Tuesday, September 30, 2008

.5 Manifesto

Jaron Lanier's One-Half of a Manifesto provides arguments against some of the tropes of a train of thought that seems to be stemming directly from previous documents we've read such as the Cypherpunks Manifesto and Crypto-Anarchist Manifesto. This line of thought continues the same ideas of technology being/becoming some kind of autonomous entity that has what could be described as a mind and purpose of it's own volition, not something necessarily controlled by humans. He defines this line of thought as 'cybernetic totalism' and explains a fear within this ideology, "cyber-Armageddon in our lifetimes, a cataclysm brought on when computers become ultra-intelligent masters of matter and life." He then goes on to provide arguments against the six main themes of this fear and provides alternatives to them from his own ideology.
I found many of Lanier's arguments interesting and useful in looking at not only the fears he outlines but also the arguments we've already heard from previous techno-elites that posit computers and the Internet as a massive, self reproducing, self-sustaining entity(much like a living organism). One of the first things that I noticed about the 'cyber-Armageddon' theory was the supposition that computers have an innate motivation for taking over the world and other anthropomorphic qualities. What seems to be missing here, and what Lanier later points out a number of times is the blatant fact that computers are machines created, supported, and operated by humans. Computer autonomy can only go as far as their electrical cords (unless of course they begin to generate their own power).
Another interesting idea that Lanier points at is the switching of human and machine roles within the ideology of the autonomous computer-run world; the idea that humans will eventually become subservient(in some fashion) to computers as technology matches then continues on to exceed human brain power. Although I think it's a little absurd, it feels slightly possible(at least some version of human-to-computer submission) based on our current dependence upon and full-time devotion to our tech devices.
Later, Lanier talks about Darwinian evolution as a parallel for the way that computer technology develops and, matched with biotechnology, the possibility of some post-human super species comes into the scope of the arguments. While the lines between computer and bio-technology are becoming blurred, it doesn't seem possible to look at the two under the same lens; biological evolution and computer science can't operate on the same premises unless organisms are just computers(which is an argument that Lanier argues with), which sounds interesting in a hypothetical pipe dream kind of way but just doesn't seem to make sense in the real world.
One last remark about Lanier's writings... In his last segment, Lanier brings up the idea that information systems serve the purpose of making capitalism far more efficient and that one reality to the whole idea of a techno-biological take over will possibly be limited to the super wealthy and will in fact facilitate the spread of the massive gap between wealth and poverty. Technology is not a democratically spread resource, just like every resource. It is created, controlled, utilized, and distributed largely by those who can afford it. It is true that there are programs to give laptops to education-starved children in third-world countries but where are those machines originating and who is designing and paying for them?
Maybe I'm a little less savvy on what is really going on with today's technological boom/push. And maybe I'm a little resistant to some of the ideas that are coming up in these discussions but I think Lanier brings up some really interesting challenges to the ideas we've been discussing for the last few weeks and the ideas he addresses directly here in his manifesto. (and maybe, ultimately, I just want to agree with a manifesto that is appealing to me, heh, heh, heh...)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am going present info about the Electronic Disturbance Theater and Electronic Civil disobedience.  Here is the web sight link,  
http://www.thing.net/~rdom/ecd/ecd.html


Jill Magid, Artist Presentation


Jill Magid = www.jillmagid.net 
by Jarrett E.
Although this week's class is not explicitly on surveillance, this is an artist who's work gets to the heart of many techno-science issues.
Spend some time on her website, particularly with the pieces Evidence Locker, System Azure, Lobby 7, and Surveillance shoe (in that order.)
She spoke in the Visiting Artist Lecture series last semester, which is available in the library. 
I am interested especially in the way she employs imaging technology, explicitly associated with regulation by either a state or institution as a means of fostering interpersonal connection.
Evidence Locker is described on her website: In 2004, Jill spent 31 days in Liverpool, during which time she developed a close relationship with Citywatch (Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council), whose function is citywide video surveillance- the largest system of its kind in England. 
The videos in her Evidence Locker were staged and edited by the artist and filmed by the police using the public surveillance cameras in the city centre. Wearing a bright red trench coat she would call the police on duty with details of where she was and ask them to film her in particular poses, places or even guide her through the city with her eyes closed, as seen in the video Trust.  Unless requested as evidence, CCTV footage obtained from the system is stored for 31 days before being erased. For access to this footage, Magid had to submit 31 Subject Access Request Forms - the legal document necessary to outline to the police details of how and when an 'incident' occurred. Magid chose to complete these forms as though they were letters to a lover, expressing how she was feeling and what she was thinking. These letters form the diary One Cycle of Memory in the City of L- an intimate portrait of the relationship between herself, the police and the city.
The project website is EvidenceLocker.net

Also, her early work KISSMASK, which brings to mind our issue of "Privacy" versus "Secrecy" and how those two things are reflected in institutional architecture (the intimacy of the mask, versus the MIT lobby of LOBBY 7, and finally the Liverpool streets.)

In a related note, to her piece System Azure, the current display window of Louis Vuitton make a terrible and unwitting similar correlation between fashion, sexuality, and surveillance.  

Look forward to the discussion in class.

J

Precis: A Cyberspace Independence Declaration

Barlow’s text: A Cyberspace Independence Declaration is essentially a reactionary text due to the passing of the Telecommunication Act of 1996, and more specifically Title V of the Act, called the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which criminalizes the intentional transmission of “any comment, request, suggestion, image, or other communications which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent...." or as Barlow puts it:
“After all, the Telecom "Reform" Act, passed in the Senate with only 5 dissenting votes, makes it unlawful, and punishable by a $250,000 to say "shit" online. Or, for that matter, to say any of the other 7 dirty words prohibited in broadcast media. Or to discuss abortion openly. Or to talk about any bodily function in any but the most clinical terms.”

The text consists of two parts, the first being at text to the users of the Internet explaining the basics of the Telecom Act of 1996 while bashing the United Sates Senate as often as possible. Barlow also set up two key elements of the text, the first being the reverences and compassion to the Revolutionary War: “Given the atrocity that this legislation would seek to inflict on the Net, I decided it was as good a time as any to dump some tea in the virtual harbor.” The second key element of the text is the way Barlow speaks about “Cyberspace” as a place you go to but leave your body behind.

The second part of the text in the section called A Cyberspace Independence Declaration is rant like manifesto of sorts directed at “Governments of the Industrial World”. Barlow sets out to show how the Cyberspace is a place that exists outside the borders of bureaucracy, full of bodiless identities that cannot be incarcerated. These identities have no elected government but rather a governance based on social contracts and the only law that is generally recognized is the “Golden Rule”. I particularly like this section:

“Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.”

One concerning claim that Barlow makes is that the internet is a world you can enter without privilege or prejudice, that anyone no matter what background is free to enter this world and express themselves openly. While I would agree that once you “enter” or use the Internet there maybe this freedom of expression but you have to get on the Internet to have this which costs money. Also Barlow has established a “we” and it is unclear who this we is. At points in the text the “we” seems like the technologically elite who use the internet for the greater good and to others it may seem like anyone who has used or uses the internet. What is clear is that Barlow sees the cyberspace as the civilization of future full of identities whose freedom is being threatened by the “Governments of the Industrial World”, and that we must rise up against it.

“We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.”

According to Wikiapedia Act V of Telecommunication Act of 1996 was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S Supreme Court for being a violation of the First Amendment

For more information on the Telecommunication Act of 1996 try this links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_Act_of_1996

U.S. POLICY: TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996

Save the Internet

If anyone is interested in signing the Internet Freedom Preservation Act 2008 to protect net neutrality please visit www.savetheinternet.com 

California Ideology Precis

The argument that Barbrook and Cameron are making is against the California Ideology.  They do not believe it is the best or only option for technological advancement for several claims:  it cuts the nation state relationship out of the picture, devalues social and emotional ties to humanity, lies with past reflections of slavery or notions of the slave trade, and also that the ideology has several ambiguities and contradictions

They appear to be pitching their piece to a global audience, because since the model has not been challenged successfully, it has the potential to be adopted globally.   

Their primary argument,  is with the openness and structure of the model.  They are claiming that it depends too much on the triumph of the hi-tech free market, and that the Ideology is only made possible through a "universal belief in technological determinism."  From what I gathered, Barbrook claims this model cuts the cord between the government and the people.  They use examples of infrastructure dependencies on the government from the past, basically claiming that for people to think this is all possible via open technology, as opposed to governmentally supported, is "to chain humanity to the rocks of economic and technological fatalism." That seems a bit dramatic and far fetched to me.  Claiming that "the good life" is only possible via governmental assistance...

Barbrook and Cameron draw comparisons between the California model and slavery and that is where I really got lost.  "Masters and Slaves" came off as being what was at stake and what we had to lose-claiming the ideology would create and ever more widening of social divisions.  Suddenly in their text they were discussing racist republicans and yuppies, against their "impoverished neighbors" and I wasn't very clear on how poor people or poorer areas would be cut out of the California Ideology scenario, because they did not discuss or disclose the actual effects or terms.  I believe it has something to do with the "virtual class" and this, I was also puzzled by.   This article made them seem quite negative, and my question is, aren't these the people who know what they're doing?  I don't necessarily see how they are a threat.   From my understanding of the reading, these were the people who were trying to support the risk taking entrepreneurs and oppose the governments intervention-but then they say that government interventions rebound on those "who are foolish enough to defy the primary laws of nature"?  I don't get it.  I was unclear on their argument against these people.  Are they taking jobs away from others?  Is there discrimination doing on?  The text did not fully explain the conflict here.   

I read the article several times and from my perspective, their argument is quite weak.  I don't think they gave enough pertinent background information or made clear the actual specifications of what they were fighting against.  There was a broad arguments against the California Ideology, but it was not set up in a way in which it was accessible to the reader.  Instead, I found myself flipping back and forth attempting to come to a consensus on what they were actually in favor of, and against.  

They do not propose an alternate model and don't specifically detail the points of the ideology that don't work, other than ranting about past jargon.  At several points in the reading, Barbrook references the Ideology as a place where everyone can express themselves freely, yet he never specifies how that would not happen via his argument.   


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Precis: The God of the Digerati by Jedediah Purdy

The basic gist of the argument by Purdy is simply that Wired Magazine is continually finding new ways to etch and amend its' own 'future' epitaph; particularly in dealing with the common ethos that perpetuates the self important nature of its readership as well as justify its very existence as a cultural touchstone.

The audience that is primarily pitched to would be the general readers of the magazine and the already established cultural and political critics of the rag. It does not necessarily respond to anticipated objections as much as it plays into the neo-sincere counter-counterculture thread which was heating up during this period of post 911 soon to be 'shock & awe' - but computers can save us all
reality .

It is hard differentiate the generalized argument and the stakes of the author who is directly invested in the comparative critique of the rising neo-tribalism electro-cult-capitalists.

This article at its heart seemed to be a direct attempt at shooting a verbose golden arrow into the head of the then editor Kevin Kelly.

In light of the current financial crisis it is easy to side with the author as many of his claims and cited historical cycles seem to becoming to fruition as we discuss these very topics.

In retrospect, Purdy is kicking a half-dead horse. By this I mean to say that print magazines were becoming much more self aware of the unsustainable economic model to which they had previously depended. Wired is attempting to financially grow and support itself through the changing economy and basic neo-Nietzschean philosophy that is its' own propaganda.

This is another case of the digital-dragon swallowing its own 'tale.'

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Updates --

I've put a link to our syllabus at the top of the blogroll to your right, so you should be able to click right through to it without hunting and scrolling now. How convenient! Also, I've made the links hot all the way through to the end of October, in case you want to read ahead a bit. Discussion last week was fun -- read carefully and jump right in next time, the more the merrier. Hope everybody is having a good weekend, d

Thursday, September 18, 2008

RIAA Decries Attorney-Blogger as 'Vexatious' Litigato

This could be interesting for later....

via Wired


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Don't Usually Do This Sort of Thing, But, Since People Are Asking for Basics: This Is From My DIssertation --

A whispered voice, a closed door, a sealed envelope –- these are all familiar, everyday techniques and technologies by means of which people routinely seek to maintain their secrets and preserve a measure of personal privacy.

Cryptography, the art of making ciphers and codes, provides an additional array of powerful techniques to accomplish the same purposes under different circumstances. Cryptographic techniques attempt to protect information from unwanted scrutiny by transforming or encrypting it into an otherwise unintelligible form called a cipher-text. This cipher-text ideally cannot be deciphered back into an intelligible plain-text without the use of a key to which only those who are the intended recipients of the information have access. The use of ever more powerful computers to facilitate the construction and application of encryption algorithms and keys has made the effort to discern the original plain-text from an encrypted cipher-text without recourse to its proper key incomparably more difficult than has been the case historically. This kind of code-breaking is called cryptanalysis. Cryptology is a more general term encompassing both cryptography and cryptanalysis.

There are two basic kinds of encryption scheme in contemporary cryptography, symmetric and asymmetric systems. In classic symmetric encryption or secret key cryptology, messages are enciphered and deciphered by recourse to a secret key available to all (but only) the relevant parties to a transaction. Such systems are called symmetrical simply because both the processes of scrambling text into cipher-text and descrambling cipher-text back to plain-text require access to exactly the same information. The obvious difficulty with such symmetric systems is their reliance on a secret key that cannot always itself be distributed with ease or comparable security. This dilemma constituted in fact one of the definitive quandaries of cryptography for centuries, but it was overcome in a series of breakthroughs in relatively recent history. The result is called asymmetric or public key cryptology.

Public key encryption, as we know it, was devised by 1976 by Whitfield Diffie (of whom Simon Singh writes: “In hindsight, he was the first cypherpunk” ), Martin Hellman, and Ralph Merkle. Asymmetric encryption schemes require not one but two keys, a public or published key available to everyone as well as a secret key known, as usual, only by deliberately chosen individuals, and often known only by a single person and never revealed to anyone else at all. These two coded keys stand in the unique mathematical relation to one another that once a text has been scrambled into cipher-text by means of the public key, it can be subsequently descrambled from cipher-text back into intelligible plan-text only by means of the private or secret key associated with it. With this breakthrough the dilemma of insecure key distribution was solved, and it became possible even for parties whose identities are secrets kept from one another to communicate and conduct transactions with one another in a way that was likewise perfectly secret to anyone but themselves.

Public-key encryption systems soon also demonstrated useful and unexpected applications that had not hitherto been associated with traditional cryptography at all. New forms of authentication for otherwise anonymous transactions were suddenly possible and soon implemented. Digital time-stamping of documents and the creation of reliable “digital signatures” for otherwise anonymous or pseudonymous participants in various kinds of transactions were among the authenticating applications that especially excited the interest of the Cypherpunks.

These applications can facilitate the ongoing protection of anonymous sources of information and whistleblowers, for example, or the otherwise difficult authentication of censored texts or politically dangerous reportage, or provide for the secure, ongoing pseudonymous disputation of experts on controversial subjects over online networks. They also make it possible to re-create the kind of anonymity that roughly prevails when one makes a purchase with cash -– a kind of anonymity that more or less evaporates once one makes the transition to purchasing by means primarily of conventional credit or debit cards or when shopping online or over the phone. Needless to say, regaining this kind of purchasing privacy isn’t only appealing for those who want to engage in illegal economic activity. It is easy enough to understand the desire for anonymity in making a mildly or even only potentially embarrassing purchase, for example, or to elude a torrent of unsolicited targeted advertising.

It remains mysterious just why the arrival of even these powerful new cryptographic applications would inspire in anybody the sense of an upcoming or impending transformation of society in the image of crypto anarchy, however. And it is interesting to note that according to Simon Singh, there is an alternative version available to the conventional history of the development of public-key cryptography itself which suggests lessons that may cut somewhat against the grain of the contours of the Cypherpunk imaginary. “Over the past twenty years,” writes Singh in The Code Book, “Diffie, Hellman, and Merkle have become world famous as the cryptogaphers who invented public-key cryptography, while [Ronald] Rivest, [Adi] Shamir, and [Leonard] Adleman have been credited with developing RSA [–- the acronym derives from their initials –-], the most beautiful [and, as it happens, influential] implementation of public-key cryptography.” Contrary to this canonical history, however, Singh points out that “[b]y 1975, James Ellis, Clifford Cocks, and Malcom Williamson had discovered all the fundamental aspects of public-key cryptography, yet they had to remain silent [since their work was undertaken under the auspices of the British Government and was classified top-secret].”

Singh insists, exactly rightly, that “[a]lthough G[overnment] C[ommunications] H[ead]Q[uarters] were the first to discover public-key cryptography, this should not diminish the achievements of the academics who rediscovered it.” But his next point is the more provocative one, to my mind. “It was the academics who were the first to realize the potential of public-key encryption, and it was they who drove its implementation. Furthermore, it is quite possible that GCHQ would never have revealed their work” at all. For me, then, this appendix to the story of the invention of public-key encryption provides an example of how an open research culture grasped the significance of a discovery and implemented it incomparably more effectively than a closed and controlled, secretive culture managed to do -– even when the subject of that research and of its practical implementation was a matter of the technical facilitation of secrecy itself.

“For a long time,” writes James Boyle in his essay “Foucault in Cyberspace: Surveillance, Sovereignty, and Hard-Wired Censors,” “the internet’s enthusiasts… believed that it would be largely immune from state regulation.... forestalled by the technology of the medium, the geographical distribution of its users and the nature of its content.” Boyle characterizes “[t]his tripartite immunity” as “a kind of Internet Holy Trinity, faith in [which] was a condition of acceptance into the community [of enthusiasts].” Boyle proposes that these “beliefs about the state’s supposed inability to regulate the Internet” stand in an indicative relationship to “a set of political and legal assumptions that [he calls] the jurisprudence of digital libertarianism.” Certainly all three premises of this Internet Trinity exert their force over the imagination of Tim May and the version of digital libertarianism embodied in his crypto anarchy.

But when Boyle alludes to the “technology of the medium” here, he is not referring to the computer-facilitated cryptographic transformation of network communications, but to the more general and ubiquitous protocols and technologies that constitute the internet as such. It is useful to dwell on these more general assumptions about the internet, because they constitute the wider technical and cultural context from which May’s crypto-anarchic case emerges and hence their examination puts us in a better position to understand how some of the Cypherpunks’ otherwise rather improbably apocalyptic conclusions might acquire a compelling veneer of plausibility, especially for many of the Internet’s early partisans and participants.

“The Internet was originally designed to survive a nuclear war,” notes Boyle in “Foucault in Cyberspace.” “[I]ts distributed architecture and its technique of packet switching were built around the problem of getting messages delivered despite blockages, holes and malfunctions.”

“Imagine the poor censor faced with such a system,” he continues. “There is no central exchange to seize and hold; messages actively ‘seek out’ alternative routes so that even if one path is blocked another may open up.” All this amounts to a “civil libertarian's dream.” This is especially so because “[t]he Net offers obvious advantages to the countries, research communities, cultures and companies that use it, but it is extremely hard to control the amount and type of information available; access is like a tap that only has two settings –- ‘off’ and ‘full.’” He concludes the point: “For the Net's devotees, most of whom embrace some variety of libertarianism, the Net's structural resistance to censorship –- or any externally imposed selectivity –- is ‘not a bug but a feature.’”

Although it is true that digital networks have managed to an important and appealing extent to flummox and resist efforts to regulate their content, it is also true, as Boyle is the first to insist himself, that this capacity for resistance is the consequence of particular decisions by coders, engineers, policy-makers, and many others any number of which could have been decided otherwise with considerably different consequences, and which remain to this day more susceptible to alteration than the “civil libertarian’s dream” recited above would seem to credit. The specificity and ongoing contingency of these decisions belies any technological determinism that would destine or commend as an “ought” the architecture of a given social order from the “is” of just which tools happen to prevail for a time here or there.

The “Internet” is, in its somewhat enigmatic classical definition, a network of networks. And so, for example, writes Lawrence Lessig, “[t]he Internet is not the telephone network,” though certainly sometimes “it,” or at any rate some of it, “sometimes [runs] on the telephone lines.” Similarly, the internet is not a cable network, nor a wireless network, while it just as surely partakes of these. Different regulations and architectural protocols govern these many networks the Network networks. The ongoing implementation of the internet is private, public, corporate, governmental, academic.

What people talk about when they talk about the “Internet” tends to consist of expectations they have formed for familiar machines, or of experiences such machines have facilitated for them.

And so, the internet is very likely not the “thing” you think it is. For one thing, whatever you think of it, to be sure the internet is already transforming into something else. Consider, for example, how breathtakingly different would be the experiences of surfing the web from a desktop in 1993, to moblogging via cell in 2003, to immersion in ubicomp environments in 2013 (I am assuming that the omnipresence of these jazz-riffs of kooky jargon will continue to provide one of the few constants among the successive generations of network access and interactivity). What difference does it make that in one generation of its life the internet stood in a literally definitive relation to the Department of Defense, and in another generation more to Amazon.com? What difference does it make that in one generation of its life, a majority of those who access the internet are primary speakers of English, but that in another generation only a minority are? What difference will it make when more non-sentient appliances than human beings routinely access the internet (cars constantly reporting the state of their maintenance to their manufacturer, refrigerators reporting the state of their contents to the grocery store, factories reporting emissions to state regulators, etc.)?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cypherpunks

I was totally out of my element when reading this...
I found a website that helped a little on what "cryptography" is, and how it works.
It's kind of dense, and I dont get it 100%, but it definitely helped.

I was trying to think of anonymous transaction systems that occur now...
PayPal came to mind.

I was also thinking of the idea of "privacy" and how it is defined as "the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world."  This brought up the idea of private and public profiles on Myspace, as well as profiles which may be "public" but how a user can change the settings to make their blogs or photos viewable by whom they chose...and even if they do that, are their pages REALLY private?

hmmm....

Twitter me Benkler!


http://twitter.com/YochaiBenkler

Monday, September 15, 2008

Precis: The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto

In a landscape that is absent regulation, how does one limit the surveillance on private (vs. secret) information?  In the US, we have a governing body that sets laws and regulations into place to limit the use of wiretapping (sometimes). However on the internet, the landscape is much different, traversing many different geographies and governments.  Individuals, in lieu of policy, have to be vigilant in the face of prying eyes.

Moreover, in bypassing the laws, this movement creates a lawlessness and anarchy in which identity is not tied to the individual, and the individual posts no loyalty to any given nation.  Through complete anonymity, the complete recreation of an identity can take place.

However, as the manifesto notes, this is not to say that the existing governments of the world will not try, through appeals to national security, to tap into this.

We are private beings.  We do not disclose our inner most, intimate feelings to just anyone.  We choose who we disclose things to.  What transpires at AA meetings are for those members only.  Our president for the next couple months enjoys his privacy, why can't we have the luxury of choosing who and when to disclose the information of our choosing?

We have control over our identity in the experienced world in part through the controlled disclosure of information, why can't this be the same in the digital sphere?  Shouldn't previous conceptions of privacy, common carriers, and the like be applicable to the new metaphor?

Writing A Precis, Co-Facilitating Discussion: A Guide

Critical Theory B: Fall 2008

One of the key assignments for our course will be your co-facilitation of class discussion of an assigned text. This assignment also requires that you generate a précis of the text you are taking responsibility for. This precis should provide a point of departure for your contribution to the discussion in class, and you will also hand it in to me at the end of the session. I expect you to post your precis to our course blog the Friday prior to the Tuesday class meeting you are co-facilitating.

Think of this precis as a basic paraphrase of the argumentative content of a text.

Here is a broad and informal guide for a precis, consisting of question you should ask of a text as you are reading it, and again after you have finished reading it. Don't treat this as an ironclad template, but as a rough approach to producing a precis -- knowing that a truly fine and useful précis need not necessarily satisfy all of these interventions.

A precis should try to answer fairly basic questions such as:
1. What is the basic gist of the argument?
2. To what audience is it pitched primarily? Does it anticipate and respond to possible objections?
3. What do you think are the argument's stakes in general? To what end is the argument made?
a. To call assumptions into question?
b. To change convictions?
c. To alter conduct?
d. To find acceptable compromises between contending positions?

4. Does it have an explicit thesis? If not, could you provide one in your own words for it?
5. What are the reasons and evidence offered up in the argument to support what you take to be its primary end? What crucial or questionable warrants (unstated assumptions the argument takes to be shared by its audience, often general attitudes of a political, moral, social, cultural nature) does the argument seem to depend on? Are any of these reasons, evidences, or warrants questionable in your view? Do they support one another or introduce tensions under closer scrutiny?
6. What, if any, kind of argumentative work is being done by metaphors and other figurative language in the piece?
7. Are there key terms in the piece that seem to have idiosyncratic definitions, or whose usages seem to change over the course of the argument?

As you see, a piece that interrogates a text from these angles of view will yield something between a general book report and a close reading, but one that focuses on the argumentative force of a text. For the purposes of our class, such a precis succeeds if it manages
1. to convey the basic flavor of the argument and
2. provides a good point of departure for a class discussion.

For Thursday

Links for Thurs. are hot. I'm expecting some precis/co-facilitation questions, quotes to appear on the blog very soon?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Syllabus for Critical Theory B, Fall 2008

Theory and Technoscience, Peer to Peer

Instructor: Dale Carrico, dalec@berkeley.edu
Course Blog: http://tecblogging.blogspot.com/

Att/Part: 20%; Report: 20%; Precis and Co-Facilitation: 20% Keywords: 20% Final Project: 20% (Approximately and Provisionally)

Provisional Schedule of Meetings

Week One | September 4
Introductions

Week Two | September 11
Lessig, Code
Benkler, Wealth of Networks

Week Three | September 18
May, The Crypto-Anarchist Manifesto [ian]
Hughes, A Cypherpunk's Manifesto [jessie]
Shirky, RIAA Succeeds Where Cypherpunks Failed

Week Four | September 25
Barlow, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace [charlie]
Barbrook, The California Ideology [katy]
Purdy, God of the Digirati [peter]

Week Five | October 2
Hayles, Liberal Subjectivity Imperiled: Norbert Weiner and Cybernetic Anxiety [brittany]
Lanier, One Half of a Manifesto [jeremy]

Week Six | October 9
Heidegger, Question Concerning Technology
Noble, Religion of Technology [kimmy]

Week Seven | October 16
Arendt, Conquest of Space and the Stature of Man
Lewis, The Abolition of Man [rachel]
Steigler, The Gentle Seduction [kati]

Week Eight | October 23
Film: Desk Set

Week Nine | October 30
Litman, Sharing and Stealing [lisa]
Boyle, Second Enclosure
Boyle, Enclosing the Genome

Week Ten | November 6
Chomsky and Herman, Propaganda Model [jennifer]
Digby, Netroots As A Revolutionary Force
Shirky, Here Comes Everybody
Bollier, Commoners As An Emerging Political Force [ling]

Week Eleven | November 13
Bauwens, The Political Economy of Peer Production
Lessig, Insanely Destructive Devices [jeramee]
Sterling, Maneki Neko

Week Twelve | November 20
Chun, Control and Freedom
Brin, Three Cheers for the Surveillance Society! [manae]
Cascio, Participatory Panopticon [nicki]
Mann, Sousveillance

Week Thirteen | November 27 -- Academic and Administrative Holiday

Week Fourteen | December 4
Berube, Life As We Know It [daniel]
Mundy, Bionic Parents and Techno-Children
Newitz, Breeding the Future [lauren]
Zizek, Bring Me My Philips Mental Jacket

Week Fifteen | December 11
Haraway, The Promises of Monsters [janett]
Latour, A Plea for Earthly Sciences