The Reluctant Technophobe – Panopticons, Prisms & Xbone.


So. Just this quote, because of the news coming out about the massive surveillance society we have willingly embraced  and the fact that everyone is being watched by everyone at all times and on top of all of that Microsoft want us to have an always on camera in our homes that records everything that we do:

“He thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them. With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking. . . . Facts, at any rate, could not be kept hidden. They could be tracked down by inquiry, they could be squeezed out of you by torture. But if the object was not to stay alive but to stay human, what difference did it ultimately make? They could not alter your feelings; for that matter you could not alter them yourself, even if you wanted to. They could lay bare in the utmost detail everything that you had done or said or thought; but the inner heart, whose workings were mysterious even to yourself, remained impregnable.

George Orwell, 1984

Except with the Xbone the inner heart isn’t impregnable because the new, more sensitive kinect, can measure your heart rate and by extension your stress levels.

We are welcoming awful things into our homes. Let us not do this thing. Especially given what we have already conceded.

I am certainly being paranoid but that does not mean that my warning holds no merit and should not be listened to.

Culture of Illusion – There Is No Privacy.


Just so that you, like me, can feel a little bit paranoid on a Friday morning:

It seems that we are handing over our very selves without even realizing how much of our selves we are giving away.

This should be troubling.

Oh, hang on, just have to send a text…

Culture of Illusion – All this Desert needs is a Fucking Massive Iceberg.


I have seen this commercial so many times that I think I may have become a little obsessed with it. I have nothing else to do but to share it with you and then you can draw your own conclusions from my commentary on the script, below:

Eager Young Surveyor: (slightly desperately) If we could supply fresh water, this really would be the perfect location for the new town.

Yes, but the likelihood of supplying freshwater to what appears to be a massive fucking desert looks, at best, a fools quest. If you’re planning to do this via iceberg rather than the more traditional means of irrigation or river redirection then we’re in a whole new Arena of Lunacy. Let’s see what else this commercial has to offer.

Sea Captain: (optimistically) If we harness the power of the ocean currents we can reduce fuel consumption.

This Sea Captain is drunk. Look at his rhuemy eyes. He has no idea what he is talking about. He may as well claim that a race of giant undersea mermaids could tow his ship into port before feeding him and his crew all the succulent sweat meats that imagination can conjure up. He is on his third bottle of whiskey of the morning.

Gentleman on dock: (with glazed dead eyes) If we make this cable twice as thick, it could tow up to 7 million tons.

This man has nothing to do with the commercial. He merely leaped in front of the camera and spoke admiringly of a fictionally larger piece of cable than the one the other man is holding. Why does he have to be critical of my thick cable, the taller out of focus man is thinking. I worked really hard on this cable. This cable that I made can tow 3.5 million tons. Is that not enough for you? Who are you anyway? Get this man off my set! Cut!

VO:
Using their 3DExperience platform, Dassault Systèmes led a team of glaciologists and engineers to prove Georges Mougin‘s dream of transporting icebergs, could become reality.

Okay, so George Mougin seems to be of questionable sanity.

VO:
It takes a special kind of compass to explore the world’s future possibilities.

It also takes a special kind of lunatic to get together a group of willing participants, harness an iceberg to a boat and then attempt to transport it TO THE DESERT – TRANSPORT AN ICEBERG TO THE DESERT. Also, what is so special about this compass? Is it a magic compass? Will it help you find Hogwarts or Neverneverland? No, it will make you delusional and set into motion an insane plan that will start with you trying to pull an iceberg into the desert by boat and end with you naked, wretched, raving in the desert with only your twisted memories of childhood and the half-eaten remains of your colleagues for company.

VO/Caption:
DASSAULT SYSTÈMES. If we ask the right questions we can change the world.

The right question in this case seems to be – an iceberg in the fucking desert? You have to be fucking kidding me? You’re not. Oh. Well sign me up then.

Here ends the Cautionary Tale of the Cursed Compass.

Culture of Illusion – Smart Phone. Stupid Owner.


When I discovered that my snazzy new smart phone had a front and rear facing camera this happened in my head:

  1. I could take a picture of my genitals and then a picture of me looking at my genitals without moving my camera.
  2. I shouldn’t do this should I?
  3. No I should definitely NOT do this.
  4. But I’m curious now.
  5. Don’t do it! You’ll forget that you have taken these pictures and then lend someone your phone and then they will be bored and they will look through all your pictures and they will see your genitals. You will have given your phone to someone who should never see your adult genitals; your Grandmother or your Great Uncle.
  6. Go on. Do it.
  7. No! You’ll get drunk and decide it will be a great idea to upload the pictures to your blog as some kind of edgy art project that seeks to talk about the self-reflective techno-sexualisation that the modern world is currently failing to address.

I am currently teetering on the edge of that last point.

Stupid technology filling my head full of terrible thoughts of exciting and interesting ideas for expressing myself.

Appetite for Distraction – The Most Perfect Thing I Have Seen Today.


I love sushi.

I bet you think that the picture is a picture of a tape dispenser with a bit of sushi stuck in it don’t you?

WRONG!

It’s a Perfect Sushi Maker!

I am going to ignore the fact that I keep making fun of things that make life easier and embrace the beauty of this:

Perfect Roll - Sushi
Perfect Roll – Sushi

What could be so wrong with an invention to make the perfect sushi roll?

Do you want to spend your life studying to become the perfect sushi chef?

Fuck it! I can do that in five seconds with this reappointed tape dispenser.

I love you pointless inventions, I love you.

Who needs to study for years to master a skill that gives a feeling of accomplishment and self worth?

NOBODY ANYMORE BECAUSE WE HAVE INVENTIONS TO DO OUR SELF-WORTH FOR US!

Culture of Illusion – I Give Up.


SyriaTitle_gtn3

I don’t want to be a curmudeonly technophobe who keeps railing at everything he sees in the world but I just can’t help myself when I see things like this.

I can only assume that reality as I imagine it to be and reality as it is are two places that are never going to cross paths.

I’m going to make a cup of tea. For the rest of my life.

Culture of Illusion – One Day Your House Will Kill You.


Because they have nothing better to do at Microsoft these days they have designed The House of the Future:

The BBC went along to take a look. They were given a guided tour by the good people at Microsoft. I say good because I hope they are good because if they are not good then I think we’re screwed:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21632855

It's a TRAY with a FUCKING BRAIN.
It’s a TRAY with a FUCKING BRAIN. [Photo credit: Shane O’Neill]
It seems that, quite by accident, I’m becoming a massive technophobe. This House of the Future seems to take the idea of the inactive life to a new extreme. I like being inactive but I appreciate that activity and interaction with real things in the real world, and taking responsibility for that interaction, is important to maintain a sense of humanity.

This House of the Future is a lazy persons wet dream:

  • Unable to readjust your desk? Simply lurch towards it and it will reshape itself for your needs.
  • Want to do some crafts? Don’t like pottery but want to do pottery? Why not take a premade piece of art and then scan it into your computer. After you’ve done that you can stand, alone in your room as, hands stretched out, you stroke the air reshaping a pot that you just scanned into your computer for no fucking reason at all. Doing real pottery is hard. Doing fake pottery is fun. Fake Pottery fun. Must eat.
  • Don’t know what to have for dinner? Can’t remember recipes? Don’t have a recipe book? Forgotten how to speak? Simply hold food up to the screen and make ape like noises of sadness and hunger. Don’t worry dear creature, the computer recognises the food in your clenched paw and it will give you a list of recipes and then instructions on how to combine the foods together. It will watch impassively, recording every move you make, as you proceed to ruin the perfect recipe it set out for you. It will plot your destruction slowly, each human mistake you make adding fuel to its fire.

The next stage will have the robot spoon feeding you a mashed up slurry because by now all you will need is fuel to keep you going so that you can go to work and get enough money to get the loan that pays for the credit card that allows you to pretend that you own all this shit. You will have forgotten how to speak. You will have to be wiped and cleaned by the robot house, like a helpless baby, before it guides you into the travel tube that takes you directly to the cubicle that you rot in for the duration of your working day.

Clearly none of these people have watched Demonseed:

Why does my Doom Sensor feel like it’s on the verge of exploding? I always thought the Future was going to be better, but living in it now, I’m not so sure.

Must get some fresh air. You can buy that in cans now can’t you?

Fuck.

Culture of Illusion – Worth $145.86 and not a cent more…


So if you want to monetize your twitter account, all you need do is go to this website and click click click:

Mine is worth the princely sum of $145.86. Which is more than I thought it would be.

IMG-20130303-00257

I don’t know why this is a thing…

Oh wait, of course I know why this is a thing. This is a thing because we’re all obsessed with value and monetizing everything.

I can’t even remember why I found it. Perhaps I was internet stalking someone and found that they had tried it themselves so I tried it myself. Maybe that is what had happened. I couldn’t possibly comment about the truth of that.

Anyway, how do they calculate this number? Where do I get this money?

WHAT ON EARTH ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT? WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE MONETIZED?

I feel that every day it becomes more acceptable to write everything in CAPS because I become more INCREDULOUS with everything that is happening IN THE EVERY DAY.

Why do we have to be worth money to be valuable? Why do I feel sad that I am only worth $145?

Social Media is weird.

I’m going to have a coffee. Anyone want one?

Also, if you spotted that one of the tabs on the browser said “Today in Anal Tattoos” then you win a prize.

The prize is my public shaming.

Culture of Illusion – Human Obsolescence.


I don’t like to seem negative, and I love the scope of this, yet the first thing I thought was:

CUT TO ROBOT FOOT CRUSHING HUMAN SKULL ON EXPANSIVE WASTELAND OF THE FUTURE.

That is all.

I really need to work on this technophobia that I’ve developed recently.

Culture of Illusion – Anti-Social Engineering.


There is not one adult who looks at this thing and doesn’t wish there was an adult sized one so that adults could sit and shit and piss and swipe Angry Birds, check stock options and browse porn.

Or is that just me?

Of course not, I have no stock options to check.

PAD POTTY END OF DAYS EDITION.

 

 

In years to come I imagine an exchange between Mother and Son:

– Go out and play!

– No I am shitting, Mother! I am shitting on the commode and I am checking my stock options on my iPad.

– Can you at least not do it in front of guests in the living room on your 21st birthday?

– You did this to me, Mother! You made me this way!

 

And so yet another child will blame a parent for their own willful behaviour and the cycle will continue. Is it not possible for a child to have but a brief respite from technology? Must they be driven to have contact with the touchscreen even in that most private anal moment? Will these companies not leave us be? Can we not be anti-social? Why is social good all the time? Why do we need to connect all the time?

SOMETIMES IT’S OKAY TO HAVE A FUCKING BREAK.

But first, one more post…

Culture of Illusion – No one is coming to save us.


Now clearly this whole sequence, near the end of the Disney version of Pinocchio, is a delightful and subversive critique of the dark side of the American Dream.

However, the question I have to ask myself is this – when will Jiminy Cricket be arriving to save us from the Coachman?

Jiminy? Jiminy? Are you there? We’re waiting.

If you don’t come soon then we’re just going to have to go ahead and save ourselves and that is going to require effort.

Culture of Illusion – You think we are this stupid? You think we are this stupid.


Just in case we in America are too stupid to understand this commercial the makers helpfully put a disclaimer on the top left hand corner.

The commercial was for MAKEUP not TIME REGRESSION SURGERY.

WHICH IS NOT A THING.

I took an actual photograph of my actual television with my actual camera because I was so actually fucking astounded.

tumblr_lz77no2h0V1qccwnto1_1280

FUCK YOU ADVERTISERS AND LEGISLATORS AND LAWYERS.

HAPPY FRIDAY TO EVERYONE ELSE.

Culture of Illusion – Thoroeauly Confusing.


Walden: The Video Game. Living deliberatelly virtually – feeling the fan blow stale air around your room as you hunch before glowing screen, back aching, eyes straining, soul dying. It’s exactly what Thoreau was talking about. What could be better to teach children, who are already not getting enough contact with the terrifying reality of nature, than condensing the meaning of Walden and then coding it into a virtual world so that they can enjoy it from the safety of their squalid condominiums? Everything could be better than that. Beating them to death with a paperback copy of the book would be better than that.

“When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived with my parents, in their basement, a mile from the nearest Dave and Busters, in a house which I did not own, on the shore of my own self-loathing, and earned my living by the answering online questionnaires.”

It would be a reasonable thing to assume that the above, a butchering of the opening sentence of Walden; or, Life in the Woods, would have been the real opening sentence if Mr. Thoreau had, instead of living in the, admittedly faux, wilderness for a year, had remained indoors, in an energy saving light bulb lit room, playing this video game.

How is it possible to approach the notion of living deliberately that Thoreau espoused by playing a video game? My short answer is that it’s not.

It is however hilarious bullshit, pleasure excuse my earthy language, and brings to mind this wonderful comic below, written by the inestimable Grant Snider:

LIFE IN THE WOODS
[incidental comics by Grant Snider]

Living deliberately is difficult and worthwhile. Yet even as we attempt to embrace nature we crush it. Even as we try and escape and control nature we lose our essential selves. The Slow Suicide of the Human Race. Happy days, folks!

Culture of Illusion – This is how Skynet wins.


 

This video shouldn’t terrify me because it’s got lovely graphics and upbeat music and the lady who is speaking sounds so reassuring but I can’t get out of my head the impression that this is an introduction to the fifth column of an internet hivemind preparing us all for irreversible symbiosis. Do we really need to have our lawnmowers connected to the internet? It strikes me that the lawnmower would be my weapon of first resort, if I were the General of an Internet Hive Mind, looking to extend my influence into the non-digital world. (I would call the real world the non-digital world if I were the General of an Internet Hive Mind.)

I am left with the feeling of cold clawing terror, as I slide down a slope greased with digital lubricant, into the chasmal gummy maw of unrelenting technological progress. I have no control of, or say in, anything that happens in this bright, vibrant, beautifully graphicised New World.

I am probably being ridiculous.

It is a very beautifully made video.

 

A final thought:  FUCK YOU, MISSING LETTERS, FUCK YOU. Everything is EVERYTHING it is not EVRYTHNG and by deciding that your company name is to be mispelt you have become a risible thing. No doubt this is part of some well thought out and expensive marketing strategy. This makes it all the more infuriating. I am sure you are all wonderful people.

Culture of Illusion – Singularity Achieved.


What can one make of this thing? Despair seems an appropriate response – despair as great thick choking wads of hopelessness thicken up the sinews of your throat – your dying breath to whisperingly order a Bake a bone for Man’s Best Friend before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

I have owned dogs. I thought I loved those dogs. Little did I realise that I was filled with loathing for these loyal creatures. Little did I realise that I was supposed to care about the dog treats that were filled with “Preservatives” and “Who Knows What”? Down with preservatives! Curse Who Knows What!

I have heard about all the research that has gone into Who Knows What.! We all know the horror stories! We need to be protected from Who Knows What! Our dogs need to be protected from Who Knows What!

Did the dogs care? I was too selfish to ask!

If only I had known about the Bake a Bone. If only I had purchased one to make tasty doggy treats with the packs of dried flavored powder that is, I’m sure free of preservatives and Who Knows What, that comes with the Bake a Bone. It’s only $29.95! It is a small price to pay!

But surely I would have loved my dog enough to purchase the deluxe kit? There is a deluxe kit? Of course there is a deluxe kit you dog-hating murderer. I will purchase that now! It only costs an extra $10 to prove that you love your dog and you’re not trying to poison your dog, you heartless filthy cur.

I don’t even have a dog any more yet still I feel compelled to buy one of these essential items. Maybe I can use it to make treats for the kids! The kids would love it! The kids love treats!

Kids and dogs are similar and look at all the flavours with their marvellous evocative names:

  • cheesy – dogs and children like cheese.
  • bacon – dogs and children like bacon.
  • barebones – we all have bones!
  • snickerpoodle – a pun! Look everyone a pun!
  • banana – dogs and children like bananas.
  • breathmint – dogs and children smell bad in their mouths.
  • thanksgiving – a perfect canine way to re-enact all the family arguments and tension at last years Thanksgiving.
  • peanut butter – Fuck you Bake a Bone.

With the invention of the Bake a Bone we have finally reached Singularity. Ray Kurzweil can retire and we can all stop trying, innovating and/or improving ourselves. The Technological Superintelligence that we have all been promised has been achieved. There is nothing more to be done. This is the black monolith that we always dreamed would appear before us stripping away the all too human veil the world is shadowed in and reveal to us the true glory of the next stage of our Evolution.

Down with Who Knows What! Long live Who Knows What!

Culture of Illusion – In our scabby underwear, lit with neon glow, we shamble from crib to fridge to grave.


This new google glasses promo is full of beautiful people doing beautiful things. When these skillfully designed spectacles enter the marketplace to be grabbed by our grubby prole hands we will not be hang-gliding, ballet dancing or ice-sculpting.

We* will be:

– in our underwear.
– masturbating.
– being fired.
– getting lost.
– dropping them in the toilet.
– leaving them on the metro.
– being spurned by a lover.
– going to the toilet.
– dying.

It’s a brilliant idea although we should hold out for the day when google inject an implant into our frontal lobe and jolt us with addictive electricity every time we have a unique thought; that they get to own and market until the End of Time. Mmmmm sweet neural nectar.

*By “we” I mean “I”. I will be doing these things. All of these things. At the same time.

It is glorious to be living in the future.

Culture of Illusion – Whoever is controlling the world it probably isn’t you.


Whoever is controlling the world it probably isn’t you.

TED Blog

Occupy Wall Street’s slogan “We are the 99%” had been echoing through the United States and the world for just over a month when James B. Glattfelder and his co-authors released the study “The Network of Global Corporate Control” in October 2011. The study was a scientific look at our global economy, revealing how control flows like water through pipes — some thin, some thick — between people and companies. The finding: that control of our economy is highly tightly concentrated into a small core of top players, leaving us all vulnerable to fast-spreading economic distress.

[ted_talkteaser id=1668]

In today’s talk, filmed at TEDxZurich, Glattfelder reveals that the impetus of the study wasn’t at all to validate global protesters. Instead, the study was conducted out of a desire to understand the laws that govern our economy, in the same way that we understand the laws that…

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Culture of Illusion – The Entropic March towards Chaos.


The fact that we are all going to die and the Universe is going to crumble into meaningless dust should be an ultimately depressing and soul-crushing idea. However, Brian Cox makes it sound beautiful and poetic.

Culture of Illusion – Put a saddle on that chicken.


Tastes like chicken?
Tastes like chicken?

So it turns out that, quite by accident, horse meat is the most popular dish in Britain, possibly. So many years of eating and enjoying Findus crispy pancakes are now meaning I have to reconfigure my taste buds. Do I like horse meat? I probably like horse meat.

Culture of Illusion – McRobot Overlords.


Robot The Bruce. I love this pun. It is my favourite pun ever.
Robot the Bruce. I will never get tired of this pun that I just believe I made up. And no, it is not okay to fuck him in his mouth. Whatever you, as a man or a lady with a strap-on appendage, may be thinking.

This story makes it look like robots have taken over Scotland and the only people who are left are those who have to make sure that their Robot Overlords still function. I am sure that this is not the case, but a lot can happen in four months, so I can’t back up that statement 100%. Oh yes, click on the picture above or the word story at the beginning of this paragraph for the story. Also that story. And that one.