The Turing Test of the ’90s was not a measure of artificial intelligence; it was the test of how real a virtual body can be in relation to the body sitting at the keyboard. Ultimate proof of embodiment apparently lies in bodily violation, and so the updated litmus test became: can a virtual self, one of multiple personalities, be physically violated like the one-body-one-self kind? More literally: can the posthuman body be raped? This question arose in many instances at the pivotal moment of the transition from the text- to image-based Internet, the time when bodily representation gained a new dimension online.
Call it the attack of the zombie refrigerators. Computer security researchers said this week they discovered a large ‘botnet’ which infected Internet-connected home appliances and then delivered more than 750,000 malicious emails.
But then also there’s this from ArsTechica:
Still, there’s a significant lack of technical detail for a report with such an extraordinary finding. Among other things, Proofpoint provided no details about the software the researchers say compromised the devices; it said it didn’t “sinkhole” or otherwise monitor any of the command-and-control servers that would have been necessary to coordinate botnet activities; and it didn’t convincingly explain how it arrived at the determination that 100,000 smart devices were commandeered. My doubts lingered even after a one-on-one interview with David Knight, general manager of Proofpoint’s information security division. [x]
Technology is usually fairly neutral. It’s like a hammer, which can be used to build a house or to destroy someone’s home. The hammer doesn’t care. It is almost always up to us to determine whether the technology is good or bad.
Social media are a type of these “new” philosophical inputs and outputs–an new method, if you will, of practicing philosophy. It is true that you cannot accomplish in 140 characters–or even a 1000-word blog post–what one conventionally accomplishes in your average 7000-word journal article. But that’s the point: it’s a different medium. And philosophy doesn’t have to be restricted to one medium–in fact, its most mainstream definition already recognizes at least two media as “proper” to philosophical practice–the prose essay and formal logic (truth tables and syllogisms, anyone?). Oh, right, and there’s speaking as well as writing. Speaking is totally OG philosophy–Socrates was, after all, quite worried about what the new medium of writing would do to the practice of philosophy. So if some of the foundational texts and methods of Western philosophy (I’m thinking Plato here) are about philosophical practice adapting to the then-new media of writing, why can’t philosophy now adapt itself to “new media”? Sure, that’s going to change the inputs and outputs–philosophical research and philosophical ideas–which means “philosophy” itself will change. But that’s healthy. We need to change if we want to stay viable, both as a part of the academy and as a perspective from which to critique it.
It’s hard, now, to be with someone else wholly, uninterruptedly, and it’s hard to be truly alone. The fine art of doing nothing in particular, also known as thinking, or musing, or introspection, or simply moments of being, was part of what happened when you walked from here to there alone, or stared out the train window, or contemplated the road, but the new technologies have flooded those open spaces. Space for free thought is routinely regarded as a void, and filled up with sounds and distractions.