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Neon and corporate dystopias: why does cyberpunk refuse to move on? | Games | The Guardian
“Cyberpunk offers a vision of a post-national, globalised society where those who know how to manipulate information will come out on top, a vision of the world very recognisable to us today,” says Dr Anna McFarlane, a cyberpunk scholar at the University of Glasgow. In 2018, state governments grovel at the feet of Amazon for the privilege of hosting their second headquarters, an echo of a world sketched out by Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash. Facebook has the power to spread election-turning fake news, realising anxieties expressed in the likes of Pat Cadigan’s novel Synners, where dreams shared on the net have lethal consequences in reality. Google creates AI technology for the Pentagon, just as the fictional Neutron Corporation created the AI dubbed “The Puppet Master” for its government client in 1995’s Ghost in the Shell. And all three exploit their status as trans-national global entities to horde billions through tax loopholes, like Neuromancer’s Tessier-Ashpool corporation, so powerful that it literally looks down upon the earth from its orbiting space station
cybernetics  future  movie 
10 hours ago by janpeuker
Scientific cosmology and international orders | International relations and international organisations | Cambridge University Press
"Scientific Cosmology and International Orders shows how scientific ideas have transformed international politics since 1550. Allan argues that cosmological concepts arising from Western science made possible the shift from a sixteenth century order premised upon divine providence to the present order centred on economic growth. As states and other international associations used scientific ideas to solve problems, they slowly reconfigured ideas about how the world works, humanity's place in the universe, and the meaning of progress. The book demonstrates the rise of scientific ideas across three cases: natural philosophy in balance of power politics, 1550–1815; geology and Darwinism in British colonial policy and international colonial orders, 1860–1950; and cybernetic-systems thinking and economics in the World Bank and American liberal order, 1945–2015. Together, the cases trace the emergence of economic growth as a central end of states from its origins in colonial doctrines of development and balance of power thinking about improvement."

--- Oooh.
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_ideas  history_of_science  diplomacy  via:henry_farrell  cybernetics  world_bank 
7 days ago by cshalizi
Common-Knowledge Attacks on Democracy by Henry Farrell, Bruce Schneier :: SSRN
Existing approaches to cybersecurity emphasize either international state-to-state logics (such as deterrence theory) or the integrity of individual information systems. Neither provides a good understanding of new “soft cyber” attacks that involve the manipulation of expectations and common understandings. We argue that scaling up computer security arguments to the level of the state, so that the entire polity is treated as an information system with associated attack surfaces and threat models, provides the best immediate way to understand these attacks and how to mitigate them. We demonstrate systematic differences between how autocracies and democracies work as information systems, because they rely on different mixes of common and contested political knowledge. Stable autocracies will have common knowledge over who is in charge and their associated ideological or policy goals, but will generate contested knowledge over who the various political actors in society are, and how they might form coalitions and gain public support, so as to make it more difficult for coalitions to displace the regime. Stable democracies will have contested knowledge over who is in charge, but common knowledge over who the political actors are, and how they may form coalitions and gain public support. These differences are associated with notably different attack surfaces and threat models. Specifically, democracies are vulnerable to measures that “flood” public debate and disrupt shared decentralized understandings of actors and coalitions, in ways that autocracies are not.
democracy  collective_cognition  common_knowledge  cybernetics  distributed_computing  henry.farrell 
19 days ago by rvenkat
The Cybernetics Thought Collective: A History of Science and Technology Portal Project – University of Illinois Archives
The University of Illinois Archives was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to develop a prototype web-portal and analysis-engine to provide access to archival material related to the development of the iconic, multi-disciplinary field of cybernetics. The grant is part of the NEH’s Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Foundations program. “The Cybernetics Thought Collective: A History of Science and Technology Portal Project” is a collaborative effort among several academic units at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I) and three other institutions that also maintain archival records vital to the exploration of cybernetic history: the British Library, the American Philosophical Society, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
cybernetics  computing  history_of_computing  archive 
20 days ago by gwijthoff
The reason why work can seem meaningless • Meaning Guide
Finally, and most provocatively, judge the meaning of your communication not by what it means to you, and not by the nice things people say to you after you’ve finished, but by the level of energy that’s released as a result, either in a shift in body language (if you’re talking to people face-to-face) or in the level of direct activity that follows. If nothing happens, then did it really mean that much to begin with?
28 days ago by zryb
Panel on Complexity and Cybernetics | Umpleby's Website
Stuart Umpleby

Expanding Science and Advancing Reflexive Government: Two Current Projects in Cybernetics (Paper) (Slides)
Stuart Umpleby

A Cybernetics Approach to Solving Complex Problems:  Improving Policy Making and Implementation (Paper)
Richard N. Knowles

Managing Complexity in Selected Federal Programs (Slides) (Paper)
Morris Bosin

Complexity Analytics and Policy (Paper)
Claudia Pharis
5 weeks ago by zryb

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