The Psychoanalysis of Artificial Intelligence

This blog is dedicated to analyzing the field of ‘artificial intelligence’ specifically, and the tech industry generally from a materialist perspective. By materialist perspective, I mean a point of view informed, in large measure by historical materialism but also, by a deep analysis of the nuts and bolts – the supply chains, extractive industrial activity,…

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Windows Vista as Neoliberal Instrument

Synopsis Last night, before nodding off to sleep, a stray memory flitted across (or through?) my synapses; a posting I made to the Left Business Observer Listserv, titled “Windows Vista as Neoliberal Instrument”. This was, I think, my first attempt to merge my work in information technology with my (always in formation and never complete)…

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Techno-Skepticism: A Tactical Skill

Techno-skepticism is a vital and necessary response to a world awash in self-promoting boosterism and the capitalist utilized ideologies of techno-optimism and techno-determinism. To define terms, techno-optimism is the belief any proposed technology is possible and good. Optimists look to past examples of things that were once impossible which became possible – such as machine…

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The Metaverse: A Brief Inquiry

Facebook’s plan to become a ‘Metaverse company‘ (and indeed, completely rebrand the company around this concept) has attracted a lot of comment in tech media and social media spaces. This is unsurprising; both because the idea seems futuristic (being based on a science fiction confection introduced in Neal Stephenson’s dystopian 1992 novel ‘Snow Crash‘) and…

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What’s Behind the Explosion of AI?

Synopsis The spread of AI (algorithmic) harms such as automated recidivism and benefits determination systems has been accelerated by the cloud era which has made the proliferation of algorithmic automation possible; indeed, the companies providing cloud services promote their role as accelerators.  Background  We are witnessing a significant change in the way computing power is used and engineered by public and private organizations….

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Pointillistic But Useful: A Machine Learning Object Lesson

I devote a lot of time to understanding, critiquing and criticizing the AI Industrial Complex. Although much – perhaps most- of this sector’s output is absurd, or dangerous (AI reading emotions and automated benefits fraud determination being two such examples) there are examples of uses that are neither which we can learn from. This post…

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Public Cloud as a Public Good

This post presents the notes and arguments I used during my interview with hosts Ned and Ethan for the Day Two Cloud podcast (https://daytwocloud.io/). The subject is the need for a public cloud that’s owned by governments as an alternative to the private Cloud Solution Providers – CSPs – (not a replacement for those services,…

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Star Trek’s Concept of AI is Better Than Ours

Introduction The fictional world of Star Trek, which depicts fanciful technologies such as warp drive, replicators and transporters, presents a surprisingly more realistic view of the potential uses for, and evolution of, advanced computation than the press releases of Google etc. and supportively breathless media accounts.  I say more realistic, because, with notable exceptions (typically…

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Boston Dynamics: A Brief Inquiry

As with death and taxes, you can be certain that whenever a video showing a Boston Dynamics robot is shared on Twitter, there are three reliable formulations: 1.) ‘Skynet’2.) Robot overlords3.) Techie admiration for engineering prowess Typically missing are considerations of BD’s business model; who are the customers and what are these robots actually good…

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Attack Mannequins: AI as Propaganda

What follows is a sketch, the foundation of a propaganda model, focused on what I’ll call the ‘AI Industrial Complex‘. By the term AI Industrial Complex, (AIIC) I mean the combination of technological capacity (or the lack thereof) with marketing promotion, media hype and capitalist activity that seeks to diminish the value of human labor…

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