July 20, 2014

"While many of the creators of the internet bemoan how low their creature has fallen, their anger is misdirected."

"The fault is not with that amorphous entity but, first of all, with the absence of robust technology policy on the left – a policy that can counter the pro-innovation, pro-disruption, pro-privatisation agenda of Silicon Valley."
In its absence, all these emerging political communities will operate with their wings clipped. Whether the next Occupy Wall Street would be able to occupy anything in a truly smart city remains to be seen: most likely, they would be out-censored and out-droned....

Algorithmic regulation, whatever its immediate benefits, will give us a political regime where technology corporations and government bureaucrats call all the shots.

39 comments:

Ron said...

let me see if I got this right...

pro-innovation is wrong?

WTF?!?

I'm ready to vote for Harold Stassen in 2 years...just on principle!

sojerofgod said...

I tried to read this article; I promise I really did but when I woke back up after my head struck the keyboard when I fell asleep the F and the U keys were embedded in my forehead. After pressing them back in place this gave me an idea for a rational man's response to the ideas presented in the article.
More to the point, what they are dancing around but not really saying, is that all humans will be tagged, categorized and monitored by their fellow humans in a vast "Cyberdome". A digital Thunderdome where their public persona will be tried and rewarded and punished by their peers. What hogwash. Perhaps for some Technorati .001% that could be achieved. for the rest of us, it will be no different than those yellow tags you see on the ears of cattle. Serialized, possibly chipped, but nonetheless marked as producers or culls. As you might be able to guess, the culls end up in the abattoir.
I fully expect the next global conflict to extract in excess of a billion souls from this life, and crap like this may very well be the spark that lights up the world. Digital tagging: coming to a theater (of war) near you!

Rusty said...

"Algorithmic regulation, whatever its immediate benefits, will give us a political regime where technology corporations and government bureaucrats call all the shots."

Yeah. individual freedom was highly over rated anyway.

chickelit said...

The intrusiveness of such technology will tap a rich new vein of Luddite.

Paco Wové said...

"WTF?!?"

Forget it, Ron. It's The Guardian.

Big Mike said...

There have always been people like Morozov around. 5000 years ago they were asking why anyone would want to smelt bronze when stone tools were perfectly okay. A couple thousand years later they were bemoaning the disruptiveness of steel implements. I've made a living disrupting things with technology and I'm not planning to stop anytime soon.

Krumhorn said...

I read.. and reread... every word. It's always instructive to see precisely how a committed leftie thinks. It's a rock-solid certainty that this guy and the current governing Democrats were stamped out of the same political mold.

These people must be defeated and ground into aggregate for use in new highway surfacing projects.

- Krumhorn

Original Mike said...

"Even public toilets are ripe for sensor-based optimisation: ... Once you leave the stall, the alarm starts ringing – and can only be stopped by a push of the soap-dispensing button."

The authoritarian left is going to have a field day.

Anonymous said...

"Algorithmic regulation, whatever its immediate benefits, will give us a political regime where technology corporations and government bureaucrats call all the shots."

Exactly what the Silicon Oligarchs (Google, Facebook...) and Dear Leader and his Party want.

The Oligarchs can eliminate innovative competitions, Dear Leader and his minions can track their political enemies, intimidate opposition donors with IRS tax audits (e.g. audited the Adelsons twice a year), bring frivolous just-in-time lawsuits against impossible to dislodge opponents, e.g. Texas' Tom Delay, Alaska's Ted Stevens, John Doe suits against Scott Walker supporters.

The Oligarchs make the suits just-in-time, right before elections, the NSA supplies necessary dirt, the IRS demands audits. Dear Leader throws a tantrum when things don't go his way.

jono39 said...

Sojerofrod estimate of what is coming globally is off by a factor of two, at least.

Original Mike said...

"This is no trivial departure from how the usual technical systems, with their rigid, if-then rules, operate: suddenly, there's no need to develop procedures for governing every contingency, for – or so one hopes – algorithms and real-time, immediate feedback can do a better job than inflexible rules out of touch with reality."

This is hubris; engineers believing they are smart enough to write such algorithms. They are not. With current "rigid" if-then rules, the user can figure out what mistake the errant device he is attempting to use is making and compensate for it. If the device is changing the rules on the fly, these devices are likely to become unusable paperweights.

We have a clock on the wall in our lab that is "smart". But it's not smart enough to get it right. When a daylight savings time change occurs, it resets itself. But it gets it wrong. So we change it. One hour later it changes itself back. So we try and figure out what it's doing and we fool it. Three physicists wasting a ridiculous amount of time every 6 months to set a "smart" clock. We got fed up, and now we just post a note "clock one hour behind".

The article says this technology will make our lives more "efficient". It will have the opposite effect.

sojerofgod said...

Jono69:

Yeah I know. 2.5 Billion is more like my internal estimate. I just hate to exaggerate. If it matters to anyone, I don't think it will be nuclear either. Plain old weapons will be quite sufficient. Tyrants and oligarchs may be evil, but they're not stupid.

Paco Wové said...

Did anybody else find this piece really long, and in need of editing down? I mean really, really, really long. Or is it just my internet-addled brain?

Either way, what seems to have gotten lost in the massive word-fog is that the author is deploring the rise of all-seeing, all-knowing entities, fueled by modern data technologies, and (here's the key) assuming those entities are somehow "of the right" (because they're kkkorporations!!!). He has pretty much the same complaints as many of his conservative/libertarian critics, he just has a different set of Evil, Malign Entities driving it all – he's blaming the corporate side of corporate-governmental rule, righties/libs tend to blame the governmental side.

Original Mike said...

"Did anybody else find this piece really long, and in need of editing down? I mean really, really, really long. Or is it just my internet-addled brain?"

I'm still only half way through it.

traditionalguy said...

Is coming internet Control a move from the Bilderbergers or the Rothchilds.

You'd think NSA could tell us that much by now.

John Lynch said...

How about winning elections instead?

This is loser talk.

Michael K said...

"an epochal transformation in the idea of government, "whereby the traditional hierarchical relation between causes and effects is inverted, so that, instead of governing the causes – a difficult and expensive undertaking – governments simply try to govern the effects"."

Where has this troll been living for the past half century. "governing the causes"?

Adam Smith would be good reading for him.

Fernandinande said...

As Silicon Valley keeps corrupting our language with its endless glorification of disruption and efficiency – concepts at odds with the vocabulary of democracy – our ability to question the "how" of politics is weakened.

Uh, OK.

Fernandinande said...

I ran that article through a 3rd order Eddington Monkey algorithm:

"Thus was interoublic providualley data, the faility to magainsuring your envisionst, instituting smart to trantify, and to shorise."

"Unders ender abover, social option is attacitly the hargets of safety."

Beside improving readability, it came up with some fun new words:

abilitime afication Algorient Amerable apolity attacitly Automainly autopianceably beformult bureate careation clainsibly climisionalones collengaporation Companisation condivide corpore covernment defaultracking discorpore dreasurans drivelop envirtunation envisionst evernment exployed faility fellinant futureal goveryday harious incompance innocumed interoublic invisines leftished

magainsuring maximinitorist monsible placking polition prespot pring probliged promined providualley recordentuall regulationsteadiom reputer savoid schoice securiticissummons sellieration shargence shesky shorise slimilitizensors smartished solutive stateven swithms systeach techard thouserson trantify trapproving Ubernment usessive willier withmic

chickelit said...

As Silicon Valley keeps corrupting our language with its endless glorification of disruption and efficiency – concepts at odds with the vocabulary of democracy – our ability to question the "how" of politics is weakened.

I'll give them that in part. Endless disruptive software updates (I'm looking at you iTunes) lacking marginal improvement keep cadres of imported IT workers busy but really, what do they contribute?

cubanbob said...

Paco Wové said...

Did anybody else find this piece really long, and in need of editing down? I mean really, really, really long. Or is it just my internet-addled brain?

Either way, what seems to have gotten lost in the massive word-fog is that the author is deploring the rise of all-seeing, all-knowing entities, fueled by modern data technologies, and (here's the key) assuming those entities are somehow "of the right" (because they're kkkorporations!!!). He has pretty much the same complaints as many of his conservative/libertarian critics, he just has a different set of Evil, Malign Entities driving it all – he's blaming the corporate side of corporate-governmental rule, righties/libs tend to blame the governmental side.
7/20/14, 12:15 PM

True in that they are the mirror of each other but still if given a choice I would rather Big Business be in charge. All they want is my money unlike Big Lefty Government that not only wants my money but wants to run my life.

virgil xenophon said...

@Fernandinande/


Probably the most currently applicable would be "Ubernment", i.e., Gov. as transformed under the Obama Regime/Regency..

Anonymous said...

raditionalguy said...
"You'd think NSA could tell us that much by now."

The NSA knows, it helps make it happen, but it's not telling "us".

Levi Starks said...

1984

Bruce Hayden said...

5,332 words, and 33,754 characters (including spaces), and I can't quite figure out what his point was, except that maybe the author didn't know how to achieve the progressive goal of welfarism in an era of algorithmic regulation. Welfarism seems to be the transfer of wealth from makers to takers, which presumably includes the author, who likely can't make a decent living thanks to his muddled thoughts.

harrogate said...

"Endless glorifications of disruption and efficiency" are indeed at a fever pitch right now and harming our society in more and more innovative ways. Silicon Valley deserves its share of the blame for this but the bigger pusher of these drugs is the multinational corporate oligarchy that long ago absorbed Silicon Valley.

We even privatize prisons now. Yes even that.

James Pawlak said...

Did you notice that "Microsoft" is laying off about 50% of its employees?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

harrogate,

You prefer no disruption and inefficiency? And no innovation? I'm asking seriously.

Rusty said...

Science and technology continually befuddle the left.

Henry said...

From the article: How do we build welfarism that is both decentralised and ultrastable? A form of guaranteed basic income – whereby some welfare services are replaced by direct cash transfers to citizens – fits the two criteria.

This is actually a great question. It's a great question that has nothing to do with the internet of things, but let's forgive Mr. Morozov the logorrheic hobby horse he chose to ride in on.

It is transparently easy for a liberal to proclaim that a conservative would object to direct cash transfers to the poor, but the conservative can point out that the great thrust of the regulatory state, in all of its tentacular glory, is to manage the way citizens spend their money.

Substitute "education" or "healthcare" for "welfarism" and you see the trap that Mr. Morozov has so carefully set for himself. Camouflaged by a blowdown of philosophical conceits and anti-corporate flack, what Mr. Morozov has actually identified as the enemy is the modern regulatory state.

From the article:

Speaking in Athens last November, the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben discussed an epochal transformation in the idea of government, "whereby the traditional hierarchical relation between causes and effects is inverted, so that, instead of governing the causes – a difficult and expensive undertaking – governments simply try to govern the effects".

For Agamben, this shift is emblematic of modernity. It also explains why the liberalisation of the economy can co-exist with the growing proliferation of control – by means of soap dispensers and remotely managed cars – into everyday life. "If government aims for the effects and not the causes, it will be obliged to extend and multiply control. Causes demand to be known, while effects can only be checked and controlled."


Libertarians know of what Mr. Agamben speaks.

The word "voucher" appears no where in the article. Nor does the phrase "regulatory capture". Mr. Morozov has much smaller bones to pick.

But substitute "healthcare" for "soap dispensers and remotely managed cars" as the object of "growing proliferation of control" and you can only marvel at the effort it must have taken him to avoid the obvious.

Howard said...

You 'baggers will puff up your peacocks, grumble, spittle and talk of armed revolt but you will gladly hand over your lunch money to the smart kids for your big mac and free pron.

Kirk Parker said...

MDT,

harrogate's inner Luddite outs itself.

Jason said...

Damn. Leftards sure fall in love with their own words, don't they?

tim in vermont said...

Whenever a "news" story starts out like a fiction piece, I just stop reading.

I didn't get far enough to figure out if the excerpt presented was intended as irony or not. Based on the source, I am betting they were serious.

Robert Cook said...

"True in that they are the mirror of each other but still if given a choice I would rather Big Business be in charge. All they want is my money unlike Big Lefty Government that not only wants my money but wants to run my life."

If you don't think Big Business wants to run your life, you haven't been paying attention.

Robert Cook said...

"How about winning elections instead?"

Do you really think elections make much difference any more?

Peter said...

"5,332 words, and 33,754 characters (including spaces), and I can't quite figure out what his point was"

The author's point (I think) is that a computer can be a worse manager than the most obsessive Taylorist time-and-motion man.

In that he probably has a point (if only he knew how to express it). Although people can be remarkable creative when figuring out how to defeat an automaton boss.

damikesc said...

Did you notice that "Microsoft" is laying off about 50% of its employees?

50%

Try a much smaller number.

About 18,000 in a company of about 150,000 after the Nokia merger. So, a shade over 10%, largely from Nokia and their European subsidiaries.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"True in that they are the mirror of each other but still if given a choice I would rather Big Business be in charge. All they want is my money unlike Big Lefty Government that not only wants my money but wants to run my life."

If you don't think Big Business wants to run your life, you haven't been paying attention.


I think any business wants to make a profit. I can choose how much I want to be involved with them. Government? Not so much.