You are reading The Blind Machine.
View this email in your browser

Welcome back.

Reality is plenty, said Kevin Slavin, game designer, in a timely observation that the enhancement of daily experience can be gracefully achieved without visual overlays. Augmentation does not necessarily require bright digital animation: the bleeding-over of computing into the physical world can be perceived through all the five senses, and sight is not the ideal first choice. Still, a veil is being cast all around. There's a filter for that.
The defining generational gap of our time is in the ability to discard authenticity as a relevant measure of truth. The children of today will grow up with an acute, almost unconscious instinct to separate the two concepts and the way they make us feel. Theirs will be a world where persistent and ubiquitous simulation is not forcibly at odds with a sense of ethics, trust, and sound judgement. A world where reality is mixed, heightened by the flavors of infinite spectacles, and where justice is still possible.

The Blind Machine is brought to you by the good people at chumbo

Listen to our playlist on Spotify, a careful selection of old & new futures.

Thank you for being here.

FAULT / FALHA is an Open Call for original and unpublished creative projects that explore the themes of contemporary fragmentation and discontinuity in discourse, culture and community - all over the world.

Selected projects that explore these themes using the medium of text, photography, illustration or drawing will be included and published in the first issue of chumbo, a magazine dedicated to creative research.

The Open Call runs until the 18th of June 2021.
Read the full call at

The “TikTok intifada”

on May 23, 2021 10:39 am

Usually Palestinians and their allies struggle to have their narrative break through online. Not anymore. Israel unquestionably has the military advantage in its ongoing conflict with Hamas. But in the fight to control the public narrative of the conflict, Israel’s edge seems to be slipping.

The Next Social Graph: Splits, Supports and Attributions

on May 23, 2021 09:39 am

Screenshot 2021-05-26 003112

So this new graph isn’t about who you ‘friend’ or follow, but who you attribute, who you support, and who inspires and supports you. Not as social gestures, but inscribed in smart contracts that deliver economic benefits.

Splits, supports and attributions are the pillars of a new Web based on NFT economics. Leapfrogging the fragility of links, we can permanently record these more meaningful associations on the blockchain. Instead of a business based on traffic funnels and user-data harvesting, we can have transparent financial flows. The practice and culture of sharing ownership and credit can change the incentives of creation. Through an architecture of composable ideas, we can add to and amplify each other’s efforts that build a tower of innovative work, solidly established on the recognition and reward of its foundations.

Never bet against the web. Read more

You are a network

on May 23, 2021 09:39 am

Relational views signal a paradigm shift from a reductive approach to one that seeks to recognise the complexity of the self. The network self view further develops this line of thought and says that the self is relational through and through, consisting not only of social but also physical, genetic, psychological, emotional and biological relations that together form a network self. The self also changes over time, acquiring and losing traits in virtue of new social locations and relations, even as it continues as that one self.

BTS for Louis Vuitton, Blackpink’s Jisoo for Dior: why luxury brands are choosing Asian celebrities as their global ambassadors

on May 17, 2021 07:39 pm

Until recently, the highly lucrative role of celebrity ambassador has largely been reserved for a particular type of person. Luxury brands tended to pick actresses and singers who are household names in the United States and Europe to be their global ambassadors. They command a far higher fee than their regional peers, and their faces are displayed on billboards and in magazines around the world, not just in their home countries.

In a move that illustrates just how much culture has changed in the last year, K-pop group BTS became house ambassadors for Louis Vuitton last month. They will work with the brand to promote its clothes and accessories around the world.

Why Messenger is Facebook’s key to the future of communication

on May 16, 2021 09:39 am

Screenshot 2021-05-26 004252

The reason why messaging apps are so popular and continue to grow, and more and more people are spending more and more time on them, is just because communicating with other people one-on-one is a basic human need that has been with us for the last few thousand years, and is going to be with us for like however long we have as a species. Then there is small-group communication, four or five friends or so forth. And then from there, you go to one-to-many, when there is a sort of community type of thing, like churches and rotary clubs and all of that stuff. You almost can imagine the world of communication in those concentric circles: a small core, and then it grows from there.

Bundling is the new unbundling. Read more

Twitch’s Rockonomics

on May 16, 2021 09:39 am

Twitch offers a unique way for artists to reach fans and earn money. The growing criticism from music industry trade bodies about Twitch’s licensing strategy appears to be based on a misunderstanding of what Twitch is and isn’t – which is understandable, given that live streaming on Twitch is a new paradigm. Key to this seachange are Twitch’s roots in the culture of gaming. You can bring a horse to water, or you can bring water to the horse. Twitch is bringing music to gaming.

The Rise of Private Spies

on May 16, 2021 09:39 am

There’s nothing new about private investigators and operatives; as early as the nineteenth century, mill and mine owners paid the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to infiltrate and disrupt labor union movements. But Meier makes the case for taking a close look now at what he calls the “private spy” industry, arguing that operatives-for-hire in the twenty-first century are no longer “content to lurk in the shadows” and have “become more emboldened than ever before.”

Data isn’t oil, so what is it?

on May 16, 2021 09:39 am


All these metaphors imagine public data as a huge, passive, untapped resources – lakes of stuff that only has value when it is extracted and processed. But this framing completely removes the individual agency that created the stuff in the first place. Oil is formed by millions of years of compression and chemical transformation of algae and tiny marine animals (sorry, not dinosaurs). Data is created in real time, as we click and swipe around the internet. The metaphor might work in an economic sense, but it fails to describe what data is as a material. It’s not oil, it’s people.

The Global AI Index

on May 16, 2021 08:39 am

Screenshot 2021-05-26 005853

Artificial intelligence is a transformative phenomenon in business, government and society. But it is also commonly misunderstood or misrepresented.  The Global AI Index is making sense of artificial intelligence in 62 countries around the world.

We have examined the forces accelerating development in artificial intelligence through three pillars of analysis; investment, innovation and implementation.

Constrained by the Limitations of Soviet-Era Architecture, Brodsky & Utkin Imagined Fantastical Structures on Paper

on May 10, 2021 11:39 pm


To be an architect with vision in the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 80s, was to witness a near complete loss of Moscow’s historical architectural heritage. Restrictions on aesthetics, quality building materials, and access to skilled labor resulted in poorly designed structures void of inspiration that were practically destined to crumble. Architects with any shred of ambition were severely limited by communist bureaucracy and were often outright penalized for their ideas. Desperately seeking a creative outlet, these constrained artists and designers turned instead to paper.

Perhaps the most vivid example of this is the work of renowned Soviet “paper architects” Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin who from 1978 to 1993, retreated into their imaginations to create fantastical etchings as a revolt against communist architecture. Paper architecture (or visionary architecture), is the name given to architecture that exists only on paper that possesses visionary, often impossible ideas interlaced with whimsey, humor, satire, and science fiction.

The Strange, Soothing World of Instagram’s Computer-Generated Interiors

on May 10, 2021 11:39 pm

The spaces project order and calm, and rely on a visual vocabulary of affluence, indulgence, and restraint. They are uncluttered and private; welcoming but undamaged by human use. They are also slightly sterile. Although some incorporate hints of activity—a rumpled bedspread, an open magazine placed poolside—the spaces are uninhabited. An important part of the fantasy, it seems, is the absence of other people.
The polished silver capsules are an appropriate, if jarring, frame for the uncanny, ethereal images they contain: an imitation of real-world constraints, and a reflection of the artificial scarcity manufactured by the N.F.T. economy. “Virtual worlds pose very exciting opportunities,” Taylor told me. The “movement toward the metaverse,” she said, seemed like the logical next step.

What Is an Entertainment Company in 2021 and Why Does the Answer Matter?

on May 09, 2021 04:43 pm

Historically, we defined an entertainment company around its core offering. Marvel was a comic book company, Mattel a toy company, ESPN a sports network, etc. When people think of the classic Disney flywheel — which Walt himself devised in the 1950s and which is the current obsession of every Hollywood executive today — they typically misremember the center of this flywheel as “IP”. It was actually “Creative Talent of Studio / Theatrical Films”. Even Walt described Disney as a movie company.

At its core, an entertainment business does only three things:

  1. Create/tell stories

  2. Build love for those stories

  3. Monetize that love

The New Menu at Eleven Madison Park Will Be Meatless

on May 09, 2021 10:39 am

The restaurant will no longer serve meat or seafood when it reopens, Daniel Humm, the chef, said. “The current food system is simply not sustainable, in so many ways,” he said. Last summer, the chef Daniel Humm made a promise to himself.


Share this issue Share this issue
Send it by email Send it by email
The Blind Machine is a publication about Pop Culture, Software Studies, Business Strategy, Media Platforms, Algorithmic Management, Game Design, and everything in between.
Copyright © 2021 chumbo, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.