Categories
Poetry Politics & Society

In our time

Lost and rediscovered. Cycles of peace trigger concurrent spirals of tyranny. People gravitate to the donut hole, blind to the big picture.

History is a gif loop

It doesn’t matter what the books reveal about our worst tendencies. People want to experience chaos on their own. In short, men fall casualty to “thinking with their dicks.”

But therein lies the message of faceless ignorance. Through massive error, society wakes up from the maw of boredom. They want to feel more alive!

Yet, evil always unwinds to the awe of freedom. “Not even a congenital optimist can see a pony in this Christmas stocking,” writes Steven Pinker in his review of Trumpism in his new book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.

The truth never expires. Kindness scales. We escaped the ominous clouds, only yesterday.

Categories
Culture Politics & Society

The Wild West of data manipulation

200w_d-1.gif
gif by Ryan Seslow

Tech entrepreneurs are coming to realize their moral responsibility.

Outside parties were abusing stolen Facebook data to develop psychological profiles of voters. The data-mining company Cambridge Analytica was central to the information warfare. They allegedly worked with Russians to stoke fears in the UK and America on immigration and other polarizing issues. So people got fake news and conspiracy theories in their feeds which led to Brexit and Trump.

28-year-old whistleblower Christopher Wylie who admittedly ‘made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’ at Cambridge Analytica is leading the charge against the product he helped build.

If data is the new oil, social platforms are the biggest propaganda machines.

Facebook is like an adult video game. People are obsessed with the sensational. And reality pays the price of fabricated events.

‘Move fast and break things’ may be a popular hacker’s motto but it’s shown to breed more carelessness than good. Thankfully, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are facing up to the truth that while their tools bring us closer together but they also tear the world apart.

The damage has been done. The question now is how will they fix it? Some argue that the crackdown on Cambridge Analytic is just the start. Others like Om Malik are less optimistic. Pumping users and engagement are in Facebook’s DNA regardless of the consequences. Om writes:

Facebook is about making money by keeping us addicted to Facebook. It always has been — and that’s why all of our angst and headlines are not going to change a damn thing.

More to chew on here…

Categories
Arts Politics & Society

Artist Shepard Fairey supports National School Walkout Day with two protest posters

Widely known for Obama’s 2008 “Hope” poster, contemporary street artist and activist Shepard Fairey created two posters to aid students with their #NationalSchoolWalkout yesterday. According to EMPOWER, the National Women’s March group that sponsored the march, the campaign drew over 3,000 walkouts all over the country including London.

The students are protesting stricter gun control after last month’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida which left 17 dead.

Artist Shepard Fairey supports National School Walkout Day with two protest posters

#ENOUGH

The posters “Schools Not Warzones” and “An Assault On Our Future” are both free downloads via Fairey’s creative agency, Studio Number One.

Categories
Arts Politics & Society

Late 20th century North Korean graphic design

These late 20th century North Korean graphic designs from Pyongyang’s Industrial Art studio demonstrate the kitschy yet nationalistic advertising in North Korea advertising.

© Justin Piperger

A picture is worth a thousand words

The candy-like posters paint a fruitful view of communism. Their meaning required little interpretation, exactly Kim Jong-il’s intention. “If the people who see a picture cannot grasp its meaning,” he said, “no matter what a talented artist may have painted it, they cannot say it is a good picture.”

© Justin Piperger
© Phaidon

Read North Korean design: the golden age of candy-coloured communism

In London? Check out the Made in North Korea: Everyday Graphics from the DPRK exhibition at the House of Illustration.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Politics & Society Quotes Tech

Facebook is a video game for adults

Facebook is a video game for adults. The social network specializes in goading emotional responses that dupe the older crowd into thinking they are legitimate purveyors of news.

The reality is imperfect. Technology companies compel people to spread misinformation that emboldens preexisting echo chambers. A post-fact society threatens the plurality of opinion so fundamental to healthy democracies.

We could argue that CNN and Fox News are also culprits.

Screen staring and the rapid spread of information distort what’s real and what’s false. Unfortunately, it is the networks that benefit most from the gray space in the middle.

Facebook is a weapon of mass propaganda, a platform where conspiracy theories thrive. We should be giving our parents the same lecture they gave us on video games but about their manipulative online use.

Jedi mind tricks have their consequences.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Politics & Society Quotes Tech

Losing the freedom of mind

Lost, gone, vanished.

Our short-attention spans attend to media manipulation.

Yet, we are the purveyors of news. We can spread a thought or opinion on the internet without the slightest veracity, a task only governments used to be able to do.

But we no longer think for ourselves. Our thoughts are almost always somebody else’s. The opposition holds the same blind bias.

A war of words froths with inevitability in the online space.

Tethered to the smartphone, we yield the liberated sense of self to the perfect selfie. We think we’re different but we’re just trying to be naked and famous like everybody else.

But our ability to woo others with pictures and words stop at the screens we share them on. We are fearful to express such individuality in the real world.

Without showing genuine authenticity between ourselves and others, we restrain society of original thought. Genius becomes a mere shadow of itself.

Wrote John Stuart Mill in On Liberty:

“In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.”

Categories
Culture Politics & Society Tech

The naiveté of the shortsighted

“It is somewhat ridiculous to suppose that the invention of a motor car can render horses less necessary to man.”

Saddlery and Harness Magazine, 1895

They used to think that cars would never entirely replace the horse.

Today we think it’s foolish that Bitcoin, or space money, has any intrinsic value. How can we have faith in things we can’t see or touch?

To think that machines can never model the human mind may be a bit shortsighted too. Artificial intelligence is looming; robot consciousness is brewing.

Whoever thought that America would rebut the world it paved? Politics and freedom don’t always move forward.

The torrent of revolution and disruption seems to convey a reoccurring event.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Stem the tide

Automatons are soulless; they operate on voltage levels. However, humans can also be cruel, drugging the thinking out of their mind.

Evil is infectious; it spreads like a fungus.

The only way to beat a moral coward is to drain their morbid curiosity with a thoughtful mind.

The accumulation of progressive effort stems the tide of pessimism.

Beat them with kindness, letting them know they have a responsibility to act in good faith while they are alive.