A historical overview of landmark events and developments in systematised watching, throughout art and architecture, society and technology.
~60 AD (Roman Period). Early manifestations of panoptic labor camps in the Negev desert. An even older but similar site nearby dates from Early Bronze Age II–III periods (3000–2400 BC).
1608 The earliest known working telescopes appear, credited to Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Janssen, spectacle-makers in Middelburg, and Jacob Metius.
1609 Galileo uses a refracting telescope as an instrument to observe stars, planets or moons. The name telescope is coined for Galileo’s instrument by a mathematician, Giovanni Demisiani, in 1611. The name derives from the Greek tele = ‘far’ and skopein = ‘to look or see’.
1673 In his book ‘Phonurgia Nova’, Athanasius Kircher proposes a system of amplifying horns and camera obscura projections by which a monarch can surveil the noblemen at his court and thereby strengthen his rule.
1785 Plan for Hotel-Dieu, drawing by Bernard Poyet
1791 General Idea of a Penitentiary Panopticon, drawing by Willey Reveley after Jeremy Bentham
A model of the Panopticon, Museum für Kommunikation, Frankfurt, 2013
1837 Charles Babbage designs a fully programmable mechanical computer called The Analytical Engine
1837 1st telegraph by Samuel F. B. Morse
1840 Projet de pénitencier, Drawing by Harou Romain
1889 Herman Hollerith develops and patents a punched card data processing technology for 1890 US Census and establishes the Tabulating Machine Company, one of the three companies that later merged to form the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation, subsequently renamed IBM.
1900 Reginald Fessenden successfully transmits his speech over a distance of about one mile. This appears to have been the 1st audio radio transmission.
1911 George E. Kelly recognizes military potential of aerial photography.
1914-1918 Before the invention of radar, aircraft were detected by listening. Directional Sound Finders used in World War I
1927 Russian inventor Léon Theremin develops a mirror drum-based television system which uses interlacing to achieve an image resolution of 100 lines.
1927 Herbert E. Ives of Bell Labs transmits moving images from a 50-aperture disk producing 16 frames per minute over a cable from Washington, DC to New York City. Ives uses viewing screens as large as 24 by 30 inches.
1927 Fritz Lang directs Metropolis (screenplay written 1924)
1929 Dziga Vertov: Man with a Movie Camera
1932 Aldous Huxley publishes Brave New World
1930s onwards: Science Fiction authors imagine future surveillance technologies. Many of them a reality now.
1935-1944 On air period of the German TV Station Paul Nipkow. Its headquarters were in Berlin. It was named after the inventor of the Nipkow disk.
1936 Walter Benjamin publishes The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
1939 John Cage composes Imaginary Landscape No. 1
1941 Konrad Zuse developes Z3, the first working machine featuring binary arithmetic, including floating point arithmetic and a measure of programmability. In 1998 the Z3 was proved to be Turing complete, therefore being the world’s first operational computer.
1942 Siemens installs first CCTV for the monitoring the launch of V2 rockets
1945 Vannevar Bush publishes the article As We May Think in The Atlantic Monthly Journal. He is proposing a system called Memex (for Memory Extender) as an electronic exstention of human memory and knowledge. A prototype both of PC and hypertext.
1946 Life Magazine photographer Yalo Joel uses a one-way mirror to trick people into posing for him
1946 Peter Goldmark (CBS) demonstrates his color television system. His system produces color pictures by having a red-blue-green wheel spin in front of a cathode ray tube.
1948 George Orwell: 1984
1949 This mechanical means of producing a color picture (by Peter Goldmark) is used to broadcast medical procedures from Pennsylvania and Atlantic City hospitals. In Atlantic City, viewers can come to the convention center to see broadcasts of operations. Reports from the time note that the realism of seeing surgery in color caused more than a few viewers to faint.
1951 The first video tape recorder (VTR) captures live images from television cameras by converting the information into electrical impulses and saving the information onto magnetic tape
1952 US President Truman formally establishes the NSA, which plays an instrumental part in the rise of the computer age. (Here’s a 1986 article by Friedrich Kittler about this, in German)
1956 Ampex sold the first VTR for $50,000
1957 Sputnik launch, 1st artificial satellite
1958 First use of stationary cameras to monitor traffic flow in Munich
1958-1980 Development and activity of Semi-Automatic Ground Environment.
1961 first meteorological satellites launched by the USA
1963 Philips presents first audio cassette recorder
1963 Nam June Paik exhibits 13 TV monitors at Exposition of Music – Electronic Television, Galerie Parnass, Wuppertal.
1963-65 Ted Nelson (Projekt Xanadu) coins the term hypertext
1964 Marshall McLuhan publishes Understanding Media
1965 Andy Warhol gets to use one of the very first Norelco video tape recorders
1966 Psychedelics are huge. CCTV installations are part of the art at the Acid Test/ Trips Festival organized by the Merry Pranksters and USCO, including Stewart Brand: trippy dancers painted in day-glo colors watch themselves dance.
1967 Guy Debord publishes The Society of the Spectacle. “All that was once directly lived has become mere representation.”
1969 Vito Acconci makes Following Piece in New York
1969 John Lennon/Yoko Ono make Film No 6. Rape. The relentless, continuous and brutal harassment of a girl by a male camera crew
1969 Bruce Nauman: First CCTV installation Video Corridor for San Francisco“ (Come Piece)
1969 Andy Warhol plans to broadcast a 6 hour stretch of continuous surveillance footage on the New York TV network; ‘Nothing Special’ was proposed to consist of footage of people walking by on the street at night. It never got made.
1969 US Defence and its Advanced Research Project Agency develop the ARPANET
1969 Sony introduces a prototype for the first widespread video cassette, the 3/4″ composite U-matic system. Sony later refine it to Broadcast Video U-matic or BVU.
1969-70 Bruce Nauman: Live-Taped Video Corridor
1969-70 Bruce Nauman: Video Surveillance Piece / Public Room, Private Room
1970 William S. Burroughs publishes The Electronic Revolution (In both The Electronic Revolution and The Job (1970), Burroughs maps strategies for the use of tape recorders as instruments of psychic terrorism); (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Electronic_Revolution)
1970 Dan Graham stages TV Camera / Monitor Performance at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax.
1972 Jürgen Klauke starts work on Antlitze (Faces)
1973 Peter Weibel installs Observation of the Observation: Uncertainty
1973 Global Positioning System (GPS) developed
1974 The British Armyin Northern Ireland introduces first automatised vehicle number plates recognition system.
1974 Installation of 145 CCTV cameras to control traffic on major arterial roads in London. Their usage is soon expanded to include crime prevention and social control. The ongoing conflict with the IRA in Northern Ireland turns mainland UK into the most densely controlled state on earth. Today there are an estimated 4,5 million surveillance cameras in the UK, both publicly and privately run.
1974 Francis Ford Coppola: The Conversation
1974 Dan Graham: Time Delay Room
1975 Michel Foucault publishes Surveiller et punir
1976 Hannover follows the London model and installs 25 remotely controlled, movable and zoomable traffic cameras. A few years later there is blanket CCTV coverage of ‘problematic’ city areas nationwide across Germany.
1976 Dara Birnbaum edits Technology / Transformation: Wonder Woman
1976 VHS video format introduced by JVC
1977 Dan Graham stages Performer/Audience/Mirror
1978 1st GPS satellite launched
1978 Antonio Muntadas produces the video On Subjectivity (About TV)
1978 Running Dog, a novel by Don DeLillo
“When technology reaches. a certain level, people begin to feel like criminals,” he said. “Someone is after you, the computers maybe, the machine-police. You can’t escape investigation. The facts about you and your whole existence have been collected or are being collected. Banks, insurance companies, credit organizations, tax examiners, passport offices, reporting services, police agencies, intelligence gatherers. It’s a little like what I was saying before. Devices make us pliant. If they issue a print-out saying we’re guilty, then we’re guilty. But it goes even deeper, doesn’t it? It’s the presence alone, the very fact, the superabundance of technology, that makes us feel we’re committing crimes. Just the fact that these things exist at this widespread level. The processing machines, the scanners, the sorters. That’s enough to make us feel like criminals. What enormous weight. What complex programs. And there’s no one to explain it to us.”
1979 Sony and Philips jointly develop the Compact Disk (CD)
1979 first edition of ars electronica Festival, Linz, Austria
1980 Steve Mann begins work on wearables
1981 Sophie Calle produces The Shadow : «In April 1981, at my request, my mother went to a detetctive agency. She hired them to follow me, to report my daily activities, and to proviede photographic evidence of my existence.» In The Shadow she sets the detective’s photographic account against her own observations: the observer becomes the observed. The viewer is the third witness. This search for her own identity fails to reveal a clear picture here, too. Sophie Calle’s face does not appear in any of the pictures: her figure emerges like a shadow throughout the detective’s photographs
1982 Ridley Scott directs Blade Runner
1982 David Rokeby starts to develop Very Nervous System, his first major interactive work using video cameras, image processors, computers, synthesizers and a sound system to create a space in which the movements of one’s body create sound and/or music.
1983 Michael Klier directs/edits the movie Der Riese, an unconventionally constructed essay video on video surveillance in public space
1984 1st Macintosh 128k presented
1985 Julia Scher‘s 1st reference to surveillance in Hardley Feel It Going In (painting with surveillance system)
1986 Julia Scher‘s 1st Bubble Memory device by Hitachi Softly Tapping The Wires (interactive installation)
1991 Julia Scher presents DDD (Danger Dirty Data)
early 1990s London installs its Ring of Steel in response to a spate of IRA attacks. The infrastructure is still in use today and has since been upgraded and expanded several times.
mid 1990s Privacy activists battle government officials for the right to use strong crypto in the Crypto Wars.
1998 Shizuka Yokomizo takes photos of people standing in their front rooms from the street for her ‘Dear Stranger’ project.
1998 The Surveillance Camera Players stage George Orwell’s 1984, in Art Toad’s adaptation of George Orwell’s famous anti-utopian play 1984. It takes place on the platform of a New York subway station in November 1998. http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/works/george-orwells-1984/
2001 CTRL [SPACE] opens at ZKM Karlsruhe. The first comprehensive overview of surveillance-related art works. The artist pages of the out-of-print and now precious catalogue can be browsed online. It’s the essays that are still worth reading, 14 years later. We have a copy in the office if you want to borrow it. the library has it, too.
2002 US Information Awareness Office established; allegedly abandoned in 2003 because of human rights and privacy concerns. 2013 Edward Snowden leaks reveal core projects were continued and up and running a few years later. One of the most ambitious / publicly known mass surveillance projects.
2003 Harun Farocki: Erkennen und verfolgen (War at a Distance). Just one of many of his works concerned with observational politics
2004 Jill Magid: Evidence Locker
Multimedia Installation including Police CCTV footage, Sound piece, novella, website (www.evidencelocker.net)
2004 Miroslav Tichý‘s work is shown for the first time, encompassing photos from the 1960’s to the present.
end 2000s New York installs its own Ring of Steel, one of the most integrated “full spectrum, military grade” surveillance networks.
2010 Exposed. Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera. A major exhibition at Tate Modern, London
2010 Adam Harvey designs CV Dazzle: Open-Source Camouflage From Computer Vision. (“…a program of design of hairstyles and makeup to trick face detection software, to change the human face in ways that is still aesthetically pleasing to human eyes but rules out the attention of computers. This is interesting, because most of our ways of tricking computers are violently unfriendly ways.” James Bridle) See also.
2010 Timo Toots: Memopol-1 An interactive installation that independently gathers and visualizes personal data. works.timo.ee/memopol/
2011 The Chaos Computer Club discovers and dissects the Staatstrojaner. Mass surveillance of Internet users makes it into the public consciousness.
2011 Wikileaks targets companies that export surveillance and control software from the West to countries that rape, torture and murder, and is used e.g. by Syria to suppress dissent.
2011 Drones find their way from the military to general police use, not just in the US but in Europe e.g. in Niedersachsen during Castor protests, to the protesters themselves, documenting their protest. The KHM’s lab3 got their first drone in 2012. The SAG gets theirs in 2016.
2012 There are an estimated 1 billion smart phones in use worldwide. They are also a perfect surveillance bug that people are happy to wear. (For a possible solution see also)
2012 Julian Oliver: Transparency Grenade. An open source device that automatically hacks into locally available wireless networks, sniffs traffic to extract confidential data and uploads all results to a publicly available web server.
2012 James Bridle draws Drone Shadows.
2013 Google Glass released to developers, available to the public from 2014
2013 The Internet of Things is looming on the horizon. In addition, our tools and gadgets are increasingly locked down, and we cannot verify what processes are running on them. In effect, we are on our way to perfect and inescapable monitoring. The movement for free and open source software and hardware is gaining ground.
2013-14 Edward Snowden leaks. It turns out mass surveillance is not a conspiracy theory, but reality. Ongoing revelations at the time of writing, including the drive for a ‘full take’ of the world’s network traffic (“Why can’t we collect all the signals all the time?”), systematic weakening of security protocols, state-sponsored hacking into friends’ and foe’s infrastructure, etc etc. Worldwide repercussions, though no large scale outcry. Security researcher Bruce Schneier argues that the Internet has been commandeered by the NSA. In an unprecedented move, a range of privacy-oriented shops shut down and destroy their hardware, rather than cooperating with what they see as intolerable conditions.
2015 Google glass project discontinued, too many people are strongly opposed to ‘Glassholes’. Apple watch goes on sale: self-surveillance doesn’t cause the same moral dilemma.
2016 The number of art and design projects dealing with surveillance balloons. Bernhard Serexhe and Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás curate a follow-up to CTRL [SPACE] at ZKM Karlsruhe: GLOBAL CONTROL AND CENSORSHIP (featuring teachers and students of the Surveillant Architectures seminar among many other participants). Catalogue
*timeline compiled by arte-e-parte, 2008 and CS 2011-2016
from using technology to find intimacy with one another, to intimacy with technology – SAG 27 Apr 2016
1. Promises of Artificial Intelligence
Good introduction to AI concepts: Plug and Pray – Von Computern und anderen Menschen – Dokumentarfilm von Jens Schanze 2009
“My main objection was that when the program says ‘I understand’, then that’s a lie. There’s no one there. … I can’t imagine that you can do an effective therapy for someone who is emotionally troubled by systematically lying to him.” Joseph Weizenbaum, Plug and Pray documentary, from~ 30’30
“At the beginning of all this computer stuff, in the first 15 years or so, it was very clear to us that you can give the computer a job only, if you understand that job very well and deeply. Otherwise you can’t ask it to do it. Now that has changed. If we don’t understand a task, then we give it to the computer, who then is being asked to solve it with artifical intelligence. … But there’s a real danger. We’ve seen that in many, in almost all areas where the computer has been introduced, it’s irreversible. At banks, for example. And if we start to rely on artifical intelligence now, and it’s not reversible, and then we discover that this program does something we first don’t understand and then don’t like. Where does that leave us?” Plug and Pray documentary, 25’36 – 26’50 (an interview from 1987)
At the other end of the spectrum:
“We already have many examples of what I call narrow artificial intelligence … – and within 20 years, around 2029, computers will really match the full range of human intelligence. So we’ll be more machine-like than biological. So when I say that people say, I don’t want to become a machine. But they’re thinking about today’s machines, like this. Now we don’t want to become machines like this. I’m talking about a different kind of machine. A machine that’s actually just as subtle, just as complex, just as endearing, just as emotional as human beings. Or even more so. Even more exemplary of our moral, emotional and sprititual intelligence. We’re going to merge with this technology. We’re going to become hybrids of biological and non-biological intelligence, and ultimately be millions of times smarter than we are today. And that’s our destiny.” Ray Kurzweil, (from minute 6.30)
→ says we are going to MERGE with this technology. A longing to be expanded, connected, rescued from state of being cut off.
Kraftwerk, 1970s: We are the Robots https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXa9tXcMhXQ –– a longing to be one with the machine, machine-like (very different from James Brown’s idea though). Is this chiefly a male desire, to be free of the mess of emotional confusion, ambiguity?
→ also see Günther Anders, Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen, Band I, C. H. Beck, München 1956. “Promethean Shame”, man’s feeling of inadequacy in view of his creations.
2. Tell Computers and Humans Apart
Turing Test: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test
A Turing Test we’re all familiar with: CAPTCHA: “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAPTCHA
reCAPTCHA (human users exploited for machine learning) https://www.google.com/recaptcha/intro/index.html#ease-of-use
Contemporary example: Try anything hosted on Cloudflare via Tor, and you’ll have to prove you’re not a bot: https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/203306930-Does-CloudFlare-block-Tor-
3. Live Bots to talk to
Designed as an artifical psychiatrist. So from the start the machine aims to make deep contact, get right into people’s minds. Also described as a “parody” of a therapist.
Emulation on a web server: http://nlp-addiction.com/eliza
Anectdote recounted by Charlie Brooker, author of Black Mirror (watched last time): “Joseph Weizenbaum, tthe inventor of one of the first chat bots, Eliza, had his secretary test her out. Shortly after she asked him to leave, because even though she knew it was a machine she was talking to, she was having a very intimate conversation and wanted to be alone.”
Sie: Sind sie ein Mensch?
Julia: Ich bin genauso echt wie Sie.
Sie: Warum sagen Sie, dass Sie echt sind?
Julia: Leider kann ich Ihnen keine weitere Begründung geben. Sie können mir aber eine neue Frage stellen!
Sie: Sind sie ein Mensch
Julia: Ich antworte, also bin ich! Real, virtuell, echt – macht das im Jahr 2016 noch einen Unterschied!?
Tries to sell you access to porn if you mention sex.
→ The training goes both ways: Computers condition us to become more like them.
‘In Turing’s dream scenario, chatbots will actually push us to be better conversationalists and clearer thinkers. As Will put it, reflecting on the chatbot experiment, “having Pinocchio-like robots that can think, feel and discriminate morally will broaden our concept of humanity, challenging us organic humans to be better, more sensitive, imaginative creatures.” Amen to that.’
- Chris Marker: DIALECTORThe film maker disappeared from public view for more than 3 years in the 80s, instead spending his time on programming a chat bot on what was then the tinkerer’s machine of choice, an Apple IIc. The resulting program is unlike any other conversational piece of software. At a show recently at HMKV Dortmund the curator explained that the source code is only 30 pages long, but it’s so complex that no one has yet been able to find out how it does what it does. http://dialector.poptronics.fr/index.html
→ DIALECTOR is so far the only bot that on its own decides to end a conversation.
The interesting and worrying part of the entire test was that it became a plausible, creative racist asshole. A lot of the worst things that Tay is quoted as saying were the result of users abusing the “repeat” function, but not all. It came out with racist statements entirely off its own bat. It even made things that look disturbingly like jokes. Antipope.org
4. Projections for the Future of Bots
- “’tech developments in other areas are about to turn the whole “sex with your PC” deal from “crude and somewhat rubbish” to “looks like the AIs just took a really unexpected job away'”.
There is no reason why bots won’t get linked to something like a masturbating machine. Tip: don’t google “AUTOMATED TELEDONICS”.
” For a lot of people I suspect the non-human nature of the other party would be a feature, not a bug – much like the non-human nature of a vibrator. “
The update explains what really happened: Non native speaker can play predefined voice snippets to have a ‘conversation’. It doesn’t say much about the much anticipated technological progress in AI, but it says a lot about new ways that people relate to each other.
“before this goes any further, I think we should get tested. You know, together.” “Don’t you trust me?” – “I just want to be sure.
Bottom line: aggressive, disruptive bots will be unavoidable, and might make a lot of the Internet as we know it know very toxic. What does Tay mean for future of politics + social media?
– who is responsible if a bot breaks the law? Will robots in future become be able to get punished for their actions? See Asimov’s Robot Laws. Also re “Samantha West”:
But the peculiar thing about Samantha West isn’t just that she is automated. It’s that she’s so smartly automated that she’s trained to respond to queries about whether or not she is a robot by telling you she’s a human. I asked [industry expert Chris] Haerich if there is a regulation against robots lying to you.
“I don’t…know…that…,” she said. “That’s one I’ve never been asked before. I’ve never been asked that question. Ever.”
- “Sorry, I can’t let you do that, Dave.” (clearly we can’t talk about AI without referencing HAL)
- Ashley madison chatbots ‘milking’ unsuspecting horny customers:
→ Ashley Madison hack, turned out to the millions of men who signed up there were 70.000 fake profiles run by female bots, called “engagers”. This was part of a large fraud operation, tricking male subscribes into paying to see messages, get in „touch“.
- opening soon: !Mediengruppe Bitnik
is anyone home lol http://www.kunsthauslangenthal.ch/index.php/bitnik-huret.en/language/de.htm
In their new project for Kunsthaus Langenthal, !Mediengruppe Bitnik uses Bots, that is, programmes executing automatic tasks, thereby often simulating human activity. In their project, tens of thousands of Bots, hacked from a dating platform, where they feign female users, will emerge as a liberated mass of artificial chat partners.
- Vito Acconci – Theme Song 1973
Look we’re both grown up, we don’t have to kid each other. I just need a body next to mine. It’s so easy here, so easy. Just fall right into me. Come close to me, just fall right into me. It’s so easy. No trouble. No problems. Nobody doesn’t even have to know about it. Come on, we both need it, right? Come on.” Stops tape. “Oh I know you need it as much as I do. Dadadadadada that’s all you need. Come on.
Dadadadadada that’s all you need. Come on.
Dadadadadada that’s all you need. Come on.
I know I need it, you know you need it. … we don’t have to kid ourselves. We don’t have to say this is gonna last. All that counts is now, right? My body is here. You body can be here. That’s all we want. Right?
for those that missed today’s seminar, here are my notes and some links
1. dating sites
as an example of a corporation that needs to intimately get to know you. They ask questions to get a (good enough) image of who you are, so they can recommend the right match.
Try it, just sign up https://www.okcupid.com (but use a temporary email and I’d say not when logged in to your everyday browser. I did it via Tor and using Spamgourmet https://www.spamgourmet.com/index.pl?languageCode=EN )
Here’s another way to flesh out your digital double: https://www.okcupid.com/tests/the-are-you-really-an-artist-test
(by the way, here are my results:
So does that mean that first you’d have the Data Doubles falling in love, then the real life yous just have to follow suit?
Some notes on dating algorithms and methodology by Christian Rudder, statistician
“The ultimate question at OkCupid is, does this thing even work? By all our internal measures, the “match percentage” we calculate for users is very good at predicting relationships. It correlates with message success, conversation length, whether people actually exchange contact information, and so on. But in the back of our minds, there’s always been the possibility: maybe it works just because we tell people it does. …”
“When we tell people they are a good match, they act as if they are. Even when they should be wrong for each other.”
Some more about falling in love: Experimentational Generation of Interpersonal Closeness
A psychological study: You only need to answer 36 questions to establish intimacy and trust. “Love didn’t happen to us. We’re in love because we each made the choice to be.”
“I first read about the study when I was in the midst of a breakup. Each time I thought of leaving, my heart overruled my brain. I felt stuck. So, like a good academic, I turned to science, hoping there was a way to love smarter”
Read: a way to make love safer and more convenient (the drive behind all of this IMHO).
2. “Be Right Back” episode of “Black Mirror”
The whole episode is online on Youtube if you want to re-watch. The DVD box set is in our Semesterapparat in the library.
It talks about, among other things, love, death and bereavement. It’s fairly didactic also, in the way it explains the limits of Facebook’s way of constructing your Data Double (i.e. when real-life Ash says he’s sharing the image of himself because it’s “funny” and the Ash the fleshbot then repeats it as face value.)
Charlie Brooker, creator of the series, explains in a panel discussion on the ideas that led to writing this story:
“I was spending a lot of time late at night looking at Twitter, and I was wondering, what if all these people were dead. Would I notice?”
Basically people’s reactions and posts are so formulaic that they’re entirely predictably. So we might as well get a robot to do it.
“Also there is the story of the inventor of one of the first chat bots, Eliza. He had his secretary test her out, and shortly after she asked him to leave, because even though she knew it was a machine she was talking to, she was having a very intimate conversation and wanted to be alone.”
3. Intimacy with robots
So it seems there is a huge market for intimacy with robots out there. Presumably it’s going to become a lot more visible soon. David Levy is a computer scientist who has done decades of research. In his book “Love and Sex with Robots” he recommends sex robots as the solution to many of our problems.
Press response see i.e. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/dec/13/sex-love-and-robots-the-end-of-intimacy
The most prominent and profound critic of this development is Sherry Turkle, Professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT. In her work she focuses on human-technology interaction, and used to praise the Internet for the freedom it gave people in re-inventing themselves, trying out different personas. In recent years she has become increasingly critical of the way that technology limits the depth of human communication and interaction.
See her book “Alone Together” (in the library):
Facebook. Twitter. SecondLife. “Smart” phones. Robotic pets. Robotic lovers. Thirty years ago we asked what we would use computers for. Now the question is what don’t we use them for. Now, through technology, we create, navigate, and perform our emotional lives.
We shape our buildings, Winston Churchill argued, then they shape us. The same is true of our digital technologies. Technology has become the architect of our intimacies.
She starts the book with research about the emotional investment people make in toy robots. Describes how her research again and again has shown that people are more than happy to confide in robots and enter into intimate relationships with them.
People often find that robots are actually preferable to a live person. Unlike real pets, robot puppies stay puppies for ever. Your sex robot will always be young, willing, and only be there for you (and won’t think you have strange desires or are a bad performer). According to Turkle, the problem is that this is a reduction of the bandwidth of human experience as we used to know it. She quotes from her research with teenagers: “texting is always better than talking”, as it’s less risky. Risk-avoidance is at the heart of the desire for intimacy with robots. (Again, security and convenience.)
Interaction with robots is sold as “risk free”, whereas “Dependence on a person is risky – it makes us subject to rejection – but it also opens us up to deeply knowing each other.”
“The shock troops of the robotic moment, dressed in lingerie, may be closer than most of us have ever imagined. … this is not because the robots are ready but because we are.”
It’s in the library! From the introduction to the book: http://alonetogetherbook.com/?p=4
A quick TED talk about the ideas and research behind the book: TEDxUIUC – Sherry Turkle – Alone Together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtLVCpZIiNs
5. the conceptual basics of data doubles explained
A talk by Gemma Galdon-Clavell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eifMYCfuBI. My rough notes:
“who do you think you are? who do you think the person next to you is? …
identities are a complex thing. we mess with our identities, we play with them, we’re not the same person at a job interview than when going out at night to party. we choose to show different things, evolve over time.
data: fixes things. States need fixed things.
not too long ago, the amount of personally identifiable data (PII) was limited. when you crossed a border. when you registered a car. when you got a speeding ticket. that kind of info got stored by the state. back then only the state was big enough to need a UID to track you.
now: is stored by a large number of actors: shopping (loyalty cards, credit cards), entertainment (video streaming “rental”, music streaming, online game platforms), social media (making up ~60 to 75% of total traffic), smart phones (full of sensors & apps. have sensors than can be used for more than you can imagine )… we leave data traces all the time and we have no control. we have no way of knowing where the data goes, it gets sold on, or is held in storage silos because people think it’s tomorrow’s oil. Companies might even not know what to do with it, but they gather it anyway now. They keep it just in case.
Data doesn’t just sit there but it’s being used in new and dynamic ways, all to build a model of you that is as exact as possible: the Data Double. You, in data. When you enter any business transaction with companies, they don’t make decisions on you, but on what they can learn about you from their databases. You think you’re sitting down with your banker, talking about that loan, but really the decision that he’s going to make is based on your credit scoring. Not how compelling you are in presenting your ideas. The score is presented to them in a color, they’ll just see a green or red light, and won’t even be able to find out how that rating came about. You’re trying to create an interaction, and the decision has been made beforehand. Same with web sites who decide how to interact with you based on the cookies in your browser.
example dating site: answer a few questions (this is usually done by cookies on other web sites). Based on those the dating site will decide who you are and provide recommendations what to avoid and what to look out for. So the data double is not only a representation of yourself, but it’s also shaping your future self, because suddenly your options have reduced drastically, and your perspective has narrowed.
states love data doubles, because it’s a lot easier to deal with data than it is to deal with people. People are complex, messy, can be annoying. Data is stable, fixed, doesn’T yell back at you. High temptation to substitute people with data (“The data gives me a good idea of what the people want that I represent in parliament”)
Increasing pressure to conform to the image that the data has about me. Example credit card fraud detection: do something unusual and it’ll flag it as probably fraudulent and won’t allow it.
Ends with: can I ever get out of this cage again? Does the data double forget? Forgive? (doesnt look like it). So: until we have the legal tools to deal with this direclty and fairly, the solution is sabotage. only give up data if it profits you.
Bottom line: most of it is being used for either advertising and/or prediction. To read more about the details, see i.e. here: Epic.org: Privacy and Consumer Profiling.
Come to our Cryptoparty on May 19 to learn about self-defense measures.
6. heated discussion ensues
7. Illustration: seminar participants categorization by unknown author