Newmedia on Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:33:40 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> More Crisis in the Information Society



> Perhaps, our productive systems are becoming too efficient for
> capitalism. If anyone who has some base talent and invests enough time
> in watching online how-to videos can become a half-decent photographer,
> then there ceases to be a market for half-decent photography. Now, if
> this happens only to the "creative class", then this is brutal for the
> "creatives", but what if this happens everywhere? Then things get weird.
> And for this to happen, we need to the internet.

Yes, indeed, things are already getting WEIRD -- particularly from the
standpoint of those who imagine that what they are dealing with is
"capitalism" (which we are not) and that Marx can help them understand
what is going on (which he cannot.)

No, we aren't in KANSAS anymore, Toto (or "Freddie," take your pick) .

. !! <g>

Marx is notoriously "silent" on what we are now going through (and
Engels, for whom Marx was working "on assignment," doesn't help us
either) -- which, among other things, puts the Chinese, who have
spent the last 7+ years doing a "complete re-analysis" of Marx (at
the highest level of their academics, in a place that was headed by
Xi Jinping throughout this analysis, the current Chinese President)
in a *very* disadvantaged position vis-a-vis the "Internet." They are
up-a-creek without a "materialist" paddle.

What they seem to have missed is that the MACHINES would themselves
get the "upper hand."

"Deep State"? How about the likely fact that there are no *human
beings* who can stop the NSA data collection? No one. "Politics"? Not
quite (if only the humans can "vote.")

While I'm no "fan" of Bruno Latour's Actor-Network Theory (and only
in part because it stems from his LSD "epiphany," which he terms
"Irreductions"), we *do* need to seriously consider the AGENCY of all
those things which are *not* human.

When Latour got up in front of the American Anthropologial Association
meeting this past November to deliver his "Distinguished Lecture" and
entreated the SRO audience to consider the "agency" of a glass of
water, he was being theatrical (and at some level "scandalous") but,
as best I can tell, few were paying attention.

If he had held up his MacBook, I wonder if people would have listened
more carefully . . . ??

While strategies to "reduce" one's own vulnerability to "surveillance"
might be interesting, particularly for those (like many on nettime)
with an "anarchist" attitude, that doesn't really change anything, as
you know.

We are in a situation which Stephen Hawking described as an "invasion
by a vastly superior alien race" and the *elites* of the world
("capitalist" or otherwise) seem completely unable to grasp what has
already happened.

It is one of the tasks of the Center for the Study of Digital Life to
try to help us understand just how *weird* things have already become
. . .

Mark Stahlman
Jersey City Heights

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