Posts Tagged ‘control


Wark’s Hacker Manifesto

McKenzie Wark
A Hacker Manifesto
Area: Digital Media

•    The hacker class—produce new concepts, perceptions, sensations, hacked out of raw data
•    To hack is to differ
•    To hack is to produce or apply the abstract to information and express the possibility of new worlds, beyond necessity
•    Information is the detachment of a resource from capital already detached from land.  It is the double of a double.
•    Time itself becomes a commodified experience
•    The hacker class is caught between a politics of the masses from below and a politics of the rulers from above
•    Education is slavery
o    050: “When capital discovers that many tasks can be performed by causal employees with little training, education splits into a minimal system meant to teach servility to the poorest workers and a competitive system offering the brighter workers a way up the slippery slope to security and consumerism.”
o    Education is the organization of knowledge under the sign of property
•    Whose property is knowledge?
•    A hack touches the virtual—and transforms the actual
•    While everyone isn’t a hacker, everyone hacks
•    Information wants to be free but is everywhere in chains
•    Every hacker is at the same time producer and a product of the hack
•    Forms of property:
o    Land: primary
o    Capital: secondary
o    Information: developing
•    Hackers need some means of extracting an income from the hack
o    Maintain autonomy; limited protection of rights
•    The vector is viral—vectors of transport move objects and subjects
•    By extension, a vector may be any means by which anything moves
004: “Hackers create the possibility of new things entering the world.  Not always great things, or even good things, but new things.  In art, in science, in philosophy and culture, in any production of knowledge where data can be gathered, where information can be extracted from it, and where in that information new possibilities for the world produced, there are hackers hacking the new out of the old. While we create these new worlds, we do not possess them.  That which we create is mortgage to others, and to the interests of others, to states and corporations who monopolize the means for making worlds we alone discover.  We do not own what we produce—it owns us.”
021: “The vectoralist class struggles to monopolize abstraction.  For the vectoral class, ‘politics is about absolute control over intellectual property by means of warlike strategies of communication, control, and command.”
022: “Hackers come as a class to recognize their class interest is best expressed through the struggle to free the production of abstraction, not just from the particular fetters of this or that form of property, but to abstract the form of property itself.”
030: “But when information in turn becomes a form of private property, workers are dispossessed of it, and must buy their own culture back from its owners, the vectoralist class.”
130: “Information exceeds communication.  Deleuze: ‘We do not lack communication.  On the contrary, we have too much of it.  We lack creation.  We lack resistance to the present.’  Information is at once this resistance, and what it resists—its own dead form, communication.”
139: “The sign of a free world is not the liberty to consume information, or to produce it, not even to implement its potential in private worlds of one’s choosing.  The sign of a free world is the liberty for the collective transformation of the world through abstractions freely chosen and freely actualized.”
170: “Production produces not only the object as commodity, but also the subject who appears as its consumerism, even though it is actually its producer.  Under vectoralist rule, society becomes a ‘social factory’ which makes subjects as much as objects out of the transformation of nature into second nature.”
222: “To hack is to refuse representation, to make matters express themselves otherwise.  To hack is always to produce the odd difference in the production of information.  To hack is to trouble the object or the subject, by transforming in some way the very process of production by which objects and subjects come into being and recognizing each other by their representations.  The hack troubles the unrepresentable, the real.”
322: “Once information can move faster than people or things, it becomes the means by which people and things are to be meshed together in the interest of productive activity in ever expanding envelopes.”
344: “The great challenge to the hacker class is not just to create the abstractions by which the vector may develop, but the forms of collective expression that may overcome the limits not just of commodification, but of objectification in general, of which commodification is just the most pernicious and one-sided development.”


Churchland’s Neurophilosophy

Patricia Churchland

Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain

Area: Digital Media

·        Is it possible to have one grand, unified theory of the mind-brain?

·        Reevaluation of the significance of neuroscientific and psychological findings for philosophical research

·        Work in computer-science and computer modeling of networks has helped to generate concepts of information processing representation and computation that take us well beyond the earlier ideas and provide questions and answers of subintrospective mind-brain processes

·        No large-scale theory of brain function

o       Doesn’t mean there are no theories, just no Governing Paradigm in the Kuhnian sense

·        Intertheoretic reduction, representation, computation, and processes

368-373: Co-evolution of Research on Memory and Learning

·        Memory is at least as bad as a virtual governor

o       “The entire system functions, from an input/output point of view, as a single generator with a greatly increased frequency reliability, or, as control engineers express it, with a single, more powerful, ‘virtual governor’” (355).

·        H.M.=problem of control

o       Can initiate and successfully complete an extended intellectually demanding task even though he has no awareness that he has the knowledge or that he’s executing his knowledge on the task at hand.

·        H.M. has moved some neuropsychologists to postulate two memory systems

o       Descriptive memory: capacity to verbally report recollections

o       Procedural memory: capacity to exhibit a learned skill

3: “The sustaining conviction of this book is that top-down strategies (as characteristic of philosophy, cognitive psychology, and artificial intelligence research) and bottom-up strategies (as characteristic of the neurosciences) for solving the mysteries of mind=brain function should not be pursued in icy isolation from one another.  What is envisaged instead is a rich interanimation between the two, which can be expected to provoke a fruitful co-evolution of theories, models, and methods, where each informs, corrects, and inspires others.”

5: “For one think, neuroscience has progressed to the point where we can begin to theorize productively about basic principles of whole brain function and hence to address the questions concerning how the brain represents, learns, and produces behavior.  Second, many philosophers have moved away from the view that philosophy is an a priori discipline in which philosophers can discover a priori principles that neuroscientific theories had better honor on peril of being found wrong.”


Fukuyama’s Our Posthuman Future

Francis Fukuyama
Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnical Revolution
Area: Digital Media

•    No end of history unless end of science
•    Biotechnology threats:
o    Tom Wolfe: “Sorry, but your soul just died
o    Longer life and reduced mental capacity
o    Freedom from depression with freedom from creativity and spirit
•    Three scenarios
o    Advances in neuropharmacology = human behavior more plastic
o    Stem-cell research = increased life expectancies/regeneration
o    Optimize reproduction
•    Use power of state to regulate biotechnology
•    Globalization ensures the advancement of biotechnology
o    Any country that tries to limit/place ethical constraints on scientific communities will ultimately be punished
•    “While everyone has been busy staking out ethical positions pro/con various technologies, almost no one has been looking concretely at what kinds of institutions would be needed to allow societies to control the pace and scope of technological development”
•    More regulation, but not something that should be called for lightly
•    Fukuyama believes that biotechnology should not/cannot be controlled
o    Who decides control of new biotechnologies?
•    Watson: make mothers the regulators
•    “Even if we decide that technology should be legitimately controlled, we face the problem of whether it can be.”
•    Raising costs for access to “objectionable” sites will automatically regulate/control
7: “The most significant threat posed by contemporary biotechnology is the possibility that it will alter human nature and thereby move us into a ‘posthuman’ stage of history.  This is important, I will argue, because human nature exists, is a meaningful concept, and has provided a stable continuity to our experience as a species.  It is, conjointly with religion, what defines out most basic values.  Human nature shapes and constrains the possible kinds of political regimes, so a technology powerful enough to reshape what we are will have possibly malign consequences for liberal democracy and the nature of politics itself.”


Nealon’s Foucault Beyond Foucault

Jeffrey T. Nealon
Foucault Beyond Foucault: Power and its Intensifications Since 1984
Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory

•    Sophists and technology
o    Post critical take
•    Nealon’s first book was on control and control societies
•    Discourse within a discourse
•    How governmental power operates within networks
o    Network v. network
•    Goal aligned in network warfare
•    Discipline will return in some way
o    Dis-intermediated
•    Warrant-less wiretaps—controlled and networked?
•    Does control put something back into discipline that wasn’t there in the first place?
•    Recruitment and marketing schema
•    Discipline enhances the sovereign
•    Maintenance of the same technique
•    Fordist—when it was the ruling technology
o    Everyone’s a producer
•    Everyone has to provide; become someone
•    Nealon turns back certain reading of Foucault
o    Cost and Foucault
•    Can’t be against economics
•    Risk and self sacrifice: turn to ethics
o    Market-logic?
•    Private is the new concern
o    But…are we satisfied with this?
•    Resistance out of the private?
•    Domination and resistance are everywhere
•    Even if private, there’s no more individual
o    Virno: commonplace
•    Exit value and civil disobedience
•    No longer strategies that work
•    Private experiences
•    Cultivated distraction: Shaviro
•    Make the common attractive
o    Drop the connection between
•    The mechanism that capital/culture travels under => Galloway
•    Capital becomes more capitalistic as it becomes more Machinic
o    Subjectivities and techniques they use
•    Control is something like a machine logic
•    How are ideologies technological?
Critical moments in the text
6: (in response to Deleuze): “Perhaps power has to do with investments, as much economic as unconscious.”
14: “The legacy of the Enlightenment is the call to think critically about the present, to emphasize becoming over being, and to practice what Foucault calls ‘a permanent critique of our historical era.”
20: “Cost enacts or dramatizes the effects of social compulsion and their imbrication with individual desires, without any necessity for natural or transcendental backing: if you want it, you have to consider the price, monetary or otherwise.”
21: “The Marxist project highlighted by Foucault here is not the denunciation of capitalism as a misery machine, but the project of mapping the myriad ways in which misery is produced by capital, in the hopes that the machine can be modified to support a different series of outputs.
24: “Foucaultian power is not something held but something practiced; power is not imposed from ‘above’ a system or socius; there is no ‘outside’ power, no place untouched by power; conversely, there is no place of liberation or absolute freedom from power; in the end, power produces desires, formations, objects of knowledge, and discourses, rather than primarily repressing, controlling or canalizing the powers already held by preexisting subjects, knowledges, or formations.”
37: “Foucault two uses for the word ‘intensity’—to signal individual bodily pain and systematic saturation—correspond roughly to what Foucault calls the ‘two images of discipline.’”
43: “If discipline ‘discovers’ the body as power’s primary pivot or relay, disciplineary power also ‘made’ that body: ‘The body becomes a useful force only if it is both a productive body and a subjected body’”
64: “’Money,’ Deleuze writes, ‘perhaps best expresses the difference between the two kinds of society, since discipline was always related to molded currencies containing fold as a numerical standard, whereas control is based on floating exchange rates, modulations depending on a code setting sample percentages for various currencies.”
68: (from Deleuze) “In disciplinary societies, you were always starting all over again (as you went from school to barrackes, from barrackes to factory), while in control societies you never finish anything—business, training, and military service being coexisting meta-stable states of a single modulation, a sort of transmutation of power.”
80: “’A whole political network became interwoven with the fabric of everyday life,’ a whole vast network of confrontations and resistances is configured and deployed.  And that network confronts us every day, all the time, with increasing intensity.  Welcome to, Jeffrey, we have some suggestions for you.”
85: “Following the intense saturation of biopower’s concepts and practices within everyday life, contemporary capitalism has not gone about setting boundaries on work, but rather has sought to increase work’s saturation into the very fiber of everyday life.  Think of yourself at home, answering e-mail at midnight.  A highly intensified mode of biopower, then, is what one might call the ‘operating system’ of contemporary economic and cultural life, at least in the so-called first world”
From my previous post on Untimely Mediations:
“In sum, the critical history of thought is neither a history of acquisitions nor a history of concealments of truth; it is the history of ‘verdictions,’ understood as the forms according to which discourses capable of being declared true or false are articulated concerning a domain or thing.  What the condition of this emergence were, the price that was paid for it, so to speak, its effects on reality and the way in which, linking a certain type of object to certain modalities of the subject, it constituted the historical a priori of possible experience for a period of time, an area, and for given individuals” (18).
Nealon’s discussion of Foucault and cost obviously reminds me of Fearless Speech, but I am most interested in the part that mentions the ‘discourses capable of being declared true or false.’  If my memory serves me, to be labeled a parrhesiastes, this assumed that the individual was truthful—there was no ‘being declared’ to be sought.  The cost, here, is the individual coming forth to speak.  The cost was not in the discourse itself since it was assumed to be true because it could cost the individual everything.  Cost would also be found on the side of the King—by listening to he parrhesiastes, he was creating the possibility for his own downfall (well, at minimum he might be proven wrong).  Therefore, cost is an interesting spin on power in general—the one who has the most to lose is the one currently with all the power.
I think this goes against Foucault’s argument in Fearless Speech – or at least my earlier response to it.  In Fearless Speech, Foucault argues that the king, who essentially has nothing to lose, cannot have parrhesia. However, if we look at this from a cost perspective, it doesn’t cost the individual (who speaks the truth to the King) anything—he is only risking what little street cred he might have.  If the individual points out something against the King (a flaw, perhaps), and according to “rules of parrhesia” what is spoken by the individual must be true), then it might cost the King everything simply to listen. An individual, under his power nonetheless, can uproot it.
To summarize, after reading Nealon, I believe that there is a critical difference between “risk” and “cost” that would be interesting to discuss.  I should point out that I do not think these terms are separable; however “risk” does seem to evade the consequential nature of “cost” i.e. “he risked his reputation” = he still has it, compared with “that move cost him his reputation” = he risked and lost.  Anyway, maybe those are bad examples, but my question this week is “what’s the diff or the connections between “risk” and “cost”?”

April 2018
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