disciplines

Surrenders to conventionality are what disciplines are. The disciplines are social systems that raise their partial ‘as if’ perspectives from mere conventionality to mythic proportions… We will find them all, these rites de passages, in examinations, in selection, promotion, and establishment, in the residence rules of departments and schools, in the special languages, in the professional taboos. These are ways of making a blinkered view of the world seem mythically true.

– Greg Dening, cited in Mark Minchinton, The World is Turning to Pus, http://www.doubledialogues.com/article/the-world-is-turning-to-pus-a-keynote-provocation/

refuses to disappear

For the body cannot be easily contained by the consumption imperative. It discovers its own sexual and political being and overflows autonomously in many other directions as well. Or, as in the case of the state policies of economic and cultural austerity that have increasingly been imposed upon a recalcitrant underlying population, the body refuses to disappear as a subject.

– Stanley Aronowitz, foreward Martin, Randy. 1990. Performance as a Political Act. New York: Bergin and Garvey Publishers. p.viii

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green shifting, christian bale and success

There’s this phenomenon called green shifting which is a business or management term for the tendency to say things are fine when they are not. I first heard about it on a podcast called Accidental Tech Podcast. The guys on the programme describe it in relation to how the conditions of most organisations make it very difficult for people lower down in an organisation to clearly – and accurately – describe problems to people higher up.

And then, around the same, I watched this:

If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth every minute of your time.

Christian Bale and green shifting got me thinking about how projects succeed and fail. What does it take for someone to ask the most difficult questions? How am I responsible for creating conditions that make awkwardness – and friction – possible? How do my assumptions about my ability and role(s) infect and affect the people around me? Which lines need to be stepped over, and which ones should not be transgressed? I wonder also to what extent the conditions for success and failure in business are distinct from those in making art.

big data

A fascinating bit of writing about machines and our routine, non-routine, manual and cognitive jobs. Reminds me of the exquisite human-ness of dancing.

On the generation of data:

Big data isn’t just some buzzword. It’s information, and when it comes to information, we’re creating more and more of it every day. In fact we’re creating so much that a 2013 report by SINTEF estimated that 90% of all information in the world had been created in the prior two years. This incredible rate of data creation is even doubling every 1.5 years thanks to the Internet, where in 2015 every minute we were liking 4.2 million things on Facebook, uploading 300 hours of video to YouTube, and sending 350,000 tweets. Everything we do is generating data like never before, and lots of data is exactly what machines need in order to learn to learn.

On machines learning the feel of playing games:

Such confounding complexity [in the game Go] makes impossible any brute-force approach to scan every possible move to determine the next best move. But deep neural networks get around that barrier in the same way our own minds do, by learning to estimate what feels like the best move. We do this through observation and practice, and so did AlphaGo, by analyzing millions of professional games and playing itself millions of times. So the answer to when the game of Go would fall to machines wasn’t even close to ten years. The correct answer ended up being, “Any time now.”

https://medium.com/basic-income/deep-learning-is-going-to-teach-us-all-the-lesson-of-our-lives-jobs-are-for-machines-7c6442e37a49#.kles78ppi