justify – steppling

image by Portia Zvavahera (2nd image in piece)

piece (2023) by john steppling @johnsteppling – justify – [https://john-steppling.com/2023/03/justify/]

via jon husband fb:

It is (for me) very heavy reading, mind-stretching. It reflects on societies as crucibles for madness, colonialism, racism, misogyny, anti-semitism, capitalism and how AI has come from and is being interwoven into human society – justifying where it came from and what will be coming.. I found the conclusion very interesting, and discouraging.

& twitter – he used a safiya umoja noble quote [https://twitter.com/jonhusband/status/1641835363348914177?s=20]:

“Deep machine learning, which is using algorithms to replicate human thinking, is predicated on specific values from specific kinds of people—namely, the most powerful institutions in society and those who control them. ” ~ Safiya Umoja Noble (Ibid)

notes/quotes from piece (he mostly uses quotes):

“In capitalism, all media functions as economic media... t
Jonathan Beller (Video lecture, Economic Media; the Decolonization of Money. Goethe-Institut San Francisco)

mirror of us from the get go (aka: all of history ness).. any form of m\a\p as cancerous distraction

“ I believe that artificial intelligence will become a major human rights issue in the twenty-first century. We are only beginning to understand the long-term consequences of these *decision-making tools in both masking and deepening social inequality.”

Safiya Umoja Noble .. t(Algorithms of Oppression)

*to me.. decision making itself is deepening all the not-us ness.. ie: decision making is unmooring us law.. need to try curiosity over decision making

safiya umoja noble.. algos of oppression.. et al

As one reads the mainstream news, or legacy news outlets, whatever word you like, the corporate news outlets, one will inevitably find a high number of pieces on AI, on trans rights or lack thereof, and of course almost all articles on almost any topic (including AI, transgenderism) will include the shadow of climate change. The word ‘climate’ itself is simply ubiquitous. What you will not find are stories about US/NATO war with Ukraine coupled to the word ‘climate’. And larger and larger numbers of people are awakening to the fact that nearly all media is (per Beller) *economic*. And this segues into the first topic, or maybe first two topics here, and that is media (and by extension technology) and second the subject of climate change. And when I speak of technology, I have in mind digital tech, and AI, and the relationship these *new* technae have with the old analog industrial tech of 150 years ago.

I have written about AI several times, so I wanted to approach it here from the the marketing direction, and as a part of this great overconfidence in science (which means marketed science, scientism, or whatever you want to call it). The public is told to believe in stuff like de-carbonization, and are warned 2 degrees will cause irreversible catastrophes. Except these dire predictions never seem to happen. Climate fear mongering is incredibly good at kicking the can down the road. And it serves, partly, to distract from issues of pollution. .t

perhaps rather cancerous distractions from issues of legit energy.. ie: what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

mufleh humanity lawwe have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh

The entire edifice of global warming (or climate change) has been created to instill a kind of existential terror in people (we will discuss later why existential terror is profitable). *You will note the ruling class, the 1% of people who own most of the planet, are not scared. They do not alter their behavior in the least. Private jet travel is only increasing. They continue to buy beach front properties. Cutting across these topics is of course economics. For science itself has a sort of capitalist structural aspect, and certainly technology does. **Jonathan Beller has investigated such questions for a while now, looking at capitalism in the digital age as the newest incarnation of colonialism, essentially.

*not true.. us & them ness is also a cancerous distraction.. khan filling the gaps law.. maté trump law.. et al

**not new.. language as control/enclosure.. literacy and numeracy as colonialism/control/enclosure.. et al

“Racial Capitalism plus the notion of informatics as an extension and intensification of the dynamics of the value form diagrams a rudimentary notion of what I call Computational Capital. This term means not just capitalism as a computer, nor simply capitalism with or by means of the digital computer, it means capitalism as a digitally enabled program of accumulation and dispossession; capitalism as the deployment and intensive development of algorithms of inequality.”
Jonathan Beller (The Message is Murder)

yes perpetuating it.. but we always have been in some form.. often via the least visible/describable/media-able

But, the germane issue is how technology, and today digital tech, and the world of algorithms, is an extension of the fundamental white supremacist scaffolding on which capitalism exists. Safiya Umoja Noble rather comprehensively dissects, for example, the anti-black racism of Google Search. This is but one obvious example. It does, however, beg a deeper question, one I think Beller wrestles with . And that is that the very invention of photographic technology was one that inscribed whiteness. It was not simply that people (with racist values) were making algorithmic decisions through code ( or taking racist photographs), but that the framework, the technological system that code sustained (and invented?) could be traced backward to the colonial empire of Europe. That the photograph privileged whiteness inherently. That such optical inventions had as their raison d’etre the sanctification of whiteness.

But before epistemological, or even ontological questions, there should be some clarity about science itself and class.

science ness and marsh label law ness et al

“…many of these models encoded human prejudice, misunderstanding, and bias into the software systems that increasingly managed our lives. Like gods, these mathematical models were opaque, their workings invisible to all but the highest priests in their domain: mathematicians and computer scientists. Their verdicts, even when wrong or harmful, were beyond dispute or appeal. And they tended to punish the poor and the oppressed in our society, while making the rich richer.”
Cathy O’Neil (Weapons of Math Destruction)

cathy o’neil.. weapons of math

even deeper .. of math and men.. any form of measuring things et al.. bateson measuring as managing law.. et al

Safiya Umoja Noble quotes O’Neil, who is a data scientist, and a bit later writes “*Our work, each of us, in our respective way, is about interrogating the many ways that data and computing have become so profoundly their own “truth” that even in the face of evidence, the public still struggles to hold tech companies accountable for the products and errors of their ways. ” (Ibid)

*to me.. that too is a cancerous distraction

again.. need curiosity over decision making.. that finite set of choices (what to argue/interrogate about et al).. is keeping us from us..

today we have the means (the very means we’re interrogating.. afraid of.. calling out.. because missing its potential) for infinitesimal structures approaching the limit of structureless\ness and/or vice versa .. aka: ginorm/small ness

a means where we can org around legit needs

to me.. need to spend more energy on figuring out the good we’re missing.. rather than rallying around our frustration/fear/discouragement of the bad

This is one of the key issues in contemporary marketing around AI. Technics are their own truth. Unassailable and immune to real challenge. And here loom questions of law. International criminal courts are largely pantomime performances to reassure the ruling class. Bush and Obama will never stand trial for war crimes. Tony Blair will never stand trial for crimes against humanity. And neither will the corporate ownership of internet platforms. Nor the defense industry that manufactures white phosphorous or cluster bombs. Athletes will be stimatized for using steroids. Pharmaceutical companies that wildly over manufacture these steroids will never suffer even a whisper of criticism. And such immunity, such invisible power, begins to resemble something Godlike

managerial feudalism to revolt of caring classes et al

“Deep machine learning, which is using algorithms to replicate human thinking, is predicated on specific values from specific kinds of people—namely, the most powerful institutions in society and those who control them. ”
Safiya Umoja Noble (Ibid)

Beller makes an astute observation in that interview in which he says the growing precarity coupled to the Pandemic protocols and (what he terms) *climate racism* make long term planning very difficult. *This of course is a part of the sense of isolation and loneliness that many feel. They are estranged from their own ambitions and aspirations, from their dreams. And these ideas, or values, are the basic ingredient of the entertainment industry. **What people are almost completely cut off from having is exactly what Hollywood constantly tells them they can have. Should have. And if they don’t have, then it must be their own fault. It is their own failures that has cost them their dreams. (which is partly why Greta’s ‘you stole my dreams’ scold is so irritating, and probably so NOT accidental). The loss of freedom of movement (or partial but clearly this is the project for global governance) only intensifies this sense of loneliness. Just the mere threat of the loss of freedom of movement is sufficient to cause unbearable anxiety

*that gets to bachelard oikos lawoikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

**that gets to what we need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature so we can org around legit needs

“Laing proposed taking an ‘existential-phenomenological’ approach to mental illness, arguing that people diagnosed with schizophrenia experienced a split within themselves and from the world around them.”
Hannah Proctor (Sedgwick, Laing, and the Politics of Mental Illness. *Radical Philosophy*, June 2016)

myth of normal et al.. crazywise (doc) et al

The intent of their psychology is political and critical; the psychology of madness seeks to indict, not absolve, a maddening society. Their work seethes with discontent. In this as well as in their serious philosophical interests they radically diverge from the conformist psychologies.”
Russell Jacoby (Social Amnesia)

Jacoby is writing of Laing and his associate David Cooper. And I should note again, Jacoby is the most neglected great writer on psychology in the second half of the century. And Social Amnesia should be required reading for everyone. But this was the starting point for why Laing still matters. Madness itself is seen as an indictment.

crazywise (doc)

*Laing saw schizophrenia was a particular strategy a person employs to be able to live in an unlivable situation..t And this was a keen insight, but **the problem, as Jacoby observes, is that there is little investigation of what made that situation unlivable..t In a sense the family, for Laing, was society. But the family was not seen as a victim itself.

*cope\ing ness.. hari present in society law ness.. and why we need hari rat park law et al

**perhaps just can’t hear it.. ie: missing pieces.. need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening .. ie: tech as it could be

“The contradiction that inheres in all therapy turns into an antinomy. If the family is the immediate context of schizophrenia, it is not the context – society. Inasmuch as the limitations of family therapy are not acknowledged, the therapy begins to confuse itself with social change.
Russell Jacoby (Ibid)

grammatis broken law et al

Cedric Robinson quoted this in a remarkable chapter in his book on racial capitalism. Writing of Marx…

“He {Marx} said, it is not the Jews who have made themselves, it is the society which required the Jews, which allows the Jews to maintain themselves. He was arguing then that the culture had conceptualized a people and a process in the wrong way, in an absurd way, in an irrational way, ultimately, in a very destructive way. He goes on to say in fact, that Judaism is the ideology of civil society, not of Jews, it is the ideology of civil society. He is making the argument that in fact the Jew has become the symbol of the society, a symbol that it cannot deal with directly, which it must project on to some thing, which must – in Marx’s term – alienate from itself. The society had developed a symbol for itself, but outside of itself. And it called that symbol the Jew. Marx was saying, it is no longer possible to understand German society unless you recognize it in the Jew, in its Jew. The first attack is an attack on culture. Marx refused to accept the terms, the language, the conceptualizations of the society which he was addressing. He could not accept them because he understood them[…]”
Cedric J. Robinson ( On racial capitalism, Black internationalism, and cultures of resistance)

hari rat park law.. need a means to get out.. (of the cage/sea world)

let’s use tech/ai/whatever to help get us out.. humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity  .. simultaneous fittingness.. everyone in sync..

Historian John Diggins notes that Fortune Magazine devoted an entire issue to praising Mussolini and the Italian state. And warned readers to avoid glib generalities about fascism, and to remember that Mussolini was imbuing the society with ‘Discipline, Duty, Courage, Glory, and Sacrifice’. And here it is worth underscoring Robinson’s points about Fascism appropriation of Zionism (and vice versa). And of course in the U.S. the fascists were seen as a defense against Soviet communism. In all this the sense of ‘racial destiny’ looms and hovers above the machinations of business and religion.

“The reduction of a social configuration to a concrete and immediate one explains a striking feature and irony of much of the radical and existential psychology: the omission of a class analysis of mental illness. { } The critique of a quasi-biological psychology in the name of society forgets that biological medicine is not outside the social dynamic.”
Russell Jacoby (Ibid)

Nor is technology.

? not sure what he’s saying

The bourgeois error is to see a specific issue and imagine it is universal. Today one hears constantly about communication, and rarely if ever the historical evolution of the techniques (as it were) that allow for communication. But Adorno noted that occultism is the compliment to reification. When the real world is intolerable, the psychological solution (found in mysticism) is to decide that the world one sees is not the *real* world. There must be one behind it. And this is found in the western trivialization of Eastern thought. And it becomes its own form of Orientalism. The most popular genre in Hollywood today is fantasy and in particular stories that suggest or discover deep unknown worlds behind the ordinary daily boring life of the middle class.

there is – a cage .. yeah.. but not the natural cage.. where conditions aren’t set for destruction

Rather than seeing an abatement of racism in the play of “color-blind” technologies, we experience its automation. What I am calling computational colonialism means an extractive and violent mediation at scales ranging from the sub-atomic to the planetary that result in the devaluation and dispossession of people(s). “
Jonathan Beller (Ibid).. t

i’d call that any form of m\a\p

Beller points out that digital technologies, in their ongoing development from monetary instruments to computational computing are furthering the logics financialization. .tAnd this is evident today in the Great Reset notion. It is evident in the desire for a cashless society.

david on finance.. et al

any form of m\a\p

The one problem with Beller, however, is in his own failure (at times) to distinguish or recognize the non-identical. Or perhaps to just not be dialectical enough. The system is racialized, but not everything in it succumbs to this logic. Or rather, on one level it does, it is organized within. Capitalisms’ coming into existence fed and was nourished by a racialized belief system designed to justify subjugation of other humans. Slavery. Those Google search results can be corrected to be less glaringly racist. Maybe even to not be *racist* at all. *Google doesn’t care..t

*huge.. let’s just focus on that.. using tech so it’s w/o judgment

A sign will stand in for a system, a proxy will stand for the real, and a toy model will be asked to substitute for the infinite complexity of human subjectivity. By looking at how classifications are made, we see how technical schemas enforce hierarchies and magnify inequity. Machine learning presents us with a regime of normative reasoning that, when in the ascendant, takes shape as a powerful governing rationality. { } The military past and present of artificial intelligence have shaped the practices of surveillance, data extraction, and risk assessment we see today. The deep interconnections between the tech sector and the military are now being reined in to fit a strong nationalist agenda. Meanwhile, extralegal tools used by the intelligence community have now dispersed, moving from the military world into the commercial technology sector, to be used in classrooms, police stations, workplaces, and unemployment offices. The military logics that have shaped AI systems are now part of the workings of municipal government, and they are further skewing the relation between states and subjects”.
Kate Crawford (The Atlas of AI)

It is important to consider what AI means in all this. And partly this is because the term *AI* is now a full on brand.

Artificial intelligence, then, is an idea, an infrastructure, an industry, a form of exercising power, and a way of seeing; it’s also a manifestation of highly organized capital backed by vast systems of extraction and logistics, with supply chains that wrap around the entire planet.”
Kate Crawford (Ibid)

AI is a technique more than it is a technology, actually. And I would argue its not actually revolutionizing anything per se. As I say, it is a brand. It is marketed the way all brands are marketed. From detergent to Tomahawk missiles.

The first part of that quote (from Crawford) is worth unpacking a bit, too. It is a form of power. As she said elsewhere, a registry of power. And a way of seeing. Ah, well, yes but with an asterisk. It might be better to say it is a way of NOT seeing. (those Lego cities my kids build become allegories). Climate *science* is tied into prediction. And Crawford observed (from my earlier post) AI emphasized the predictive as a way of reducing the complexity of the world. And this reduction would allow for, so the thinking went, finding the meaningful detail amid all the noise. But deciding on the meaningful detail is purely subjective. And in a society of waning *meaning* that is likely to be ever more difficult. There is, additionally, a growing normalizing of anticipation to the official answer. The experience of the anticipatory now provides a soothing familiarity..t

predict\able ness as cancerous distraction

graeber unpredictability/surprise law et al

This leads back to Beller at the top, in a sense. What Beller calls ‘Racial Capitalism’, he describes as a violent extractive system functioning on the historical production of social difference. What the marketing term *AI* is primarily doing is a form of mystification. It is like all secret documents that nobody can understand but the high priests. AI is the device that drives the Reset, it drives the Pandemic protocols, and it drives the US/NATO war machine, too. And it slipped into a perfectly fitting seat on Wall Street. And most of all it justifies the Climate emergency in the same manner science was employed to justify slavery and colonialism..t

need ai as augmenting interconnectedness

imagine if we listened to the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday & used that data to connect us (tech as it could be.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness)


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b legit free people