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  • Clive 3:01 pm on December 9, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: , , collective intelligence, , , , ,   

    Radical Democracy & the Internet Ch 5 

    Chapter 5: Online direct action: Hacktivism and Radical Democracy Tim Jordan

    Difference: between hacktivism and hacking a) hacktivists speak out on politics b) hacktivists connect political action to spheres beyond informational freedoms.

    Jordan identified two trends in hacktivism:

    1. Mass Action hacktivism

    The translation of offline mass protests (especially non-violent direct action) online. Examples:

    a) Electronic Disturbance Theatre.

    One of the elements of my work since the ’80s is what happens to the social space of critique and protest when the physical avenues have been shut down physically and emotionally. This leads to the question of electronic civil disobedience: to what degree can virtual landscapes of critique be used to amplify and route around the lockdown that’s happening at this university? In the best of all worlds, this would also allow a teleportation between data bodies in protest and real bodies in protest.

    Electronic civil disobedience is a fearless space that allows one, nonviolently, to protest in ways that are no longer allowable in real space. This seems to me to become extremely important in our post-contemporary period. To a certain degree, I find that students, because we are in this kind of electro-scape, would be more willing to risk having a voice as a group if that voice is digitally represented (through, for example, MySpace or Facebook).

    From an interview with Prof. Ricardo Dominguez, principal investigator at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology and an assistant professor for UCSD’s visual arts department.)

    b) Electrohippies anti-World Trade Organisation action which broad down the WTO network in Seattle. It did so not by using bots to enact a DDoS attack but by aggregating actual users in flooding the site with requests, hence bringing it down. So it is in the numbers of mass protest that effectiveness is produced, where its symbolic capital is stored – not the technological ‘solution’.

    2. Digital correctness

    Less of an attempt to simulate offline mass direct action online than to assertions of liberty and the rights to an uncensored internet. It’s about beating the censor. Examples are:

    • Peekabooty network is a peer-to-peer network which its developers (a hacking community called the cult of the dead cow) claims will evade all attempts to censor/block traffic (see Guardian report).
    • Torpark – anonymous Web-browser based on Firefox that uses the TOR (The Onion Router) network. It comes pre-configured, requires no installation, can run off a USB memory stick, and leaves no tracks behind in the browser or computer.
    • ScatterChat is a secure instant messaging client designed for non-technical users who require secure and anonymous communications.
    • Camera/Shy enables users to share censored information with their friends by hiding it in plain view as ordinary gif images.

    See http://www.hacktivismo.com/projects/index.php

    Jordan then looks at the antagonisms between the two trends and how they contribute to Laclau and Mouffe’s conception of radical democracy – ie the extent to which both trends extend liberty and equality in relation to the social identities destabilised by capitalims. Conclusion: unclear how their contribution can be evaluated.

  • Clive 8:30 pm on December 21, 2007 Permalink |
    Tags: collective intelligence, , , ,   

    Google knols v Wikipedia 

    Google is trying a kind of wikipedia development of a knowledge database but rather than going for anonymity is highlighting authors’ names in order to … increase credibility. It’s still in beta/private. See google knols and the screenshot which might make a good pbwiki wiki model.

    But why not start a wiki for social change staff to build a similar database of key words/ideas that have relevance/resonance for the programme. It would be a way for students to see the community of practice actually practicing.

  • Clive 3:35 pm on August 31, 2007 Permalink |
    Tags: collective intelligence,   

    Digital Maoism 

    Edge; DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism By Jaron Lanier

    In “Digital Maosim”, an original essay written for Edge, computer scientist and digital visionary Jaron Lanier finds fault with what he terms the new online collectivism. He cites as an example the Wikipedia, noting that “reading a Wikipedia entry is like reading the bible closely. There are faint traces of the voices of various anonymous authors and editors, though it is impossible to be sure”.
    His problem is not with the unfolding experiment of the Wikipedia itself, but “the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it’s been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. The fact that it’s now being re-introduced today by prominent technologists and futurists, people who in many cases I know and like, doesn’t make it any less dangerous”.

  • Clive 9:24 pm on August 30, 2007 Permalink |
    Tags: collective intelligence,   

    Wikipedia’s Imminent Demise? 

    From Ruminate

    Sounding the death knell for social software applications (and classes of application) is a sport for some prognosticators and bread and butter for the naysayers. Most of the time they are equally wrong. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? But this major upcoming change to the Wikipedia editing system has me tempted to join in.

    Technorati reveals no links to the page on Flagged Revisions, but given that Wikipedia’s success (not to mention any number of purported failings) is generally attributed to its open editing system, implementing multiple layers of bureaucratic approvals sounds like a very big deal indeed.

  • Clive 9:58 pm on August 15, 2007 Permalink |
    Tags: collective intelligence   

    Collective intelligence 

    edublogs: Kevin Kelly@Pop!Tech: Where does collective intelligence begin?

    Kevin Kelly gives some astounding insights on how the web resembles the human brain, in his Pop!Tech 2006 performance.

    The web is currently being clicked on 100 billion times per day, with over one trillion links. This is the same number as there are synapses in the human brain. Likewise, one quintillion transistors make the web go around, which is about the same as the number of neurons in the human brain. There are 20 petahertz synapse firings on the web and 20 exabytes of memory – the parameters of the web as a whole entity are very similar to the human brain. One problem: our brains are not doubling in size every 18 months.

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