Peer Economy Research Proposal

[For many reasons I can’t go into my current affiliation would not be able to help me get this proposal in and fully signed off for the FuseLabs current call.

So I thought I would post it here, its still a draft as I can’t submit it but think that its an interesting problem that could do with investigation.

If you know of any links or work that should be looked at regarding this (either bits already done, or work that could relate) then please leave a comment.

I’ll try and do the work as and when I can, or when some funding for time can be found. If anyone else can do it then please let me know what you find out:]

Proposal for FuseLabs Research 2015 Peer Economy Research Awards

The language of the Peer Economy is one of sharing, sustainability and resilience. It is targetted at users who believe in a community, yet one who sees all items as a commodity.

Whereas before we would have looked at an object and when it was not in use it would remain in a number of possible states:

  1. Ornamental
  2. Functional – Potential
  3. Functional – Dormant

Many of the platforms that are now described as part of the Peer or Sharing economy try to make use of these objects so that they remain in these other states for less time.

In the process many of these platforms assign a value to these objects, so that there can be some kind of transaction in return for the use of the object.

This project aims to prepare a number of mappings of this economy, to examine the physicality of the organisations, users and objects across the globe and understand the boundaries of the communities of presence for the objects.

It also aims to map the flows within the platforms, of the data and interactions as well as the financial flows. Where does capital, the value designated within the objects end up?

Finally we look at the language used in description of the platform, particiaption (e.g. terms of service, policies and sign-up forms).

This is then presneted as an atlas of the Peer Economy, where necessary noting the potential mappings into the exitsing capitalism markets, where the perception of sharing and peer may differ from other uses.

 

Asset Mapping – a small experiment

Asset mapping is a thing. Creating catalogues of the assets that are a part of a community is a vital and useful thing. From the creation of this knowledge of what is out there, methods of sharing and supporting can be implemented.

Community Asset Mapping as an approach to development was developed by John Kretzmann and John McKnight, the assets do not really have a spatial quality, the mapping is more a cataloging and classifying.

There are a number of platforms and services that are designed around doing this mapping or cataloging but as an experiment I was thinking it might be useful to try something new.

If we use the hashtag #assetmapgazeteer and tweet an asset from your community. Name (URL? not every asset will have one of these),  a postcode/zipcode/location identifier and country identifier (e.g. UK, US, FR, IR, etc.)

As we get a set of example tweets, we will look at different ways of gathering, sharing and linking the data.  Maybe trying to link people who talk about the same or similar assets, yes create a general spatial map but also lets see if we can create more conceptual maps of these assets, identify the gaps.

 

an echo study group

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society has posted a call for participants in a study group on Catastrophic Risk: Technologies and Policy.

From the webpage:

Technology empowers, for both good and bad. A broad history of “attack” technologies shows trends of empowerment, as individuals wield ever more destructive power. The natural endgame is a nuclear bomb in everybody’s back pocket, or a bio-printer that can drop a species. And then what? Is society even possible when the most extreme individual can kill everyone else? Is totalitarian control the only way to prevent human devastation, or are there other possibilities? And how realistic are these scenarios, anyway? In this class, we’ll discuss technologies like cyber, bio, nanotech, artificial intelligence, and autonomous drones; security technologies and policies for catastrophic risk; and more. Is the reason we’ve never met any extraterrestrials that natural selection dictates that any species achieving a sufficiently advanced technology level inevitably exterminates itself?

The group will be convened by Bruce Schneier and is open to students and non-students. They are aiming for a particiaption group of around 16-20 people. If you are interested and in the Harvard area, then the page has details on how to register your interest in participation.

I am not in the area sadly, but very interested in the topic and what outcomes and possible future projects and papers may come from such a study group so I have proposed to host a parallel group in London.

We will aim to hold meetings around the same time, or at least the same day, so that when we have finished, some of our notes, thoughts and outcomes will be available online for the US group to look at.

I expect that we will have a different approach and our participants will be from different groups. I am currently a research fellow at Central Saint Martins school of Art and Design, working in the Design Against Crime research unit. My critical approach to this will bring different inputs than say someone from UCL or Imperial (who hopefully would also take part).

As with the Harvard group, this will be open to students, academics and non-students / academics.

If you are interested in taking part, then email me mark@geekyoto.com with some details on your background and why you would like to take part by August 20th, 2015.

The dates for the US study group are:

  • 14 September
  • 28 September
  • 5 October
  • 19 October
  • 2 November
  • 16 November

In the evening, (5pm – 7pm). We will be aiming to stay close to these dates as well, though actual date, times and venue are to be confirmed. It will be held in central London.

a new artwork

*in progress*

I have had this model of a drone for a while now, an Italeri 1/72 RQ-1 Predator.

The final aim has been to mount it like the victorian collectors of insects, and start to present the machinic Phylum in this victorian, museum style.

I have finally put it into a frame.

 

From the collection. #themachinicphylum

A photo posted by @geocontrol on

and I expect to hang it on my wall shortly, i doubt it will be in a gallery near you anytime soon though.

A very immodest proposal

On boxing day we visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a clear yet cold day and an opportunity to see Seizure. Later that day we would drive through the oncoming storms of rain and snow but for the couple of hours we were there it was in a beautiful landscape with the works of people to challenge, lighten, darken and question us.

It was on leaving that I realised that Palindrone needs to be in a place like this. The sound of these drones has become a psychological source of fear and terror for those who live in the environments where these systems operate. Yet here, in the English countryside, the sound of a propeller plane is not the sound of an omnicient, panopric super power but the sound of light aircraft, flying for the sake and hobby of flying.

Within the Yorkshire landscape though lie the military bases from which these drones can be operated and across those moors lies the electonic listening post that is Menwith Hill.

So whist these drones are flying over the skys of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yeman and Gaza we should be able to hear Palindrone in the country landscape that hosts the enabling technology of drones.

Enclosure of the protocols – a work in progress*

* just like the internet itself

——-

There was once a declaration of intent, to claim the internet, which was a new frontier in human intellectual space, as separate from the politics, capital and culture of the rest of human experience.

In this declaration existing governments were not welcome, existing systems of governance and control were not welcome, only the inquisitive mind.

This though was all a fiction.

The internet had grown out of the Military / Industrial complex and whilst a number of those who had access to it initially were taken by the science fiction of future societies at no point was this new ‘space’ separate from capital and ownership and therefore control.

Whilst the declaration and other statements that came after it espoused the disembodiment of participation in this new space, it ignored the simple fact that it all ran on complex and expensive infrastructure. Power and telecommunications networks, as well as computation hardware that was already incredibly environmentally destructive and also the source of great wealth for a small number of individuals.

Whilst individuals and groups created a story about the internet that told a story of intellectual egalitarianism the space itself was being created in the crucible of capitalism and political control.

At some point every component in this new space had a monetary cost attached to it, this was not the free space of the mind that had been defined in that original declaration document.

What is more, instead of trying to design out or manage these costs of access and running those designing the internet instead attempted to commoditise all activity that took place in the space.

Old Vox – Playful Spaces

[Another old vox.com post, this time from  April 2007]

playful spaces

Apr 27, 2007

over on my geeKyoto project site I blogged about a BBC event that I was lucky enought to attend. It was the 3rd Design Futures conference, held by the BBC’s Design Forum. We had a number of speakers, John Thackara I have blogged about in the above post but here I want to talk briefly about Pat Kane, The Play Ethic and playful spaces.

Pat attended the conference at the last minute and the gist of his presentation was about play, especially online but not games. It was about the playful ideal, how ideas and philosophies of play affect and inform the things we do online even without thinking about them being playful.

A lot of online video was used which lead to the thesis that YouTube was the most playful forum on the web at the moment. Not to say that all videos on their are fun. He showed a Jihaddie video, distributed on YouTube (and I am sure many more online video services). This was a highly political and charged video. It was polemic and propeganda but it was constructed in a mashed up, creative, playful way. Music, video and news footage joined together to put across an idea inside your web browser.

The fact that around the video there were also comments both textual and video made this possibly one of the more open, public and possible vibrant disucssion spaces on the whole agenda of Iraq, Terrorism, Middle East Policy etc.

These spaces are not the definitive places for dialogue but they are important places for people to sound their thoughts, maybe the ones they feel uncomformtable with.

Was there a problem? Only with the fact that this space, this arena for discussion was in fact owned by a Shareholder owned Internet Company (Google of course). This lead to the discussion about such spaces belonging in the Public Service arena. Is it right that Google own the space? Will they control what is said in these spaces in a way that strangles free speech. Google may claim that they will try ‘Not to be evil’ but they do have a responsibility to their shareholders that is enshrined in US law.

Initially I thought that this is a problem, that this is the sort of service that should be run by bodies such as the BBC but soon came to think differently. After working at the BBC for 5 years I know that such a space could not exist, at least not from the BBC as is. These spaces in fact need the risk willing, the type of thinking that start ups and small, fast companies can come up with. Even once in the belly of a beast such as Google there will still be the risk willing thoughts that a body that has been created in the image of ‘Public Service’ would not be able to muster.

I hope that spaces like this continue to be created, they will spring up and allow us to create with the playful instinct.

 

[and shortly afterwards:]

playful spaces 2

May 1, 2007

Just a quick thought, the videos that Pat Kane showed, ‘Dirty Kuffar’ by Sheikh Terra & The Soul Salah Crew (2004) or DIGIHAD were mashed up, music, politicised activist videos, mostly making use of found (stolen) footage.

We saw many of these same techniques in Adam Curtis’s BBC 2 series, ‘The Power of Nightmares’. This was a three part ‘rib, burn and mix’ construction with a new soundtrack designed to deliver a cultural / political thesis on the modern world.

‘The Power of Nightmares’ is available all over the internet, just like the Jihad videos.

Old Vox – Boutique Energy Companies

[Another old vox.com post]

Boutique Energy Companies

Nov 14, 2006
Will we soon see this?

Boutique energy companies, will you pay a premium for someone to manage your energy needs?

A BEC would come into your home and carry out energy surveys for you, suggest solutions and oversee and project manage the installation of various energy saving systems (insulation, solar water heating, wind turbine).

They will also install an equivallent of the Wattson, maybe each plug and light fitting in your house will have a chip in it that makes it unique, they will be able to monitor your electricity usage (and maybe gas if you use that for heating or cooking). They would be able to report annomolies and also find you the best energy supplier on as ‘on the fly’ as it is possible in the energy world.

They will balance cost and the eco damage of the suppliers, maybe shifting around.

When you move house, they will come in and remove your tags (or leave them with a calling card for the next occupant, though switched off. The option for removal will be important, for the next 10 years at least people will be paranoid about people spying on their energy usage).

Old Vox – Car Data

[I used to post some stuff over on vox.com when it was still up and running, at nodapoints.vox.com. The material is old and out of date but I wanted to re-post a few older pieces so I can reference them and update them.]

[The first here is about some early thoughts on cars and data]

Car Data

Nov 15, 2006
This is an email I sent to the friendlycrowds.com mailing list a few months ago:

The other night I went out for a drink with a friend, he is the
technical director for a UK startup that deals with car industry
data. A few pints in and I was raving about how I wanted to park my car and then download the days car data to my computer (bluetooth, wifi whatever).

I want to know how far and where i have driven (ok, that I can get from a GPS) but how about other data, how much fuel has been used, maybe the temperature of the engine over the day (capture problems before they arise).

Now my friend reckons no one would really want that. In theory the car manufacturers could offer this (look at the data that pours out of formula one racing cars) but they dont want to open up access into the car network. I can understand why, someone standing on a motorway flyover could, maybe through a bad bit of code bring all the Fords to a halt on that bit of road. Probably not good ;)

But I reckon that people would be interested in being able to get
that data. Not everybody but a lot and increasingly so. In five years time a lot of people would want this. Maybe it will only be the middle class car owners, but then they are often the families who own more than one car.

What does everyone think? would you want to be able to access this information? would it be useful? would you, maybe agree to parts of the data being aggregated (how about you got a discount on the London Congestion Charge if you shared more of your car telemetary).

Maybe I need to persuade him it should be his next start-up.

I had a couple of responses, B.K. DeLong has been thinking about this a bit and has a couple of blog entries:

http://www.brain-stream.com/blog/archives/001837.html

http://www.brain-stream.com/blog/archives/001838.html

and Andrew Turner sent back a nice set of links to help build some stuff:

You can get OBD modules (bluetooth, usb and/or logging) which will
record this data and you can either stream it to a computer or
handheld device in the car.

Logging & USB: http://www.davisnet.com/drive/products/drive_product.asp?pnum=08221

Bluetooth: http://www.vitalengineering.co.uk/

Others:

http://www.qcontinuum.org/obdgauge/

http://www.scantool.net

This is definitely already doable – just a DIY solution right now.
Here’s a cool demo Interface for this kind of solution:

http://www.37signals.com/better/motors/after.html

Also – Make magazine is putting out a controller board that includes a CAN interface – so that could be really neat for doing this kind of
thing:

http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/05/make_controller_kit.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890

Of course, no companies are doing this yet, it is still the realm of car hackers and data gatherers. I still think this is a ripe business area, one that can produce lots of benefits.

imagining preferable futures