GOOGLE EARTH, PEPSI MOON

MAPS, MODELS AND SYNTHETIC WORLDS ∆ It was 2551 BE (2008 in the Western calendar), and I was teaching at a school in Bangkok.  I wasn’t enjoying it much. A top-dollar international school, but behind the slick PR it was an educational mess. Eight forty-minute periods in a day, and class sizes way too big. […]

CLOSING the SYSTEM

“The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. […]

THE SADNESS OF ELON MUSK

∆ Before Buaphan saw that Starlink satellite train silently crossing the pre-dawn sky, I’d never taken much interest in Elon Musk. Now, I’ve been catching up. Spacing out on Starlink. Trying get my head around Neuralink.  Is Musk a genius? Well, if a genius is someone who doesn’t just master a field but changes it […]

The MERCY of MACHINES

∆ In 1998, Bill Joy, the founder and Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems, co-author of Java script and chair of a presidential commission on the future of IT research, was invited to speak at a tech conference. The title of the conference was ‘Telecosm: the World after Bandwidth Abundance’. “From the moment I became involved in […]

The AI MODEL

∆ On November 4th, 2018, after more than six years holed up inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and eight under arbitrary detention, Julian Assange gave what would turn out to be his last video conference before all communications were cut. Six months later, he was dragged out of the embassy by British police and […]

MOTHERLODE

The technological leaps forward represented by Starlink sound fantastically impressive… propulsion landings… the krypton ion-thrusters and control momentum gyroscopes… attitudinal positioning systems and autonomous debris avoidance… silicon carbide lasers… light-pulse data transmission… I can’t pretend to understand much of it on a technical level. In any case I’m more interested in the impacts — technological, […]

BACKHAUL

As Buaphan stood there, pan in hand, staring at the strange trail of lights crossing the pre-dawn sky, the ‘pandemic’ was already on the horizon, a couple of thousand kilometres to the north in Wuhan, China. Two and a half months later, the lockdowns would come down like a great suffocating blanket across the planet, […]

FOOTFALL

My good friend Aaron the Seneca is sceptical. ‘Who would have thought I was so important?’ he asks, with gentle irony. ‘I know, right?’ I say. I know what he means. He’s not talking about himself: he means all of us.

Who would want to spy on nobodies like us?

CONSTELLATION

∆ Tues 7 January, 2563 BE (2020 AD).  The old lady was up before dawn, as she always is. She and her husband farm a few rai of land in Isan, Northern Thailand, growing vegetables, rice and sugar. In landlocked Isan it gets hellish hot in the middle of the day, and the best hours […]

A BRILLIANT EQUIVOCATION 

THE CONSPIRACY MYTH by Charles Eisenstein — A Response ‘The first hints of a philosophy of the ultimate revolution — the revolution which lies beyond politics and economics, and which aims at total subversion of the individual’s psychology and physiology — are to be found in the Marquis de Sade, who regarded himself as the […]