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BBC - Future - Secret city design tricks manipulate your behaviour
"Hidden in our streets and buildings are "unpleasant designs" that force us to make certain choices, discovers Frank Swain. Once you know what they are, it will transform how you see your city."
architecture  design  frankswain  cities  urban  urbanism  2013  homeless  inhospitable  benches  furniture  surfaces  skating  skateboarding  skateboards 
december 2015 by robertogreco
BBC - Future - Technology - Beyond human: How I became a cyborg
"When writer Frank Swain joined the ranks of the cyborgs, he discovered that it meant losing control of a part of his body. In the first of our Beyond Human series, he explores why enhancing the senses raises surprising personal and ethical problems."



"Unfortunately, supercharging my hearing aids is not just challenging, it’s positively forbidden. During one fitting, I asked the technician calibrating them how I could adjust the settings myself, in case I found them too loud or too quiet for a particular environment. “You can’t do that!” he exclaimed with some alarm. “It’s very important they are only set up by a qualified audiologist.”

He needn’t have worried too much. Hearing aids are, by design, incredibly resistant to tinkering. Some have a button to switch between modes for different environments. Others – like my current pair – are entirely automated, relegating me a passive listener rather than an engaged user. Traditionally designed with elderly (and presumably technophobic) customers in mind, the emphasis for manufacturers has been on invisibility and ease of use, rather than fine control. All the same, manufacturers take a dim view of users fiddling with their own devices, and it’s very difficult for anyone who isn’t a certified audiologist to get their hands on the specialist programming equipment. Even the peripherals, such as additional microphones or Bluetooth adaptors, tend to come locked down in proprietary formats.

These restrictions raise an important question: exactly who owns my hearing?"
frankswain  body  bodies  cyborgs  humans  human  augmentation  hearing  2014 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Lighthouse: IMPROVING REALITY 2013 - FILMS
"HOW ARE ARTISTS, TECHNOLOGISTS & WRITERS SUBVERTING OUR NOTION OF REALITY?

Lighthouse's digital culture conference, Improving Reality, returned for a third year this September. Talks included tours through worlds that artists are growing rather than making, critical revelations of the systems and infrastructures that shape our world, and narratives of radical alternative futures.

We’ve collected together the videos of the days talks, and invite you to join us in the discussion on Twitter and Facebook, or in any way you’d like. Visit the relevant session to watch the videos, and find out more about the themes, issues and ideas up or discussion.

In between sessions were a set of Tiny Talks, interventions from artists and designers involved in Brighton Digital Festival.

Session 1. Revealing Reality
http://lighthouse.org.uk/programme/improving-reality-2013-films-session-one

Social, political and technological infrastructures are the invisible “dark matter” which underlies contemporary life, influencing our environment and behaviour. This session explores how the spaces where we live, such as our cities, are being transformed by increasingly interlinked technological and architectural infrastructures. We will see how artists and designers are making these infrastructures visible, so that we may better understand and critique them.

Speakers: Timo Arnall, Keller Easterling and Frank Swain. Chair: Honor Harger.


Session 2. Re-imagining Reality
http://lighthouse.org.uk/programme/improving-reality-2013-films-session-two

Our increasingly technologised world, with its attendant infrastructures, is in a constant state of flux. This session explores how artists, designers and writers are imagining how our infrastructures may evolve. We will learn what writers might reveal about our infrastructures, using tools such as design fiction. We will go on tours through worlds that artists are growing, rather than making, using new materials like synthetic biology and nanotechnology. And we’ll see how artists are imagining new realities using techniques from futurism and foresight.

Speakers: Paul Graham Raven, Maja Kuzmanovic, Tobias Revell and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg. Chair: Simon Ings.


Session 3. Reality Check
http://lighthouse.org.uk/programme/improving-reality-2013-films-session-three

The growing reach of technological infrastructures and engineered systems into our lives creates uneasy social and ethical challenges. The recent scandals relating to the NSA, the revelation of the PRISM surveillance programme, and the treatment of whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, have revealed how fundamentally intertwined our civil liberties are with our technological infrastructures. These systems can both enable, and threaten, both our privacy and our security. Ubiquitous networked infrastructures create radical new creative opportunities for a coming generation of makers and users, whilst also presenting us with major social dilemmas. In this session we will look at the social and ethical questions which will shape our technological infrastructures in the future. We will examine algorithmic infrastructures, power dynamics, and ask, “whose reality we are trying to improve”.

Speakers: Farida Vis, Georgina Voss, Paula Le Dieu, and Justin Pickard. Chair: Scott Smith."
timoarnall  kellereasterling  frankswain  honorharger  paulgrahamraven  majakuzmanovic  tobiasrevell  alexandradaisy-ginsberg  simonings  faridavis  georginavoss  paulaledieu  justinpickard  scottsmitt  reality  art  systems  infrastructure  politics  technology  darkmatter  behavior  environment  architecture  2013  flux  change  nanotechnology  syntheticbiology  materials  futurism  ethics  surveillance  nsa  edwardsnowden  bradleymanning  civilliberties  security  privacy  algorithms  networks  ubiquitouscomputing  powerdynamics  towatch 
october 2013 by robertogreco

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