Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Hollingsville TX4/12 ‘Networks’

Welcome to the Labyrinth

Networks have extended the range of our senses but also compromised them. As weapons systems, commercial enterprise, banking and home entertainment draw increasingly upon the same operating platforms, the neutrality of the network is open to question. A network is a means of organizing thoughts, ideas and actions across space in real time: as the ratio of speed and its relation to distance alters, the network disappears into itself. Networks are therefore hard to grasp: transient, constantly renewing and changing themselves, they’re also designed not to draw attention to themselves; the better and more flawlessly a network functions, the less likely you are to notice it. Perhaps the most appropriate model for understanding the enduring nature of the network is the Labyrinth: a structure of mystifying complexity where technology, deception and violence all meet. First created by Daedalus to house the Minotaur, the hardest labyrinth to escape may well turn out to be the one you don’t even know you’re in.

In the fourth episode of ‘Hollingville’, scheduled to go out, live and unscripted, at 7.00 pm on Thursday May 6 on Resonance 104.4 FM, my studio guests will be writer Becky Hogge, and creative technologist Alfie Dennen. Expect live and unscripted exchanges on social networking and online politics, high weirdness and paranoia, ARPANET and the Cold War, CNN and Desert Storm, DRM and London bus routes. Specially commissioned musical interludes will be by Richard H Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire, with additional moods by the ‘Hollingsville’ composer in residence, Graham Massey, plus ins and outs by Indigo Octagon. Enter your password now.

See also:
Hollingsville Posts
Networks Lecture
Olaf Arndt: Labyrinth and Camp

Pictured above: networked space, when you think about it


Outa_Spaceman Being: 52 said...

One of the facets of the human relationship with, for want of a better description, intelligent technology that interests me is that of empathy.
The example of the Roomba vacuum struck a chord with me.

I first became aware of this phenomenon when I worked for a computer training company. At the time the Tamagotchi fad was in full swing.
The company had to set up a creche for the electronic pets of students attending exams. A couple of the students handed over written care instructions to the poor woman tending the creche.
(Philip K. Dick wrote about a similar device in 'The Zap Gun'.)

I do find myself wondering if humans would be able to recognise machine intelligence, whose motives and intentions might be very different from our own, for what it is.
Are we to busy anthropomorphising to notice what may already have become a sentient entity we don't, or can't understand?
I'll stop now or I'll start babbling about symbiotic relationships.

O.S.M. B:52

Outa_Spaceman Being: 52 said...


I now realise that my previous comment should have been posted on TX3/12

O.S.M. B:52

Ken Hollings said...

Not to worry OSM - your comments are most welcome wherever you post them on this blog - your observation about the Tamagotchi interests me: in some ways the blog and the (real time) social network have taken over from the Tamagotchi in how they influence human behaviour - you have to keep feeding your blog or it 'dies' - social networks show the participants' moods using icons similar to the er...facial expressions displayed by the virtual pets. We may not recognize machine intelligence precisely because we will be too busy respoding to it.

Outa_Spaceman Being: 52 said...

To expand just a little on the Tamagotchi thing, I should add that the men (and they were all men) who owned the virtual pets were 'techies' sitting exams for MCSE and various network qualifications. I'd put their average age at around 26.
I think this might be an example of machines training people to build up meaningful relationships technology.
I'm sure it's some kind of symbiosis.

As I've used the word 'network' in this comment I feel I've brought it back on topic.

O.S.M. B:52

(the verification for this comment is emencome. They certainly will.)