… btw, looking forward to the upcoming CrypoParty @ Glasmoog on 26 November 2019, where we will have a workshop, exchange and conversations to emancipate from technologically conditioned powerlessness!
Here are some of the ways our unequal relationship with our smartphones is like an abusive relationship:
They isolate us from deeper, competing relationships in favour of superficial contact – ‘user engagement’ – that keeps their hold on us strong. Working with social media, they insidiously curate our social lives, manipulating us emotionally with dark patterns to keep us scrolling.
They tell us the onus is on us to manage their behavior. It’s our job to tiptoe around them and limit their harms. Spending too much time on a literally-designed-to-be-behaviorally-addictive phone? They send company-approved messages about our online time, but ban from their stores the apps that would really cut our use. We just need to use willpower. We just need to be good enough to deserve them.
They betray us, leaking data / spreading secrets. What we shared privately with them is suddenly public. Sometimes this destroys lives, but hey, we only have ourselves to blame. They fight nasty and under-handed, and are so, so sorry when they get caught that we’re meant to feel bad for them. But they never truly change, and each time we take them back, we grow weaker.
They love-bomb us when we try to break away, piling on the free data or device upgrades, making us click through page after page of dark pattern, telling us no one understands us like they do, no one else sees everything we really are, no one else will want us.
It’s impossible to just cut them off. They’ve wormed themselves into every part of our lives, making life without them unimaginable. And anyway, the relationship is complicated. There is love in it, or there once was. Surely we can get back to that if we just manage them the way they want us to?
Nope. Our devices are basically gaslighting us. They tell us they work for and care about us, and if we just treat them right then we can learn to trust them. But all the evidence shows the opposite is true. This cognitive dissonance confuses and paralyses us.
The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, in a mandatory appearance before a parliamentary committee on 3 Dec. 2013, where he was going to be grilled for his role in the publishing of the Snowden leaks. He walks in, knowing that he faces severe criticism and possibly even a jail sentence. He finds his seat in front of the committee, takes a pen out of his pocket, puts it in his mouth and sits down (at 4’15). And doesn’t take it out for the whole of the chairman’s welcome (until 4’51).
My guess: he’s doing it in order not to get intimidated and pushed into a defensive position. To keep sane. He’s making fun of them and mirrors back at them the perceived ridiculousness of the situation. It’s also completely unpredictable behaviour. As I’ve mentioned before, I think this is something that we’re going to see a lot more of.
The full video:
Update: Here’s an article from the beginning of the still ongoing economic crisis, about how to deal with fear and angst, that was behind some of the thinking here.
Janet Vertesi, assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University, had an idea: would it be possible to hide her pregnancy from big data? Thinking about technology—the way we use it and the way it uses us—is her professional life’s work. Pregnant women, she knew, are a marketing gold mine; a pregnant woman’s marketing data is worth 15 times as much as the average person’s. Could Vertesi, a self-declared “conscientious objector” of Google ever since 2012, when they announced to users that they’d be able to read every email and chat, navigate all the human and consumer interactions having a baby would require and keep big data from ever finding out?
Big surprise: it’s extremely hard. Furthermore, that sort of behaviour gets you flagged as someone behaving really, really suspiciously. Less like someone privacy-counscious, more like a terrorist. (more)
Mittwoch, 30. April 2014
ab 18.00 Uhr bis ca. 21.00 Uhr Workshops und freies Rumhängen
Cryptopartys sind eine globale DIY-Initiative zur Emanzipation aus der technologischen Unmündigkeit.
Wir meinen, das Thema der digitalen Rundum-Überwachung sollte gerade auch an der Kunsthochschule für Medien kritisch beleuchtet werden. Deshalb freuen wir uns besonders, bereits die zweite Cryptoparty zu veranstalten.
Wieder geht es um die Rückeroberung der Datenhoheit. In entspannter Atmosphäre wird konkretes Wissen rund um Verschlüsselungstechniken und die digitale Selbstverteidigung vermittelt. Bitte Laptop, Notebook oder Vergleichbares mitbringen, um gleich vor Ort loslegen zu können.
Eine Initiative des Surveillant Architectures Seminars mit Jürgen Fricke.
Just to remind you, next Wednesday we’re going to do the Liberation Movements seminar as usual from 10. If you’d like to present something to the group, please bring it. (I think everyone should at least present once).
Then in the evening we’re going to have our second Cryptoparty. Just turn up, bring someone in need of privacy, and a computer.
To prepare for Wednesday, please check out these two fantastic podcasts about Conspiracy Theories.
You Are Not So Smart podcast 016: Conspiracy Theories http://boingboing.net/2014/01/16/you-are-not-so-smart-podcast-0-5.html
Their guest “Steven Novella is a leader in the skeptic community, … and an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine.” So you kind of know where this is coming from. I find it hugely refreshing. They’re talking about artists without knowing (or explicitly mentioning) it from 45’40:
“Q: Are there certain traits that you’ve seen that make a particular individual more susceptible to believe in conspiracy theories?
A: Well it certainly seems that way. (…) It is certainly recognized that some people have more of a tendency to be paranoid. What we call paranoid ideation. It’s been studied.
In fact, people who tend to believe in conspiracies are also more likely to see patterns in random visual images as well. … They might have this enhanced pattern recognition. Or they may just have a decreased reality testing filter. Meaning that they’re much more likely to think that patters that they think they see are real.
… We all have that tendency to some degree. These just may be people who are farther along that spectrum. They’re a little more paranoid, have more intense pattern-recognition, and they’re less skeptical of their own perceived patterns. “
(in German, from influential bloggers and activists Fefe and Frank Rieger)
Alternativlos, Folge 23, über Verschwörungstheorien, insbesondere um solche, die sich später als wahr herausstellen. http://alternativlos.org/23/
About the major consensus narrative. What do conspiracy theories have to do with blinkers? Intersting stuff for artists, too. The more you look out for something, the more you find of it, and after a while you start to get blind towards conflicting ideas or alternatives. They say this is valid for narratives as well as imagery. Does it also apply to artistic obsessions? How do you get rid of any of this?
I’m going to put this up on our blog at http://sag.khm.de – leave comments if you dare! (use Tor if necessary)