Behavior Design AMS links

These are the things I ref­er­enced in my Behav­ior Design AMS talk. A full write­up will prob­a­bly fol­low at some point. Fol­low­ers of this blog will recog­nise many pre­vi­ous­ly post­ed things.

Struc­tural­ly then, the Amer­i­can cloud is an assem­blage of inter­con­nect­ed Hamil­ton­ian cathe­drals, art­ful­ly con­cealed behind a Jef­fer­son­ian bazaar. The spa­tial struc­ture of this Amer­i­can edi­fice is sur­pris­ing­ly sim­ple: a bicoastal sur­face that is most­ly human-hab­it­able bazaar, and a heart­land that is most­ly high­ly auto­mat­ed infra­struc­ture cathe­drals. In this world, the bazaars are the inte­ri­ors of cities, form­ing a user-inter­face lay­er over the com­plex tan­gle of pipes, cables, dump­sters and load­ing docks that engi­neers call the last mile — the part that actu­al­ly reach­es the cus­tomer. The cities them­selves are cathe­drals craft­ed for human habi­ta­tion out of steel and con­crete. The bazaar is mere­ly a thin fic­tion lin­ing it. Between the two worlds there is a veil of man­u­fac­tured nor­mal­cy — a stu­dious­ly main­tained aura of the small-town Jef­fer­son­ian ide­al.

America’s arti­fi­cial heart­land– Venkatesh Rao – Aeon

For some rea­son this time around I was less enter­tained by Rao’s choice of metaphors. Per­haps because this is yet anoth­er dichoto­my, and because as opposed to pre­vi­ous attempts at illu­mi­nat­ing today’s world, I didn’t learn much new from them. I could not think with these metaphors as tools.

Play is the unknown and the uncon­trol­lable, and by build­ing an ontol­ogy based on design­er-cen­tric rea­son, the pro­ce­du­ral­ists elim­i­nate the myth and the rit­u­al from play, and encour­age an instru­men­tal approach to games that is exclu­sive­ly guid­ed by the rules, norms and process­es embed­ded in the game sys­tem.

Game Stud­ies — Against Pro­ce­du­ral­i­ty

Revis­it­ing Sicart on “the pro­ce­du­ral­ists” and quite enjoyed it. There are many seeds here for a form of “play­er-cen­tric” applied game design which allows for cre­ative, gen­er­a­tive play.

I believe that much of the weak com­men­tary on the New Aes­thet­ic is a direct result of a weak tech­no­log­i­cal lit­er­a­cy in the arts, and the crit­i­cal dis­course that springs from it. It is also rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a far wider crit­i­cal and pop­u­lar fail­ure to engage ful­ly with tech­nol­o­gy in its con­struc­tion, oper­a­tion and affect. Since at least the intro­duc­tion of the VCR – per­haps the first tru­ly domes­ti­cat­ed com­pu­ta­tion­al object – it seems there has been a con­cert­ed, soci­etal rejec­tion of tech­ni­cal under­stand­ing, where­in the atti­tude that “I don’t under­stand this and there­fore don’t like this and there­fore I will not inves­ti­gate this” is ascen­dant and laud­ed. This atti­tude man­i­fests in the low-lev­el Lud­dite response to almost every tech­ni­cal inno­va­tion; in the stig­ma­ti­sa­tion of geek cul­ture and inter­ests, aca­d­e­m­ic and recre­ation­al; in the man­age­r­i­al cul­ture of eco­nom­ic gov­ern­ment – and in the ele­va­tion of sleek, black-box cor­po­rate-con­trolled objects, plat­forms and ser­vices, from the iPhone to the SUV, over open-source, hack­able, com­pre­hen­si­ble and share­able alter­na­tives. This wil­ful anti-tech­ni­cal­ism, which is a form of anti-intel­lec­tu­al­ism, mir­rors the present cul­tur­al obses­sion with nos­tal­gia, retro and vin­tage which was one of the spurs for the entire New Aes­thet­ic project; it is bor­ing, and we reject it.

The New Aes­thet­ic and its Pol­i­tics | booktwo.org

Bri­dle pulls no punch­es and goes after art crit­ics who do not know their tech. I guess it is unlike­ly all of them will change their ways and so for the fore­see­able future we will have to repeat this argu­ment again and again.

What we are wit­ness­ing in the Nether­lands, and across Europe, is the exploita­tion of the pro­duc­tive inde­ter­mi­na­cy of cul­ture and race “for the monop­o­li­sa­tion of virtue and a defence mech­a­nism against the loss of self,” both in an eco­nom­ic, and polit­i­cal sense—what Sherene Raza­ck names “a way of puri­fy­ing and regen­er­at­ing one’s own race.”

I Didn’t Mean To!” Trac­ing the Roots of ‘Dutch Inno­cence’ | Processed Life

Being a white, rea­son­ably well-off Dutch­man, this makes for some uncom­fort­able read­ing, not in the least because much of it rings true—there appears to be a lot of unex­am­ined racism behind Dutch pro­pri­ety.

Many C.E.O.s receive a lot of stock and stock options. Over time, they and oth­er rich peo­ple earn a lot of mon­ey from the cap­i­tal they have accu­mu­lat­ed: it comes in the form of div­i­dends, cap­i­tal gains, inter­est pay­ments, prof­its from pri­vate busi­ness­es, and rents. Income from cap­i­tal has always played a key role in cap­i­tal­ism. Piket­ty claims that its role is grow­ing even larg­er, and that this helps explain why inequal­i­ty is ris­ing so fast. Indeed, he argues that mod­ern cap­i­tal­ism has an inter­nal law of motion that leads, not inex­orably but gen­er­al­ly, toward less equal out­comes. The law is sim­ple. When the rate of return on capital—the annu­al income it gen­er­ates divid­ed by its mar­ket value—is high­er than the economy’s growth rate, cap­i­tal income will tend to rise faster than wages and salaries, which rarely grow faster than G.D.P.

John Cas­sidy: Is Surg­ing Inequal­i­ty Endem­ic to Cap­i­tal­ism? : The New York­er

Anoth­er piece on Piket­ty, more bal­anced than the Guardian inter­view and with some addi­tion­al inter­est­ing insights into the emer­gence of “super­man­agers” and the impor­tant point that eco­nom­ics and pol­i­tics must be stud­ied togeth­er.

There is a fun­da­men­tal­ist belief by cap­i­tal­ists that cap­i­tal will save the world, and it just isn’t so. Not because of what Marx said about the con­tra­dic­tions of cap­i­tal­ism, because, as I dis­cov­ered, cap­i­tal is an end in itself and no more.

Occu­py was right: cap­i­tal­ism has failed the world | Books | The Observ­er

So I came across the book by Piket­ty on cap­i­tal­ism and was blown away. It appears he’s deliv­ered con­clu­sive proof that under cap­i­tal­ism the rich do indeed keep get­ting rich­er…

Revive (and des­tig­ma­tise) social hous­ing, so that we can live well yet cheap­ly. Make all high­er edu­ca­tion free at the point of use, in order that the cog­ni­tive gap between the “serv­ing” and the “ser­viced” class­es become even more unten­able. Strong­ly reg­u­late cap­i­tal­ism (short­er work­ing weeks, citizen’s incomes, pow­er­ful pub­lic infra­struc­tures and net­works) so that men, women and chil­dren can exper­i­ment with new mix­es of the pro­duc­tive and the emo­tion­al in our lives. In short: sup­port our auton­o­my, don’t pre­scribe our hap­pi­ness.

Not well­be­ing, but well­be­com­ing | Com­ment is free | theguardian.com

More post-Play-Eth­ic Pat Kane, argu­ing for sup­port­ive but non-pre­scrip­tive gov­ern­ment. Gov­ern­ment as play coach.