various ways to bypass or break into a system's
protection. Sometimes they actually put this knowledge to work, but often
they just make their discoveries public. They can also work for big firms,
governments, institutions, or the army. In these cases they are supposed
to enhance the security of computer systems.
/Hardware hackers/ are more interested in direct intervention into the
machines, cutting, soldering, assembling and fixing - computers of course,
but also also radios, hi-fi systems, and why not, bikes, toasters, washing
machines ... /Geeks/ on the other hand, may not be very good coders, but
they move effortlessly in the digital realm, and are able to create and
make alterations to audio, video, and text objects, and to link up among
each others, using various instant communication tools like IRC (Internet
Relay Chat).

In the mainstream press, hackers and geeks are often portrayed as genial
but largely frustrated young males who went their juvenile anger by
threatening to take the whole world down from out the nooks of their
hardware- and assorted weird toys-filled bedrooms. Totally withdrawn in
their own universe, they are more at ease in front of a (computer) screen
than facing a real human being. They are /nerds/, not very well endowed on
the physical plane, not very good at sports, scoring beyond par on the
usual attributes of their peers, and shy to come near the feminine set.
They are the angst to socialize through in the usual ways made incarnate.
But they do have other abilities, foremost the ability to handle machines
(computers). To them belongs a power they can put to use where and when it
suits them: all are, at least potentially so, /crackers/ meaning they can
destroy your data just for fun, or to make a buck, or, more generally, to
get even with a world that does not seem particularly interested in them.

These simplifications, however, do not really address the complexity of
the hacker phenomenon. It tends to jumble together in the same league
mercenary hackers training the military for info-war, and /script
kiddies/, who fool around with viruses and malware they didn't develop
themselves, but picked up from the net ... The mythical figurehead of the
savvy hacker sneaking into databases, stealing all kinds of information,
scoffing the police, is the most widespread representation of an enduring
axiom: knowledge is power. Mastering technology generally means a source
of power.  Knowledge-power is a social power because the one who knows how
to handle fire can impose her/himself as the leader of the tribe, or as a
shaman, to whom the leader of the tribe must pay respects in order to
profit form the technical power sHe alone knows how to manage. Whomever
has the knowledge can make use of it to supersede others and exert
authority. And the knowledge about machines, in a world full of them, and
largely built by them, constitutes nowadays the highest possible power. It
is in order to obtain, retain, and control this power that an unrelenting
struggle takes place to-day.

(to be continued)
Next time: more on /nerd supremacy/!

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