xDxD.vs.xDxD on Sun, 26 Jan 2020 11:54:44 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> DiEM25 Green Paper on Technological Sovereignty

Hello everyone

the main limit with all of this (including GDPR and all current
institutional actions) is that the extractive and exploitative nature of
the data and computation industry are not questioned at all.

<<Hi folks! Data is the new oil: here's how you should make your extraction
and refinement plant!>>

This is a real issue. This equivalence is being promoted so much that it is
beginning to be extremely difficult to imagine other ways in which it is
possible to think.

In a world in which so much of our possibility to express and to benefit
from our rights and freedoms passes through data and computation, data and
computation cannot be merely technical issues: they are existential,
psychological, cultural issues. As such, the discussion should have forms
and scopes that are entirely different, also and most importantly at the
level of the institutions, and of those organizations that wish to
influence institutions.

While, for example, I truly respect the work expressed in these
publications, which is also the result of the actions of many friends and
people I really love and respect, I feel the need to highlight the dangers
that come from these technical/administrative first approaches.

Technologies are not neutral at all: we invent technologies just as much as
technologies invent us.
It may seem banal, but it is always useful to keep in mind.

A few months ago, I unexpectedly found myself engaged in the task force
that was brought up from the italian government within AgID (the agency for
the digital agenda) to confront with the theme of artificial intelligence,
with the objective of producing a similar whitepaper.

The first result was tragic, from my point of view, as it seemed as a text
which could have been produced, on the one hand, by a transhumanist on
steroids and, on the other hand, by a frankenstein which recombined the
desires of research, commercial, political, ideological lobbies, each
squeezing in a paragraph or two, to promote their interest.
It tried to mimick similar papers put out in France, US, Germany, Sweden
and others, and by the usual suspects of MIT & C, while seemingly focusing
on trying to understand what should be expected from a modern, democratic,
liberal country.

There was no vision at all. Wittgenstein came up to mind: the output was as
if it was spoken by the "AI language" of all these countries and
institutions, a series of cliches and standard forms, juxtaposed.

I and a few others opposed such an output, and required the intervention of
philosophers and other humanists, to expose the fallacies and to propose

Among them was, for example, philosopher Aldo Masullo (you can see an
extract of the interview which we did for this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMEBZGLSdy0 in italian, sorry).

>From this action, an additional chapter was added to the output
publication, which was unimaginatively called "the human challenge". It was
revised from the initial, more radical, proposal, but we were happy that
these proposals made it through the apparatus.

We held an event for this in Rome at Palazzo  delle Esposizioni, also
engaging the EU Commission through its STARTS program and a variety of
foundations, organizations and also businesses, which were engaged through
the narrative of a new possible "made in Italy" that addresses data and
computation by establishing collaboration paths between arts, design,
fashion with science and technology, to explore not extractive models
anymore, but generative ones deeply rooted in society in ways that are able
to address the psychological, social, aesthetic, cultural and, most
important of all, existential challenges posed by technologies, and in
particular data + computation

If you want, you can learn more about the event here:


A few months after that, when the government was changed in Italy, the task
force on AI was disassembled, and then recreated inside the ministry of
economic development, whose minister is Luigi Di Maio, the head of the
populist 5 star movement, for which data and AI are crucial technologies (a
"party" which advocates and promotes direct democracy and, at the same
time, uses platforms that are not open source, transparent etc: very
psychedelic :)  )

Only a few of the participants of the previous task force were confirmed,
and none of the faction which helped me to promote the action which I just
told you about.

Nonetheless, we are still in the process of conducting such actions in
Italy, and we're actively collaborating with institutions and many
foundations and organizations.

Sadly, we have not found any support in any recognized political party, who
have chosen to conduct actions along lines that are really simplistic,
solutionistic and, most of all, technical solutions-driven: there are an
aboundance of blockchain, AI, data, algorithmic government etc commissions
and workiing tables of all sorts, but none of them are addressing the
human, environmental, psychological, relational and, in one word,
existential mutation that comes with our new and everchanging condition on
the planet.

best wishes to you all!

On Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 6:33 PM Geert Lovink <geert@xs4all.nl> wrote:

> Dear nettimers,
> I read this policy paper of the DiEM25 movement and really liked it. It’s
> good to see that there is progress in bringing together different fields
> that have been dealt with in different scenes for a long time. The text
> mentions the building of a digital commonwealth. “We want to end the
> practice of socialising the costs and privatizing the profits.”
> For sure, the tech agenda can be much more radical and concrete.


*[**MUTATION**]* *Art is Open Source *-  http://www.artisopensource.net
*[**CITIES**]* *Human Ecosystems Relazioni* - http://he-r.i
*[**NEAR FUTURE DESIGN**]* *Nefula Ltd* - http://www.nefula.com
*[**RIGHTS**]* *Ubiquitous Commons *- http://www.ubiquitouscommons.org
Professor of Near Future and Transmedia Design at ISIA Design Florence:

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