FUTURE X

FUTURE X

Principles: ?

Authors: Future Studies Subscribers

Example: The engineering company Boston Dynamics with the funding of DARPA has developed various prototypes for what is now known as the quadrupled military robot with designs that assimilate species found in the natural world (the rapid Cheetah, the heavy BigDog, the insectoid RiSE). The wider public has yet to see them in action.  

Can they smell you? Cold panic has transfigured these narrow alleys into labyrinths. You have fled through the dawn and now every step feels like the weight of lead, every vessel inside your temples has turned into a compass, a rhythm. The dry thumps of your boots get absorbed by the thickness of the hollow city walls, but the machinic clatter gets to you and slices through your skull. They are here. Is it useless to stay on the run? You know this ancient game very well: hunter and the hunted. But there is a clear disadvantage when this game gets mapped out in future; there is no longer the need of sense of smell. You also know this is the end of the labyrinth (your labyrinth) and you have reached a wall. Freezing sweat drops. You are fresh prey. The insidious army is here; their hexagonal red eyes signaling the metallic jaws that will soon feast on your muted trills.

Image: Boston Dynamics 
https://www.treehugger.com/boston-dynamics-family-strange-amazing-robots-4862756

Post Author: Federico Nieto

POST_002: SILHOUETTES OF THE BORDER

Example: Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) otherwise known as sound cannons are being used by police officers in Greece to stop the crossing of Turkish migrants to the European Union.  These devices are used as weapons that emit painful sound-frequencies to neuter unwanted territorial infiltrations.   

As for their faces, sometimes they had to wrap them inside their coats. Sometimes the hand tapped nervously inside the dark underside of the left pocket. Other times they slipped inside the protuberance on the right shoulder. One time they were demanded to strip bare. 'This visa is missing three holographic seals and a blood-proof'. And once again deported. But in the time of Future Control there are no longer visas, authenticity scans or even deportations. Unannounced sound waves hit their bodies. Their faces remain still and wrapped inside their coats: no more nervous trembling, no more suspicions. They are now silent silhouettes strewn across the fields.

Image/Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/06/05/greece-denmark-migrants/


Post Author: Federico Nieto

POST_003: THE MAP AND THE TERRITORY

Example: A large plot of land has been bought off in the US state of Nevada by cryptocurrency millionaire Jeffrey Berns, head of the software company Blockchains. Berns plans to build an independent city that uses cryptocurrency as its main financial asset.

The map and the territory relationship is about to be transformed. The boundaries of the commensurable get now drafted from the incommensurable as virtual city planners model the blueprint for their facsimile world using the shards of the one they want to leave behind: no state intervention flourishes on the manufactured environment entrapping its own education sector and urban planning, a digital currency standard and massive consumer centers. For the cherry on the top, the living-map will also have its own corporate demiurge to make the complacent inhabitants of this mockup ‘utopia’ feel minified.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56409924

Post Author: Federico Nieto

POST_004: INHERITORS

Example: A group of hackers in Ukraine were recently captured by police after the slow spread of Clop ransomware, a malignant program that encrypts personal files and demands a monetary ransom that must be answered if one wants to rescue these files from permanent deletion.

Digital whispers used to collude under a single name: the Lords of Doom. Panic and awe entangled in the fast typing that preceded catastrophic scams, worldwide service and economic crashes and the smooth engineering of software that ransomed private data extracted from military and governmental platforms. In the present, those whispers have disintegrated into thin air as the inheritors of Doom have been terminated in the era of anti-security breaching. Nevertheless, Clop ransomware has recently tried to re-introduce and simulate these past terrors in the yawning passivity of platform-capitalism before being prematurely stifled to death. With this, one can only wish for the true inheritors of Doom to follow the lead.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/ukraine-arrests-clop-ransomware-gang-members-seizes-servers/

POST_005: MENTAL HEALTH DESIGN

Example: Aifred Health is a prize winning AI assistant set out to tailor mental-health treatments using deep learning.

As the psychoanalytical divan gets discarded into the shadows, we delve further and further into standardized practices that treat mental pathologies within new thresholds of impersonality. The cold dismissal of therapist/patient relationships now proudly sports the coruscating seal of approval stipulated by the pharmaceutical industry. Algorithmic avatars will now take the lead by designing pharmacological treatments by decompressing big data to respond to the massive mental health crisis scarring from the disaster brought upon by our current global pandemic. Statistics and questionnaires will be the sign of clinical relief for future patients. A selfless defusing at the comfort of your screen.
 

https://ai.xprize.org/prizes/artificial-intelligence/teams/aifred_health

Post Author: Federico Nieto

POST_006: CHIMERICAL DESIGN

Example: Biologists and engineers are currently working on the future implementation of a computer-aided program (CAD) with the aim of modifying and designing new organisms.

If you could deftly twist the constituent data of nature to produce the new, would you do it? Nature design has acquired new depths of enhancement by utilizing the myriad of augmented digital platforms and visualizers presently at hand. What hitherto had daunted human imagination under the name of the chimera as the demonic outcome of a forceful modification of nature has been anchored into reality. As we become further enraptured by the prospects of god-building, we’ll limitlessly modify the organic platforms surrounding us into unsung inorganic shapes, a profane blockbuilding of the topologies at hand warped into the yet-unknown.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/ethics/with-this-cad-for-genomes-you-can-design-new-organisms

Post Author: Federico Nieto

POST_007: SECLUSION PROFITEERS

Loneliness is profitable. Assorted factors including the fallout of traditional familial bonds, an increasing mental health epidemic and ongoing isolations that will likely extend beyond our current time-window with the forecast of future pandemics coming our way might leave us to face the time of our demise in seclusion. The phenomenon known in Japan as kodokushi or ‘lonely death’ brought unimaginable profit to a nascent cleanup industry that specialized in purging the physical sequels left behind by those belonging to a not-so small sector of forsaken individuals. With this in mind comes a caustic question: will the profit embedded to this specialized cleanup sector extend worldwide in the oncoming years?

Example: Alarming suicide rates in Japan through 2020 and early 2021 have worried the West with the mirroring of the unavoidable emotional taxing of loneliness and overwork during the times of the pandemic.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55837160

Post Author: Federico Nieto

POST_008: CLIMATE-FORMING DAMS

This image shows an architectural project of a dam, which was supposed to go over the Bering Strait. Petr Borisov developed it in the 1960s. The dam was supposed to connect Asia and Northern America and be used for redirecting Golfstream. In order to do that, the engineer proposed to use atomic energy-based pumps, which will redirect the warmer waters towards the surface, thus melting the Arctic ice. The scheme shows the stack-like mechanism, required for pumping the water.

The project was discussed in detail by the state officials. However, it was rejected. It was then picked up once more in 1970. Several projects proposed developing the dam; one of them (by Kazimir Lucheskoi)  even imagined the whole city, built around a highway connecting Asia and Northern America. Just like Petr Borisov’s project, it was supposed to make the Bering Strait warmer so that the ships could pass through it.

These technocratic projects align with the Soviet visions of conquering nature; they also reveal the intersections between the linear progress temporalities and the disaster imaginations. Like the Bering strait dams, disastrous western climate-change fictions often consider the weather to be a non-human force that needs to be controlled and conquered.

 

Literature: Filin, P. A., M. A. Emelina, and Mikhail Savinov. . Arktika za granʹi︠u︡ fantastiki: budushchee severa glazami sovetskikh inzhenerov, izobretateleĭ i pisateleĭ. Moskva : Paulsen : Arkticheskiĭ muzeĭno-vystavochnyĭ t︠s︡entr, 2018

Yusoff, Kathryn, и Jennifer Gabrys. «Climate Change and the Imagination: Climate Change and the Imagination». Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 2, 4 (July 2011 г.): 516–34. 

Lab Post Authors: Sasha Shestakova 

POST_009: DRONES' DELIRIUM

If you have ever dealt with open-source intelligence (OSINT) and its resulting investigations associated with Bellingcat or Forensic Architecture, you would be familiar with the superhuman aesthetics of satellite imagery. Sneaking into the discreet military base through the eyes of the imperial power has merged the positivist obsession with objective knowledge of investigative journalism and the globalised superstructure of NGOs. This new epistemological mutant has been faced with the chilling simplicity of colonial wars, in which satellite images are photoshopped, as was the case in the MH17 takedown; tarpaulins with printed trucks are put on the ground to be captured by satellites and drones; tanks and arms are transported as food trucks. It begs the question - to what extent can the false equation between operational images and objective data obfuscate the reality of large-scale data poisoning, the core military strategy? Is there a future point when jamming, intercepting, faking, and masking, gaining momentum due to automation, will sideline the fixation on satellite and drone imagery?

Post Author: Anna Engelhardt

POST_010: BRUISED ROBOTS

You can’t make robots feel, but now you can bruise them. There will be lengthy research efforts until robotics and AI can fully implement a functional simulation of the nerve and neurotransmitter infrastructure that is analogous, but not on a one-to-one scale, to the human model, but in the meantime we can shuffle in the mirroring game to pinch the simulacra. Considering that our intellect feeds on inflicting looping episodes of viciousness to our own kin, these episodes now scathingly expand beyond our very narrow horizons. In the not-so-far future we can bruise, maim, gash and carve without repercussion. The robot is now red, now purple, now black, but it ‘…has no mouth and it cannot scream’.

Example: Engineers have developed an artificial skin that shows its colors to make an analogy when being hit or damaged.

https://futurism.com/neoscope/robot-skin-bruised-punched

Post Author: Federico Nieto

POST_011: BLACK ICE

Cold rationalism sullenly defaces contemporary physics and engineering. If we, as self-regulating organisms depend on the mechanical warmth of organic life to build our social-cognitive functions with precision, there lurks a parallel intelligence running on the order of severe counterfactual conditions that dramatically halt any mechanical warmth. A recent hypothesis postulates the primordial negation of organic mechanics in order to individuate non-human intellection under the parameters of quantum computation. Beyond the oxygenated vapor of our sapience, there lies a foreboding cold bloodedness in inorganic intellect, cryptoframing away in the piercing freeze of neo-gothic catacombs masquerading as ‘laboratories’. 

Example: In lieu of slow progress in Artificial Intelligence, quantum computation seems to be a promising research field. The problem is that quantum computation only works at temperatures such as 100 millikelvin, or -273.05°C.

 

https://theconversation.com/can-consciousness-be-explained-by-quantum-physics-my-research-takes-us-a-step-closer-to-finding-out-164582

Image: Liu Dan, "Scholar's Rock" (1953)

Post Author: Federico Nieto

POST_012: CLUMPS OF COLONIAL FANTASIES

How does one establish the control of space if one is a settler colonial state? By erecting as large a military base as possible. It seems that the Russian state followed these exact instructions and built a “Trilistnik (Trefoil)” military base. It is located on the Franz Joseph archipelago and is considered the largest building located above the Arctic Circle.

The Chief engineer of the Building Company, Yuri Vodopianov, said in one of the interviews that the workers of his bureau were supposed to sketch anything they could imagine but make it “functional and beautiful.” When they received funding from the Ministry of Defense, they were terrified as they did not expect their project to be built. They also had no idea how to build spherical forms in the Arctic conditions; one of the forms had to be rebuilt twice.

The complications of the building are also entangled with the ambition of complete autonomy: the military station prides itself by its total autonomy and the possibility of seldom going outside for its inhabitants. This full autonomy is similar to the space-mission-like imaginaries, which situate cosmonauts in constant opposition to the adversarial conditions of outer space. These outer-space imaginaries are nearly identical to the ones situated on Earth. These clumps of fantasies become particularly evident as one of the aims of “Trilistnik” is “the control of the air space.” These control fantasies are directed into the future, projecting the human mastery of weather, air, and outer space. Could we think of a future, which does not emerge from the colonial fantasies of control?

Post Author: Sasha Shestakova

POST_013: PEGASUS MALWARE: WHITE INNOCENCE IN DATA COLONIALISM

Recent NSO leaks are proclaimed to become the new Snowden revelations. Pegasus malware, developed for strategic surveillance with the aim of further extermination, is a great point to reconsider what we understand as data colonialism. Pegasus comes as a development, exported fresh and crispy from the cutting edge surveillance hubs settled in the occupied Palestinian territories by the Israeli corporations. NSO group in such context is nothing more than a contemporary fruit that genealogies of surveillance and data acquisition of U.S. slave ships and plantations, British IDs in India and Palestine, Israeli and Chinese high-tech surveillance in Palestine and Xinjiang bear. These strange fruits should finally retire Foucalt, bathing in his white innocence towards the billion of colonial predecessors of a panopticon. Pegasus Project is data colonialism - not because it colonises people in Developed Countries with data extraction, but because it shows that the future of cybersecurity is already there for those that live under colonial regimes.

Image caption: Israeli forces launch tear gas with a drone to disperse protesters during a protest against US President Donald Trump's Middle East plan, near Beit El checkpoint in Ramallah, West Bank on January 30, 2020 [Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency]

Lab Author: Anna Engelhardt

POST_014: REVOLUTIONARY INTERRUPTION

The video essay “Sorry, but I Have to Interrupt You at This Point”  by media activist collective Kafe-Morozhenoe (Nastya Dmitrievskaya & Daria Iuriichuk)  looks at the Social Darwinist approach to precarious labor, which remains persistent in multiple contexts, stretching across borders. Having emerged in March 2020, Kafe-Morozhenoe” (Nastya Dmitrievskaya & Daria Iuriichuk) has been researching the invisible and affective labor in art, activism, and academia in the Russian-speaking context. They have also been changing the working conditions by fostering the necessary scandal and maintaining care and support networks.

 Although in “Sorry, but I Have to Interrupt You at This Point,”  artists use a local case study – a public discussion about the “Nemoskva” (Not Moscow) exhibition, which took place in Pushkin museum on September 4, 2020. In the video, they refer to it as a “collective hallucination,” which allows perceiving the reality, crafted by capitalism and the state as only one of the possible worlds. The arguments used by those who maintain the status quo of the capitalist system seem recognizable within multiple contexts both inside and outside Russia. The artists conduct an archeological investigation of the capitalist metaphors and the exploitative language. One of my favorite moments is the conversation around the “discovery” of a “weak regional artist” amid the seeming “emptiness” of the landscape, which continues with a promise of a Big Project to give that artist fantastic opportunities for “global” visibility and dialogue, but these possibilities would only open to the “effective” and “hard-working.” ones. This language can be easily spotted and recognized in multiple other colonial contexts. Similarly, the language of not “spitting in the well.” (Russian for “biting the hand that feeds you”) seems even too familiar for anyone who has ever engaged in a critique of an institution. The visual metaphors of the exploitative institutional discourse created by “Kafe Morozhenoe” reveal its absurdity and allow for multiple future solidarities based on discontent and disloyalty to art institutions.

 

All images: Kafe-Morozhenoe” (Nastya Dmitrievskaya & Daria Iuriichuk) .Sorry, but I Have to Interrupt You at This Point.  2021. Video still

Lab Author: Sasha Shestakova

POST_015: HOSPITABLE MOON

The “Hospitable Moon”  was designed to domesticate the the space race, bringing it closer to the Soviet people with a familiar image of matryoshka. It also materializes a metaphor of a child-bearing body as a hospitable space. The female body of a Moon is welcoming an astronaut is an entangled metaphor, combining the perception of a female body as a container, ready for the installment of a new life, and a Moon as a space, awaiting exploration.

 

This metaphor shows the weird intersection of the Promethian fantasy, ready to penetrate both inner and outer “frontiers.” It shows how the futuristic fantasy of explorations can pave the way to exploiting both bodies and lands. Can we think of the approaches to the future, which could centralize the labor of care instead of taking it for granted?

Lab Author: Sasha Shestakova

POST_016: GEOFENCE

Several years ago, I was binging Russian IT-bro, who has been proudly talking in public about control technologies his company supplies to the Russian Secret Service. Hypnotised, I was looking at the white male in his 20s with dreadlocks, bragging about the intelligent system of spatial surveillance they deployed with bots on Tinder. They created a network of fake accounts that extracted location information of the activists they wanted to target. On the 19th of August this year, Google revealed that it received thousands of geofence warrants from U.S. authorities. Geofence warrants are similar spatial requests made by the police to identify all people in a specific area at the needed time. As soon as everyone has a phone in our pockets these days, even though not all have Tinder installed, this system is impressively efficient. In the cyberspace that we created and praised for its annihilation of distance, the most valuable source is, yet again, space and location. What are the new digital terrains that will be claimed with our bodies, and what is our relation to such land mediated through us?

Image caption: A geofence warrant issued in 2019 looking for people within 150 meters of a bank robbery. United States v. Chatrie

Lab Author: Anna Engelhardt

POST_017: BOX INHABITANTS

Automated prometheanism dusts off like old news as it gets patrolled off from the affluent vicinity of automated precarity. This is the catch: prefabricated living blocks for saturated spaces. In a matter of years our not so distant relatives will submissively squander their meek vitality enclosed within the cereal grey solid blocks of factoried structures that are set in a question of minutes. The future of real state will leech upon the new gains that the administration of living space promises, while at the same time reaching its summit when excising all virtual control on its future consumers via enclosure and chanceless catalogues for untarnished human abdication.

Example: Prefabricated homes that are unfolded and setup in a very short time are becoming all-the rage as they gain notoriety in the hands of the company named Boxabl.

https://www.cnet.com/home/services/boxabl-aims-to-build-foldable-homes-that-cut-costs-go-up-fast/  

Lab Author: Federico Nieto

POST_018: ALIEN DIFFERENTIATION

Disembodied organic projectiles lag, hum and clip along the smoked green lens wired onto the precise augmented reality monitors mirroring the microscope camera. This fuzzy and yet-unformed compound slides away from the originary ground it was extracted from (living tissue, breathing limbs, carnal dissasembly) onto the vigilant eye of the engineers cautiously informing on the unprecedented mutant vector taking shape before their own eyes. Following the game of perversity, what lies before us is matter that pumps into self-determination from the ground up while altogether breaking the golden polish that underlines the unbreakable testament of type and species: an event uncannily echoing the obscure principle of differential cruelty proposed by a beloved french engineer of concepts. That is, between the undifferentiated abyss and the calm determination of clearly distinguishable and representable types lies an irruptive third instance, that which uses the smooth ground or surface of a type/species to twist it toward monstrous anomaly. This bastardized third instance has now been engineered into our existence, no longer a virtual delirium to be found inside the mobile circularity of a dense ontological treatise.

Example: A team of biologists at Tufts University have made it possible for embryonic frog cells to assemble by themselves onto new organisms. These cells have been baptised as xenobots:

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20210416045307/https://www.quantamagazine.org/cells-form-into-xenobots-on-their-own-20210331/

Lab Author: Federico Nieto