Via The Data Justice Lab.
Via Mark Purcell.
“When I am king, you will be first against the wall…“
In an article for The Atlantic Adrienne LaFrance observes that a report by the security firm Imperva suggests that 51.8% of traffic online is bot traffic (by which they mean 51.8% of a sample of traffic [“16.7 billion bot and human visits collected from August 9, 2016 to November 6, 2016”] sent through their global content delivery network “Incapusla”):
Overall, bots—good and bad—are responsible for 52 percent of web traffic, according to a new report by the security firm Imperva, which issues an annual assessment of bot activity online. The 52-percent stat is significant because it represents a tip of the scales since last year’s report, which found human traffic had overtaken bot traffic for the first time since at least 2012, when Imperva began tracking bot activity online. Now, the latest survey, which is based on an analysis of nearly 17 billion website visits from across 100,000 domains, shows bots are back on top. Not only that, but harmful bots have the edge over helper bots, which were responsible for 29 percent and 23 percent of all web traffic, respectively.
LaFrance goes on to cite the marketing director of Imperva (who wants to sell you ‘security’ – he’s in the business of selling data centre services) to observe that:
“The most alarming statistic in this report is also the most persistent trend it observes,” writes Igal Zeifman, Imperva’s marketing director, in a blog post about the research. “For the past five years, every third website visitor was an attack bot.”
How do we judge this report? I find it difficult to know how representative this company’s representation of their data, although they are the purveyor of a ‘global content delivery network’. The numbers seem believable, given how long we’ve been hearing that the majority of traffic is ‘not human’ (e.g. a 2013 article in The Atlantic making a similar point and a 2012 ZDNet article saying the same thing: most web traffic is ‘not human’ and mostly malicious).
The ‘not human’ thing needs to be questioned a bit — yes, it’s not literally the result of a physical action but, then, how much of the activity on the electric grid can be said to be ‘not human’ too? I’d hazard that the majority of that so-called ‘not human’ traffic is under some kind of regular oversight and monitoring – it is, more or less, the expression of deliberative (human) agency. Indeed, to reduce the ‘human’ to what our simian digits can make happen seems ridiculous to me… We need a more expansive understanding of technical (as in technics) agency. We need more nuanced ways to come to terms with the scale and complexity of the ways we, as a species, produce and perform our experiences of everyday life – of what counts as work and the things we take for granted.
Microsoft Cognitive Services (sounds like something from a Phillip K. Dick novel) have opened up APIs, which you can call on (req. subscription), to outsource forms of machine learning. So, if you want to identify faces in pictures or videos you can call on the “Face API“, for example. Obviously, this is all old news… but, it’s sort of interesting to maybe think about how this foregrounds the homogenisation of process – the apparent ‘power’ of these particular programmes (accessed via their APIs) may be their widespread use.
This might be of further interest when we consider things like the “Emotion API” through which (in line with many other forms of programmatic measure of the display or representation of ’emotion’ or ‘sentiment’) the programme scores a facial expression along several measures”, listed in the free example as: “anger”, “contempt”, “disgust”,” fear, “happiness”, “neutral”, “sadness”, “surprise”. For each image you’ll get a table of scores for each recognised face. Have a play – its beguiling, but of course then perhaps prompts the sorts of questions lots of people have been asking about how ‘affect’ and emotions can get codified (e.g. Massumi) and the politics and ethics of the ‘algorithms’ and such like that do these things (e.g. Beer).
I am probably late to all of this and seeing significance here because it’s relatively novel to me (not the tech itself but the ‘easy-to-use’ API structure), nevertheless it seems interesting, to me at least, that these forms of machine learning are being produced as mundane through being made abundant, as apparently straightforward tools. Maybe what I’m picking up on is that these APIs, the programmes they grant access to, are relatively transparent, whereas much of what various ‘algorithm studies’ folk look at is opaque. Microsoft’s Cognitive Services make mundane what, to some, are very political technologies.
This looks interesting… I confess I’ve not listened yet.
Saw this via Stuart Elden.
A hypnotic and really engrossing video that follows the path of the US-Mexico border by Josh Begley at the Intercept in partnership with Field_of_Vision. Read Begley’s article about on The Intercept, which thinks about the video and how/what it represents through Paglen’s idea of “seeing machines”.
Only just seen this. Issue 1 of volume 44 (2017) of boundary 2 is entitled Amateur Philosophy and concerns the work of Bernard Stiegler.
Within the issue are published the three lectures Stiegler gave in California in 2011 (one of which was published in Lana Turner). alongside this are pieces by a stellar cast of contemporary theorists, including: Claire Colebrook, Mark Hansen, Daniel Ross and Gerald Moore. Both of the two translators who have translated the majority of Stiegler’s work into English have pieces: Stephen Barker and Daniel Ross.
This seems like a fairly important contribution to anglophone engagements with Stiegler’s work…
Here’s the full table of contents.
You need a subscription to access the papers, let me know if you have any trouble…
CFP JOPP Special Issue #11: CITY – Abstracts due 31 Jan 2017
Editors: Penny Travlou, Nicholas Anastasopoulos, Panayotis Antoniadis
Call for papers
One of the welfare state’s key jurisdictions was to tend to housing and public space in benevolent ways. However, under the neoliberal dogma, commodification and gentrification threatens both the right to housing and the right to the city while in recent years, cities have become increasingly militarized and surveyed, resembling battlegrounds where freedom and democracy are under attack. At the same time, recent economic, political, and social crises have activated many counter-forces of resistance and creative alternatives for the grassroots production of food, health services, housing, networking infrastructures, and more.
The role of technology has been contradictory as well. On the one hand, the Internet has enabled some of the most remarkable peer production success stories at a global scale, such as Wikipedia and Free and Open Source Software, among many others. On the other hand, it has empowered huge corporations like Facebook and Google to fully observe and manipulate our everyday activities, and oppressive governments to censor and surveil their citizens.
At the city scale, technology offers opportunities for self-organization, like wireless community networks and numerous bottom-up techno-social initiatives, but also animates the top-down narrative of the “smart city” and the commodification of the “sharing economy as a service” provided by globally active platforms such as Airbnb and Uber. In this situation, peer production in space emerges as a vital bottom-up practice reclaiming citizen participation, and inventing new forms of community.
In this context, some core challenges arise:
– If we choose not tο rely on global players to provide peer production support at a local scale, how could different areas of peer production in the city, digital and physical, interact and support each other?
– What types of governance models can adequately support peer production in the city?
To address those challenges one needs to take into consideration the following:
– Lessons learned from the Internet and how they may be incorporated in the context-specific realities of the city.
– Knowledge-transfer methodologies across different localities.
– Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations (urban studies, media studies, sociology, architecture, cultural geography, informatics etc.).
– Possible collaborations and synergies between activists that fight for the “right to the city” and those that fight for the “right to the Internet”.
-Knowedge/experience transfer between non-urban settings (i.e. intentional communities, ecocommunities, the Transition movement, etc.) and the urban movements.
– Inquiry into research methods and methodologies to be developed and used for analysing ICT-mediated peer production in urban space.
This special issue aims to explore a wide variety of alternative and innovative peer practices, like urban agriculture, food sustainability, solidarity economy, right to the city movements, cooperative housing, community networks, P2P urbanism tactics, co-design practices and more, that are directly reflected in the production of urban space. We are particularly interested in novel combinations of theory, methodologies, and practices that can contribute to peer production in the city and enable new synergies between projects and communities.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
– Urban commons and peer production
– Case studies of innovative peer practices approached from different perspectives
– Comparative case studies on patterns of commoning and think-global / act-local methodologies
– The regional dimension: examples from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia
– Political issues of autonomy, hegemony, labour, gender, geopolitical and post-colonial perspectives
– Alternative forms of education and learning tools for promoting self-organization and community
– Innovative governance tools for peer production in the city
– Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary methodological approaches
– Urban studies and the right to the (hybrid) city
– Open source urbanism/architecture
– Recycling/upcycling vs buying: making, consuming or prosuming the city?
Abstract submission: 31 January 2017
Notification to authors: 15 February 2017
Submission of full paper: 15 May 2017
Reviews to authors: 15 July 2017
Revised papers: 15 September 2017
Signals due: 10 October 2017
Issue release: October/November 2017
Abstracts of 300-500 words are due by January 31, 2017 and should be sent to email@example.com>. All peer reviewed papers will be reviewed according to Journal of Peer Production guidelines. See http://peerproduction.net/peer-review/process/. Full papers and materials are due by May 15, 2017 for review. Peer reviewed papers should be around 8,000 words. We also welcome experimental, alternative contributions, like testimonies, interviews and artistic treatments, whose format will be discussed case by case with the editors.
*This special issue was initiated during the Hybrid City III (Athens) conference and developed further during the IASC Urban Commons (Bologna) and Habitat III (Quito) conferences.
Like US Steel or Corning Glass, a former part of aluminium giant Alcoa – Arconic has decided to create a vision of a future that might loosely be possible if they were the only industrial technology firm left standing… Even more, they borrow the aesthetic and nostalgia of ‘space age’ cartoon The Jetsons…
Probably an interesting visual cultures case study to unpick and think about through the lenses of ‘design fiction’, digital imaging practices, ‘viral’ marketing, audiencing and so on…
(Not to mention to gender politics… oh dear…)
This looks really interesting. Mel Gregg has done some excellent work and is a good communicator so I’m sure this is a great opportunity…
27th February 2017, 9:30—17:00
Dr Gregg is a leading world scholar in the field of gender, technology and critical management studies. She is best known for her ethnographic research of information professionals in the book Work’s Intimacy (Polity 2011), and as co-editor of the influential collection The Affect Theory Reader (with Gregory Seigworth, Duke 2010). Dr Gregg is currently working as a Principal Engineer at Intel Corporation and is exceptionally well placed to address the challenges in bridging the gap between organisational scholarship and practice.
This Masterclass is aimed at postgraduate students, academic staff and the wider community and will engage the participants in a critical, interdisciplinary debate on gender, subjectivity, organisations and organising. The day will be organised around recent themes in Dr Gregg’s work that explore technology, gender and culture in Silicon Valley; and methodologies for studying work and society.
Schedule for the Day
9.30-10.00am – Refreshments
10.00-11.30am – Counterproductive: The history of time management from a feminist perspective
11.30-12.00pm – Refreshments
12.00-1.30pm – Technology and the future of work
1.30-2.30pm – Lunch
2.30-4.30pm – Group Discussion: Gender, Culture and Methods
4.30-5.00pm – Refreshments Registration
The Masterclass is free and participants should register by emailing one of the organisers. Refreshments and lunch will be provided. Please also state any dietary requirements. Spaces are limited to 30 participants.
For further information, please contact one of the organisers.