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Alien Anthropology

Fear of technological change: AI

Context: How do you build trust in new technologies? An arguably irreducible factor in this is that cultural, linguistic and (corollary) cognitive systems thrive where and when there is a threshold of uncertainty and doubt. Personal (or national) identities – for instance – are never so certain in their dissimulated security as when they are […]

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Alien Anthropology Philosophy technology

Artificial Intelligence: Navigating the 4th Industrial Revolution

Professor Bell provides a fascinating, artfully-abbreviated and profoundly well-informed historical survey of the steam, electrical, computational and AI/cyber-physical technological phase transitions of human civilisation. As an anthropologist, she grounds technological systems in the people and places that inhabit them. It is clearly of critical importance to consider the lived experience of a future that remakes us and […]

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Alien Anthropology

Dissociative Beauty

“My beauty was my curse, so to speak; it created an impenetrable shield between people and who I really was.” ~Hedy Lamarr There really does seem to be something of a deep and irremediable sorrow in all great beauty. We might say the same of a beautiful mind as much as of an attractive face […]

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Alien Anthropology

Spinning Democracy: Capitol Insurrection

Context: China, Russia, Iran Spin Capitol Insurrection A note on geopolitical spin: very much like quantum entangled pairs, it exists in a superposition of states – measurement along a particular axis produces the reality. Most instances of perceived weakness can as easily infer strength – it just depends upon which axes of measurement (and narrative) […]

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Alien Anthropology Philosophy

We do not need war

It is something of the core nature of narrative human consciousness that reflexively defines itself by and through difference and ontological separation from an Other or World that we perceive and process information in ways that obscure the bigger picture of competition, adversarialism and war. That gestalt information and energy-processing (i.e. computational) system of interpersonal […]

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Alien Anthropology

Our Tribalism is Endemic but Silly

How to alienate and enrage 99% of the world? Tell them that almost all of their contemporary cultural practices, beliefs, interests, hobbies and pastimes are shallow, superficial assertions of tribal identity that do little more than provide temporary comfort in an ultimately hostile, selfish and uncaring world. It is not that these cultural practices and […]

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Alien Anthropology

Fake news and disinformation…

The semi-autonomous self-propagation of fake news and disinformation suggests that cognitive hyper-extension in, through and as communications technologies is always and already biased towards the distribution of information over the quality or veracity of the content thus distributed. There is an asymmetry in the physics of complex information-processing systems and we are all, if quite […]

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Alien Anthropology

Blah… politics… information… blah…

We inhabit distributed sociopolitical information systems that play out logical symmetries (i.e. of mathematics, physics) through the transmission medium of aggregate human agency as behavioural (essentially cognitive) micro-systems of and as decision-making machines. Does the transmission medium (i.e. human agency, volition, free will) drive the system or does the system almost entirely and autonomously self-propagate […]

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Alien Anthropology

The Aesthetics of Poverty

Aesthetics is not only about the appraisal and critical assessment of beauty in art or any other form. It is also an analysis of sensory experience, of perception. Perception is directly related to assessments of beauty, of symmetry and of value and inflates our experience with judgements – both known and unknown, recognised and unacknowledged. […]

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Alien Anthropology

Borders and Boundaries

We live in a world that perhaps needs and unwittingly depends on its borders and boundaries but in many cases they persist not because they are necessary in any ultimate or foundational sense but quite simply because they can. There are deep truths here; of humanity, of history and of minds.

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Alien Anthropology

One Big Family of Planetary Dysfunction

Notice that the love of family is the love that humanity really needs; we are, for all our shared problems, just One vast and dysfunctional (planetary) family.

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Alien Anthropology

Nuclear Weapons are Stupid

Context: Bombs and the Bikini Atoll I recently saw an interview with US Gen (ret.) Colin Powell discussing this technology. His assessment seems to be accurate – these weapons are so powerful and of such vast consequence that they are effectively and completely useless. If any one side or warhead-or-sabre-rattling power were to launch a […]