Nettime mailing list archives

Re: <nettime> Bankers on ecstasy (but is the party over?)
Jaromil on Sat, 18 Jun 2016 13:28:46 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> Bankers on ecstasy (but is the party over?)

On Fri, 17 Jun 2016, Morlock Elloi wrote:

> To many observers, the technological/mathematical component of this
> and similar phenomena implies that there is rationality involved.
> Nothing could be farther from the truth.
> The religion and ideology behind these is more crude, bigoted and
> crass than classical religions, exactly because it's assumed that it
> is well-cloaked by the involved technology.

True. There are some real bigots in there and they even respond with
personal assaults to any critical pondering of the technologies they
are evangelising about.

But this is not the only problem to be noticed here.

The Verge has adopted a critical take, surfacing some of my deeper
concerns (somehow aired also at the time of the hackingteam) on how
the techno-financial industry is toxic

The problem is not with youth experimenting new cool unstable stuff
and getting all excited about it. I'd even argue this should happen,
why not? It is also a known fact that hackers go through a "god
complex" period in the phylogenesis of their personality. Some are
even unable to get out of it in adulthood. So the trans-humanist
techno-fanatics you mention may be simply seen exploiting this puerile
energy: to feel young again, ignoring the looming necrotization of the
economic-body they are into (and they wish to live forever...).  this
is what I call ecstasy: swallow a pill to feel all cuddly-lovey
excited in the middle of an Euro-trash decadent party. It works. And
you may even find some puber for some couch-petting, how exciting.

But back to the hang-over, the empasse is not easy to describe. We've
had years of "austerity measures" affecting all sorts of labour
classes, mashing down the middle class, lowering demand on all
markets, while leaving intact the tainted networks of trust that are
still supposed to move capitals for "innovation", "entrepreneurship"
and "development".  The intoxicated players beyond these mega-capitals
(a too big to fail industry that has only grown after the bail-outs)
are ready for every new saturday night pub-crawl opportunity to imbue
their own perception of the "singularity" process that is going to fix
everything pseudo-magically.

These people are mandated to "distribute the wealth", plan
investments, grow-hack the hell out of kibbutzim-like
student-house-startups that are supposed to save the world.  They are
completely alienated. Alienation is the main product of
financiarization. At the other end of the spectrum, workers are
alienated from the mode of production, while being told they will be
obsoleted by the advent of the robots: smarter better and more
efficient. Until then, we'll just call humans "artificial-artificial
intelligence" (tm by Amazon, Mech Turks)

This is not just a grim and mildly entertaining narrative on the
late-capitalist techno-era, its not a titillating dystopic scenario.
Its actually provoking real damages.  In terms of money,
obviously. And today we don't need to explain that. But again also in
terms of integrity for policy making processes and networks of trust.

I've been in EU commission meetings in Bruxelles since a few years
now.  There is a solid siege of fanatic lobbyists for Ethereum, you
wouldn't believe how many enemies I'm making by writing this now. Its
actually amazing how many assets are in place, its almost like Libanon
15 years ago, but focused on "tech innovation".

Armies of shillers are shopping the blockchain around as if it would
be a magic wand to solve all economic problems, while in that context
is just a new device for financial institutions to shovel their
"Truth" down the throats of debtors. What problems is addressing this
tech, really?  And who is this austerity for, really?

I've seen seasoned and reasonable engineers silently slipping away
from marketing campaigns and trying to touch me to see if I was real,
knowing I know some of the backstage secrets of this puerile show, shy
in asking me "what is really this blockchain thing? does it deserves
such a big show?".

No, it doesn't, nor it deserves so much investment per-se. In any
case, a clear political agenda needs to be put forward, that is *not*
about providing banks some decadent R&D paid by public money (dah!)

This army of finance-industry-doped neo-trolls won't stop. Their
attitude is almost slapstick comedy by now. They see a clear
opportunity in manipulating the senile dementia and social fears of
state-capitalism functionaries to the advantage of big banking
conglomerates. And they are fanatics, as you point out, frantically
selling immaginary uses of their products depicting techno visions of
rebellious tools turned disruptive innovation under the bankers
control, private blockchains like legal absynth, solving
highly-responsible tasks without having to worry about human
errors. This is the collective masturbation of the 1+5% inside their
echo chambers full of decadent gizmos, android robots rubbing their
genital-shaped brains, while the rest of the world is collapsing under
the weight of debt and financial cuts to basic social and cultural


Pardon the emphasis.

There are humble ways out, let me conclude.

Bitcoin is bigger than most people here think and is only barely
connected to all this. With all its waste, it stands now as a platform
to actually obsolete the bank oligopoly. It opens up a lot more
scenarios, not just in finance. But there will be more toxic
manipulation for sure. Its a source of entropy, it has always
been. And its not THAT mature, admittedly.  Its internal politics are
also fascinating, recently we saw some stunts and an original and well
intentioned community keeps prevailing, bitcoin core has resisted the
bitcoin classic shallow-ops so far. Bitcoin was born not to serve the
banks, but to offer a radical alternative to their unfair hegemony on
value circulation. Keep it in mind.

For the societies of diverse people beyond these projects, tech is
just a tool and not a sacred origin.  There is no singularity there,
perhaps some mistery, but are for sure societies, already. And even
some rather different investment capitals building new networks of
trust. This is what those is charge of public sector innovation funds
should be comprehending and facilitating. Have the guts to slam the
door in the face of old players, force neutrality on public
oligopolies and learn to love some rock and roll, not this Wagner-like
fanfare of singularity gurus and bank-lackeys whose only outcome is a
very expensive and deceptive show-biz.


~.,_   Denis Roio aka Jaromil    http://Dyne.org think &do tank
    "+.   CTO and co-founder      free/open source developers
       {AT} )   ⚷ crypto κρυπτο крипто गुप्त् 加密 האנוסים المشفره
     {AT}  {AT} )  GnuPG: 6113D89C A825C5CE DD02C872 73B35DA5 4ACB7D10
( {AT}  {AT}  {AT} )  opmsg:73a8e097a038d82b 8afb4c05804bda0d 281b3880fbc19b88

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org
#   {AT} nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: