Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Revolution Will Not Be Monetized

The Revolution
Will Not Be Monetized

You will not be able to stay home, nyms.
You will not be able to log in, click once and zone out.
You will not be able to lose yourself in blogs and forums
or be AFK or BRB because
the revolution will not be monetized.

The revolution will not be ip accessible,
The revolution will not be in the cloud;
You will not be combed, cultured or deep-packet scrutinized;
No one will grab your metaphorical genitals with their metaphorical
rubber-clad hands and rummage through your most intimate communications.

The revolution will not ask you for your government-sanctioned and approved identification for verification that you are an eager consumer with cash in hand ready to grease the wheels of progress. The revolution will not follow you on Twitter or trail your dossier to make it easier for you to log in to websites. The revolution will not demand an extra tax to support the outmoded business models and obscene profits of an old and rotting media cartel which privatized a public commodity and stole the network from you to line their own fat pockets.
revolution will not be monetized.

The revolution will not be quantized, synthesised or facially-recognized. The revolution will not come to you over an unlimited line with traffic-shaping, hidden caps or peak hours. The revolution will not come as an attachment in your free email or downloaded movies from The Pirate Bay, or hand you maps on your GPS or phone. The revolution will not care about the latest watered-down product being pushed by the Marketeers as a ringtone, because
the revolution will not be monetized.

The revolution will not be LOLcats, or a collection of adorable kittens, or hamsters, or llamas or ponies. The revolution will not be Flash ads, Flash cookies, Flash menues or flash actors. It will not be the Revolution of Linux on the Desktop. The revolution will not care if you use vi or emacs; the revolution will not do Windows because
revolution will not be monetized.

The revolution will not be emailed, downloaded, posted on You Tube or have a Facebook page. It will not be in your Circles or on your contacts list. All channels may not be available in all countries. You will not get to vote thumbs up or thumbs down or leave comments about the revolution; you will not be able to "Like" it or give the revolution a +1. The revolution will not be in Farmville and the revolution will not check your social network to determine if you are the "right kind of person" before employing you.

The revolution will not come in all resolutions and all 32M possible colors including several Alpha channels for transparency. The revolution will not be in your iPhone, your iPad or your iMac; there will not be an app for everything and Androids are not going to save you. The revolution will not be 4G or 5G or 8G or the BeeGees because
the revolution will not be monetized.

The information revolution will not be monetized,
will not be monetized,
will not be monetized,
will not be monetized,
the revolution will be no Facebook, nyms;
the revolution will be streaming live.

Created on Twitter 08/07/2011
Remix/Homage to Gil Scott-Heron, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Riding the Wave Function

As I watch the world spin up around me, I recognize this moment; I have lived through it several times.

There was such a moment in 1977 when the world changed with the impact of punk, carrying social forces first through art and then into the wider world. Another came in 1992 when the people of the United States rejected the crushing grip, financial devastation, rapacious Darwinian business philosophies and dead-end mentality wrought upon us by the Reagan/Bush administrations for 12 horrid years.

Coincidentally, the World Wide Web was born at that same time; a counterweight to the Father-Knows-Best/You're An Outlaw bi-directional state of mind. The WWW is a wave function.

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EZ quantum mechanics

In quantum mechanics, a probability amplitude is a cloud of uncertainty, sizzling with a thousand unmanifested possibilities. The easiest way to think of it is flipping a coin. You might say that a coin only has two sides, and therefore no matter what the state of the coin and the amount of probabilities possible in the whirling moment of spin, there are only two possible outcomes; there are only two paths available to the coin.

You'd be dead wrong; you'd be denying your own experience. You'd be making a fundamental assumption based on the visual observation that a coin has two faces.That assumption is flawed in light of the situation; you are not dealing with a static object but with a process.

The coin might land on it's rim (say, leaning on a book or pencil). The coin may bounce and roll under a table and you'd be unable to see what side came up. An even more unforeseen outcome might happen -you flip the coin and it goes into your friend's eye, causing her to smack you and shout goddammitshit! in which case you'd probably ignore the result of the toss because now your friend is smacking you and the coin-issue has been superceded by the issue of omg I just flipped a coin into my friend's eye, what if she's blind now, oh shit I am in trouble, is she ok? stop hitting me! I didn't mean it!

So thinking about probability amplitudes is like that. A wave function is a cloud of unrealized potential and probabilities. Only until the wave-front collapses along a vector will conditions stabilize into a "result" [reality]. Before that collapse, there is no path; there is only possibility.

If you have ever surfed, your surfing skills depend on reading chaotic wave fronts (+1 pun). When you judge traffic to cross a street, you are estimating wave fronts. If you paint, before brush touches canvas or palette you have a probability amplitude situation. An active network, no matter what control systems appear to be in place or what theory is behind it, is inherently a wave front.

When you watch large social movements or unrest, you are watching the traces of a wave front.

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EZ Sociology

Societies like stability. There are always edge elements and factions of chaos in any formation, but in general a society behaves because of a mutual compact of core values and expressions.

Societies take their cues from their leaders; their spokespeople. They can be political leaders, artists, scholars, "society people" or religious orders. They are the social foci; the living symbols of the society and the expression of its needs, desires, dreams and nightmares.

A society is like the ocean. On top, there is a lot of chaotic phenomena: flitting gulls, wave foam, splashing, rippling, tumbling floating objects, swirling sand, compound multiplexed sound. Lots of action to be seen, heard, felt, experienced. But there are many unseen or long-wave phenomena also; the periodic factor of tidal forces, the action of evaporation/cyclical return, the forces of undersea volcanoes and earthquakes that affect the deeper levels of the sea and manifest as surface disruptions (tidal waves, species movements, currents).

These phenomena are observed and studied by oceanographers to determine the hidden forces and movements of the sea. Doing this for the atoms of matter is being a physicist. Doing this for societies or cultures is the province of sociologists and anthropologists. Doing this on a network is being a systems analyst.

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UK riots: what criminal underclass again?

There are criminal acts every day. They are what could be considered local phenomena. Such events do not generally affect the mainstream/main probability vectors/path of society [they are ghettoized/isolated/sandboxed]. They are statistically insignificant. Only when such incidents become frequent and numerous will they indicate something unstable at the core of the society.

When you see a society break down in large sectors, you cannot blame this merely on the suborning of the general public by criminal elements ("the bad people just all decided one day to have at it"). If that is so, why did they not use their power before X time? Why not yesterday, or a month ago, or every day? There has been a trigger event, but what has been triggered is an underlying and building situation.

When we study the data emerging from the current riots in the UK, we see some of the same phenomena I witnessed in Los Angeles in 1992:

- a millionaire's daughter - a child of privilege - charged with 5 counts of burglary and having a balaclava, gloves and a bandana in the glove compartment of her car along with over £5000 worth of stolen property

- a second-year law student

- a Baptist mentor who helps disadvantaged youth

- a lifeguard

- a teaching assistant

- a postman

- a charity worker

- an accounting student

- an opera steward

- a ballerina [yes; Barbie would be horrified]

Those shouting loudest about the antisocial actions of "a bunch of hoodlums" are either in shock/fear/anguish at the complete breakdown of social order around them [understandable] or they are parroting an idea that has been planted in their head [propaganda/disinformation] and is being used to weaken their own powers of critical thinking and observation. Certainly there were thugs; certainly a legitimate social protest was hijacked by thugs just as it was in LA in 1992.

But the escalation and time-extension came from casual looters; the opportunistic. And many of these opportunists were from the middle and even upper classes. That is a symptom of a serious underlying social problem.

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Watching for the invisible isn't magic or tin-foil hats

When a socio-anthropologist studies a society, they are looking for fundamental assumptions. They study the rites, rituals, the laws, the arts and day-to-day activities of the society, true; yet they are looking for things that are not written down or ever need be spoken; they are looking for those elements of a society that are so deep and pervasive that no one needs to talk about them or see them. They just are. They are seeking the Soul of a society; they are looking for the invisible; the underlying network that binds a people into a tribal or national or racial unit.

An artist uses the same techniques in an informal way to attempt to ferret out or voice the social zeitgeist.

To set up a computer or a network, one must know not only the separate subsystems and how they interact and work in concert; one must have an overview of the machine or the network - a sense of it, a feeling for it. Most people have a vague feeling of the non-mechanical functioning of computers: they will talk about them as if they are mindful beings sometimes. They get lectured that this is not so; that computers are simple, dumb machines, the equivalent of a modern electronic abacus - that computers and networks are things completely knowable and controllable, like a sack of hammers, and they should dismiss such silly thoughts.

I call bullshit. This attitude is taught to them by the Priests (technicals). Yet nothing can be further from the truth, and any honest Techno-Priest will admit it.

A modern computer or network is a monstrously complex interweaving of systems, all balancing against each other to act in concert. Because of the complexity of the interaction, there are always unforeseen interactions; chaotic elements of randomness. Yes, they may be traced, studied and modified; yes, they are subject to logical analysis. But so are social phenomena; we've been doing that analysis long before computers.

What network theory has done is give us a new model to apply to the world's processes.

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Applied Network Theory

In a computer or a network, there are random glitches and nodes of chaos produced by the interaction of so many high- and low-level subsystems. These are accepted as normal, as are the random glitches in a musical performance, painting or even trying to assemble a bicycle from supposedly-clear instructions. Nothing is absolutely controllable in the granular sense; there is no Perfect Order in the universe or a computer system/network. Eliminating errors is more difficult the more complex the system; in a very complex system, it is impossible. Your main job is to keep these errors to a minimum statistical curve for the smooth functioning of the system.

When anomalies become increasingly frequent and begin affecting many functions, a tech knows these instabilities are a symptom of a fundamental problem in the operating system/network. Program/subsystem glitches are normal; system instability is a sign of serious trouble. It means that you could spend days tracking and tracing single instances of chaos and just be wasting your time. If you have a virus or rootkit, no amount of patching symptoms is going to help you. If you have a broken OS or platform, you must address the root causes or the platform will be untrustable/stable.

When you watch the riots in the UK (or anywhere) you are seeing symptoms of a social network instability. People no longer accept the word and pronouncements of their leaders/governments because they are becoming aware of the extent of the corruption endemic in the social system; they feel they no longer have to obey the rules because those who declaim those rules have shown they are willing to break them repeatedly for their own selfish ends. The cooperative nature of the social network begins to break down. When you see normally-well-behaved programs [the millionaire's daughter, the postman] behaving in ways contrary to their programming/behavior/function and attacking the operating system [the social structure] you have a root-level infection.

At that point, you must start hacking the system (because the normal system rules are not functioning or have been altered to lock you out). You must use diagnostic tools, reports and observation to determine what is causing the surface phenomena. You understand that the programming manuals you have been relying on do not address the problem; that the documents are a guide to what was or should be but not what is. You're in the Undocumented Zone; you're in a probability amplitude [referred to by sysops, sysadmins and techs as a shitstorm].

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At this time we are observing planet-wide outbreaks of chaos and instability. Most people recognize these phenomena are becoming more frequent; they recognize there is a basic problem in most of the current operating systems on planet Earth. The system is crashing.

Simultaneously, the largest experiment in social science ever run is taking place - the Information Revolution. None of us were alive during the last technological revolution [the Industrial] but we have a lot of information about it and over 100 years of analysis on the disruption caused by it.

Men of robber-baron mentality [rogue system administrators] used to having the fundamental assumptions of society [operating system] to manipulate or subvert for their profit and confident of their grip on the channels of mass media [command-and-control] have suddenly been thrown into chaos. They have bent or broken the rules of the system to serve their own purpose whether or not that is good for the system [black hats]. They have throw the system into disequilibration by rooting the society/system's BIOS. They pretend to conform to the rules of the system but their behavior and affect on the system results in increasing chaos and instability; they are acting like polymorphic viruses.

The command-and-control channels have been inaccessible for the most part to the normal person [enduser]. Sure, people could talk to their neighbors [peer-to-peer communication] but that was only over small subnets. The subnets are supposed to request resources [attention to needs/problems] from the control programs [Congress] through subprograms [representatives]. But those subprograms have been taken over and turned into a botnet under the command and control of malware [multinational corporations] assaulting them [UDPayme money packets] through corruption [DDO$ attack] to overload and breach the established operating protocols [the Fair Play assumptions]. This observation has supporting historical data from what we know about the last operating system [Industrial Revolution; the William Randolph Hearsts and JP Morgans] and the information coming to light about the current operating system [the Rupert Murdochs, the multinationals].

Most people up to this point have had no choice but to be ruled by this botnet. It has been hard to disseminate timely information to more than a local subnet of people [university] or contact small network nodes in a few distant places without going through channels that are suspect and compromised. Sociologically speaking, the Priests and Bureaucrats of the Social Order have become corrupt and no longer serve society as a whole; they have betrayed the trust of their responsibilities.

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WorldOS rev2

Now the operating system is changing. Information wants to be free and is escaping from controllable channels. Too many sources of data and lines of communication are open; too many outlets that cannot be plugged or shut down. The men who would like control of all information for their own benefit have suddenly found antiviral programs probing their edges.

The command-and-control codes are starting to be broken and the mechanisms by which the social/financial botnet is controlled are becoming known. Certain patterns are being observed and compared that indicate there is corrupted code present in the system.

The nets are disrupting the ancient hierarchy of command-and-control from the top levels [control-freak sysops]. The information flow is no longer linear and easy to control [newspapers, radio, television] due to the cost of transmitting stations or distribution channels but multiplexed due to the ad-hoc nature and low cost-of-entry of the nets. The nets were designed to route around obstructions of data flow and attempts to control all channels of system communication.

This does not sit well with the Game Gods [ruling classes]. Too many of the endusers are talking to each other, comparing notes and test results, exchanging probes and documentation. A picture is slowly emerging of the pwned state of the system, aided by uncontrollable leaks from inside that very system [data breaches].

No... the ruling Robber-Baron Sysops do not like this at all. They are seeking to reestablish control of the system and cut the channels of communication. These rogue Sysops are even attempting to reprogram user's memory buffers by declaring they built the network [they didn't; the public built it with their taxes, levys, surcharges and easements to corporate entities] and thus can determine the system rules by fiat. They seek to pervert the natural function of an open network and make it conform to the structure of the linear, closed network protocols of the past for their continued selfish benefit.

They seek to damage the net; to reduce it from an omni-directional communications platform to a narrow broadcast media channel [propaganda machine, Torah, Bible, TOS] for the purposes of informational control/programming and profiteering. They are engaged in infowar.

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Hack the planet

We have entered the network, and by the simple fact of using the network we have been changed by it. The internet, designed to be self-configuring and flexible, is teaching even the most casual user a different way to think about things; to think in terms of interlocking systems and effects; of multiple ways and approaches.

It is the power of freely-flowing, accessible and non-hierarchical information. It is placing the same power that was previously held by the elite Lawgivers and Priests of our societies into the hands of huge masses of people. It is opening a Library of Alexandria in every home. This is the same power that Johannes Gutenberg put into our hands when he invented the printing press, making books widely-available outside the strict control of the then-current operating systems [Gentry and Church].

In this time of instability and chaos, we do not have to accept the inevitable return of pre-ordained system parameters when we are seeing that the system has been corrupted. We have been shown a vision of the power of the world's largest wide-area network. It is up to us to understand the battle that is going on at the lowest system levels for control of the channels of information before the botnet can reestablish control of the system and shut us out.

They will call us hackers and mean criminals; they will try to blur the semantic line between profiteering opportunists like themselves and white-hat sysops who seek to stabilize the system and ferret out bad code blocks, resource drains and misconfigured routings. They will use sophistry, disinformation, Overton Windows and outright lies to maintain control [a virus does not easily give up its hold on a system, especially when the system has been rooted]. They will try to convince us that only the previous operating system stands between us and chaos; they are trying to socially engineer us.

We don't have to believe them. We don't have to accept their version of the rules or their assurances that they know what is best for the system, given the evidence of their malicious conduct and effect on the system. We don't have to listen to the viruses. We do not have to accept a return to the status quo or an either/or state. The best thing about a probability amplitude situation is that the outcome is not fixed; the conclusions that seem to be apparent are not inevitable. In the words of Morpheus to Neo:

"What you must learn is that these rules are no different than the rules of a computer system. Some of them can be bent. Others... can be broken."

Now is the time to use the network to learn about the threat to the network. Bootstrap yourself. Think outside the Box. Ride the wave.

Surf's definitely up.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Politics of Information

[This blog is a carryover from My So-Called Virtual Life, gathering and condensing posts tagged #netpolitik and #the politics of information. Wizard Gynoid should be thanked for this suggestion]

Netpolitik will deal with the underlying political struggle of the Internet and access to information; they are informed by my 25+ years as a netizen, my background/research in socioanthropology and technology and my life avocation as a fully-involved net person, curious about my environment and observing the ramifications of the Information Revolution.

These posts will contain many links to legal and technical background references necessary to the understanding and discussion of these issues. The struggle for control of the Internet is complex and complicated; you are encouraged to hop around, follow links, bookmark pages for later review and otherwise take your time exploring the topics of these posts.

Read, think, get involved. In this time of creeping legislation designed to break or fundamentally alter the structure of the Internet, it's time to understand what was, what is and what can be if we expect the Last Free Press to stay that way.

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The companion to this blog is State of Mind: The Politics of Information, an interactive teaching installation hosted in Second Life through the generous support of the Four Bridges Project, a virtual sustainable global community model founded on the four principles of respect for nature, universal human rights, economic and social justice, and a culture of peace. I owe a great debt of thanks to Trill Zapatero, millay Freschi and Coyote Longfall for their continuing financial and ideological support of this installation.

State of Mind offers displays of comparative propaganda, educational materials about the internet and tools, resources and information to inform and route around political obstacles on the nets [make sure you read the TOS and wear your RFID armband or you will be ejected :D].

Please come and visit the installation in the virtual world of Second Life using the following SLurl (you will need to be able to access the virtual world of Second Life to use this teleport):

Machinima by Iono Allen of State of Mind

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