amateur anthropologist

… and he ↵said it again. Here’s an excerpt from a recent round of ↑Q&A with William Gibson:  Question: On more philosophical and complicated themes. You are an artist, a creator, but more: you are through your writing an influencer, a shaper of technology, of society itself. Does that scare you? Answer: I don’t actually buy that, the mighty thunderer and shaper of technology thing. I think I’m more of an interpreter of technologies, an amateur anthropologist. I’m a sort of Victorian weekend naturalist of technology, who somehow found a way to make a living doing that (and a bunch … Continue reading

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21st century man

  ‘It is like you to be more concerned for a machine than for a man.” He [eminent professor of sociology Simon Ninheimer] looked at her with savage contempt.     It left her [US Robots’ Chief Robopsychologist Dr. ↑Susan Calvin] unmoved. ‘It merely seems so, Professor Ninheimer. It is only by being concerned for robots that one can truly be concerned for twenty-first-century man. You would understand this if you were a roboticist.’     ‘I have read enough ↵robotics to know I don’t want to be a roboticist!’     ‘Pardon me, you have read a book on … Continue reading

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the cyberpunk educator

  Andrew J. Holden’s “↑The Cyberpunk Educator“ is “a documentary study of mainstream ‘cyberpunk’ films of the 1980’s- with a heavy focus on their literary, political, and cultural content. The film uses the structure of literary theorist Northrop Frye, and the cultural critiques of renowned anthropologist Michel Foucault to describe the common, repeating stories in Western culture, and their application to the political process. Though it’s an academic film, its also film about existentialist robots with guns, and it’s fun to watch.” … and it is free for download. … Continue reading

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sterling before and after westphalia

  ↑Bruce Sterling currently is jotting down ↑notes for a projected science fiction novel—maybe we again can, ↵like ↵before, witness a novel by a cyberpunk legend grow online. As a first Sterling published a list of political entities, plus according structuring principles and asked his readers: “Lemme know if you can think of more of these. Especially something that could plausibly replace the ↑Westphalian system, somewhere in the 21st century, without anybody much noticing.” Meanwhile he has recieved some ↑reader comments on ‘after westphalia’—now I have to make a new t-shirt for my “↑Second Life“ (SL) avatar, reading: “↑John Romero … Continue reading

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Favorite nemo’s gear

steampunk informed appropriation of mythical worlds and hardware ↑Captain Nemo‘s submarine “Nautilus” on the surface, getting entered by “cannibals”. The picture is for those, maybe a bit more traditionally oriented anthropologists, who dare to doubt that this vessel has anything to do with anthropology. It was clear as a scuttle—sometime around Christmas they would re-air “↑20,000 leagues under the sea,” the 1954 Disney rendition for the silver screen of ↑Jules Verne‘s ↑1870 novel. They always do, and so they did this time. Just having read ↑H. G. Wells‘ brilliant scientific romance “The first men in the moon” (1901), rewatching “Leagues” … Continue reading

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effect

  Great and strange ideas transcending experience often have less effect upon men and women than smaller, more tangible considerations. (Wells 1995 [1897]: 44)  ‘But did you—are you sure? Suppose a mirror for instance—hallucinations are so easily produced. I don’t know if you have ever seen a really good conjuror—’ (Wells 1995 [1897]: 48)  WELLS, HERBERT GEORGE. 1995 [1897]. The invisible man. London: Everyman. … Continue reading

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