Date archives "December 2015"

Why Paul Mason is wrong: you can’t innovate away social oppression

Excerpted from a critique of the PostCapitalism thesis by Kate Aronoff: “Matt Taibbi wrote in 2010, banks are a “highly sophisticated engine for converting the useful, deployed wealth of society into the least useful, most wasteful and insoluble substance on Earth — pure profit for rich individuals.” Technology is just another hurdle they can ably… Continue reading

Discussion: The soft power of biometric surveillance

Excerpted from Jathan Sadowski and Frank Pasquale: At one end of the spectrum of control are the technologies that enact their power in subtle ways. They are increasingly ubiquitous and become subsumed into the background of everyday life due to their ‘invisibility’ (Star, 1999). That is, they can be functionally invisible because people no longer… Continue reading

Best Essays of 2015 (1): Bernard Stiegler on the New Desires of Post-Capitalism

A new society could arise on the same technological base that is now still predominantly destroying the social bonds. The digital networks might be the prime catalysts in the transformation from today’s consumer society into what he calls a ‘society of contribution’. This is a strongly recommended interview to get to know the otherwise difficult… Continue reading

A New Frontier: Book Publishing as a Commons

For authors and their reader-communities, has conventional book publishing become obsolete or at least grossly inefficient and overpriced?  I say yes — at least for those of us who are not writing mass-audience books. The good news is that authors, their reader-communities and small presses are now developing their own, more satisfying alternative models for… Continue reading

The most socially destructive aspects of Silicon Valley

In the article, “Rise of the techno-Libertarians: The 5 most socially destructive aspects of Silicon Valley“, RICHARD ESKOW of ALTERNET claims that the “tech industry is morally and ethically bankrupt, and it’s starting to take its toll on ordinary Americans”. He gives five reasons, from which he have excerpted the two first ones: 1. Tech… Continue reading

Essay of the Day: Crypto Enlightenment and the Social Theory of Blockchains

Article: Crypto Enlightenment: A Social Theory of Blockchains. By Melanie Swan. Interesting take that does not necessarily a right-libertarian approach to blockchain technology. Here is the summary followed by two excerpts. Summary: “There is something new and fundamental happening in the world which could be the start of the next enlightenment period. The core of… Continue reading

Discussion: Smart cities in societies of control

Excerpted from Jathan Sadowski and Frank Pasquale: “What will a social theory of the smart city demand? As opposed to the ideology of advocates, social theory is a “systematic, historically informed and empirically oriented theory seeking to explain the nature of ‘the social,’” where the social “can be taken to mean the general range of… Continue reading

A proposal for a Social-Semantic Network infrastructure by Eric Hunting

By Eric Hunting: “What is the future of social interaction and organization on the Internet? What comes after Facebook and Twitter? One possibility is the Social-Semantic Network as explored in projects like Netention. A Social-Semantic Network is the application of Semantic Web technology to the coordination of human connections, exchanges, and communication through the automated… Continue reading

The Aliveness of a Commons: David Bollier’s Shareable Interview

I always appreciate it when interviewers force you to articulate things that lie just below the surface. That’s what happened when Cat Johnson of Shareable recently talked with me about Patterns of Commoning, the new book that I co-edited with Silke Helfrich that profiles dozens of notable commons around the world. Here is an excerpt:… Continue reading

Agents of Alternatives: Redesigning our Realities

One of the better books to have been published this year, with a variety of testimonies by transition agents on their vital work: Agents of Alternatives: Redesigning our Realities. Here is the blurb: “An independently published open book exploring the visions, actions, tools and impacts of change agents, thinkers and ‘happeners’ (those who make things… Continue reading

Towards Decentralized Autonomous Transportation Networks ?

A proposal, excerpted from Paul Hughes: “The average cost of buying and maintaining an automobile is relatively high for most people. Besides down-payments and ongoing monthly payments, there are regular maintenance and repair costs, fuel expenditures, insurance premiums, infrastructure taxes, registration fees, and potential parking and moving violation fees. Fortunately for us, much better options… Continue reading