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Synchronization and dispersion, grave interruption and seamless play. Technology and geopolitics swing back and forth between what used to be polar opposites and are now striking and coincidental features of everyday life. The pandemic work culture accelerates the integration of everything from web apps to multiplayer games, but this thickening layer of persistent simulation floats above increasingly deglobalized maps and militarized cities.
Checkpoint democracy used to be way more retro. As the space between us expands physically and contracts digitally, we begin to experience the twin consciousness long predicted by literary dystopia, surrounded by light and yet unable to move. Like a collective phantom limb: the metaverse offers both painful memory and comforting solace. An invisible companion that aches and dreams.

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

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Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions 2021

on Jan 12, 2021 10:39 pm

2021 will be a year of profound and rapid digital change following the shock delivered by Covid-19. Lockdowns and other restrictions have broken old habits and created new ones, but it is only this year that we’ll discover how fundamental those changes have been.

The Metaverse is coming

on Jan 12, 2021 10:39 pm

We will see a shift in the way people play, work, learn or simply hang out in 2021. Some of this connection will move into the Metaverse, a digital place where people seamlessly get together and interact in millions of 3D virtual experiences.

DALL·E: Creating Images from Text

on Jan 12, 2021 09:39 pm


We’ve trained a neural network called DALL·E that creates images from text captions for a wide range of concepts expressible in natural language.

We find that DALL·E is able to create plausible images for a great variety of sentences that explore the compositional structure of language. We illustrate this using a series of interactive visuals.

We recognize that work involving generative models has the potential for significant, broad societal impacts. In the future, we plan to analyze how models like DALL·E relate to societal issues like economic impact on certain work processes and professions, the potential for bias in the model outputs, and the longer term ethical challenges implied by this technology.

Screenshot 2021-01-12 222452

Artificial intelligence means many different things. Read more.

The Blind List | Tsuruda – No More

on Jan 12, 2021 09:08 pm

As the year arrives our brain cells try to distract us from the reality that the opening of 2021 has brought upon us. The year ends but the pandemic cycle lives on, the democracy beacon is now foggy and its light is dimmed and haunted by neo-vikings and strange characters from the parleur underworld.

Our consciences repeat “no more” in loops, in cycles, in an attempt to pray even if we know we are alone.

NO MORE by TSURUDA starts as a lo-fi anime playlist on Youtube, as if everything is ok but, suddenly, it changes to a deep bassline bringing the same chaos as the year before – like a mirror held up to the newborn year.

Check this song on our playlist, updated every 2 weeks.

He Created the Web. Now He’s Out to Remake the Digital World.

on Jan 11, 2021 10:39 pm

Tim Berners-Lee wants to put people in control of their personal data. He has technology and a start-up pursuing that goal. Can he succeed? 

“Pods,” personal online data stores, are a key technical ingredient to achieve that goal. The idea is that each person could control his or her own data — websites visited, credit card purchases, workout routines, music streamed — in an individual data safe, typically a sliver of server space.

Companies could gain access to a person’s data, with permission, through a secure link for a specific task like processing a loan application or delivering a personalized ad. They could link to and use personal information selectively, but not store it.

You should never bet against the Web. Read more.

Why is this interesting? – The Feral Cities Edition

on Jan 02, 2021 02:39 pm

In a feral city social services are all but nonexistent, and the vast majority of the city’s occupants have no access to even the most basic health or security assistance. There is no social safety net. Human security is for the most part a matter of individual initiative. Yet a feral city does not descend into complete, random chaos. Some elements, be they criminals, armed resistance groups, clans, tribes, or neighborhood associations, exert various degrees of control over portions of the city. Intercity, city-state, and even international commercial transactions occur, but corruption, avarice, and violence are their hallmarks.

From cosmopolitan to feral, cities are changing fast. Read more.

Urban Warfare Project

on Jan 02, 2021 02:39 pm

The Modern War Institute at West Point generates new knowledge for the profession of arms, enhances the West Point curriculum, and provides the Army and the Nation with an intellectual resource for solving military problems. MWI has three mutually supporting  functions: ResearchEducate, and Integrate.

Joint report by the CAPS/IRSEM – Information Manipulation: A Challenge for Our Democracies (4 September 2018)

on Jan 02, 2021 02:39 pm


Information manipulation is not a new phenomenon, but it has taken on an entirely new dimension because of the unprecedented capacity of the internet and social networks to diffuse information and render it viral, and the crisis of confidence that our democracies are currently experiencing. This phenomenon has manifested itself in recent years through various electoral interferences; it threatens democracies and the sovereignty of their institutions. The CAPS and the IRSEM have thus joined forces to study this issue.

This report is the product of field research (around a hundred interviews in twenty countries) in order to develop a better understanding of the nature of the problem and identify good practices put in place by States and civil society. Our research is equally based on the abundant scientific literature on the subject. This report examines the causes, the consequences, and the responses to information manipulation of State origin which targets the populations of other states, concluding with a list of 50 recommendations for action.

The front line is everywhere. Read more.

Why Is An Obscure B-Side Pavement’s Top Song On Spotify? It’s Complicated.

on Jan 01, 2021 11:39 am

In this specific instance, there’s certainly a case to be made that Autoplay might actually be doing a service to the songs that it unintentionally favors — that it might be providing something valuable and unprecedented by plucking tracks from the depths and giving them the possibility of a second chance. Optimistically speaking, the algorithm could be mathematically figuring out which songs people are prone to like, regardless of how well they fared commercially in the first place.

Algorithmic management to the sound of music. Read more.


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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.

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