Friday, February 21, 2014

Cyberpunk, the next generation (annotated)


Cyberpunk
William Gibson first published his now-classic dystopian Sci Fi novel, “Neuromancer” in 1984. This year was a very prophetic and ominous year, especially for dystopian tomes, as it was the very year that another novelist, George Orwell… set as democracy’s expiration date, in his novel… Nineteen Eighty-Four. …“As literary political fiction and dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot, and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, and memory hole, have entered everyday use since its publication” (Wikipedia). Orwell’s work, published in 1949, was of course the granddaddy of all modern dystopian tales.

Orwell’s novel, and its infamous character, the global party leader: “Big Brother” …reflected collective fears emerging from post-WWII, of: unbridled Nationalism, censorship and surveillance. And of course, as in all good Sci Fi, Nineteen Eighty-Four served as a cautionary tale of an unpredictable future. Since its publication, “1984” has stood the test of time, to become the definitive work on dystopia. It continues to have relevance today, particularly for its examination of global government surveillance and the effect it visits upon the novel’s population.
 
Gibson’s Neuromancer has been credited for establishing “cyberpunk” as a literary genre, and as being the archetypical “Cyberpunk” novel. It appears that, like Orwell’s “1984,” Gibson’s “Neuromancer” is destined to become the definitive work on the new (and improved!) dystopia.

Neuromancer explores a dystopic near future where a handful of powerful families, via their manifold mega-corporations, security firms, paramilitary and artificial intelligences, control the planet and its off-world stations. Neuromancer also presents the reader with the archetypical “console cowboy” or computer hacker, the quintessential cyberpunk, possessing singular talent and wondrous technologies. It is the cyberpunk, either alone or in legion, who wage electronic war against “the machine” or the machinations of the powerful dominator elite.

Interestingly, “cyberpunk” is a word coined by Gardner Dozois, the science fiction writer and past editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, to describe the fiction of William Gibson. The term “went viral” in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, to become the definitive cultural icon of the emerging information age. The term has fallen out of favor in the twenty-first century, as being dated, clique and somewhat “campy.”

Cyberpunk 2.0
In a classic example of life imitating art, the next generation of cyberpunk is none-other than… Anonymous. Anonymous (used as a mass noun) is a loosely associated international network of activist and hacktivist entities. Collectivly, they/it represent the first globally operational generation of cyberpunk. Anonymous seeks mass awareness and revolution against what the collective perceives as corrupt entities… while attempting to maintain anonymity.



This brief history of Anonymous was taken from Wikipedia…

According to white supremacist radio host Hal Turner, in December 2006 and January 2007 individuals who identified themselves as Anonymous took Turner's website offline, costing him thousands of dollars in bandwidth bills. As a result, Turner sued 4chan, eBaum's World, 7chan, and other websites for copyright infringement. He lost his plea for an injunction, however, and failed to receive letters from the court, which caused the lawsuit to lapse.

On January 14, 2008, a video produced by the Church of Scientology, featuring an interview with Tom Cruise was leaked to the Internet and uploaded to YouTube. The Church issued a copyright violation claim against YouTube requesting the removal of the video. In response to this, Anonymous formulated Project Chanology... calling the action by the Church of Scientology a form of Internet censorship.

On January 21, 2008, individuals claiming to speak for Anonymous announced their goals and intentions via a video posted to YouTube entitled "Message to Scientology," and a press release declaring a "War on Scientology" against both the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center. In the press release, the group states that the attacks against the Church of Scientology will continue in order to protect the right to freedom of speech, and end what they believe to be the financial exploitation of church members.

On February 10, 2008, about 7000 people protested in more than 93 cities worldwide. Many protesters wore masks based on the character V from V for Vendetta (who, in turn, had been influenced by Guy Fawkes), or otherwise disguised their identities, in part to protect themselves from reprisals from the Church.

It was these actions taken against the Church of Scientology that brought world-wide notoriety to Anonymous. In the ensuing years, Anonymous has ebbed and flowed in its recognition and effectiveness. However, it is its very amorphous nature that allows Anonymous to thrive in our contemporary, over-mediated information age. It is precisely this de-centralized, spontaneously plural disorganization that befuddles law enforcement, in their attempts to “neutralize” or for that matter, to even understand Anonymous.

*How fast are you? How dense?
Cyberpunk is curious. Cyberpunk is tenacious. Cyberpunk is resilient. These are essential qualities of survival for the twenty-first century. The ability to retrieve (read: hack) and interpret (analyze) information is vital in navigating the modern world. It is in the interpretation of data that the cyberpunk’s survivability and opportunity resides. Deep thinking and the ability to “connect the dots” is what keeps the cyberpunk one step ahead of the authorities.

This is where the true value of cyberpunk dwells... critical thinking and the ability to convey intricate and complex information in a concise format. This is the power of poetry… relating complex intellectual and emotional content in an articulate manner. Poetic imagery is dense. It imparts a lot of information, in few words.

What’s good about cyberpunk is that it’s fast and dense. It has a lot of information. If you value information the most, then you don’t care about convention. It’s not, “Who do you know?” …it’s “How fast are you? How dense?” It’s not, “Do you talk like my old friends?” …it’s “What do you have to say?” It’s not, “Is this comfortable?” …it’s “Is this interesting?”


Cyberpunk is poised for a comeback. Cyberpunk 3.0 is about to impact our world in a big way. Whether it will take the form of the ever re-spawning Anonymous… or assume a new, as-yet unrecognized form… get ready. Cyberpunk is the response… the first line of defense… to the systems of control, the dominator culture… the machine. The creativity and resilience of cyberpunk is quite likely the “agent of change” that will act as a catalyst of evolution. It may be that cyberpunk was “sent here” from who knows where… to save our sorry ass.

…for Cyberpunk is also a changeling... a quick-change artist. Cyberpunk morphs as needed and stands upon the fulcrum point of social change. The next generation of cyberpunk is about to hit the “execute” button. As we all know, change occurs at an exponential rate in our modern world. Change is the one constant in Universe... it is the one thing we can truly count on. And as the (relatively) old saying goes… “In an evolving universe, he who stands still… moves backward.”

Another time-honored saying serves as a warning to the powers that be… to the machinations of the powerful dominator elite…

“What goes around, comes around.”

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* this sub-title comes from the archivally important article, titled: What is Cyberpunk? …by Rudy Rucker.

PDF of Neuromancer


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Cyberpunk Manifesto


A Cyberpunk Manifesto
By Christian As. Kirtchev (circa: 1997)

We are the ELECTRONIC MINDS, a group of free-minded rebels. Cyberpunks.
We live in Cyberspace, we are everywhere, we know no boundaries.
This is our manifest. The Cyberpunks' manifest.


I. Cyberpunk

1/ We are those, the Different. Technological rats, swimming in the ocean of information.
2/ We are the retiring, little kid at school, sitting at the last desk, in the corner of the class room. 3/ We are the teenager everybody considers strange 4/ We are the student hacking computer systems, exploring the depth of his reach. 5/ We are the grown-up in the park, sitting on a bench, laptop on his knees, programming the last virtual reality. 6/ Ours is the garage, stuffed with electronics. The soldering iron in the corner of the desk and the nearby disassembled radio- they are also ours. Ours is the cellar with computers, buzzing printers and beeping modems. 7/ We are those that see reality in a different way. Our point of view shows more than ordinary people can see. They see only what is outside, but we see what is inside. That's what we are - realists with the glasses of dreamers. 8/ We are those strange people, almost unknown to the neighborhood. People, indulged in their own thoughts, sitting day after day before the computer, ransacking the net for something. We are not often out of home, just from time to time, only to go to the nearby radio shack, or to the usual bar to meet some of the few friends we have, or to meet a client, or to the backstreet druggist... or just for a little walk. 9/ We do not have many friends, only a few with whom we go to parties. Everybody else we know we know on the net. Our real friends are there, on the other side of the line. We know them from our favorite IRC channel, from the News-Groups, from the systems we hang-around: 10/ We are those who don't give a shit about what people think about us, we don't care what we look like or what people talk about us in our absence. 11/ The majority of us likes to live in hiding, being unknown to everybody except those few we must inevitably contact with. 12/ Others love publicity, they love fame. They are all known in the underground world. Their names are often heard there.
But we are all united by one thing - we are Cyberpunks.

13/ Society does not understand us, we are "weird" and "crazy" people in the eyes of the ordinary people who live far from information and free ideas. Society denies our way of thinking - a society, living, thinking and breathing in one and only one way - a clichc. 14/ They deny us for we think like free people, and free thinking is forbidden. 15/ The Cyberpunk has outer appearance, he is no motion. Cyberpunks are people, starting from the ordinary and known to nobody person, to the artist-technomaniac, to the musician, playing electronic music, to the superficial scholar. 16/ The Cyberpunk is no literature genre anymore, not even an ordinary subculture. The Cyberpunk is a stand-alone new culture, offspring of the new age. A culture that unites our common interests and views. We are a unit. We are Cyberpunks.


II. Society

1/ The Society which surrounds us is clogged with concervacy pulling everything and everybody to itself, while it sinks slowly in the quicksands of time. 2/ However doggedly some refuse to believe it, it is obvious that we live in a sick society. The so called reforms which our governments so adeptly use to boast, are nothing else but a little step forward, when a whole jump can be done. 3/ People fear the new and unknown. They prefer the old, the known and checked truths. They are afraid of what the new can bring to them. They are afraid that they can lose what they have. 4/ Their fear is so strong that it has proclaimed the revolutional a foe and a the free idea - its weapon. That's their fault. 5/ People must leave this fear behind and go ahead. What's the sense to stick to the little you have now when you can have more tomorrow. Everything they must do is stretch their hands and feel for the new; give freedom to thoughts, ideas, to words: 6/ For centuries each generation has been brought up is a same pattern. Ideals is what everybody follows. Individuality is forgotten. People think in a same way, following the clichc drilled in them in childhood, the clichc-education for all children: And, when someone dares defy authority, he is punished and given as a bad example. "Here is what happens to you when you express your own opinion and deny your teacher's one". 7/ Our society is sick and need to be healed. The cure is a change in the system...


III. The System

1/ The System. Centuries-old, existing on principles that hang no more today. A System that has not changed much since the day of its birth. 2/ The System is wrong. 3/ The System must impose its truth upon us so that it can rule. The government needs us follow it blindly. For this reason we live in an informational eclipse. When people acquire information other that that from the government, they cannot distinguish the right from the wrong. So the lie becomes a truth - a truth, fundamental to everything else. Thus the leaders control with lies and the ordinary people have no notion of what is true and follow the government blindly, trusting it. 4/ We fight for freedom of information. We fight for freedom of speech and press. For the freedom to express our thoughts freely, without being persecuted by the system. 5/ Even in the most-developed and 'democratic' countries, the system imposes misinformation. Even in the countries that pretend to be the cradle of free speech. Misinformation is one of the system's main weapon. A weapon, they use very well. 6/ It is the Net that helps us spread the information freely. The Net, with no boundaries and information limit 7/ Ours is yours, yours is ours. 8/ Everyone can share information, no restrictions. 9/ Encrypting of informattion is our weapon. Thus the words of revolution can spread uninterrupted, and the government can only guess. 10/ The Net is our realm, in the Net we are Kings.11/ Laws. The world is changing, but the laws remain the same. The System is not changing, only a few details get redressed for the new time, but everything in the concept remains the same. 12/ We need new laws. Laws, fitting the times we live in, with the world that surrounds us. Not laws build on the basis of the past. Laws, build for today, laws, that will fit tomorrow. 13/ The laws that only refrain us. Laws that badly need revision.


IV. The vision

1/ Some people do not care much about what happens globally. They care about what happens around them, in their micro-universe. 2/ These people can only see a dark future, for they can only see the life they live now. 3/ Others show some concern about the global affairs. They are interested in everything,in the future in perspective, in what is going to happen globally. 4/ They have a more optimistic view. To them the future is cleaner and more beautiful, for they can see into it and they see a more mature man, a wiser world. 5/ We are in the middle. We are interested in what happens now, but what in what's gonna happen tomorow as well. 6/ We look in the net, and the net is growing wide and wider. 7/ Soon everything in this world will be swallowed by the net: from the military systems to the PC at home. 8/ But the net is a house of anarchy. 9/ It cannot be controlled and in this is its power. 10/ Every man will be dependent on the net. 11/ The whole information will be there, locked in the abysses of zeros and ones. 12/ Who controls the net, controls the information. 13/ We will live in a mixture of past and present. 14/ The bad come from the man, and the good comes from technology. 15/ The net will control the little man, and we will control the net. 16/ For is you do not control, you will be controlled. 17/ The Information is POWER!


V. Where are we?

1/ Where are we? 2/ We all live in a sick world, where hatred is a weapon, and freedom - a dream. 3/ The world grows so slowly. It is hard for a Cyberpunk to live in an underdeveloped world, looking the people around him, seeing how wrongly they develop. 4/ We go ahead, they pull us back again. Society suppressses us. Yes, it suppresses the freedom of thought. With its cruel education programs in schools and universities. They drill in the children their view of things and every attempt to express a different opinion is denied and punished. 5/ Our kids grow educated in this old and still unchanged system. A system that tolerates no freedom of thought and demands a strict obeyance to the reules... 6/ In what a worlds, how different from this, could we live now, if people were making jumps and not creeps. 7/ It is so hard to live in this world, Cyberpunk. 8/ It is as if time has stopped. 9/ We live on the right spot, but not in the right time. 10/ Everything is so ordinary, people are all the same, their deeds toos. As if society feels an urgent need to live back in time. 11/ Some, trying to find their own world, the world of a Cyberpunk, and finding it, build their own world. Build in their thoughts, it changes reality, lays over it and thus they live in a virtual world. The thought-up, build upon reality: 12/ Others simply get accustomed to the world as it is. They continue to live in it, although they dislike it. They have no other choice but the bare hope that the world will go out of its hollow and will go ahead.13/ What we are trying to do is change the situation. We are trying to adjust the present world to our needs and views. To use maximally what is fit and to ignore the trash. Where we can't, we just live in this world, like Cyberpunks, no matter how hard, when society fights us we fight back.14/ We build our worlds in Cyberspace. 15/ Among the zeros and ones, among the bits of information. 16/ We build our community. The community of Cyberpunks.


Unite!
Fight for your rights!

We are the ELECTRONIC MINDS, a group of free-minded rebels. Cyberpunks.
We live in Cyberspace, we are everywhere, we know no boundaries.
This is our manifest. The Cyberpunks' Manifest.

February 14, 1997

Christian As. Kirtchev


Public Domain Dedication
This work is dedicated to the Public Domain.


Brought to you
by


Translation by Illian Batanov Malchev, 1997

Friday, February 14, 2014

Death by Meta-Data











The Intercepta publication of First Look Media, was created by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill. It has a two-fold mission: one short-term, the other long-term.

The stated short-term mission is to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The editorial staff at the Intercept believe they have a vital obligation to this ongoing and evolving story, to these documents, and to the public.

Their long-term mission is to produce fearless, adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues. The editorial independence of Intercept journalists will be guaranteed. They will be encouraged to pursue their passions, cultivate a unique voice, and publish stories without regard to whom they might anger or alienate.

In their first exposé for their new venture, investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald reveal the National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes. 

A former drone operator for JSOC, the military’s Joint Special Operations Command, said the NSA identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cellphone tracking technologies, but it’s proven to be an unreliable tactic that’s resulted in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people. The U.S. has reportedly carried out strikes without knowing whether the individual in possession of a tracked cellphone or SIM card is in fact the intended target of the strike. The former drone operator, who was a source in the story, said, quote…

"It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people—we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy."


Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald have also revealed the NSA has equipped drones and other aircraft with devices known as "virtual base-tower transceivers." These devices create, in effect, a fake cellphone tower that can force a targeted person’s device to lock onto the NSA’s receiver without their knowledge.

Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald’s article appears in the new online publication, TheIntercept.org, published by First Look Media, the newly formed media venture started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Glenn and Jeremy co-founded The Intercept with filmmaker Laura Poitras.

“The relevance for people in the United States, particularly since 9/11, but really throughout U.S. history, is that the kind of technology and the kind of operations, the sorts of tactics that the U.S. uses on citizens of other nations around the world in its military operations or intelligence operations, end up coming home to the United States, as well.”

- Jeremy Scahill

- source for the above: The Intercept & Democracy Now!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Network 23’s “Big Time Television”












Big Time Television is a YouTube channel of high weirdness and low brow, created by none other than our own Jack Heart. BTtv provides commentary on modern socio-political inequities… especially in the context of the new American Plutocracy… AKA: the 1% …and the rise of the NSA State. BTtv uses media appropriation, simple animation and a variety of mash-up techniques to present current events in a (hopefully) entertaining way. It’s political snarkyness and humor aspires to the fine tradition of the likes of Monty Python and The Onion.

"Day after day... Making tomorrow look like
yesterday. Ya' know we said there's
no future? ...Well, this is it!"


- Blank Reg
BTtv has forged a powerful alliance with Network 23’s sentient AI and synthetic personality… the sultan of singularity… Max Headroom. Max, that viral computer-generated talk show host, lends his T-T-Talents to form the Powerful new mega-network conglomerate: BigTimeTelevison/ Network 23… BTtv23 for short. BTtv23 premiered in October, 2012... just in time for the immanentization of the eschaton... and in association with the legion of dynamic discord...

Here is an excerpt from BTtv23’s YouTube “about” page…

"BTtv23 chronicles and reports on our rapidly changing world... as it pertains to the nefarious exploits of the planetary plutocracy & the "so called" NWO. We broaden the perspective of conventional media (or as we like to call it; Babylon Bandwidth) by considering alternative & synchromystic viewpoints of the fringe in our analysis."


To date, BTtv23 has posted several 5 to 7 minute “Episodes” that both revel and lampoons the zeitgeist. Each episode examines such issues as media manipulation, governmental intrusion, even complex themes such as Philip K Dick’s psychological mind-trap, the “Black Iron Prison” and its associated viral meme… “The Empire Never Ended.” Now you too can keep up to the minute on the battle against “Babylon Bandwidth.” BTtv23 features commentary, breaking news & Op Ed. Stay tuned, for... some crazy shit is about to go down!

Big TimeTelevision