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Digital Ecosystems Cloud Computing

The social paradigms and technologies of Digital Ecosystems, including the community ownership of digital infrastructure, can remedy these concerns. So, Cloud Computing combined with the principles of Digital Ecosystems provides a compelling socio-technical conceptualisation for sustainable distributed computing, utilising the spare resources of networked personal computers to provide the facilities of a virtual data centre to form collectively a Community Cloud.

This article was orginally published by Gerard Briscoe of Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Alexandros Marinos of Department of Computing, Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences, University of Surrey. For more information on their work please go to www.communityclouds.net

 

Art of Security

Ever since the end of the Cold War, culture has made a dramatic return to the international stage. The predictions are that its presence will be even more widely felt in the new millennium [...] displacing military coercion as a political tool. A new security culture is emerging in key sectors of society. Security has become a central economic, societal and political issue and reaches deep into the sphere of art and culture. While culture increasingly receives the spotlight in International Relations studies and military strategy documents the OECD calls for a "Culture of Security" and encourages the development of a mindset to respond to the threats and vulnerabilities of Information Systems Although this need for safety can get in conflict with the need for freedom of art and expression, this freedom is itself based on security for the arts.

 

Four Days ago I got my Google Music Beta invite. It was exciting since I have for ages thought about the best way to preserve my now entirely digital music collection. As of 2009 I ingested all my CDs into MP3 files and have not looked back. But with digitization a whole new world of pain opened up. Issues such as duplication in my iTunes playlists, back-up to hard-drive and moving from computer to computer proved that by moving technology does not provide a digital Shangri-La for music. I am a fan of both Spotify.com and Grooveshark.com but both services lack the ability for me to have my music collection as a cloud based services available to all my devices across the globe.

 

In the non-conserved spread information that is received by a node or a users will continue to experience the content or information even as it is transmitted to another node or user. What is interesting about this model to social media networks is that the Non-Conserved Spread Model is extremely suitable for explaining the transmission of infectious diseases. The point here is that information in social media networks like twitter behaves like infectious diseases and in such the information/content is thereby viral in its ability to spread throughout the network. In this way there is a similarity between Social Media Networks and other technological and biological networks.

In the last 4 years the growth of social networks has brought more and more of the developed worlds population online in all areas of life. From banking, to news, to search and not least to social networks. Social Networks especially has provided a new digital way of life. The issue with facebook (or any social network) and privacy is more about how it is technological possible to managing two fundamental concepts in social networking: the need for users to add personal data vs. the need to manage this data in an open online environment. Social networks exists and thrive because we as users feel comfortable adding our personal information so it is up to the social network to provide the user with tools by which we can manage how our personal data is presented.

 

Social media excels at connection people but only by specialising. By this I mean that people connect via social media not on whether they actually would like/dislike people in an everyday environment but by what they have in common. Be it an interest in stamp collection, technology or music, social media connects because of a shared specialisation between users.

In the case of social media it can be the media it they have in common. Social Media connects people because of Social Media – not because people have a need to connect in this way. For Social Media "the medium is the message" as postulated by Marshal McLuhan.

This comes down to defining events vs. news. If news is a summary of events that has happened filtered through the perception of a small number of individuals then the Google search provides news for users. If news is an event generated by user participation then Twitter offers the right platform for User Generated News. The problem with User Generated News at the moment is the information overload factor. If it is possible to let bottom-up approaches distil the information for individual users then it will improve accuracy of the information and reduce information overload. This would enable the multitudes to determine what is news rather than the top-down approach of Old Media.

There is one remarkable element in the common experience of working with digital technologies—that is, with the ubiquitous computer—that in our minds surely resists fitting inside a picture of the closed possibilistic system that Massumi describes. There is always a critical moment, dramatic and stressful most of the times, when the computer unpredictably "decides" to throw our brilliant "realization of the possible" to the unreachable depths of oblivion. CRASH. Error –090977. "You will lose any unsaved changes." "The program is not responding. Please tell Microsoft about this problem." RESTART. "But why?", we may yawn, "Why is this happening right now? It was working perfectly before. What is the difference?"

Memory and Indexing

The ability to externalise memory in a physical form is the technology that enables human culture. From the invention of papyrus to the printing press these very first developments in the externalisation of our memory provide the incubator for the progressive development of human culture. It provides the ability to transmit memory and experience through generations and across cultures with very little error.

It can therefore be said that externalisations of memory is technological interaction with biology resulting in the proliferation of human culture. With the externalisation of memory new generations can draw upon memory derived from multiple layers of time and space. But the real problem with any form of memory is the accumulative effect of storing data and the methodology in retrieving it.

 

Spinozist Creatures

Spinozian ethology defines a body by its latitude: the catalogue of intensive qualities, dynamic capacities, "…what affects or is affected by the thing, what moves or is moved by it". He is a Spinozist again when he considers "the problem of building Creatures as an engineering problem".

Ethology also defines bodies by their longitude: the total sum of extensive qualities or molecular kinetics, relations of motion and rest, speed and slowness. "Artifice is fully a part of Nature", Deleuze reminds us, "since each thing, on the immanent plane of Nature, is defined by the arrangements of motions and affects into which it enters, whether these arrangements are artificial or natural"

 

Brave New Mobile World

In this day and age it is interesting to hear about companies trying to find successful deployment of location-based services in the West. Contrast that to the million of Children that accesses the Internet through the mobile phone in Low-tech areas around the world and using location based services on a daily basis. In Low-tech regions location-based services are part of everyday life. The focus on consumption and advertising from big High-Tech companies ensure that focus on why user would want to access location-based services have been lost.

Appropriation of Technology

During the Cold War, DARPA launched a project called Assault Breaker. It was aimed at providing a counter to the 20,000 heavy tanks that the WARSAW Pact had stationed at the borders to Western Europe. NATO had only around 7,000 heavy tanks to oppose any attack by the Soviet Union. Assault Breaker was designed to strike far behind enemy lines disrupting and destroying Soviet reinforcements and support for all that hardware.

The system was never deployed but US intelligence officers started to read in Soviet military literature that Russian analyst were writing with alarm about this new development. The analyst thought that the deployment was imminent and believed that Assault Breaker was the dawn of a new epoch of warfare. This was referred to as "military-technical revolution".