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Noourbanographies of the Information Age: Your Real Estate Interior – ArchDaily

Posted: May 4, 2020 at 11:17 pm

Your Real Estate Interior: Noourbanographical Sample of the single bedroom/studio apartment. Source: http://www.flatchina.comShareShare







Can a collective agency, or mind, be traced across the urban condition? And how should we map its effects on the physical matter of our cities? A specific representation of a specific type of home is employed as an exercise in defining the impact of a logic of thinking that is both embodied and distributed, singular and collective. Hlne Frichots proposal for Noourbanographies was written as a response to the call for papers of the Eyes of the City, well before our domestic interiors became the new public. Looking at the distance between hegemonic collectives and ecologies of subjectivities as space for action, the essay opens up to an articulate range of issues that involve matters of care, diagrammatic thinking and spaces of control.

For the 2019 Shenzhen Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (UABB), titled "Urban Interactions," (21 December 2019-8 March 2020) ArchDaily is working with the curators of the "Eyes of the City" section to stimulate a discussion on how new technologies might impact architecture and urban life. The contribution below is part of a series of scientific essays selected through the Eyes of the City call for papers, launched in preparation of the exhibitions: international scholars were asked to send their reflection in reaction to the statement by the curators Carlo Ratti Associati, Politecnico di Torino and SCUT, which you can read here.

A New Community

Noopolitics, which could easily be mistaken for new politics depending on your pronunciation and who is listening to you, designates the politics of thinking at the scale of a population. The logic of thinking collectively, whether wittingly or unwittingly, is called noology, also defined as the logic of mind (noo designating nous, from the Greek for mind or intellect). Mind here must be imagined as scaled-up multiplicity. It must be understood less as an individuated, embodied attribute belonging to a specific, self-same, phenomenological subject than as a distributed effect. The effect of the collective process of thinking together, for instance, can express itself across a vast urban milieu. As you plunge into the seething data flows of advanced information societies your collaborative impact manifests as material admixtures across urban milieus from the container technologies of living apartments all the way to the character of neighbourhoods, as editorialized in the weekend papers, inflight magazines and on Trip Advisor. Amidst the flows and stoppages of information you are data augmented, you are a process of individuation and dividual both. You are rendered fleetingly sensible in relation to where you are, your environment-world. You participate in a new community. Effects, by their nature, are fleeting, an effect of the light, an after-effect, likewise, the effects of provisionally delimited processes of individuation rendered as emergent (post)human subjectivities. To map the collaborative, if unintentional, effects of thinking together, to glean the passage of effects, their concomitant spatialities and material relationalities, some kind of method is required, a method that allows you to slow down. To follow the material impact of thinking together across an urban milieu, noourbanography will be offered here as a method, or rather, an unruly, non-exhaustive diagrammatic attempt at surveying something that appears to unfurl at near infinite speeds.

Takes You Directly to Sea World

Sea World, Shenzhen is: An awesome place in China. There is a good place for relaxing and spending time on a holiday afternoon. The boat is actually a hotel and a bar. Theres a small fountain show every 30 minutes or so. Its [sic] good for family and couples [1]. (Google Search)

The urban milieu in question is Shenzhen, a megalopolis, and this immediately presents innumerable problems because as a researcher I am located at a geopolitical and socio-cultural distance. But does it really matter anymore who or where I am? To take the brief of the 2019 Shenzhen Biennale at its word, with the information age, with networked societies, the anthropocentric perspective has become radically augmented if not rendered redundant. Rather than multiple human eyes trained on the street securing its safety and well-being (which sounds rather panoptically ominous), a posthuman condition prevails. The eyes of the city predominate as buildings and streets themselves observe and react to urban life as it unfolds, just in time for your daily occupations. At least this is how a near future is imagined. Machines watching over machines of loving grace, and in the interstices, plugged-in, human subjectivities. I want to take this reorientation seriously by turning to the urban interiors that are exposed as so many spatial products across Shenzhen, so many portals into a multiplicity of lives, human and non-human. Processes of subjectivation are exposed across these interiors as the bare life of data: square metres, location, aspect, access, view, cost per calendar month. We cannot humanize these spaces any longer under the anachronistic signifier home, they are merely the spaces through which humans and non-humans pass, each reciprocally shaping the other. And yet

This is not to assume that the human subject has been cast aside as so much unnecessary meat. Life, after all, is at least minimally facilitated here. In Signs and Machines, Maurizio Lazzarato explains the situation like this: Individuals and here it is important to register that individuals are processes rather than ready-made and stabilized units and dividuals a concept signed by Flix Guattari, work concurrently. Two entwined registers, individual and dividual: Where individuals are biopolitically organized or managed as populations according to their lives and their deaths, dividuals own a statistical existence. [2] Bound up in noology is the construction of subjectivity. Noology and biology, noopolitics and biopolitics, must be conceived in a continuous variation like the right and reverse side of the cloth of contemporary landscapes of digitalisation, informing a cognitive architecture. [3] The distinction Lazzarato makes between individuals and dividuals is presented in similar terms in Orit Halperns Beautiful Data, where she argues that networked communication from the postwar period onwards produces increasingly individuated (human) units. Space has become a new interface radically individuated and simultaneously networked. [4] The individual and dividual operate in what can be called disjunctive synthesis, differentiated as modes and yet developing in an intimate relay. What we have is the strange collaboration of networked dividuals and co-isolated individuals performing less according to imperatives of meaning and identity than process and environment, affect and behavior. [5]

It is worth returning to Lieven de Cauters eight concise laws of capsularization, where the apartment counts as an exemplary case. An inverse existential ratio takes hold, as described above: the more individuated, the more connected: Closed off and plugged in entities. [6] Or, to put it bluntly the degree of capsularization is directly proportional to the growth of networks. [7] What Cauter had to say fifteen years ago has only become more acute today. Peter Sloterdijk can be deployed to complement the analysis of capsular (non)relations, which he argues operate according to the paradoxical logic of co-isolation. [8] At least you share your cell wall. Pronouncing in his polemical style that the apartment and the stadium are the most successful architectural innovations of the twentieth century Sloterdijk asserts that the apartment can be situated as the individuated cell extraordinaire, supporting the creation of solitary dwellers via individuated housing and media techniques. [9] The spatial insistence of the cell or the capsule demonstrates that the disciplinary society is still at play amidst the newly emergent control society. [10] It is not as though you progress historically from one to the other. You share your cell walls and depend on their infrastructural interconnections. Even though you are bound up in your own ego-spherical containers, should the infrastructure fail you, you would be exposed to grave environmental peril.

In terms of what he identifies as the full-blown establishment of the capsular society Cauter proffers the extreme choice between Theme Park and Camp. [11] Your neighbourhood is prepared in advance of your arrival depending on the means available to you. 12.5% of spatial products available on one real estate website in October 2019 noted their proximity to Seaworld, either explicitly or in terms of access to the closest metro stop. Advertisements for rental apartments proclaiming the benefits of being in proximity to Seaworld speak of the allure of themed worlds within worlds. Enfolded hyperrealities. Not only do you live in a city whose population has expanded over 400 fold since the 1970s, but there are heterotopic zones within zones at work here expressing what Keller Easterling would call dispositions [12] that is to say, environmental encouragements to behave collectively in certain ways: Much as a ball rolls down an inclined plane, or a small child unselfconsciously expresses a happy or sad disposition.

This remote survey of Shenzhen residential real estate, undertaken in the month of October 2019 and reduced to that suite of products available to an Anglophone expatriate marketplace, will be necessarily partial, and certainly not impartial.

Western Style

This means that warnings are required. There is the risk of imposing my western style on a non-western milieu in organizing the available data. How am I apt to categorize the interior motifs I deem worthy of remarking upon from the privilege of my provisional stand-point (more or less white, Euro-Australian itinerant, second-generation migrant, researcher, pedagogue, woman, mother)? What will I not see? You must assume that for the most part the situation will remain obscured. So it goes: the enduring ignorance of partial vision.

No agent fees!

We work with the newest technology to make the search and renting experience as seamless as possible. [13] Much as the city thinks itself in more-than-human ways, it would appear that the city also sells itself across a proliferation of web-based platforms promising the seamless enjoyment of the property.

Lazzarato argues that it is perhaps property rights that form the most successful individualizing apparatuses of subjectivation. He argues that Property is not only an apparatus for economic appropriation but also for the capture and exploitation of non-human subjectivities. [14] Here, beyond the human, or with consideration for the more-than-human, environmental relations must be considered. A logic of property rights radically transforms environmental ecologies (constructed and otherwise).

100% real picture! 100% real price!

A general statement can be ventured: The home is a spatial product mobilized en masse. This real estate product is manufactured and mass-customized, but according to a delimited set of parameters.

The ways in which the interior is composed according to an organisartorial [15] logic presents the conceit of individual taste, where in fact the dressing of the interior, once analyzed across a larger data set of products, reveals recurring motifs, spatial platitudes, comforting signifiers you are bound to recognize.

Everyone knows by now that the real estate image is stage-managed. This is a well established contemporary Image of Thought. Spatial products facilitate the departures and returns of the sedentary nomad [16] that you are. Wide-angle lens photography and off-white walls offer a sense of space, beds are mussed, cushions are thrown, just the right amount of things knick-knacks are casually composed. This is what Helen Runting and I have called white, wide, and scattered, [17] which in the end only produces a kind of derangement of the indebted subject. All the mussing in the world will not relieve the anxiety and anticipation that plague you when you go in search of a real estate commodity. [18] Could this be real? Could this be me? Immediately processes of subjectivity collapse into the arrangement of the interior as you attempt to project your life into the comforts of the container. Is it possible to see through the cell wall? Or are you cursed to receive continuously varied feedback of your ego-broadcasted self-image? How will this life tally with your monthly income? And what, finally, of the environment outside?

High Floor, Low Floor

Socio-economic hierarchies are an inevitable part of the real estate game. Where are you on the ladder? Early in your career, or well developed? The search criteria locate you in advance of yourself: single, couple, older, with family. Location, location, location! The cost per square meter nearly always corresponds to what you get. Sometimes, curious exceptions occur. The 1 bedroom apartment that boasts a magnificent view and a large floor area (over 100m2) or the 3 bedroom apartment that is filled with someone elses dirty laundry.

Of the 96 spatial products available in October 2019 on, 39 were located in the proximity of the Dongjiaotou Metro, begging the question: Whats happening there? A stub on Wikipedia explains that Dongjiatou was formerly an industrial area and is now largely residential. It can be found between Shekou (a free trade zone) and Houhai. Where Trip Advisor suggests there are at least 97 things you can do in Houhai, in Dongjiatou there are at least 144 things you can do, including visiting Seaworld, which is about 2km away.

Nice, nice, nice

Real Estate arouses a collective affect. The mood of the market not only influences the circulation of spatial products, but where affect is defined as capacity the market affectively enables some and disables others. While the logic of the real estate interior would appear to follow the inexorable drive toward keener individuation and co-isolation, at the same time when you multiply these units, affective effects a capacity to affect and to be affected are produced across the urban milieu. The interior, even if seemingly hermetically sealed off, produces a material impact on its surroundings, and the relationship is reciprocal. The material semiotics of the situation must be acknowledged. Donna Haraway explains that material semiotics is always situated, someplace and not noplace, entangled and worldly. [19] Even though it is tempting to survey these serial real estate images as disembodied effects, they are pegged to the mundane realities of daily life, alerting you to complex support systems, of which you too often remain ignorant.

The adjective nice plays a crucial role in the noourbanographical sample survey undertaken, numbering 96 apartments available in October 2019. Nice apartment, nice view, nice furniture. While etymologies are an old academic game, a sleight of hand even, when it comes to the anodyne word nice etymological play is irresistible: Nice reveals an Old French root as simple, foolish, ignorant and a Latin forbear in ignorant, not knowing.

Photographs of the one-bedroom apartments sometimes appear as though they have been taken with a mobile phone. The compositional framing is off-kilter, extraneous details come into focus, the lighting is murky. Also, beds are stripped of their dressing. Out of necessity refrigerators are positioned beside couches. At the same time, much is shared with the 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with respect to the interior accouterments. Pillows are thrown, potted plants and flowers are arranged.

Once you arrive at the three-bedroom apartments the recurrence of designer and faux designer furniture pieces is worth remarking upon. Feature ceiling lights. Brand name kitchen fittings. There are signs of more concerted and declarative styling. The apartments not only promise a nice view but visibly display an outside framed for landscape consumption. Mountains visible here, the sea there.

A survey of 2 and 3 bedroom apartments reveals a proliferation of black patches on living room walls. Flat screen televisual devices where the nice view flickers when you channel surf. Co-isolated, plugged-in.

Nice View

The nice view can be further categorized under sea or garden view. In most cases the view is simply nice, but on rare occasions, it is wonderful, as in, a wonderful sea view. And on one occasion, at least, the quality of the view is rated as fantastic.

It is nearly twenty years ago now that Zoe Sofia (aka Sofoulis) published her essay Container Technologies in the feminist theory journal Hypatia, named for an ancient Greek philosopher, a woman who dared to think. She tells the story of the technologically augmented human expectation of endless supply, smoothly delivered amidst facilitating environments. [20] Her aim is to realign habitual associations of technology with what Cauter calls hot machines [21], projectile, fast, destructive. Instead, she draws attention to the container, the bowl, the preservative jar, the gunny sack, and relates containment to supply. Containment and supply provide support to (human) organisms, because: The organism cannot be considered apart from the habitat that houses it. [22] Drawing on the cyberneticist Gregory Bateson, and framing a noological thesis of her own, Sofia argues that the mind is immanent both to the body and to the ecological pathways and messages circulating outside the body. Individual minds collaborate forming a larger Mind or system, drawing attention to the fundamental role of the environmental milieu.

The nice view assumes a point of view on things, on a landscape, on what can be called a posthuman landscape of things. [23] This is not to assume the passing away of the human species (even though this is a highly likely future scenario) but the technological augmentation of the human subject as enfolded process of subjectification plugged into urbanized milieu.

Your point of view is your opinion, and when we survey you, when a poll of a body politic is taken (like taking its temperature), we secure a read-out on a noopolitical situation: Populism, the rise of the right, terrorism, insecurity, interleaved with daily bouts of voracious consumption-production. Individuation processes spell out the collapse of social relationalities. Experiments in participatory forms only prove how incompetent you have become at getting along with each other.

Available Now

This noourbanographical survey is but a sample, an irrational section cut [24] through an immediate present. Each empty apartment awaits its next subject; they are capture devices that captivate and yet en masse they provide the necessary support systems for the endurance of a life. Noopolitics manifests as the bare life of data in the unholy hybrid of individual and dividual hooked into a reticulated network of stoppages and flows. The network obscures the capsuleWe dont live in the network, we live in capsules. [25] And yet, can it be stated with such ease where life is supposed to be located? Is it not rather more distributed? Container technologies speak to the reticulated distribution of life, any life whatever, both containment and supply.

In closing, it is crucial to acknowledge a debt to other noourbanographical experiments. I also note in passing by way of explanatory remark that I have deliberately deployed the singular/plural personal pronoun you, for it carves out a vacated subject position. Who are you?

First, I acknowledge what I have learnt from the work of Helen Runting, also with the design studio Secretary International (Karin Matz, Rutger Sjgrim, Helen Runting). The critical design experiments they have been undertaking include the compilation of architectural data to make an account, for instance, of the continuous surface of the welfare state. [26] and before that in an earlier studio formation called Svensk Standard a cross-section through plans for multi-residential high-rise developments in Stockholm, Sweden in the year 2014. In Bygglovsboken the Svenk Standard team compiled what they call an uncurated catalogue of Unfiltered raw data, cross-sectional expos [27] revealing the organization of the life of the interior. They construct architectural data-bases to render evident the outcomes of collective thinking at the scale of a local population. In such undertakings, including my own, the challenge of how best to follow the material is a crucial consideration.

Second, in their recent critical design experiment commissioned for the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture, Alessandro Bosshard, Li Tavor, Matthew van der Ploeg, and Ani Vihervaa speculate on views of the distinctly Swiss unfurnished interior, which they artfully mash together in a multi-scalar fun-house spatial collage. The popular and award-winning Svizzera 240: House Tour project includes in its documentation an index of interior images, a database compiling a cross-section through the unfurnished interiors of the Swiss context. Ceiling heights range around a 240cm average, hence the title of their project, with two exceptions to prove the rule, ceilings of 360cm and 544cm. Drawing on amassed data their approach is one of critical demonstration. With this data, as they explain, instead of representing building, they build representations. [28] Beyond visualizing they manufacture spatio-material condensation machines of the contemporary (Swiss) interior. In the database of images of the unfurnished interiors, from which their spatial collage is derived, there is expressed a predominance of white walls, low ceilings, and a resounding emptiness. These qualities present the conceit of a blank canvas upon which to compose your life. But the key observation concerns the homogenous consistency, and the prevalence of the 240cm ceiling height: what sort of norms, of preconceived ideas and feelings, are such images intended to convey? [29] Less than any intention, there is simply effect produced, the unwitting spatial thinking-together of a localized population.

Even if adopted with regional variations, you can assume that such effects are globally multiplied. They are effects we are now obliged to environmentally contend with. Philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers often repeats the Deleuzian imperative: You must think by the milieu. [30] But what happens when the milieu begins to think you? Stengers warns of a coming barbarism in terms of our unthinking together. [31] Against this tide counter-moves are required that are environmental as well as cognitive: Think we must!


About the Author:

Architectural theorist and philosopher, writer and critic, Professor Hlne Frichot (PhD) is the Director of Critical Studies in Architecture, School of Architecture, KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) Stockholm, Sweden. Her research examines the transdisciplinary field between architecture and philosophy, with an emphasis on feminist theories and practices. In 2020 she joins the Faculty of Architecture, Construction and Planning, University of Melbourne, Australia as Professor of Architecture and Philosophy. She is the author of Creative Ecologies: Theorizing the Practice of Architecture (Bloomsbury 2018) and How to Make Yourself a Feminist Design Power Tool (AADR 2016).

"Urban Interactions": Bi-City Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (Shenzhen) - 8th edition. Shenzhen, China

Opening in December, 2019 in Shenzhen, China, "Urban Interactions" is the 8th edition of the Bi-City Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (UABB). The exhibition consists of two sections, namely Eyes of the City and Ascending City, which will explore the evolving relationship between urban space and technological innovation from different perspectives. The Eyes of the City" section features MIT professor and architect Carlo Ratti as Chief Curator and Politecnico di Torino-South China University of Technology as Academic Curator. The "Ascending City" section features Chinese academician Meng Jianmin and Italian art critic Fabio Cavallucci as Chief Curators.

"Eyes of The City" section

Chief Curator:Carlo Ratti.

Academic Curator: South China-Torino Lab (Politecnico di Torino - Michele Bonino; South China University of Technology - Sun Yimin)

Executive Curators:Daniele Belleri [CRA], Edoardo Bruno, Xu Haohao

Curator of the GBA Academy:Politecnico di Milano (Adalberto Del Bo)

"Ascending City" section

Chief Curators:Meng Jianmin, Fabio Cavallucci

Co-Curator:Science and Human Imagination Center of Southern University of Science and Technology (Wu Yan)

Executive Curators:Chen Qiufan, Manuela Lietti, Wang Kuan, Zhang Li

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Noourbanographies of the Information Age: Your Real Estate Interior - ArchDaily

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We Are Probably Living in a Simulation, Here’s What You Need to Know About Simulation Theory – Interesting Engineering

Posted: April 21, 2020 at 7:47 pm

Say what you want about the entire trilogy and the upcoming sequels, most would agree that the Matrix is one of the best science fiction films in history. Earning $463 million from worldwide ticket sales after its release on March 31, 1999, the Matrix became a pop culture phenomenon. The film's plot, action, writing, cinematography, and perfectly cast actors make this film an enjoyable ride from start to finish.

However, one of the most memorable takeaways from the film, aside from Keanu Reeves, is the idea about the true nature of reality, posing the question, what if life is simply just a simulation? Though fans of the Matrix will not deny some of the film's heady philosophy, this question has plagued philosophers and scientists for millennia. And, the thing is, you actually might be living in a simulation.

Humanity has always seemed to have a healthy distrust for the nature of reality, with philosophers leading the charge in this mind-melting territory. Yet, believe it or not, there is a group of scientists from leading institutions like MIT and Oxford who have a lot to say about our reality and the idea that we may all be living in a computer simulation. Now, before we jump any further into simulation theory or the simulation hypothesis, it is good to mention that this is more of a thought experiment rather than cold hard facts.

There are some compelling arguments out there for simulation theory, but that is because the overarching idea is unfalsifiable. This means that you are confidently asserting that a theory or hypothesis is true or false even though the hypothesis cannot possibly be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of any physical experiment, usually without strong evidence or functional reasons. So until you find out you are the One like Neo, do not try anything too crazy.

The idea of simulation theory can be attributed to the prominent Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom. In a paper aptly dubbed, "Are you Living in a Computer Simulation?," the paper argues that one of the following assumptions are true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history; (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. In short, the paper argues that we can not know for sure if any of these are 100% likely to occur without a doubt.

However, according to the paper, the third option is probably the most probable outcome. In short, our great great great great great great grandchildren will probably have the computing power needed to run evolutionary simulations of humanity. Why would they not? And, how would you know that you are not currently part of that simulation? Ponder that for a second.

"Many works of science fiction, as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists, predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations," says Bostrom.

"Apart from the interest, this thesis may hold for those who are engaged in futuristic speculation; there are also more purely theoretical rewards. The argument provides a stimulus for formulating some methodological and metaphysical questions, and it suggests naturalistic analogies to certain traditional religious conceptions, which some may find amusing or thought-provoking."

Bostrom is not the only person that believes that we are living in a simulation. MIT Developer and Play Labs's Executive Director Rizwan Virk expanded on Bostrom's ideas in his book The Simulation Hypothesis, describing what he calls the "Simulation Point," or the moment at which we could realistically build a Matrix-like simulation. In an interview with Digital Trends, Rizwan Virk describes his interpretation of simulation theory stating, "The basic idea is that everything we see around us, including the Earth and the universe, is part of a very sophisticated MMORPG (a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) and that we are players in this game. The hypothesis itself comes in different forms."

The French philosopher Ren Descartes once said, "It is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all of my perceptions are false." As mentioned above, the nature of reality has been pondered by philosophers for millennia. In fact, some of the ideas presented in the simulation theory parallel some of the overarching ideas presented in history's most significant philosophical lessons. Though Plato or Descartes were probably not thinking about the Matrix, many people have noted that simulation theory is a modern iteration of Plato's Allegory of the Cave or Descartes's evil demon hypothesis.

This is probably not the first time you have heard about simulation theory. The hypothesis about our reality has made its way into pop culture, appearing in everything from popular subreddits to tv shows and films. More notably, Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Elon Musk have both welcomed and embraced the theory. In an interview with NBC News, Neil deGrasse Tyson expressed that there is probably a better than 50-50 odds that the simulation hypothesis is correct, stating, "I wish I could summon a strong argument against it, but I can find none." This also echoes a similar sentiment that Musk shares toward the nature of our reality.

At the Code Conference in 2016, Musk stated, "Forty years ago we had Pong two rectangles and a dot. That's where we were. Now 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it's getting better every year. And soon we'll have virtual reality, we'll have augmented reality," said Musk. "If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality."

"If one progresses at the current rate of technology a few decades into the future, very quickly, we will be a society where artificial entities are living in simulations that are much more abundant than human beings." However, not everyone fully embraces the idea of simulation theory. In an interview with the Guardian, Max Tegmark, a professor of physics at MIT stated that "Is it logically possible that we are in a simulation? Yes. Are we probably in a simulation? I would say no."

"In order to make the argument in the first place, we need to know what the fundamental laws of physics are where the simulations are being made. And if we are in a simulation, then we have no clue what the laws of physics are." Nevertheless, Tegmark went on to state that recognizing that, we are probably living in a simulation is as game-changing as Copernicus realizing that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

Those who have jumped down the rabbit hole have pointed to various scientific phenomena, claiming that these are visible signs that we are living in a simulation. So, what are they?

This is the most obvious. You have probably played games like Sid Meyer's Civilization or even Sims. These games allow us to simulate human life on a global scale or within a small neighborhood. As mentioned above, at the rate at which computing power is growing, what is stopping humans from simulating their history? As a nineties or eighties baby, you have watched games evolve into these photorealistic 3D renderings of reality. Computing power in just the next 50 years will be millions of times more powerful than it is today. Harvard's Odyssey computer can already simulate 14 billion years in just a matter of months.

Do you ever wonder why humans have not come in contact with aliens yet? In the vast, unimaginable size of the universe, why are there not more signs of intelligent life out there? Welcome to the Fermi Paradox. Named after the Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi, the Fermi Paradox is the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial civilizations and various high estimates for their probability, ie, the Drake Equation. Perhaps there are no aliens in this simulation? In this current reality, the easiest thing to do for the people behind the simulation is to simply simulate life in just one place in the universe. The universe might have just been created for us.

Scientists like Nuclear physicist Zohreh Davoudi and NYU David Chalmers have made it very clear that the chances of us living in a simulation are most likely very low. Even more so, how would you go about proving that you live in a simulation? As David Chalmers simply puts, "You're not going to get proof that we're not in a simulation, because any evidence that we get could be simulated."

Do you ever experience something and think to yourself, "This can't be real." To some people who have bought into the notion that our reality is currently being simulated, there are examples all around us, that demonstrate glitches in the Matrix. Deja Vu? Ghosts? The Mandela Effect? These could all be direct examples of flaws in the simulation. Some have simply pointed to the most recent events in history as proof that we are currently living in a simulation. Could the Coronavirus be an indication that we are living in a simulation?

MIT Theoretical physicist James Gates has made a discovery that allegedly caused Neil deGrasse Tyson to sit down in shock. Now for the uninitiated, superstring theory is a concept that could unify all aspects of physics if proven right. While working on his superstring theory, he made an odd discovery. Gates claims to have identified what appears to be actual computer code embedded in the equations of string theory that describe the fundamental particles of our universe. In short, he found "error-correcting codes," the same error-correcting codes that you might find on the web browser you are using right now.

So if we are currently living in the universe that is being simulated by some highly intelligent individuals, should we care? No, not really. Life continues to go on. You will continue to work, eat, sleep, and worry about COVID-19. Simulation theory is a fun thought experiment that tackles a question about reality that has plagued us since humanity existed.

As Nick Bostrom so aptly put it, "If we are living in a simulation, then the cosmos that we are observing is just a tiny piece of the totality of physical existence While the world we see is, in some sense' real,' it is not located at the fundamental level of reality."

Nevertheless, Douglas Adams in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, perfectly states, "There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."

What do you think about simulation theory? Do you think that it is plausible?

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We Are Probably Living in a Simulation, Here's What You Need to Know About Simulation Theory - Interesting Engineering

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ICYMI: A wrap of the week’s arts news – ArtsHub

Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:57 pm

Quick News Bites

A record number of entries has confirmed the strength of childrens books in Australia as the Childrens Book Council of Australia (CBCA) announces its Book of the Year Award Notables List.

CBCA National Chair Professor Margot Hillel OAM said the 2020 Notables List was drawn from 517 entries and is 'arguably the most diverse award longlist in Australia'.

Our Notable books are set in small towns and big cities in Australia and overseas. They take us from the ocean to the bush, telling stories of Indigenous, immigrant, disabled, LGBTQI+ and elderly characters. Many were created by own voice writers and illustrators.

'There are genre books that break the rules, such as fantasy crossed with science fiction, history and mystery. Romance that isnt just for girls. Sports books that arent really sports books.'

The 2020 Notables include favourite childrens authors Emily Rodda, Jackie French and Paul Jennings as well as Tim Flannery, the acclaimed scientific writer and conservationist making his first foray into writing for young people.

Visit the CBCA for the Book of the Year Award Notables full list.

Renewal SA has chosen Australian artist James Geurts to deliver a significant public artwork in the heart of the Adelaide Riverbank.

The 25-metre long sculptural piece will be integrated into the ceiling of the new northern entrance to the Adelaide Railway Station which will run beneath SkyCity Casinos new hotel building and link the Railway Station concourse to the Riverbank Footbridge.

Geurts artwork will be made up of dozens of sculptural elements which will create a three-dimensional illusion of an ancient geological formation and rupture as pedestrians move in and out of the station.

The new station entrance will be a grand arcade featuring a series of intersecting vaults arching down to the ground, new retail spaces and a new entrance to the Dunstan Playhouse. It is part of a broader program of works set to transform Adelaide Railway Station and Festival Plaza.

Geurts was awarded the commission following an Expression of Interest process which yielded submissions from artists from all over Australia and overseas. The selection process was overseen by a Public Art Fabrication and assembly of the artwork will commence in early 2020 with the big reveal to take place in late 2020.

James Geurts installingWater Gate, at Kuandu Museum of Fine Art, Taiwan, 2017. Image supplied.

Talks & Opportunities

Art lovers have the opportunity to engage with 21 artists, to see how they work and what inspires them in addition to buying their art as part of the Pittwater Artists Trail (PAT) in Sydney.

Each year in March and October PAT artists collectively open their studios to the public to create a trail for art lovers.During the weekend, artists offer visitors the opportunity to learn techniques through courses and demonstrations.

Victoria Norman will be running hands-on demonstrations of sculptural products and chalk paint uses at 12pm on both days at her store and studio: Made in Design, 64 Darley Street, Mona Vale.

Pitwatter Artists Trail is on from 7-8 March 2020.

Fiona Verity is an artist participating in the Pittwater Artists Trail. Image supplied.

IMA School is a new professional development series that seeks to help emerging artists navigate the world of contemporary art. In this hands-on workshop series key artists, academics, and arts workers will share insights, resources, and offer practical advice on how to build a sustainable art practice.

The 5-week course runs Tuesdays 6-8pm, commencing 10 March. Registration costs $99 for five weekly intimate group sessions with discounts available for IMA Members.

Visit IMA School to find out about their new professional development series


Kickstarting conversations about everything from climate anxiety to toxic corporate feminism, Griffin Theatres Company's Batch Festival is a three-week fiesta of shows by some of the freshest, wildest and most inventive artists in the country.

An exciting new batch of theatremakers, storytellers, poets and performance artists from across Australia will take over Griffins iconic Stables stage and beyond, showcasing their wares from 17 April 2 May.

A later time-slot of hand-picked nocturnal performers, joke-makers and raconteurs will take over the stage from 10 pm.

Between shows, audiences can sign up for Unkiss Me, an intimate, participatory art-game for two, or witness Kush, a hilarious micro-drama for three in the backseat of a Toyota. And craft beer will again be flowing in the foyer, courtesy of Batch Brewing Company.

With four world premieres, Beethovens 250th anniversary, plus a number of Australian debuts, the 30th anniversary program of The Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) will be something to celebrate.

Themed Carnival, the 30th AFCM will celebrate an extraordinary generation of music making in the north as well as the 25th anniversary of Australias famed Goldner String Quartet and the 250th anniversary of Beethoven!

Taking place from 31 July to 9 August in Townsville, 47 artists will perform over the 10-days, including 31 Australian artists and 16 international artists, with four making their Australian debut.

In a musical coup for the event, four world premieres and 11 Australian premieres will be performed as part of over 125 pieces being played in total.

In the third and final AFCM under the artistic direction of celebrated British pianist Kathryn Stott, the line-up will include British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason who shot to fame globally after performing at the wedding of Harry and Meghan in May 2018, British flute player Adam Walker, violinists Alexander Sitkovetsky (Russia), Amalia Hall (NZ), and Lise Berthaud (France) plus more.

The Festival will also welcome its youngest ever artist, 12-year-old Melbourne violinist Christian Li. He made history last year by becoming the youngest ever winner of the Menuhin Competition, the worlds leading competition for violin players under 22.

Of the 2020 program, Stott said, We have music spanning centuries and continents, and exciting commissions and premieres all mixed into a joyous potpourri of the most celebrated chamber music repertoire ever written.

Stonnington Jazz Festival returns for its 15th year with 11 days of red-hot, all-Australian jazz across multiple Melbourne venues.

From 7 to 17 May 2020 the Festival will present a dynamite program of performances and events across multiple venues with Chapel Off Chapel serving as the festival hub, packed with stunning shows, interactive events and immersive experiences.

The authentic jazz club experience will come alive in the Lana Turner Lounge, inspired by the speakeasies of the 1920s to allow audiences to enjoy intimate performances of everything from swing and blues to late-night funk and soul. Highlights in the Lana Turner Lounge include: Arabesk, an award-winning, Sydney-based four-piece ensemble that will lift spirits with a mix of tango, reggae and funky jazz beats on Thursday 14 May, 9pm. An intoxicating show that journeys through Eastern Europes Gypsy Classical traditions with a backdrop of African and Arabic beats, before spinning into Motown Rhythms and Cuban Jazz.

This years festival embraces new generations of amazing Australian talent while honouring the timeless mastery of the jazz greats. Creative Producers Nichaud Fitzgibbon and Stephen McAllan have curated a program that encompasses the many and diverse genres that make up jazz, taking listeners on a round- the-world musical journey from New Orleans and New York to Polynesia, Brazil and even further afield.

Following a sold-out event and record-breaking crowd of 10,000 people at the 2019 event, a third stage will be added to this years festival, treating music fans of all ages to 10 hours of non-stop, live music.

This years lineup includes: Chillinit, Hayden James, Jack River, JessB (NZ), The Jungle Giants, Missy Higgins, Odette, Thelma Plum and Winston Surfshirt will be making their Peoples Choice Bassinthegrass debut, along with many more national acts at the Northern Territorys biggest and longest running music festival

Pierre Dalp, Wigstock Shotgun Wedding, Head On Photo Festival 2020.

Entering its 11th year, Sydneys Head On Photo Festival has unveiled the first 20 exhibitions to headline the 2020 edition, presented from 2-17 May.

Featuring both international and Australian artists, the Festival will span eight locations in Sydney including Paddington Town Hall, Paddington Reservoir Gardens, NSW Parliament House and for the first time a series of open-air exhibitions along the boardwalk of Bondi Beach.

Highlighting the extraordinary diversity of photography as a medium through thought-provoking exhibitions, the Festival will feature contemporary fine art photography, portraiture and photojournalism by artists from France, Guatemala, Japan, Greece, Germany, South Korea, The Netherlands, United States of America, United Kingdom, China, Canada and Australia.

Amongst the topics addressed in these free and ticketed exhibitions are: the urgency of climate change, the precious but fleeting nature of childhood, the beauty of old age, the rise of anti-immigration groups, the devastation of war, identity politics, and the value inherent and ascribed of the selfie.

Head On Festival Director Moshe Rosenzveig OAM said: Head Ons international scope and agility as an independent organisation allow us to present world class exhibitions that place the work of established Australian and internationally recognised artists alongside those of emerging talent. Our 2020 headline exhibitions promise, as always, an incredible banquet of topical themes that are deeply relevant to our everyday lives.'

Visit Head On 2020 for more information about this year's festival.

Around the galleries

Melbourne Art Fair has announced its list of esteemed galleries taking part in the 2020 fair, presenting a mix of new and iconic works.

Twice the footprint of the previous fair, the 16th edition continues its focus on solo shows and large-scale installations where galleries will be presenting the best selection of contemporary art across four days from 18-21 June 2020 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).

Yavuz Gallery (Singapore/Sydney), Mizuma & Kips (New York/Tokyo), and James Makin Gallery (Melbourne) are just some of the new galleries to feature in this years art fair.

Gallery exhibitions will be complemented by a new sector for 2020 titled Beyond. Harnessing the monumental exhibition spaces of the venue, six galleries will present large-scale installations and spatial interventions in mediums as varied virtual reality, kinetic sculpture and performative installations.

Visit Melbourne Art Fair for more information on the event taking place from18-21 June 2020 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Rather than an exhibition that exclusively presents women artists, Making Her Mark : Selected Works from the Collectionoffers a new appraisal of the work of leading women artists. held in the collection of TarraWarra Museum of Art.

The exhibition, opening on 29 February, includes the work of male artists in the form of unexpected pairings to present a nuanced conversation about image, composition and mark-making where women take centre stage. Taking the themes of works by female artists as its starting point such as the role of memory, a connection to the Australian landscape and the pursuit of abstraction art by women is not seen as a category, but as a catalyst.

Presented in thematic clusters, the exhibition includes works by artists such as Davida Allen, Yvonne Audette, Kate Beynon, which is then paired with the work of the artists' male contemporaries including Howard Arkley, Ralph Balson, Charles Blackman, Robert Klippel plus others.

Victoria Lynn, Director, TarraWarra Museum of Art and exhibition curator, said, The title of the exhibition refers to both the fact that women artists have well and truly made their mark on Australian art as well as highlighting the techniques and processes of mark-making, whereby visitors can engage with the numerous ways in which the artists have incorporated images, gestures, colour and texture in their work.

Making Her Mark: Selected Works from the Collection is on display at TarraWarra Museum of Art from 29 February to 16 April 2020.

Internationally acclaimed Australian performance artist Stelarc has a new provocative exhibition that examines a world where technology, medicine and engineering collide.

STELARC: Posthuman Bodies questions the future of human biology while tracing the artists groundbreaking practice over nearly 50 years.

Known for his radical and experimental investigations that probe the physical limits of human experience, Stelarcs survey exhibition presented by Flinders University Museum of Art (FUMA) includes diagrams, video and photography of the artists previous performance works and engineered prosthetics which have been integral to them.

One of the most celebrated artists in the world working at the cutting edge of art and technology, the show traces Stelarcs speculative and groundbreaking practice from the 1970s to the present day, said Fiona Salmon, Director of FUMA.

Bringing together these works for the first time in Adelaide, ironically the city that shut down the artists earliest attempted suspension performance in 1975, will enable audiences to contemplate the broader language of Stelarcs oeuvre and trajectory of his ideas.

Posthuman Bodies also serves as an essential companion to Stelarcs latest work commissioned by the Art Gallery South Australia (AGSA) for the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Monster Theatres. Made in collaboration with the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI) at Flinders University, FESTO (a global leader for automation technology) and consulting engineer Wayne Michell (from Ternay Pty Ltd), the colossal nine-metre pneumatically powered stick figure will be on display at the Art Gallery of SA from 29 February to 8 June.

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FAITH AND VALUES: Where does the buck stop? – Aiken Standard

Posted: January 26, 2020 at 11:58 pm

It seems as if people (including me) always look for ways to avoid responsibility for what they make out of their lives. From time to time, I have been tempted to choose from a vast variety of cop-outs. Each one promised me freedom from responsibility for what was happening in my life. Because of my lack of spiritual maturity, I bought into one or more of these. Im convinced that people need to take more responsibility for the messes they make of their lives.

Research findings in genetics over the past few years make it more necessary than ever for people of faith to own up to their own responsibility. It seems as if every month researchers discover a new gene that has a direct bearing on how people behave. Everything from congeniality, criminal impulses, and IQ, to sexual preference is attributed to our genes.

Genetic explanations are the rage today. Nature slowly becomes more important than nurture. As the neuroscientific view of life moves to the forefront of the academic world, if we are not careful, society will begin to worship at the feet of biogenetics, making us slaves to our genes. This does not present a good future scenario.

The implications of the genetic sciences on faith should cause concern for several reasons. First, experience teaches us that many people will respond to genetic engineerings success in one of two ways. Either we will ignore it or we will approach it as an enemy of our faith and ignite another religious fight against science. We know all too painfully how neither response prepares us for the future.

Second, it may hasten the day of the posthuman or cyborg. At the very time when high touch and relationships are needed more than ever, genetic engineering threatens to greatly expand the divisions in the faith.

Third, it gives people a wonderful cop-out for their sins. Cant you just hear the cry, My genes made me do it. This is my greatest fear for genetic research, because this response is likely to vitally affect us more than the first two concerns. We dont need much of an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for our lives.

Over the next few years, the entire human genetic structure will be fully mapped out. We already know that our present drugs could fundamentally affect about 5,000 genes. Futurists already speculate about when parents-to-be can select the specific genes they prefer in their babies-to-be.

So I feel responsible for communicating one of the greatest lessons I have learned from Jesus: I am responsible for everything that I do. It is never acceptable to make excuses for my actions. Think with me for a moment of all of the excuses people have conjured up over the centuries.

The first excuse that comes to mind is The devil made me do it. Wow! Who am I to challenge cosmic forces? Naturally, I am prone to go with this one. However, one may say that experience has taught me not to believe in a devil even though I deal with evil every day. Think that one through! Religion can be one of the easier routes to copping out.

Many people blame their life on kismet: Its all in the stars. Again, who am I to tempt fate? This one is harder for me because in some sense we are victims of some form

of fate. Or are we? Is it possible that we even contribute to our fate? Consider the death of Princess Di. Was it fate or poor judgment?

One of the classic cop-outs I often hear is Im just a layperson. This one makes my blood boil. Did Jesus die so that someone could say, Im just a layperson? We all know better, but we still use the excuse. Allowing this cop-out to continue is one of the most immoral actions of our time. Laity are Gods gifts to the world. All of us are laity. If the truth be known, little room is left in this world for laity and clergy. Arent all people of faith called to some form of ministry? Isnt it time we clergy give up our union and replace it with pursuit of the Gospel?

Over the last decade, clergys favorite cop-out had been Its the systems fault. Restructure our church or denomination and all will be well. Most established mainline denominations have bought into this one hook, line, and sinker. But all the restructuring in the world will not overcome a lack of passion or commitment to God. All we do is rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Who makes up the system? We do. We need to get our act together.

What about youths favorite response to their parents: Everyone else is doing it. I used that one a few times myself. Or what about many parents favorite excuse during the 1970s: Im OK; youre OK. Remember that best-seller? Age doesnt seem to matter when it comes to copping out. All of us have played this game, havent we? Which one is your favorite cop-out?

The powers and principalities with which we wrestle may be our own genes, but Jesus offers us an alternative to making excuses when he tells us that we will do greater things than he did. Oh, I know he didnt know about genetics, but that doesnt matter. He knew the heart of God and that God doesnt make junk. That is more important than genetics. Sin can alter genetics. Jesus knew that if we take him seriously, we can be more than just the highest species of animal life on this planet. He knew were destined for more than a cop-out existence.

For most of my life I failed to see the importance of the Fall and especially the concept of total depravity. Based on a lifetime of experience, I am beginning to see another picture. I still believe that humans are basically good to the core, but at the same time I am now convinced that we are also rotten to the core.

The only thing that separates the rottenness from the good is the grace of God. We need to emphasize this grace more. God can make a difference, in spite of our genes. God overcomes the power of our gene pool! Isnt that the ultimate form of redemption?

What, then, is the response of healthy people of faith to genetic engineering? Genetic research will lead to resurgent interest in the concepts of holiness and discipleship. In an attempt to say No to our genes, people of faith will begin to see a new dimension of relevance for faith, offsetting the power of our genes. As a recovering alcoholic takes life one step at a time, people who yearn for a God-centered or ethical life will turn to the church as the nurturer of such a life.

This nurture will go far beyond what we call nurture today. It will not be a form of spiritual hand-holding or spiritual hangnail-fixing. It will be a nurture that helps people truly overcome their sin and triumph over their genes. Perhaps this is part of whats happening today in the renewal of emphasis on lay mobilization and spiritual gifts. Churches are challenging the fatalistic attitude of our time instead of copping out once again. Its about time.

Well, whats it going to be? Are you going to join the crowd and cop out, or are you going to hear Jesus say that you will do greater works than these? How responsible are you to the claims and call of God?

Dr. Fred Andrea, retired Pastor of Aikens First Baptist Church, is serving as Pastor of Clinton United Methodist Church in Salley.

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Architecture professor invents wearable garden – Daily Trojan Online

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:09 am

Aroussiak Gabrielian, an assistant professor at the School of Architecture, has created the first wearable garden, which comprises a vest that can grow a variety of herbs and vegetables using human waste as a fertilizer. Gabrielian is the co-founder and director of design at Foreground Design Agency and developed the vest as a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. The vest is currently part of a joint exhibition entitled Human (un)limited by Hyundai Motorstudio and Ars Electronica in Beijing.

In a CBC Radio interview, Gabrielian described how the wearable garden works. The seeds are set on a layer of moisture retention fabric. Left uncovered, it takes around two weeks for the base material, which are microgreens, to grow.

The wearable garden falls within the area of agriculture called hydroponics, which, according to Grant Calderwood, a microgreens collaborator on the project and managing member of Hortus Research, is the growing of plants in water and nutrients. The vest also captures urine from the wearer via catheter to be filtered through a process called forward osmosis, which was developed by NASA and is used in space to convert urine into portable drinking water and eventually delivered to the crops as irrigation.

Gabrielian described wearing the vest as a multi-sensory feeling because of its weight and the way it is built. The vest has to be watered and serves as an insulator because of the amount of plant material that covers it. It also has a distinct smell of vegetables, such as cabbages and radishes, that are grown on it.

I think, you know, what is really special about Arrousiaks project, is that it captures the imagination, said Calderwood, who is also a Yale University lecturer on sustainability. Like theres the level of excitement when people see the jacket up close, growing with food on it.

The inspiration for the vest first came to Gabrielian when she began breastfeeding her first daughter. Gabrielian was also influenced by Rosi Braidottis book The Posthuman, which poses the question, What would a geo-centred subject look like?

These ideas, of cooperation and collaboration with the more-than-human world, along with the experience post-birth, triggered the idea for the project: to use the human body and systems to feed more than just our kin, Gabrielian wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan.

Gabrielian said climate change is either described at the planetary scale or the microscopic scale, which both take place outside of the realm that humans respond or relate to.

I feel like the issues are either too big for us to really grasp at the human scale or too small, Gabrielian said. And so, in my work what Ive tried to do is kind of tap into those and bring those to the scale of the body to actually have you have a palpable experience of either.

While in Rome, Gabrielian worked with a vast team to develop the project, including a local fashion designer, a seamstress and Calderwood as well as Chris Behr, a chef with the Rome Sustainable Food Project and Alison Hirsch, a School of Architecture associate professor and Gabrielians design partner.

The time in Rome was spent conducting plant tests, hunting down material, working with fashion designers and collaborating with the Rome Sustainable Food Project to get the vest ready.

It was a wonderful adventure and the project has continued to develop under Aroussiaks leadership since weve been back, Hirsch wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan.

The wearable garden has received much media attention, some of which frames the wearable garden as a commodity.

Even the way its been framed in some of the news articles is that its a thing, Gabrielian said. Its like a product Its been kind of bizarre to see the kind of life its taken in the media.

The wearable garden is one prototype out of three in Gabrielians dissertation doctoral work, which is currently being developed and will have three chapters with three associated prototypes. Gabrielian said that all of the work tries to interrogate the position of the human in our environmental future and what they will be.

Gabrielian said there are several possible avenues for the project in the future, including quantifying the health effects, quantifying carbon outputs or using the mechanical element of the project to equip the vest with sensors that could regulate the moisture content and access to sunlight. Another route is automating the vest so that its self-sustaining.

There is that moment where its, you know, it was meant to be a speculative project, but all these people are interested in the real thing, Gabrielian said. So theres this weird kind of dilemma, you know? Do I go there? Do I make it more real? Or do I let it kind of live in this weird in-between space? That, I havent yet kind of served for.

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Best of 2019: Harm’s Way Pick 5 Favorite Albums of Year – Revolver Magazine

Posted: December 25, 2019 at 11:48 pm

2019 has been one of the biggest years in heavy music in recent memory, with heavyweights such as Tool, Slipknot and Rammstein dropping long-awaited new albums, while trailblazing up-and-comers pushed boundaries in their own right. For their part, industrialized hardcore outfitHarm's Wayreleased the remix EPPSTHMN, which reimagined cuts off their excellent2018 album, Posthuman, and toured relentlessly in support of both. When we we asked vocalist James Pligge to share some his favorite music from the year, he came back with a group effort."Because we are always in a van together we usually all consume music as a band, I decided to get a collaborative list of all Harm's Way's favorite albums of 2019," the vocalist responded."This list is in no particular order and is just some records we really enjoyed at home and on the road in 2019."

Probably one of the biggest records to come from the hardcore and metal world this year was A Different Shade of Blue. This record is very catchy and heavy and offers a combination of Nineties hardcore and modern metalcore. I think it has created a movement in which many people from different musical backgrounds can get behind. Its impact on heavy music and well-constructed metallic hardcore makes it one of the best heavy records of 2019.

I have always been a fan of Division of Mind from Richmond and this LP is no different. This record is just a perfect combination of truly angry music with d-beat and mosh parts. It reminds me of a heavier Left for Dead or the Swarm. One thing that always resonates with me is vocalists that are able to convey their hatred or anger through the vocals of a record, and I think this record is able to do that very well.

This record reminds me of some of the early 2000s Western Massachusetts bands like Think I Care. As a person who got really into hardcore in the early 2000s, this record is almost nostalgic-like to me. I just really enjoy the combination of well-done fast parts and heavily distorted breakdowns, and it was a pleasure to hear these songs live night in and night out on our tour together in August.

I came across this from a fellow Hate Force member. Finding death metal that is new and interesting can sometimes be a challenge, but Vomit Forth was able to keep my attention. In my opinion, this album sounds like a combination of old Dying Fetus, Suffocation and Devourment, but less technical. At times it also remind me of Internal Bleeding, especially with the heavier breakdowns mixed with the traditional death-metal parts. Lucky for them, that style of deathmetal is one of my favorites, and this record really stands apart from a lot of the monotony that is out there.

If you offered me a million dollars to pronounce this band's name correctly, I would most definitely fail. I really enjoy slow, Neanderthal-like deathmetal, and this band does this extremely well. Although this record is only four songs, I think it's truly one of the best death-metal records I have heard in a long time. If you like slower death metal with d-beat parts and sludgy breakdowns like Disma, you should most certainly check this record out on Bandcamp.

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Moscows Garage Museum Starts Pioneering Online Art Venueand Its More Than a Museum on the Internet – ARTnews

Posted: December 13, 2019 at 2:56 pm

As artists experiment with the internet and digital media with increasing frequency, museums of all kinds are aiming to crack the code of how to display such art online to a wide audience. Now the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow is entering the field with an ambitious new effort.

Garage, which was founded by art collector Dasha Zhukova and her then-husband, billionaire Roman Abramovich, is starting a multi-pronged new initiative, Garage Digital, which will allow its curators to commission new digital artworks and offer historical context for old ones.

Part of the platforms role will be to support programming within the museums walls, and right now, in connection with The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 20302100, its survey exhibition about contemporary art and environmentalism, Garage Digital is hosting new works by artists Posthuman Studies Lab, Sascha Pohflepp with Matthew Lutz and Alessia Nigretti, Gints Gabrns, and James Ferraro and Ezra Miller.

Katya Inozemtseva, the senior curator of the Garage Museum and a member of Garage Digitals workgroup, said that the program is intended to shift the publics understanding of how art and technology interact. We arrived at the idea of sort of non-space, a digital limbo, where the new art could exist and be seen, she told ARTnews in an email. It lives on the logic of a feed and under the legislation of general experience of everyone who uses a smartphone with internet connection. Garage doesnt intend to create a digital ghetto or a museum on the internet. Were reacting to the transformed relationships between physical and digital realities.

The New Museums 2002 acquisition of the New York art-and-technology organization Rhizome serves as a precedent for Garages moves, but Garage Digital comes amid quick-moving changes in the field. Numerous shows about the internet have arrived at global art museums over the past few years, the Serpentine Galleries in London has started an augmented-reality program, and museum director Daniel Birnbaum left the Moderna Museet in Sweden to lead a company focused on virtual-reality works by artists.

Russia presents a particularly unique home for the project, given the countrys unique history with digital art. During the 1990s, many of the most important works from the movement were being produced by Russian artists like Olia Lialina and Alexei Shulgin, who used digital interfaces to ponder the exchange of visual and political information online.

Inozemtseva said that Garage Digital will contextualize works by such pioneersand also aim to create new groundbreaking works through a grant program. Importantly, she said, the texts hosted on Garage Digitals site will appear in both English and Russian, in an attempt to stimulate researchers and scholars of younger generation to move forward, to use the optics and approaches of posthuman theory in order to invent/see/analyze various phenomena in our reality.

Among the initiatives Garage Digital has already started is one dedicated specifically to gaming. According to Inozemtseva, the divide between the digital sphere and everyday life is growing thinner, and games are offering new ways of immersing oneself in technological environments. With that in mind, the museum plans to commission works making use of video games and computer simulations.

But the political climate in Russia could be an obstacle for some of the programming Garage Digital has planned. In November, Russian politicians unveiled a plan to create a sovereign internet, effectively starting a network thats walled off from international countries. Experts have raised questions about whether the new plan could lead to increased censorship online in a way similar to Chinas Great Firewall. Inozemtseva did not seem worried, however.

We think that its more an ideological construct and political tool than a reality, she said of the sovereign internet plan. It definitely does not influence our programming and is not able to. Any regulation of this kind immediately appears absurd, and might be only used as a trigger for artistic production.

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‘The Expanse’ Season 4 Review: Hard science, biological conflicts laced with emotions and action makes space d – MEAWW

Posted: at 2:56 pm

This spoiler-free review is based on the six episodes provided to MEAWW

'The Expanse' has always prided itself on ensuring attention to detail and a thorough narrative. This explains why 'New Terra' takes its time in dedicating its entire runtime to get the audience up to speed after Syfy's cancellation last May. The major chunk of the series is a slow burner. It revolves around the character acclimatizing to a new environment. The crew of the Rocinante is back. Captain James Holden (Steven Strait), first officer Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper), engineer Amos Burton (Wes Chatham), and pilot Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar) take up ample screentime, and their latest work starts off when they touchdown on an alien planet, Ilus.

This season is an adaptation of Cibola Burn, book number four of the 'Expanse' series and continues exploring the themes it tried explaining in its pilot season - the acute knowledge of space, stellar elements and the concept of an intermediary form between human and posthuman. Ilus, aka New Terra, brings all these factors in one place. Also present are a group of Belters who try and make a living out of mining Lithium. There are enough encounters between them and the Royal Charter Energy (RCE).

And while there's enough story to go, the following episodes take its time to establish each layer. For 'The Expanse's staunch followers, this may be a delight. The face-off between the two parties is a thrilling showdown. It is also clear that the series has focused its energy on character development this time. Tipper as Naomi owns the screen in each of her appearances and is one of the bright spots of the latest installment. She also manages to translate the fact that she literally carries the burden of being Rocinante's only Belter.

The sentiments are out there and the series encapsulates some heartfelt moments, again, with Tipper playing a pivotal role in making these moments memorable. For a person who's spent a lifetime in the vastness of space, every little movement comes as an effort one that she manages to convey seamlessly. The laughs come in the form of Chatham's Amos and his sexual banter with Salgueiro's Wei (Murtrys second-in-command). The duo's relationship isn't exactly a smooth ride, but it does form a great plot point to go with.

For those familiar with Cibola Burn, the story has enough zing making it a worthwhile read, and the season makes an honest attempt in explaining the story. There are hard sciences and biological conflicts that are coupled with specks of emotions and actions. Eventually, it is shown that the atmospheric effects impact the RCE and the Belters forcing them to team up. And while there is a hint of predictability, the show justifies this by a lengthy, but a definitely-needed explanation. Ilus is a visual delight. And up until the massive blast that dents the planet's surface, there is breathtaking imagery.

'The Expanse' could have probably looked at giving more meaty roles to its cast. With the enormous focus on science, it's easy to notice the strength and story of these characters fade away at times. This edition of 'The Expanse' justifies the need for season 4 and is convincing enough for a watch after what could rightfully be called a zigzaggy start.

'The Expanse' Season 4 premieres on December 13 on Amazon Prime Video.

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David Blandy and a Cadre of Essex Gamers Introduce us to a World After Homo Sapiens –

Posted: November 30, 2019 at 10:10 am

In 1970, in the marshes of Canvey Island, Essex, a petroleum refinery was planned and built, before being abandoned five years later following the OPEC oil crisis of 197374. Since then, the site has been slowly reclaimed by nature, becoming one of the most biodiverse areas of the UK, apparently equal to a rainforest in terms of species per square metre.

These hushed wetlands are the focus of David Blandys exhibition The World After, consisting of a new film installation and tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) of the same name. Blandy looks at the locales fecund present and towards its distant, posthuman future, imagining the Canvey of the 101st century as a site of ecological and societal renewal, after a manmade and all-too-plausible environmental cataclysm, has laid waste to our fragile Earth.

Shot on an iPhone (that most emblematic of Anthropocene artefacts), Blandys film takes its cue from nature documentaries or more precisely from the scenes in Terrence Malick movies that pause the onscreen drama by cutting to footage of fauna and flora as if to suggest the indifference of the rest of the planets lifeforms to passing human concerns. Soundtracked by the Southend Symphony Orchestras melancholy, swooning score, the industrial ruins of the refinery site pass through the four seasons. In tight, exquisitely filmed close-ups, raindrops hang fatly from spring shoots, and winter frost dusts vegetation, so that it resembles the gemstone-crusted jungle of J.G. Ballards novel The Crystal World (1966). Nature arcs through its timeless cycle of reproduction and death: bees gather pollen, ants feast on the corpse of a dead earth worm, and spiders (creatures long associated with storytelling in folklore) weave their sticky webs.

Two voiceovers, one old and male, the other young and female, relate how homo sapiens paved the road for its own destruction: Oil was once so plentiful they built a whole culture around it, burning it to power their lives. Our narrators, it seems, are our species descendants; the landscape, not a present-day Canvey, but The World After, Fain. Looking around the screening room, we are confronted both by 21st-century detritus (seating made from materials salvaged from Southend pier, pellets recycled from tires covering the floor like oil on a beach), and a large black, polygonal mass that recalls the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), an object that functioned in Stanley Kubricks film as a kind of evolutionary accelerator. It is, in fact, a scaled-up d20, or 20-sided dice, and alludes to the participatory-artwork-as-RPG that forms the twin component of the exhibition.

Developed in collaboration with a cadre of Essex gamers, Blandys RPG follows a format popularly established by the Dungeons and Dragons franchise (1974ongoing). The game takes the form of an illustrated book detailing a fantasy world, and a set of rules for navigating it through collective, speech-based roleplay, in which the d20 functions, in effect, as the hand of capricious fate.

Blandys game, however, is no derivative, sub-J.R.R. Tolkien quest narrative. Massively extending the vision of a future Canvey hinted at in his film, it introduces us to several playable factions of post-humanity, including the biologically intersex Safeer, the amphibious, techno-mystical Nautia, and the matriarchal society of the Dahra. As a work of science fiction, it feels at once fresh, deeply imagined and unusually politically engaged. Unlike much participatory art, it provides a framework for genuine and sustained communal creativity. At a time when homo sapiens faces an existential crisis, roleplaying as our own evolutionary successors feels both a sobering prospect, and an odd source of hope.

Main image: David Blandy, The World After, 2019, cutout, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, UK

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Ethics, Truth and Post-Truth: Political and social implications – Modern Diplomacy

Posted: at 10:10 am

I want to reflect on ethics, truth and post-truth in the context ofaccelerated changes in the economy, politics, society, culture and digitalknowledge, information and communication media, which give rise to cyberspaceand the internet.

The power of a journalist, reaching millions of people from behind hiscomputer, is controlled by national and international laws; professional normsbacked by numerous journalist associations, instructions from his media and theeveryday larger and commented code of ethics. And we all know about theduty-based ethics focussed on the importance of truth; the progressive ethicsbased of investigative journalism, and consequentialist ethics focused onsociety; does the article offend someone?. Can thepublication of a certainissue do more harm than good, evenif the facts used were correct?.

What about losing my job, or been attacked verbally and physically? butethics light, pass by a coloured crystal of personal values, personalcircumstances and his own loyalties wherever they are: to the general public,to the customers, the supporters and the subscribers, to the employer, thecorporation, the colleagues and the professional community and to himself.

In the real world of reporting, ethics seen by the public or seen by thejournalist, are different.

There is a different perception of ethics between the public and thejournalist, and we must establish the differences between the media and thejournalists work. The public believes, that it is the journalists who is dedicatedto manipulate the information, and most of the time, it is the means of themedia that censures or favors the publication for financial or politicalreasons.

Yesterday I received a complaint from a journalist who after doing anextensive interview with the Russian ambassador representative to the OPCWabout the role of his country in Syria and the use of chemical weapons in Duma,no newspaper wanted to publish.

Quality, Economy and Ethics

On the side of the journalist, it is important that they be paid welland that the expenses incurred to do their work be covered; the lack ofresources makes use of second-hand information, copied from social media.

For example, last week the official visit of a president in theNetherlands was covered by the medias. To report on the official visit, ajournalist I know, had to go to a city that is three hours away and the mediadid not paid the trip; since the journalist resolved to copying and translatingthe news that he found in other media and social media, which maybe they werecopied in turn, the original source, the authenticity, the veracity of theinterviews and the context of reality were lost, causing the journalist to fallinto a lack of ethics and lack of quality of the news.

Scope of information and ethics

The limitation of resources in the media due to the economic crisis, hasbrought a fragmentation of the media that multiply and become smaller andsectorial, specializing in niches but with less scope; since the reader cannotread 80 newspapers per day, they better select their reading by topics. Forexample, we are dedicated to the diplomatic world and internationalorganizations, with a first-class content but a limited public.

The fact that journalism no longer provides a living for people who workin the industry or invest in it, has reinforced the corruption that has alwaysovershadowed journalism and has spawned more owners who buy up media to promotetheir wider political and business interests.

Working conditions in newsrooms online and offline are equally poor.A generation of young people in the journalism schools around the world havefew quality jobs to look forward to. Some will survive as freelancers, butmany, are destined for advertising, corporate communications or public andpolitical information jobs. Now more than ever before, journalism income is notdetermined by attachment to a single income ow, but it is based upon creativesolutions to the funding crisis and may include non-traditional funding, or amix of civic, market and public resources.

As commercial organisations, NGOs and governments seek to manipulatenews, profit-hungry social media platforms undermine quality journalism, andpolitical propaganda masquerade as truth, journalists unions are campaigningfor a media environment which embraces the core values of journalism.

Postmodernity has many ways from its definition to its interpretation orunderstanding.

What has become called post-truth, seems the resurrection of theimaginary of Jorge Luis Borges, called magical realism and that Borgespublished in 1935. The writer admits that it is a set of stories written, inbaroque language, by an irresponsible, that gets to falsify and misrepresentother peoples stories, although the stories are based on real crimes.

The writer also states that the volume of stories is nothing more thanappearance, than a surface of images; for that reason it can please thereaders. That is, to seduce them, attract them, deceive them.

For example, the text entitled The Atrocious Redeemer LazarusMorell, was written between 1933 and 1934, and it reinterprets and adaptsto fiction the historical, economic, political, racial and culturalconsequences derived from the claim of Father Bartolom de las Casas to EmperorCarlos V, by means of which he asks to replace the indigenous labor, already inthe process of extinction, by black slaves brought from Africa.

Could something be more like post-truth, than this eagerness tomisrepresent the facts in order to present them to the readers, to theaudience, to society as if they were true?

There are no barriers between reality and fiction, between truth andlies, between subjectivity and objectivity.

The Oxford Dictionary declared the post-truth word of the year in2016. This famous word, would not have been possible without economicconditions, such as neoliberalism, the market empire and the unethicalneoprotectionism; of a political nature, such as populism and radicalnationalism; social and moral, such as xenophobia, the rejection of the poorfor being poor and racism; of a cultural nature, such as multiculturalism;demographic order, such as mass migration flows through poverty, wars orreligion and above all, technoscientific order, especially with thetechnological revolution and what they call the digital world thenetwork society that chooses to use terms like cyberspace ,cyberworld, cyberculture, cyberpolitics.

The liberal production and consumption system, as well as itslegal-political structures, experienced in 2008 a deep fissure of an ethicalnature, generated by the black September of the United States Stock Exchange.The serious economic consequences, spread like wildfire across Europe and Asia.These conditions gave rise to forms of degradation of power and the exercise ofknowledge and politics, which are resolved, in a certain way, in what we nowcall post-truth.

From the value of the presumably false, to the presumably true; on thebasis that giving up false judgments would be giving up life. Admit thatnon-truth is a condition of life: this means, confronting ethics in a dangerousway beyond good and evil.

The act of thinking, of asking suspicious questions and of challengingestablished knowledge as absolute truths, translates into the transmutation ofall values characterized by the lack of ethical commitment and by thepredominance of individualism and particular interests, over those of commonvalue.

The history of truth, seen socially, has developed in close relation toreason and non-truth, has gone hand in hand with the history of the State, as aregulator of the order and guarantee of the rulers over the governed.

Under the pretext of owning the truth, chiefs of tribes, empires,caliphates, despotic, tyrannical, liberal and totalitarian regimes have beenerected. However, its most accepted form has been attached to democracy as apolitical system. Today, and as a result of the validity of the post-politicalas a degradation of democracy and the ethical misery of the parties, this placehas been occupied by post-truth. This phenomenon, as we stated at thebeginning, would not have been possible without the technological revolution,the digitalization of information systems, production, consumption,communication and the creation of cybersociety and technocracy as analternative to the welfare state.

Post-truth, gives rise to manipulation and discursive and politicaldeception, based on a demagogic process of impersonation of objectivity. Thepost-truth has created the smokescreen in which the post-democracy is agitated,with a serious deficit of meaning in concepts, now inflated and distorted, suchas the homeland, the people, the citizen, law, identity or freedom. To this isadded, the indifference of politics to the facts themselves, however inhumanthey may be. In addition, it gives rise to the divorce between power andpolitics, since the former is exercised in a global scope, while the latter islimited to national states.

It is paradoxical that, in the framework of the digital era, inpolitical terms, the post-tactical is worshiped, and the distance to thepost-right (tyranny or totalitarianism) is shortened. Hence the non-truth, thatis, the false and imposter of objectivity is an unpredictable danger.

The postfactual threat promotes false arguments, involving them inmoving and amplified stories in the resonance chambers of the network anddigital communication, until changing behaviors and influencing the decision ofthe masses. These resonance chambers are, in the postfactual, controlled andactivated by machines or robots and are capable of generating a huge amount ofinformation and news through the private superpowers such as Facebook,Google, Twitter, Instagram and others.

In the field of media communication, the worst threat to qualityjournalism, to honest, rigorous and respectful journalism, is the false news.The proliferation of false news that has brought the chaos to the world ofnews, at the same time, have revalued the role of the press as a reliablereference for information and to control the abuses of power

And we give way to securitization, as a trick of the politician. Thetrick, is the displacement that the governments of these times of latemodernity, globalization and interdependence make of the genuine concern of thecitizens, changing them for other problems. For example, given the inability tosolve issues such as citizen insecurity, unemployment or growing poverty, thiskind of politicians of securitization present other problems such as specularterrorism; or to confuse the problem of immigration with that of national andpersonal security; or an alleged international campaign to discredit the State.

Securitizing is, then, maintaining the state of affairs by using thepublic attention diversion resource.

Post-truth is an emotional root argument, which causes what appears tobe true, to be more important than the true itself. It creates the illusionthat there may be an alternative objectivity to ostensible objectivity. As itsfield of cultivation is public opinion, there, the post-truth makes concreteand objective facts less relevant than simply appealing to emotions or personalconvictions.

Journalist Eric Alterman spoke of a post-true political environment whenreferring to the Bush administrations misleading arguments about the tragicterrorist attacks of 9/11 and the consequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The political language that adheres to the exercise of postmodern poweruses the arguments of securitization and post-truth. After historical processessuch as Hiroshima and Nagasaky, the Cold War, and most especially, 9/11 in theUnited States, the securitization of international relations has become, in thepolitical and business field, a kind of discipline from fear.

The risk of international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction havemade internal security an unprecedented importance in the United States andprivate companies, especially in sectors such as transportation, informationtechnology, finance, health, pharma, education and oil industry who areincreasingly called and committed by the State to safeguard the internalsecurity of the nation.

The corporate environment has substantially increased the recruitment ofsecurity personnel, communication experts and specialists in digital culture,because, in addition to having to deal with the direct and collateral effectsof the fear discipline, they have to deal with strategies for managing thereputational risk, constantly threatened by rumors or discredit campaigns basedon false news and the non-sanctioned objectives of post-truth.

The political problem of the journalist is to know if it is possible toconstitute a new politics of truth by changing the political, economic,institutional regime of truth production. The truth is not somethingabsolute or immovable. The truth is a dynamic, social, historical, scientificand political product, which is built and constitutes the heat ofphilosophical, ideological, economic and social disputes, which take place in aspecific space and at a specific time.

The truth is power, and vice versa. Also the lie is a power.

The limits of truth and justice have been challenged, to promote an eraof post-truth and post-justice, full of true lies and imagery, which seem toplace us before the dilemma of having to choose between democracy or post-democracy,between elections and false referendums or Respect for laws established byconsensus or social majority. Post-truth as a resource of legitimization ofneopopulism has degenerated the exercise of politics and the performance of thefunction of the State and the rule of law, displacing rationality by emotionunder a set of massive promises never fulfilled.

In todays world we are suffering from a crisis of governance, due tothe neutrality of the institutional framework and the rule of law. The world isheading towards a bankruptcy of authority and the system of representation,which exhibits a democracy that is increasingly lacking in content andmalleable in its essence, which puts world peace at risk.

The post-truth, are nothing more than partial truths; the post-truth isneither a lie, nor innocent, but it is not the whole truth either, according toJordi Gracia (Post-truth is not a lie,) the false arguments of thepost-truth attempt to seduce the most economically and socially vulnerablesectors due to the effect of global toxicity virality generated by theinformative and misinformation of social networks and digital platforms.

Post-truth is something that operates well beyond the reach of falsenews. In fact, in its twisted logic, it is much more important than something,whether true or false, it seems to be true, because this is going to be moreimportant than the truth itself. Not only do the truths lie, but the lies liein a sinuous, invisible and everyday dialectic that ends up being accepted asthe appearance of truth.

In todays business dynamics, the market economy is giving space to thereputation economy. What it is, fundamentally, is how the reputation of acompany has as much value as that of its financial assets. What is the factorthat gives this relief ?: the risk factor.

The companys reputation translates into credibility and reliability ofits investors, customers, employees, suppliers, public opinion and society. Andin the same way that the image was preserved from the risks and dares of theadvertising language, capable of making promises not completely enforceable,or, false, also the reputation must be safe from the claims subjective andaxiologically neutral of post-truth and post-fact.

Building trust lies, is one of the great challenges of corporatecommunication. Hence the need to align, according to the approach of theconsultant and communication strategist which is to safeguard the reputationalcapital of the company or institution.

The characteristic, par excellence, of that environment is given at thealternative media, capable of, through a tweet, a message via Whatsapp, anInstagram or Snapchat image, or, a statement on Facebook, a blog particular oran alert to the virtual communities of LinkedIn, create a parallel publicopinion, more belligerent, more fierce and less respectful than public opinion,different from the published opinion, which is structured in conventionalmedia.

The overwhelming force of autonomy that fuels the digital turn ofcommunication has diminished the credibility of the media, which are afundamental support of corporate communication. The dance between non-truth andpost-truth generates a space that can only lead society, as a whole, to aninadmissible predominance of chaos.

We live in the era of digital information and knowledge. But do wecontrol the digital information or does it control us, supported by theartificial and the posthuman? Will there be an algorithm that goes ahead withthe answer? Perhaps.

From our partner InternationalAffairs


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