[-empyre-] effusion and miscommunication

Geert Lovink geert at desk.nl
Mon May 12 00:26:54 EST 2014

On 9 May 2014, at 7:42 PM, Johannes Birringer <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk> wrote:

> What exactly are we meant to do with the (catholic? mystic?) notion of excommunication…? (..) What realm of the "non-human" do you propose for our social and political and personal activities?  and how do you intend to get rid of media or convince others to join your sect?

Thanks, Johannes. These questions are geared towards the authors, I guess. 

I can only say what I make of it, and what I can see what we can do with these notions, in my case, the context of net criticism, media theory, tactical media, new aesthetics activism of artists, geeks, designers etc.

There is an urgency to study and understand the non-human. I can see that. I really started to 'dig it' and apply it to my own context when I got familiar with the work of Stuart Geiger (http://stuartgeiger.com/wordpress/) who studies the role of bots in Wikipedia. These days there are the social bots that people like you and me employ… resulting in a recent figure that 61.5% of internet traffic is 'non-human' (source: incapsula).

There are people making millions of this by tooling and ticking companies like Google. And this brings me to the humans behind the non-human. In the end I am more interested in them. Robots can be cute, or cruel, they are here to stay and will gain influence etc., all that is true, but I would like to know who profits from them, who built them, what their inner architecture is, which values and ethics they inhabit and spread… It is not so hard to delegate power and trust to machines. We can get used to that, and in some cases even benefit from it, but in the end I prefer full-employment for humans first. No sympathy for the machines. 

On Hacker News this weekend a related article was popular:


It is from 1983, so before 1984… ;)

The article "suggests that the increased interest in human factors among engineers reflects the irony that the more advanced a control system is, so the more crucial may be the contribution of the human operator."

Greetings, Geert

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