Reading, Listening, Watching, Learning, Pondering (New Series)

I’m starting a new series where I can quickly jot down what media I’m consuming and what I’m thinking about since I’ve been so wrapped up with school work. I hope to use this to collect many of my thoughts about intersecting themes and domains as I take in new reading and watching, and plan to revisit these in depth after graduation next month.

So I have been super busy the last month preparing for my Master’s thesis at Parsons School of Design.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very passionate about my thesis research and the work produced so far. Buy I also find myself inspired by a million new ideas, domains, materials, tools, and random thoughts had at 1:37am on the A train that has nothing to do specifically with my main work. Part of this is because I’m also taking two other amazing and somewhat more abstract, speculative, weird and inspiring classes this semester which really have me thinking in wacky wonderfully freeing directions.

“Automatic Everything” is a studio exploration with Critical Design masters Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby focusing on designing alternate mythologies for artificial intelligence.

“Automation as a dream has been with us for a very long time, but now, finally, with AI, machine learning, neural networks and other related technologies we seem to be on the cusp of achieving unimagined levels of automation, at least in the West. But where are its limits? Should everything be automated, if not, what, and why? Which areas could genuinely benefit if automated, and besides automation, what other models might AI facilitate. And how can design help us find out?”

I’m also delightfully wrapped up in Post Planetary design with Ed Keller -probably one of the smartest and most creative architect/designer/sci-fi gurus I’ve ever met (that description doesn’t even do him a fraction of justice for his far-reaching and unexpectedly interconnected insights).

“Post-Planetary is a research seminar exploring all aspects of design at a post-planetary scale. Throughout the semester we will screen sci-fi films, read bright and dark futurologies, scan, debate, and re-scan critical histories and theories, and ultimately produce a set of ‘black papers’, short videos and/or interactive projects that speculate on the next 50 to one thousand years of cross-disciplinary design.”

Both really cool topics with so many directions for research and further questioning that I just don’t feel like I have time to truly do justice to exploring right now.

But, before this post gets too long, let me wrap up.

Due to all of the new materials, fields, domains, ideas, authors and more that have been filling up my gray matter with new connections, I’ve decided to create a new quick post format for this blog. “Reading, Listening, Watching, Learning, Pondering”.

These posts are just a kind of collection tool for what I am absorbing at the moment, and what I am thinking about. I don’t want to forget or lose some of the amazing ideas I’ve been collecting for future work, so I hope to use this format as a quick tool to jot down what materials I’m looking at and what I want to explore. After grad school is finally over, these posts will help me to remember what I was interested in at different times, and what media is inspiring me.

So without further ado, here is the first post.

Reading, Listening, Watching, Learning, Pondering

Reading

  • Neal Stephenson, Cryptomicon (for Fun)
  • Anthony & Don Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (for School)
  • Robin Hanson, “The Rapacious Hardscrapple Frontier” (for School)
  • Doug Rushkoff, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus (for Fun)
  • “Did You Know there are 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design”, InteriorArchitect.com
  • Peter Watts, Blindsight

Listening 

  • Kim Stanely Robinson, Talk on 2140 at the Strand
  • Cixin Liu, The Dark Forest (audiobook)
  • Hatsune Miku, “Miku” (study music)
  • Anamaguchi (study music)
  • “Privatizing the Cosmos: Property, Sovereignty, and Frontier Extractivism in the ‘Second Space Age’ “, Lecture by Rory Rowan, Political Geography Research Unit, Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • “Protocol & Innovation”, lecture/conversation with Lisa Strausfel as part of GIDEST at New School
  • Interview with Peter Watts, author of Blindsight on anything and everything

Watching

Learning

  • SerialPort Library in P5.js
  • NFC/RFID Interfacing with Node.js
  • Fusion360 (scratching the surface)
  • Adafruit Circuit Playground

Pondering

  • Random Quote: “Today is just yesterday’s tomorrow”.
  • Sensory Re-mapping, Sensoriums
  • Experiencing Digital Data through multi-sense embodiment
  • Digital Synesthesia. Why do it, why it could be great, why it could be terrible.
  • Fetishized Blockchain Futures & New Dichotomies: White world black world. Sun platform, shadow platform. A legit government hosted public non-anonymous (citizen ID needed, maybe biometric?) Blockchain-based marketplace, underground public anonymous Blockchain shadow exchange running on the same open source code created during a civic hackathon a long time ago…
  • Sci-fi is important bc the future becomes a story you already told yourself.
  • Protocol as a meta-narrative re: Lisa Strausfel
  • How brains can automatically create protocols when you stick wires into them, re: rat brains. Can we use this idea of a protocol that evolves naturally from its medium to best handle information? Maybe AI can do this?
  • Maybe the question we should ask isn’t “what if the AI wakes up?”, its “why are we awake in the first place, and why is that better?” – Re: Peter Watts and The Role of Consciousness as a genetic fitness maladaptation
  • If natural selection has no foresight, we are we so obsessed with speculating about the future? Is there a point in doing so?
  • Sadistic apophenia as a delusion that we have the ability to solve ‘wicked problems’ or identify what they really are and what causes them in the first place
  • Capitalism is a global network founded by a handful of people that convinced the rest of the world that their game of Dungeons & Dragons is actually reality. That economics with unlimited growth locked up into a system with finite resources is a do-able fantasy.  Somehow every major government is committed to the idea of exponential growth. We never try to solve problems like climate change, poverty utterly, we try to solve them without disrupting the economy. But sometimes the economy might have to lose. (summarized from Peter Watts)
  • Capitalist economics is kind of like Klingon summer camp. You go to a beautiful awesome camp where everyone learns to speak Klingon. It has nice grammar, a good internal logic, and its really cool. So people to there and they get fluent in this new language. But the problem is that there is no fucking such thing as a Klingon. We have bought into a consensual hallucination that there is. Just like capitalist economics.
  • Consciousness is just meat that we are trickling electricity through in the right way… How the hell does that happen?

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