Like its techno-automotive cousins Tesla and Uber, services like Silvercar represent a shift from designing products and services to support a general population to focusing on an elite capable of wrangling, negotiating, or paying their way out of the drudgery of ordinary life.
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.
- The behaviour change wheel: A new method for characterising and designing behaviour change interventions.
- Dave Eggers: what’s so funny about peace, love and Starship?
- Apple. What will your verse be?
- Yellow Claw. Krokobil.
- Pedro Pedercini. Videogames and the Spirit of Capitalism.
- Johann Sebastian Joust.
- New Games.
- David Kanaga. Notes On Eric Zimmerman’s “Manifesto for a Ludic Century”.
- David Kanaga. Music Object, Substance, Organism.
- Infinite Sketchpad.
- Victory Boogie Woogie.
- Miguel Sicart. Against Procedurality.
- Pig Chase.
- Frank Lantz. [Insert Cow Pun Here].
- Animal Upon Animal.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
More post-Play-Ethic Pat Kane, arguing for supportive but non-prescriptive government. Government as play coach.