Would you like 1G or 2

societies of control, platform commodities, yet treading water

The barriers to entry have changed, into the pass card envisaged by Guattari and Ballard. The threads of control maintain the weight of surveillance across the network of society, with knowledge of taste offering leverage to greater and more consistent profit margins. As we deplete the resources of our near-spent planet, the power of capital demands we monitor our consumption, our sleep patterns, our steps and stops, to be a better commodity for the platform, and the sales practices which sustain the web.

Portlandia Hove is a pleasant cove, supporting local brands as well as global powers. The Flowerpot rubs shoulders with Costa coffee in a block which captures the contemporary high street in a manner that reflects the area. Coffee and patisserie for the bourgeoisie who people the silicon beach, Costa for a class under-occupied/valued,  who want to sit outside and vape. The charity shop populates its windows with the nearly new, toys which are sold on completeness rather than glossy images of contentment. Adjacent is a store built for convenience, offering a selection of fruit and vegetables to accompany your coffee and beer. Crisps are reduced for packed lunches and fruit is sold, pre-cut for immediate consumption. Brighton is arguably the most convenient city in the UK. 

Where are the gates? The housing here is pocketed off this main thoroughfare, in an estate of late victorian construction. Away from the royal court and race course, period pictures of Hove are in short supply. I’m on the look out for any images of Portland Road, circa 1880. This appears to be the era of consolidation and much of the housing in this area dates from this period.

So, back to the pass card. We are track and trace ready, though the inevitable inability of the UK government to implement a system which captures the social interaction of EVERYONE is evidence to the contrary. The failure of the system is a failure of the social rather than tech. If there was a standard implementation of system, rather than competing versions of a similar product, if there was a limitation in choice to enable interoperability, if there were a culture which supported sensible levels of redundancy in society, rather than trimming meat and bone along with perceptions of fat, if we didn’t try to locate our individual identity through the exploitation of the latest gadget. The failure of track and trace is routed in class, and the ignorance of a state politic which expects universal adoption of new norms by edit and regulation. Talking down at a strata of the population who neither own the latest smartphone, nor can afford to be away from their gig for a week, or 10 days, or two weeks without support of the cold and folding variety, is bound to fail. The pandemic has the effect of maintaining visibility of the political classes by the governed, and is keeping in our sights, the limitations of this elite. Herd mentality indeed.

So, where are the gates? Where do I tap and go? My phone has told Dark Sky my location almost constantly for the last few years. The current version of iOS keeps me in the loop with the app and its data demands, informing me that my location is shared and do I wish to continue with this arrangement. Like the fretting of an adolescent boy, it needs my assurance that, as I like the functionality of the localisation of weather forecasts, I will provide the data to make this magic work. Other apps are set to share my locale only when I am using their services, which feels appropriate, but I find the weather tends to continue even when I look away from my phone, and so constant surveillance is a functional necessity. 

Is my technological choice relevant here? I have the latest version of the operating system installed on my iPhone SE, and this does support the API for a track and trace system, though the UK is yet to implement a warning system which would use this software. The phone I use is not the most common or popular, and the clarity of visibility of who has a phone, and which operating system it uses is complex information to establish. And the digital divide between the haves (silicone bourgeoisie, gig job prol or technocrat) and the othered classes (grey, young or technologically challenged) highlights the vulnerable and limits the ability of society as a herd to resist the virus. The gated community is porous, and it is the lack of empathy for those around us who are less able, willing or bothered to be traced will always fall from sight. The original panopticon was designed to incarcerate one class at a time.

The barriers to entry have changed, into the pass card envisaged by Guattari and Ballard. The threads of control maintain the weight of surveillance across the network of society, with knowledge of taste offering leverage to greater and more consistent profit margins. As we deplete the resources of our near-spent planet, the power of capital demands we monitor our consumption, our sleep patterns, our steps and stops, to be a better commodity for the platform, and the sales practices which sustain the web.

Portlandia Hove is a pleasant cove, supporting local brands as well as global powers. The Flowerpot rubs shoulders with Costa coffee in a block which captures the contemporary high street in a manner that reflects the area. Coffee and patisserie for the bourgeoisie who people the silicon beach, Costa for a class under-occupied/valued,  who want to sit outside and vape. The charity shop populates its windows with the nearly new, toys which are sold on completeness rather than glossy images of contentment. Adjacent is a store built for convenience, offering a selection of fruit and vegetables to accompany your coffee and beer. Crisps are reduced for packed lunches and fruit is sold, pre-cut for immediate consumption. Brighton is arguably the most convenient city in the UK. 

Where are the gates? The housing here is pocketed off this main thoroughfare, in an estate of late victorian construction. Away from the royal court and race course, period pictures of Hove are in short supply. I’m on the look out for any images of Portland Road, circa 1880. This appears to be the era of consolidation and much of the housing in this area dates from this period.

So, back to the pass card. We are track and trace ready, though the inevitable inability of the UK government to implement a system which captures the social interaction of EVERYONE is evidence to the contrary. The failure of the system is a failure of the social rather than tech. If there was a standard implementation of system, rather than competing versions of a similar product, if there was a limitation in choice to enable interoperability, if there were a culture which supported sensible levels of redundancy in society, rather than trimming meat and bone along with perceptions of fat, if we didn’t try to locate our individual identity through the exploitation of the latest gadget. The failure of track and trace is routed in class, and the ignorance of a state politic which expects universal adoption of new norms by edit and regulation. Talking down at a strata of the population who neither own the latest smartphone, nor can afford to be away from their gig for a week, or 10 days, or two weeks without support of the cold and folding variety, is bound to fail. The pandemic has the effect of maintaining visibility of the political classes by the governed, and is keeping in our sights, the limitations of this elite. Herd mentality indeed.

So, where are the gates? Where do I tap and go? My phone has told Dark Sky my location almost constantly for the last few years. The current version of iOS keeps me in the loop with the app and its data demands, informing me that my location is shared and do I wish to continue with this arrangement. Like the fretting of an adolescent boy, it needs my assurance that, as I like the functionality of the localisation of weather forecasts, I will provide the data to make this magic work.Other apps are set to share my locale only when I am using their services, which feels appropriate, but I find the weather tends to continue even when I look away from my phone, and so constant surveillance is a functional necessity. 

Is my technological choice relevant here? I have the latest version of the operating system installed on my iPhone SE, and this does support the api for a track and trace system, though the UK are yet to implement a warning System which would use this software. The phone I use is not the most common or popular, and the clarity of visibility of who has a phone, and which operating system it uses is complex information to establish. And the digital divide between the haves (silicone bourgeoisie, gig job prol or technocrat) and the othered classes (grey, young or technologically challenged) highlights the vulnerable and limits the ability of society as a herd to resist the virus. The gated community is porous, and it is the lack of empathy for those around us who are less able, willing or bothered to be traced will always fall from sight. The original panopticon was designed to incarcerate one class at a time.

The closing section of the paper identifies the emerging potential technological trajectories and starts the job of indicating their potential outcomes. This section inspired the initial sections of the paper.

The conception of a control mechanism, giving the position of any element within an open environment at any given instant (whether animal in a reserve or human in a corporation, as with an electronic collar), is not necessarily one of science fiction. Felix Guattari has imagined a city where one would be able to leave one’s apartment, one’s street, one’s neighbourhood, thanks to one’s (dividual) electronic card that raises a given barrier; but the card could just as easily be rejected on a given day or between certain hours; what counts is not the barrier but the computer that tracks each person’s position-licit or illicit -and effects a universal modulation. (P6)

Deleuze identifies how each disciplinary site of enclosure might be exchanged for a socio-technological solution: prison, hospital, school. It is in the development of the corporation that social structures of observation and exploitation fit closest to the model described by Tronti. The expansion of the factory space to incorporate all available time, and the development of the affective commodity, tied to the taste exhibited by the worker in a social structure, makes ubiquitous digital marketing which informs identity construction and frames consumption, tying the individual to the broad efficiency of mass personalisation of contemporary manufacturing. Late period capitalism provides for each an individual take on the mass-produced commodity product; you can have any torch you like, as long as it is black, rechargeable, manufacturers by Alibaba and sold via Amazon. The only differences will be in the name, the batch of paintwork which will accompany your ’unique’ purchase, and price point the system allocates your purchasing opportunity.

Terranova identifies the emergence of surveillance and the form of capitalism it supports as exploitative. Dean explores how communication is central to the practice, and how the inducement to express identity and display consumption/taste is captured through the development of platform architectures, such as the blog.

Zuboff expands each form of exploitation to explore how each manipulates behavioural triggers to enhance the commodity value of the ‘user’. Each of these points back to Tronti and the expansion of capitalism to commodify all time for the individual. The prescience of this section is stunning.

We have installed a Ring doorbell at home. I have a fish-eye video clip of everyone who passes our door. The cars are ow being ignored by the algorithm, but if a person uses this section of Portlandia, we hear an artificial representation of a gust of wind, in the form of a wind chime. Each instance is recorded for posterity and retired for 28 days, though I haven’t asked for a disclaimer. I guess the system will know when I am in, though my phone might indicate this to Alexa already. I can adjust the camera setting to At Home, to volunteer the information if I prefer. I don’t have the ass card after all. I simply use the back of my head as I pass the camera.

Where do I fit Stiegler into this mix, and how does the restriction of the individual to a paranoid mindset enhance the processes of commodification.

Is it here?

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