robertogreco + cybernetics   23

From AI to IA: How AI and architecture created interactivity - YouTube
"The architecture of digital systems isn't just a metaphor. It developed out of a 50-year collaborative relationship between architects and designers, on one side, and technologists in AI, cybernetics, and computer science, on the other. In this talk at the O'Reilly Design Conference in 2016, Molly Steenson traces that history of interaction, tying it to contemporary lessons aimed at designing for a complex world."
mollysteenson  2016  ai  artificialintelligence  douglasenglebart  symbiosis  augmentation  christopheralexander  nicholasnegroponte  richardsaulwurman  architecture  physical  digital  mitmedialab  history  mitarchitecturemachinegroup  technology  compsci  computerscience  cybernetics  interaction  structures  computing  design  complexity  frederickbrooks  computers  interactivity  activity  metaphor  marvinminsky  heuristics  problemsolving  kent  wardcunningham  gangoffour  objectorientedprogramming  apatternlanguage  wikis  agilesoftwaredevelopment  software  patterns  users  digitalspace  interactiondesign  terrywinograd  xeroxparc  petermccolough  medialab 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Phantom Public | Dissent Magazine
"Today you don’t have to be a card-carrying McLuhanite to believe that forms of media have their own inherent politics. Many academics and pundits have built their reputations arguing that the rise of the internet leads to the decentralization and democratization of communication, and of social life more broadly. While some contemporary critics have challenged this sort of “technological determinism,” the proposition that new media is irrelevant to understanding politics is equally problematic. We need more historically informed analyses of the way power operates in an era of digital networks and electronic media, and more pointed critiques of the ways the powerful purposefully obscure their influence over and through these channels.

The work of Stanford historian Fred Turner is a good place to start. As he explains in his fascinating and illuminating 2013 book The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties, McLuhan’s apparently pioneering thinking on media owes a large and largely forgotten debt to an earlier group of anti-fascist campaigners and well-meaning Cold Warriors. They were the first to articulate a vision of a media-driven democracy that, though never perfectly implemented, has suffused much of today’s popular thinking about the internet and social media."



"Was another world possible? It is clear that part of the reason that Turner wrote The Democratic Surround was to remind us of good ideas that have been abandoned and alternative paths not taken. As he writes in the book’s introduction, “What has disappeared is the deeply democratic vision that animated the turn toward mediated environments in the first place, and that sustained it across the 1950s and into the 1960s.” It is this “radically liberal, diverse, and egalitarian” vision that Turner wishes to recover through his research; he hopes that “with a new generation’s efforts, it might yet live there again.” It sounds desirable enough. Yet for such ideals to be revived we have to better understand the way their absence adversely affects us, and that’s something Turner never clearly articulates.

For Turner a pivotal rift occurred in the 1960s, when the politically oriented New Left and the free-spirited counterculture parted ways. In tracing the roots of the “Be-Ins” and “Happenings” to the democratic surrounds of preceding decades, Turner highlights the shortcomings of the former, making the case that some critical democratic potential got lost. The multimedia experimentation of the period—and the counterculture more broadly, in Turner’s view—promoted the personal psyche as the proper terrain of social change; collective responsibility, effective organization, and direct action got the shaft. No doubt Turner is right that our political ambitions have become contracted and privatized, but placing so much blame at the feet of the counterculture seems both overstated and oversimplified when you consider the larger economic and social forces involved. The countercultural mindset Turner laments was more a symptom of neoliberalism’s ascension than its cause.

Of course the counterculture is hardly the only realm of diminished utopian horizons. In 1946 and 1949 Norbert Wiener wrote two agonized letters on the politics of technology. The first, published in the Atlantic Monthly under the title “A Scientist Rebels,” was a response to an employee of the Boeing Aircraft Company who had requested a copy of an out-of-print article. Though he conducted military research during the Second World War, Wiener refused to share his paper, deploring the “tragic insolence of the military mind” and the “bombing or poisoning of defenseless peoples” to which his scientific ideas might contribute. The second was an unsolicited warning about advances in automation to Walter Reuther of the Union of Automobile Workers, declaring that he had “turned down unconditionally” invitations to consult for corporations. “I do not wish to contribute in any way to selling labor down the river,” he wrote.

Wiener agonized over the role of science in a world warped by power imbalances, particularly economic ones. And he chose sides. In our own age, it is imperative that more people take similar stands. Turner suggests that if enough people do—and if they come together and advocate for their beliefs by building associations and institutions—they may have more of an impact in the long term than they could ever imagine at the outset. But this comes with a warning: their efforts might lead us to a situation they could neither anticipate nor comprehend. “Were the world we dream of attained, members of that new world would be so different from ourselves that they would no longer value it in the same terms in which we now desire it,” Margaret Mead says in an epigraph that begins The Democratic Surround. “We would no longer be at home in such a world.” Those of us who live within the surround and under the managerial mode of control, and who hope to change it, can only welcome the possibility of one day finding ourselves discomfited and cast out from the world we call home."
2016  astrataylor  cybernetics  marshalmcluhan  history  internet  web  online  media  counterculture  norbertweiner  thesaltsummaries  stevenpinker  clayshirky  francisfukuyama  chrisanderson  nassimtaleb  niallferguson  fredturner  theodoradorno  stewartbrand  wholeearthcatalog  well  kenkesey 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Supercargo: an interview with Peter Moosgaard — pasta and vinegar
"Nicolas Nova: Can you tell us more about your supercargo tumblr? What's the logic behind it and how did you become interested in this?

Peter Moosgaard: I think it was about 2005 in south-tirol when i read about cargo cults on a trivial persuit card. i was studying digital arts at that time and got extremely bored with technology. Media arts and digital culture seemed too much about technological progress at that time. everybody was just celebrating technology itself, but technology is never just a cool tool. its pure ideology. the artistic approaches on the other hand were extremely lame. do you know ars electronica festival? it became more and more of a toy expo. i was intrigued by the cargo cults because they celebrated and mocked technology, culture, imperialsim at the same time. i thought, well maybe theres a strategy! when i was crippled by a major depression and panic attacs in 2013 i started the Supercargo Blog. i found myself completely unable to work, but could still surf tumblr, repost stuff etc .. posting became a daily ritual for me and it still is. i just try to put together sets of images with found material, maybe some day i will be able to work again.

NN: There seems to be a growing interest in this kind of projects, this sort of logic. I'm thinking about this Futur Archaïque exhibit in Belgium I mentioned, but also other art/design projects related to it. Why do you feel this is happening now?

PM: I think something like this is in the air, and its getting bigger. why, i dont know .. maybe its an archaic revival in connection with digital media. Terence McKenna described that conclusively decades ago, and i think he is still right. as advanced these technologies are, they set us back into a mystic perception, a general attraction to archaic forms. we just have to adapt to immense data income every day, logic has to be set aside simply to cope with a hypernervous global culture. it all becomes archaic and mythological. it is just a necessary strategy. another more mundane explanation would be, that people are just getting fed up with the slick, sterile utopia apple is trying to sell us.

NN: Do you see this relate to this "post-digital" art scene that we see popping up these days? A need to go beyond the digital?

PM: Yes the postdigital aspect was always very important in my work. i started making postinternet stuff before it even had a name. i tried to see art and technology from the viewpoint of the simple consumer. basically because i myself had no skills at all, no programming skills, no crafting skills etc .. and i find everybody can relate to that everything else is not subversive/emancipatory in my eyes. in my view we´re more and more trying to work like machines, like computers. but how would a simple human do that, not trying to imitate a machine? the postdigital has many forms, and with "supercargo" i took my simplistic position. use only poor materials, embrace capitalist mythology, make a second hand utopia. its a free party from now on!

NN: Lots of these projects are fascinating because they interrogate us about the nature/culture debate. From your perspective, as an astute observer of such projects, what do they tell us about our relationship to technology?

PM: Culture, art and technology are basically utopia factories. you can relate and research (maybe subvert) that in form of simple products. messianic devices, artwork masterpieces, they are part of a larger system. they all have their histories, rules, all these invisible forces manifest in products. the way i see it, we are living in a time governed by cybernetics alone. it was allways in the interest of cybernetics to describe organisms and technology alike. to make a supersystem for processes be it biological or cultural. that is frightening in the end. anyway, maybe through cybernetic thinking we can realise that technology isn't artificial at all. we are just a material processing species, like bees producing honeycombs. i find it interesting to look at the material world again, as we are absorbed in informational worlds. Mcluhan said that every new medium absorbs the old media as its content, therefore making it visible AGAIN. Look at todays TV Shows, they became an artform after the internet absorbed TV. Now the World itelf is upon total simulation. The physical world is becoming visible for the first time i think, and material world will be a cult- a fetish.

NN: It's interesting to see Cargo Cults as the new sort of belief, beyond the Western/non-Western distinction, a sort of general perspective on things with a strange relationship to consumerism and material culture, what's your take on this?

PM: As written in the Supercargo Manifesto: Surprisingly the local performers of the Cargo Cults succeeded: By remaking western technology with bamboo, they attracted actual planes full of tourists and anthropologists. People got interested in the exotic parades using western imagery. The John Frum Movement (“John from Merica”) suddenly had an audience, soon bringing actual stuff (cargo) to the island. The cargo shaman once said: You build your plane too and wait in faith. the waiting is the hardest part. According to some shamans the planes awaited will also bring weapons to throw off colonialist oppressors. The cargo cults are strange mockups of imperialism, at the same time keeping old traditions. But is the cult for real or just performance? It does not matter, no difference, it is about the act. The Tale of the Cargo ringing true on so many levels. The cult of the cargo is our world exactly: We perform meaningless routines we call work,in hope for future cargo. With a technology that could navigate us to the moon, we write LMAO. The western world itself is a giant cult of imitating things that somehow work: dressing in suits, using buzzword-vocabulary, mimicking old forms of art. who knows why.. The longing for godlike goodies on the horizon, the usage of things we don´t understand: a big parable of desire. The waiting, the waiting is the hardest part!"
petermoosgaard  nicolasnova  cargocult  performance  2015  consumerism  materialism  cybernetics  culture  art  technology  marshallmcluhan  television  digital  physical  anthropology  imperialism  mediaarts  digitalculture  post-digital  supercargo 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Bobby George — Continued in their present patterns of fragmented...
“Continued in their present patterns of fragmented unrelation, our school curricula will insure a citizenry unable to understand the cybernated world in which they live. Any subject taken in depth at once relates to other subjects.”

— Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media
depth  learning  curriculum  marshallmcluhan  citizenship  cybernetics  interrelatedness  interrelated  interdependence  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  transdisciplinary 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Cybernetic tortoise by William Grey Walter - - Science Museum
"This 'tortoise' was made by neurologist William Grey Walter as an 'artificial animal' to investigate brain function. It travelled around floors, avoiding obstacles, and was attracted to light.

Alan Turing knew Grey Walter well, being a fellow member of the influential 'Ratio Club' for cybernetics researchers.

In August 1951, Turing visited the Science Museum with four Cambridge friends to see the Festival of Britain science exhibition. While there, the group saw a pair of Grey Walter's tortoises being demonstrated."
cybernetics  1950  williamgreywalter  brain 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Complex Fields | unfixed art and research
"Kevin Hamilton is an artist and researcher with the University of Illinois, where he has served in the New Media and Painting Programs since 2002. He also holds appointments in the Department of Media and Cinema Studies, the Center for Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security, and is co-Director of the Center for People and Infrastructures at the Coordinated Science Laboratory.

Kevin’s work lies primarily in domains of academic research. Long-term collaborative projects include historical and theoretical work on the history of interface representations in mediated violence, with a special emphasis on government-produced films related to nuclear weapons development. This research also includes the creation of experimental interactive works for accessing deep multimedia archives.

As an educator, Kevin is focused on integration of practice-based and theoretical approaches to learning about technological mediation. This work has included the development of several interdisciplinary project-based courses and workshops for students from the sciences, arts and humanities, with emphases on prototyping, reflection, and methodologies of collaboration.

Recent artistic work has included a commissioned public project on the history of cybernetics for the State of Illinois at the Institute for Genomic Biology, a performance at Links Hall Chicago on racial and religious histories of the Colorado Rockies, a comic book on local histories for the City of Urbana, Illinois, and a collaborative video about telephone communication for the ASPECT DVD series. Recognition for his work has included grants from the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities, presentation at conferences across Europe and North America (ISEA/ DEAF/CAA/NCA/ACM-SIGCHI), publication in edited journals and anthologies (Routledge/CCCS/Palm Press/UCLA), and invited residencies (Banff/USC-IML/Bratislava."
art  artists  education  kevinhamilton  newmedia  armscontrol  demilit  weapons  nuclearweapons  military  interdisciplinary  cybernetics  history  activism  genomicbiology  science  learning  technology  technologicalmediation  prototyping  collaboration  mobility  telepresence  time  memory  institutionalmemory  biologicalcomputerlaboratory  heinzvonfoerster  complexfields 
july 2013 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Spacesuit: An Interview with Nicholas de Monchaux
"I was looking for a way to discuss the essential lessons of complexity and emergence—which, even in 2003, were pretty unfamiliar words in the context of design—and I hit upon this research on the spacesuit as the one thing I’d done that could encapsulate the potential lessons of those ideas, both for scientists and for designers. The book really was a melding of these two things."

"But then the actual spacesuit—this 21-layered messy assemblage made by a bra company, using hand-stitched couture techniques—is kind of an anti-hero. It’s much more embarrassing, of course—it’s made by people who make women’s underwear—but, then, it’s also much more urbane. It’s a complex, multilayered assemblage that actually recapitulates the messy logic of our own bodies, rather than present us with the singular ideal of a cyborg or the hard, one-piece, military-industrial suits against which the Playtex suit was always competing.

The spacesuit, in the end, is an object that crystallizes a lot of ideas about who we are and what the nature of the human body may be—but, then, crucially, it’s also an object in which many centuries of ideas about the relationship of our bodies to technology are reflected."

"The same individuals and organizations who were presuming to engineer the internal climate of the body and create the figure of the cyborg were the same institutions who, in the same context of the 1960s, were proposing major efforts in climate-modification.

Embedded in both of those ideas is the notion that we can reduce a complex, emergent system—whether it’s the body or the planet or something closer to the scale of the city—to a series of cybernetically inflected inputs, outputs, and controls. As Edward Teller remarked in the context of his own climate-engineering proposals, “to give the earth a thermostat.”"

"most attempts to cybernetically optimize urban systems were spectacular failures, from which very few lessons seem to have been learned"

"architecture can be informed by technology and, at the same time, avoid what I view as the dead-end of an algorithmically inflected formalism from which many of the, to my mind, less convincing examples of contemporary practice have emerged"

"connections…between the early writing of Jane Jacobs…and the early research done in the 1950s and 60s on complexity and emergence under the aegis of the Rockefeller Foundation"

"Geoffrey West and Luis Bettencourt—who have gone a long way in showing that, not only should cities be viewed through the analogical lens of complex natural systems, but, in fact, some of the mathematics—in particular, to do with scaling laws, the consumption of resources, and the production of innovation by cities—proves itself far more susceptible to analyses that have come out of biology than, say, conventional economics."
militaryindustrialcomplex  tools  cad  gis  luisbettencourt  janejacobs  meatropolis  manhattan  meat  property  fakestates  alancolquhoun  lizdiller  cyberneticurbanism  glenswanson  parametricarchitecture  parametricurbanism  interstitialspaces  urbanism  urban  bernardshriever  simonramo  neilsheehan  jayforrester  housing  hud  huberthumphrey  vitruvius  naca  smartcities  nyc  joeflood  husseinchalayan  cushicle  michaelwebb  spacerace  buildings  scuba  diving  1960s  fantasticvoyage  adromedastrain  quarantine  systemsthinking  matta-clark  edwardteller  climatecontrol  earth  exploration  spacetravel  terraforming  humanbody  bodies  cyborgs  travel  mongolfier  wileypost  management  planning  robertmoses  cybernetics  materials  fabric  2003  stewartbrand  jamescrick  apollo  complexitytheory  complexity  studioone  geoffreywest  cities  research  clothing  glvo  wearables  christiandior  playtex  interviews  technology  history  design  science  fashion  nasa  books  spacesuits  architecture  space  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  2012  nicholasdemonchaux  wearable  elizabethdiller  interstitial  bod  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Journal of W. Ross Ashby
"while a 24 year old medical student…Ross [Ashby] started writing a journal…44 years later, his journal had 7,400 pages, in 25 volumes…

…digitally restored images of all 7,400 pages & 1,600 index cards are available on this web site in various views, with extensive cross-linking that is based on the keywords in Ross's original alphabetical index…

The user interface has been made as intuitive as possible, with links and pop-up information attached to everything that stood still long enough…

To browse Ross's Journal, you can perform any of the following:

1. Select a volume from the Bookshelf.
2. View the 14½ subject categories in the Other Index.
3. Browse through the 678 keywords in the alphabetical Index.
4. Enter a page number between 1 and 7189 here: then press Enter.
5. If you are looking for journal entries around a particular date use the Timeline.
6. You could read the 2,300 transcribed journal entry Summaries.
7. Throw caution to the wind, and jump to a Random page."
information  indexcards  timelines  indexes  cybernetics  systemstheory  systems  staffordbeer  toaspireto  iamnotworthy  journals  notebooks  notetaking  notes  rossashby  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
URBAGRAM
"Urbagram is a set of interlinked concepts, models, speculations, probings, essays and artefacts based on urban systems.<br />
Fractal Cities In his book Cities & Complexity, Mike Batty explores urban complexity at multiple scales. [ more ]<br />
<br />
Cities are complex systems — emergent wholes irreducible to their component parts — part living; as dynamic networks of human flows and social interactions, and part built; as an evolving infrastructure and architecture that defines a morphology. As a greater understanding of the benefits of self-organisation brings us to explore decentralised approaches to urban policy, new models and analytical work based on complexity science can inform our understanding of both what the city is and what it could be.<br />
<br />
I pursue a thought-praxis (a making-as-thinking) oriented around urbanisation, a mode of analytical thinking based on lines of flight, potential inputs and outputs unfolding along the way."
urbanism  cybernetics  complexity  design  emergence  models  modeling  urban  urbagram  speculations  mikebatty  cities  complexsystems  systems  flows  social  infrastructure  morphology  architecture  self-organization  policy  making-as-thinking  thought-praxis  via:preoccupations  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Project Cybersyn: Chile 2.0 in 1973 | iRevolution
"I had never heard of this project but Eden’s talk made we want to cancel all my weekend plans and read her dissertation from MIT, which I’m literally downloading as I type this. If you’d like an abridged version, I’d recommend reading her peer-reviewed article which won the 2007 IEEE Life Member’s Prize in Electrical History: “Designing Freedom, Regulating a Nation: Socialist Cybernetics in Allende’s Chile” (PDF)."
chile  cybernetics  surveillance  cybersyn  economics  internet  it  history  staffordbeer  edenmedina  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Eden Medina: Designing Freedom, Regulating a Nation : Socialist Cybernetics in Allende’s Chile [.pdf]
"This article presents a history of ‘ Project Cybersyn ’, an early computer network developed in Chile during the socialist presidency of Salvador Allende (1970–1973) to regulate the growing social property area and manage the transition of Chile’s economy from capitalism to socialism. Under the guidance of British cybernetician Stafford Beer, often lauded as the ‘ father of management cybernetics’, an interdisciplinary Chilean team designed cybernetic models of factories within the nationalised sector and created a network for the rapid transmission of economic data between the government and the factory floor. The article describes the construction of this unorthodox system, examines how its structure reflected the socialist ideology of the Allende government, and documents the contributions of this technology to the Allende administration."
chile  cybersyn  cybernetics  history  staffordbeer  edenmedina  filetype:pdf  media:document  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
BBC - Adam Curtis Blog: THE ECONOMISTS' NEW CLOTHES
"When the neoliberal project first began in 1979 with Mrs Thatcher the idea was that politicians would give away power to the markets and the state would shrink. Over the past 15 years the idea of the "market" has been extended to practically every area of society - education, health, even the arts. But to make this happen those running the neoliberal project had to enforce it by creating vast and intricate performance indicators and feedback systems (which in many cases led to wide scale absurdities). And to do this they used the mighty power of the state. … have we misunderstood what we have lived through since 1979? We think it was the resurgence of capitalism. But maybe it was something very different? Something that we can't see properly because we are still trapped in the economists' world and their mindset." "The film also includes the most fabulous machine I have ever seen. A giant interconnected system driven by water to model the whole British economy."
via:preoccupations  economics  capitalism  2010  corporatism  cybernetics  uk  neoliberalism  us  policy  adamcurtis  commentary 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Tangled histories – Blog – BERG
"I don’t know why I write this. I’m interested in tangles and multi-actor histories, and how you tell stories in them. Books are for the linearisable. Hypertext is for hyperhistories. I’m curious about how simple patterns in behaviours or social relationships somehow persist, complexify and grow over decades and hundreds of thousands of people, and somehow don’t die away.

That’s one of the reasons I’m interested in cybernetics — surely it’s important, the weird individual relationships, the probes into the nature of being human, the mix of countercultural and military-industrial, the attitudes and ideas, all fermenting in the bottleneck population that contributed so much to modern culture? Surely those patterns persisted and weren’t diluted, and will throw light on the here and now? Beginnings matter."
berg  cybernetics  history  storytelling  stories  consilience  stevenjohnson  brianeno  mattjones  timelines  graphy  charts  1989  prague  brunolatour  longzoom  multi-actorhistories  hypertext  books  behavior  relationships  social  interactive 
november 2009 by robertogreco
:: Material Beliefs ::
"Material Beliefs takes emerging biomedical and cybernetic technology out of labs and into public spaces.
tobiekerridge  design  technology  art  future  science  materialbeliefs  interactiondesign  collaboration  research  engineering  electronics  cybernetics  biology  body  biomedical  publicengagement  tcsnmy  biojewelery  bodies 
february 2009 by robertogreco
W. Daniel Hillis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"During these years the young Hillis was home schooled by his mother, a biostatistician [1] , and developed an early appreciation for mathematics and biology."
dannyhillis  creativity  homeschool  technology  computing  cybernetics  programming  models  ai 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Andy Beckett: The forgotten story of Chile's 'socialist internet' | Technology | The Guardian
"Cybersyn and Stafford's subsequent, more esoteric inventions live on in obscure socialist websites and, more surprisingly, modern business school teachings about the importance of economic information and informal working practices."
chile  cybersyn  internet  history  cybernetics  management  networking  socialmedia  utopia  salvadorallende  via:preoccupations  technology  staffordbeer  socialism 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Before ’73 Coup, Chile Tried to Find the Right Software for Socialism - New York Times
"An imposing man with a long gray-flecked beard, Mr. Beer was a college dropout who challenged the young Chileans with tough questions. He shared his love for writing poetry and painting, and brought books and classical music from Europe."
chile  history  technology  staffordbeer  cybersyn  salvadorallende  socialism  dropouts  unschooling  internet  cybernetics  management  networking  socialmedia  utopia  via:preoccupations  coup 
march 2008 by robertogreco
William Gibson: The Rolling Stone 40th Anniversary Interview : Rolling Stone
"...our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish digital from real, virtual from real. In future, that will become literally impossible...distinction between cyberspace and that which isn't is going to be unimaginable."
williamgibson  futurism  cyberspace  culture  ubicomp  pessimism  optimism  scifi  sciencefiction  science  fiction  technology  interviews  cybernetics  digitalnatives  future  nanotechnology  nuclear  environment  ubiquitous  society  biology  cyberpunk  books  gamechanging 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Saffo: journal: All Watched over by Machines of Loving Grace -Richard Brautigan, October 1967 [reformatted here: http://www.saffo.com/journal/entry.php?id=799]
"I like to think (and it has to be!) of a cybernetic ecology where we are free of our labors and joined back to nature, returned to our mammal brothers and sisters, and all watched over by machines of loving grace."
poetry  machines  computers  society  future  cybernetics  nature  singularity 
september 2007 by robertogreco

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