Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
VC tech-talk, futurology, transhumanism, digi-utopianism, eugenics are reactionary ideological formations, they are discursive phenomena. 1— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 18, 2016
I am glad that there are scientists and science educators who debunk claims made within these discourses, but it is worth remembering... 2— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 18, 2016
that even critical "technical" discussions of pseudo-science/deceptive PR can elevate their advocates and amplify their enabling frames. 3— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 18, 2016
Futurology is rhetorical and the perceived inadequacy of rhetorical critiques of futurology connects to a susceptibility to futurology. 4— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 18, 2016
Monday, October 17, 2016
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Gross Robocultist Peter Thiel Donates 1.25 Million to Bigot Clown Trump After He Brags About Sexual Assault And Sows Violent Discontent Among Supporters
Please, nobody tell Peter Thiel that throwing his money into a black hole isn't the Singularity he's been praying for.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 16, 2016
When Peter Thiel uploads into Holodeck Heaven he should take Trump with him -- boy, that would sure show us.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 16, 2016
Why doesn't Peter Thiel just make Trump the President of his artificial libertechbrotarian island that doesn't exist instead?— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 16, 2016
Peter Thiel is so posthumane.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 16, 2016
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Friday, October 14, 2016
@dgolumbia Excellent! The bitcoinsanityTrumpmadness nexus is frightening and urgent right now of course, but I think your second point... 1— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 14, 2016
@dgolumbia about the susceptibility of the dem-left to futurological pieties is especially important. It's a point that obsesses me now. 2— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 14, 2016
@dgolumbia Ed tech disruptors and green futurists (geo-engineering con artists, eg) throng the party, Gore is a straight up futurist, etc. 3— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 14, 2016
@dgolumbia Many of the party's young go-to intellectuals seem entirely given over to algorithmic entrail-reading & Big Data/AI moonshine. 4— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 14, 2016
@dgolumbia The diversity of the winning Obama coalition has moved the party's politics wholesomely leftward for nearly ten years, but... 5— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 14, 2016
@dgolumbia with GOPs self-immolation moneyed rats are jumping ship: futurology provides dem-"friendly" language for corporate-militarists. 6— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 14, 2016
@dalecarrico agree completely— David Golumbia (@dgolumbia) October 14, 2016
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Monday, October 10, 2016
Sunday, October 09, 2016
Saturday, October 08, 2016
Thursday, October 06, 2016
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
UPDATE: As predicted, this stuff is everywhere today.
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Of course, Mike Pence passes for a boring wonk (let alone sit-com dad), only because too many of my fellow citizens don't seem to know anything about the terrifying misogynist racist homophobic theocratic authoritarianism of his actual views. I have been shocked at the blase assignment for years and years of the term "wonk" to Paul Ryan, who spews utter arrant nonsense about economics on a regular basis and gets treated as some lovably pedantic details-guy by the pundits -- and don't get me started at those who imply the doll-eyed dolt is a "young gun" sex symbol in even the remotest construal -- but the thought that a rabid extremist like Pence who has actually made something of a public fool of himself as governor of Indiana can be transubstantiated into an easy-going reassuring mainstream professional politician simply by standing next to the reality tee vee hate talk con-man circus freak Donald Trump in the media is actually nearly as terrifying to me as the fact that one of our two major parties no longer has the intellectual and organizational resources to ward off a takeover by Trump in the first place.
Monday, October 03, 2016
An array of artists encourage you to vote and #TrekAgainstTrump! View the statement & endorsements at https://t.co/PlitB3nX0M @TrekNotTrump pic.twitter.com/soqcSc2puT— Trek Against Trump (@TrekNotTrump) September 29, 2016
Star Trek has always offered a positive vision of the future, a vision of hope and optimism, and most importantly, a vision of inclusion, where people of all races are accorded equal respect and dignity, where individual beliefs and lifestyles are respected so long as they pose no threat to others. We cannot turn our backs on what is happening in the upcoming election. Never has there been a presidential candidate who stands in such complete opposition to the ideals of the Star Trek universe as Donald Trump. His election would take this country backward, perhaps disastrously. We need to elect a president who will move this country forward into the kind of future we all dream of: where personal differences are understood and accepted, where science overrules superstition, where people work together instead of against each other.
The resolution of conflicts on Star Trek was never easy. Don’t remain aloof –vote! We have heard people say they will vote Green or Libertarian or not at all because the two major candidates are equally flawed. That is both illogical and inaccurate. Either Secretary Clinton or Mr. Trump will occupy the White House. One is an amateur with a contemptuous ignorance of national laws and international realities, while the other has devoted her life to public service, and has deep and valuable experience with the proven ability to work with Congress to pass desperately needed legislation. If, as some say, the government is broken, a protest vote will not fix it.
Have you just turned 18? Have you moved? Have you never voted before? Some states have early registration (early October) and/or absentee ballots. You can’t vote if you are not registered. So make it so. Go to https://www.rockthevote.com , a non-profit, non-partisan organization, and fulfill your civic duty. Because, damn it, you are a citizen of the USA, with an obligation to take part in our democracy! Do this not merely for yourself but for all the generations that follow. Vote for a future of enlightenment and inclusion, a future that will someday lead us to the stars.
Ira Steven Behr
Mark Robert Brown
Nicole de Boer
Keith R.A. DeCandido
John de Lancie
Jonathan Del Arco
David C. Fein
Juan Carlos Fernandez
Michael Jan Friedman
Robert Duncan McNeill
Ronald B. Moore
Eugene & Heidi Roddenberry
Hallie Todd Withrow
UPDATE: Joseph Gatt, Melissa Harrison, Jeri Ryan, Susan Shwartz, Tucker Smallwood, and Scott Trimble have endorsed the statement!
Further Endorsements (Received after initial release of statement):
Christopher L. Bennett
Melinda M. Snodgrass
Sunday, October 02, 2016
Saturday, October 01, 2016
Stop shitting on millennials who are right to demand universal healthcare, debt free education, community policing and sustainable society.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 1, 2016
Millennials are a strong voting bracket for Democrats and HRC, including most who chose Sanders as a protest vehicle in the primary. Unity!— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) October 1, 2016
Friday, September 30, 2016
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Anyway, yesterday I was finishing up my discussion of the Protagoras and moving on to the Gorgias (the text assigned for yesterday) and I looked down at my Gorgias notes and was surprised to find the page spotted like a cowhide. I should add here that I always write up new lecture notes even when teaching a text I've taught many times before -- re-reading the text, as I do each time I teach it, I usually think about it differently and I find that teaching to what interests me at the moment tends to make the lecture more engaging -- and that I usually scribble up my notes in the few hours right before delivering the lecture, more or less as a way of gathering up my thoughts and sculpting key observations into the trajectory of a dramatic narrative and argumentative form.
Few people could make sense of my notes, they are usually sentence fragments and page numbers and the occasional odd trigger word, in little numbered or lettered lists, sometimes with time stamps indicating how long I can allow myself to elaborate on what might fascinate me for hours at the expense of the actual topic at hand. My lectures probably usually seem like a series of riffs, I hope mostly entertaining and unexpected riffs, swooping into close readings of apparently incidental details onto wider contextualizations into citations of texts and themes I've already assigned with an eye to making these dramatic associations at key moments, all of which collide near the end to make whatever points I hope most to emphasize (this is what most folks who teach literature or philosophy as literature do, I expect). And I tend to just glance down at my notes from time to time as I go because they remind me of good anecdotes and the turns in the reading my overall argument needs and keep me more or less on track.
So, it was a strange thing to turn to my Gorgias notes, scribbled on the bus on the way from my apartment to campus on a folded sheet of paper snatched from the printer tray before I left home, and find them covered with black splotches. Involuntarily, my hand went to the page and I scarcely comprehended why but the page was suddenly more speckled still, ink obliterating many of my gnomic references and bullet points before my eyes. It was just about then that I realized my hand was drenched in ink, and just about then that both of my hands were in fact blackened, and just about then that the pen in my hand was leaking onto my hands, and just about then that I didn't know how long any of this had been going on but I knew I had surely touched my face, my hair, fiddled with my glasses plenty of times over the course of the lecture and for all I knew my face was grotesquely smudged with ink in front of over a hundred staring students and that I could no longer lean on the banister of my lecture outline to guide my discussion of the Gorgias because it had been more or less obliterated.
Mind you, all of these terrific revelations seared into my mind in the lightning flash of a few seconds at the end of which I took a breath at the proper place afforded by the sentence I had been uttering through all of this and sat the pen on the surface before me, moved my ink-wet hands from the page, decided there was nothing I could do if my face was now measled with smudges and, breathless, embarrassed, discombobulated, working without a net, I glanced at the clock to find it declared I had about forty minutes to go and proceeded to ramble on about the Gorgias without much of a game-plan or even the memory of one, delivered while my actual mind was mostly given over to volcanic insecurity and paranoia that I suddenly, conspicuously, and as if by magic, had the blackened face and hands of a nineteenth century coal miner crawling through some dim dusty shaft and was coming off at best as a caricature of the disheveled absent-minded professor and at worst veering in derangement out of some clown car.
For the life of me, I can't really even remember what I said in those last forty minutes. I'm pretty sure the first part of the lecture went well, but the second part I fear was a scattered and careening thing. Turns out, I managed not to get ink on my face or clothes after all, and the mess mostly came out in the sink before I commuted back home. I spent a lot of time last night castigating myself for delivering a shitty lecture, which is something I do rather a lot anyway to be honest. I'm now unhealthily obsessed with ensuring tomorrow's lecture compensates with crystalline clarity the debacle in my mind of Tuesday's lecture.
I say "in my mind" only because I have discovered that students often don't have an inkling that a lecture has gone wrong from my perspective -- encountering the material for the first time, many of them not even caught up with the reading, what seem to me throwaway observations incidental to the provocations and illuminations of my closer reading are more than enough for them to feel they are getting their money's worth. I have also noticed that brain freezes and losing my place and getting snagged in some detail that momentarily obsesses me at the expense of some more general and generally more important point and digressions into television or politics or jokes that sometimes get me off track, while these all too commonplace interruptions and befuddlements often lead me into retroactive shame spirals my students seem usually not to have noticed that they happened at all or that they represented anything gone amiss.
When these little disasters occur, I do seem to find myself calling upon long hammered habits of work discipline from my days as a child star doing musical turns in the dinner theater circuit across Kentuckiana: When I realized that ink had destroyed my notes and drenched my hands and for all I knew given me panda eyes and a comic ink mustache I nearly said the words aloud as I steeled myself for the long forty minutes still ahead... "The show must go on."
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
The expectations for Trump were set in the basement. The mainstream media dutifully reported Trump team spin that they were worried about Trump fidgeting: Would there be a "Fidgetgate" or would Trump triumph by managing simply to stand still for an hour and a half? (As it happens, he couldn't scale even that low bar.) For Clinton, the usual minefield had been prepared: would she smile wrong? would she frown? would she cough? would she be too loud? would she be strong enough? would she be too bossy? would she seem folksy? would she seem like a know-it-all? would she be authentically inauthentically authentic? On and on and on and on and on.
And then... the debate. Not only did Hillary Clinton not lose the debate, or lose despite winning it on the substance (as long experience has taught me to fear), she won and won so conspicuously and by so many separate measures that she is even seen to have won. The reason Trump's defeat may have longstanding impact on the race is that it played out in ways that accord well with the Clinton campaign's preferred narratives -- he was and is unprepared, she was and will be prepared to be President, she was solid and informed and he seemed erratic and ignorant and unfit to be President. She even managed to get in a few words about her larger vision -- supporting working and struggling families by raising the minimum wage, ending student debt, providing paid family leave, investing in new and renewable energy, transportation, communication, water treatment infrastructure providing millions more jobs, recognizing and battling systemic racism in policing, housing, education, making rich one-percenters pay their fair share in taxes and regulating business to stop its abuses (themes nicely illustrated by her opponent as a bonus).
I hope but do not expect the polls to shift to reflect this event [added, a few days later, they have indeed shifted--d], as I trust at least some of the conventional wisdom about organization and substance still matters even in the aftermath of the Great Sort (party polarization and regionalization baking in Party ID and making straight ticket voting the norm) and social networks scrambling assumptions about fundraising and narrative management. The Culture Wars have been won by the left in ways that seem too often to make the left complacent and divisive (there's still too much Purity Cabaret getting performed by people who, like me, have political convictions to the left of the Democratic Party which must nonetheless be a primary vehicle for our aspirations and must be supported to win to do so even as it inevitably disappoints us) as it makes the right more disciplined and defensive (just turning on the television is enough to make them think every election is the last battle before they are compelled to live in the laid back tolerant multicultural secular progressive world that will fill them with existential panic right up to the second it prevails and they start enjoying the life it affords).
Again, American voters are sorted into their parties: and this is a base mobilization election. I think the Clinton campaign has always known all this -- watch Clinton's announcement video and speech, the themes were already clear -- but their strategy of making a spectacle of the support of Republican moderates and eminences grises to attack Trump's fitness without going personally negative and also to build a governing mandate in the face of likely unprecedented obstruction seems to have softened some base support. I think narratives foregrounding this softening are overblown, I think it is not only wrong but insulting to pretend young people and people of color don't know or won't vote in their obvious interest, but the polls aren't where I would like them to be and facts are facts.
The so-called "values voters" are consolidating behind the man who debauches their every value because he is a Republican. This is not only their usual hypocrisy (I'm a gay man who has faced their hateful love first hand growing up and then as an activist in the South, so I know what I am talking about when I glibly declare so many of them hypocritical) since the Supreme Court really is their last hope to survive the existential threat of demographic diversification and secularization. If Trump loses Clinton appointments to the Court will indeed bring this branch in line with the diverse, secular, equitable, sustainable assumptions and aspirations of the REAL real America of the coalition of the ascendant that already elected Obama twice and grows by the day, and this may break the back of politicized Christian fundamentalism and invite separatist retreats and re-connection to community service priorities that prevailed prior to the organization of the moral majority (never a real majority, any more than Nixon's silent majority was one, but that is another story for another day), which may come to seem a doomed and demoralizing detour from evangelical principles orchestrated by cynical opportunistic businessmen looking for dupes to vote against their interests in order to swell the treasure piles of the rich with precious tax cuts.
Obama repeatedly pined for "the fever to break" in a Republican Party appealing to its paranoid-aggressive war-mongering gun-loving white-supremacist patriarchal science-denialist base in the face of electoral defeats by the Obama coalition (the famous Republican Autopsy report provided a wan and premature glimpse of that future). Though Donald Trump makes a ridiculous spectacle of himself when he makes his ugly and impossible promise to "build a great and beautiful wall" it is true that the Great Sort is the geopolitical firewall (gerrymandered House districts and Red State disenfranchisement schemes and refusals to accept Medicaid support for their own citizens are concrete symptoms of this demographically and geographically partisanized ideological firewall) that has made a nearly unprecedentedly awful candidate a plausible one for the Presidency. There is good reason to think that breaching the wall would be a tipping point taking it down once and for all in the face of overwhelming demographic and economic realities. Obama's second victory didn't manage the trick and Clinton's first victory might not either (especially if Democrats can't manage to win back the Senate or chisel into the GOP's House majority). But the tide is turning (and has been since 2006), the breaking of the fever is before us, the crumbling firewall will fall, and then possibilities for unprecedented changes for the better become possible where before they were impossible. The stakes are high, we stand on a knife-edge, things can go badly wrong, despair is well-warranted but it is not an option.
Monday, September 26, 2016
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Fauxvolutionary futurism is a hell of a drug. 1— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
After all these years I'm still amazed how otherwise critical sensible folks of the left fall for tech-talk's facile diagnoses & promises. 2— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
People otherwise alert for plutocratic looting and privatization schemes just lap it up when it's peddled as tech disruption. 3— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
People who otherwise celebrate the collectivity of problem-solving accomplishment nonetheless cheerlead celebrity CEO tech charlatans. 4— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
People who otherwise resist wasteful, exploitative, alienated conspicuous consumption become eager gizmo-fashionistas and tech tourists. 5— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
People skeptical of infantile escapist evangelisms pine for techno-longevity, eugenic sooper-bodies, and get-rich-quick digi-schemes. 6— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
People who should be champions of public scientific/medical research and fact-based harm-reduction policymaking fall and political reform 7— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
fall for digi-eugenic-magic pseudoscience, repackaged failed reactionary racist & market policy, techno-transcendental destiny narratives. 8— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
(That "fall" in 7 is a typo, a vestige of the effort to say all of 7 and 8 a single tweet -- damn you uneditable twitter!)— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
Added: Just to pour salt on an old wound, to no good purpose: You know, I still haven't completely gotten over the experience of the primary campaign, in which a rather amazing number of people who have long and loudly appreciated my critiques of tech culture then castigated and unfollowed and even blocked me for supporting Hillary Clinton, though I did and do so on the basis of exactly the same assumptions, concerns, and arguments they presumably affirmed in my arguments about tech. The same trivialization of radical and revolutionary politics via the entertaining distractions of consumer fandom and marketing deceptions are in evidence in tech discourse and Sanders for President discourse -- no party primary contest is revolutionary and "look, a birdie!" is indistinguishable from Mountain Dew is the revolution, sorry not sorry. The same choice of detailed policy (even policies with which I disagree on the details) over sloganeering distinguished the campaigns in their communication emphases and strategies. My preference for the best actual but of course non-ideal candidate on offer to give my support as well is compelled by the same criteria as my preference for accounts of technoscience progress focused on historical struggles over distribution of costs, risks, and benefits of change rather than narratives in which progress is a destiny, a growing toypile, or the gift of elite benefactors. My general understanding of political progress as the result of mostly exhausting, if occasionally exhilarating, historical stakeholder struggles with both partisan dimensions mucked in frustrating real-time problem solving and compromise and pressure in the direction of reform and stage-setting for further reform inter-implicated in deeper transformational education, agitation, and organization work to shift the terrain of the possible and the important is very much the same when it recognizes the superiority of the Democratic over the Republican, Libertarian, or Green Parties in the United States, the superiority of Clinton over Sanders before and Trump now, or rejects the reactionary moonshine of corporate-military and New Age bourgeois-boutique futurisms that suffuse public technoscience discourse (including, quite dangerously, too many liberal circles in which prevailing reactionary marketing discourse for feudal and fraudulent tech practices have gotten muddled up with well-meaning but under-informed Democratic desires to support scientific research and public infrastructure and fact-based policy making). I find it hard to shake the rather demoralizing suspicion that many who have supported my critique of feudal tech-talk simply didn't take much care to understand the actual substance of the arguments I have been making but happened to agree with me about the villains in the narrative -- mostly ridiculous robot cultists and heinous venture capitalists and uselessly idiotic "Thought Leaders" -- and enjoyed the baroque gargoyle sentences with which I excoriated them... but happened to think of Hillary Clinton as a similar villain and simply didn't much care to find me supporting the Cthillary Monster in her quest to bathe the world in blood from atop a mountain of cash where she dines on babies with a cabal of neoliberal billionaires. Beset by balloon animals to my left and to my right, forgive me if I retreat to the Hufflepuff common room. I've got goddamn lectures to craft and papers to grade and the stoopid, it burns us.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
1 Set aside how crappy "virtual reality" products are, whether already hyped and discarded or proximately in the "actual reality" pipeline:— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
2 When the Oculus "VR" CEO seriously promotes always-"eventual" Holodeck Heavens as reality retreats for immiserated majorities this isn't…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
3 …just the usual conservative disdain of majorities from panem et circenses to plastic and television for the Washington Consensus.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
4 A profound hostility to the finitude and sociality of materially lived experience unites those who declare profound the stale speculation…— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
5 …that we are already living in a simulation and the callous aspiration that consignment to life in a simulation would end poverty.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
6 That such tech-talk "Thought Leader" coffee-house commonplaces are utterly facile goes without saying:— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
7 The fraud of WIREDs Long Boom died in global recession, the infantile techno-transcendental hype of transhumanism dies no less predictably— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
8 ...in gawky awkward toxic slave-made landfill-destined handhelds and VR goggles.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
9 But it is the PRIOR poverty of sense and decency in the digi-utopians -- so consoling to us fearful, complacent, alienated ignoramuses --— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
Added:10 that demands exposure. The ugly obvious idiocy of wouldbe techno-deliverers and their deliverables has always been too blatant for words.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
@dalecarrico Have you tried them? I tried 3 things on Thursday at an event. 2 of them were kind of impressive.— StealThisSingularity (@StealThisSingul) September 24, 2016
@StealThisSingul How many times must I observe the booster-to-bored techbrofashionista cycle before accusations I'm just closedminded stall?— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
Added:@StealThisSingul That said, hell, I like toys qua toys as much as the next queergeek, it's the techno-emancipatory scripture I disdain.— Dale Carrico (@dalecarrico) September 24, 2016
And, er, no, I am not surprised in the least by this morning's Daily Beast bombshell that "Palmer Luckey -- founder of Oculus -- is funding a Trump group that circulates dirty memes about Hillary Clinton" any more than I am surprised that tech-darling Elon Musk wants to privatize education and use environmental crisis as an occasion to sell Musk-boondoggles and turn the nobility of civic-spirited space exploration into space Vegas amusement parks or that brave intolerance-advocate and misogynist Peter Thiel wants to live in a lawless Randroid sooper-pirate island right off the coast of socialist San Francisco (to make sure he's a helicopter hop from working hospitals photogenic sexslaves and restaurants kept hygenic by nannystate regulators) and expects to live forever in a robot body in a nano-treasure cave when he gets home from celebrating Donald Trump at his authoritarian bigotpalooza Republican Convention. I've been watching transhumanoid and singularitarian Big Thinking luminaries and publicity hounds flog Machinery of Friedman market fundamentalist pieties and anti-democracy from Robin Hanson to Max More to Eliezer Yudkowsky to a host of assorted tech-talkin' gun-nuts and robocalyptic climate-complacent geo-engineers and on and on and on and on for years and years and years and years by now. No. I'm not surprised. Nor should any of you be: I warned you.