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The Blind Machine 002 // May 2018 // View this email in your browser

Welcome back.

A week has gone by and this letter now has an official and somewhat more literary name. It will from now on be called The Blind Machine.
Kindly update your contacts list accordingly.

In this issue, we're thinking about subcultures, virtual assistants, and the art of making classic films.

Tags: rebellion, prediction, subservience, collaboration, immersion.

Thank you for being here.

"Tomorrow, it will be able to create tiny, niche cultures whose members will either sincerely believe that the subculture is their own creation, or ironically not care that it has been manufactured for them to find through engineered serendipity."
 
From the moment we started connecting to our peers and organizing collectively on social media - think Facebook events or crowdfunding campaigns - the coded language of subcultures became visible to digital platforms, measurable and addressable by global media/marketing machines.

Venkatesh Rao, founder of the Ribbonfarm blog, brilliantly dissects how the previously invisible networks of cultural affinity have now become rich data sources for the prediction and eventual manufacture of trends and innovation.
Bohemia and rebellion, synthesized.

Read more: ribbonfarm.com/2012/01/27/peak-attention-and-the-colonization-of-subcultures
"Make Google do it."

The new ads for the Google Assistant is brilliant in many ways. How they introduce the many technical features in their messy, everyday context. How they disguise the company's acquisition of training data by framing the user as the master, issuing commands. How they reveal that, actually, Kevin Durant is able to influence major product engineering decisions only by virtue of his nonchalance.

Assistant has been with us from the start, since '98, since Larry Page and Sergey Brin first envisioned the oracle.
That it can now speak is a marvel not to be belittled, but the true wonder is that it can now listen.

The script was written according to certain musical principles.”

Christopher Nolan speaks about the art of cinema with a calculated and deliberately antique vocabulary. He enacts a quiet and admirable noble resistance to any digital hype, while at the same time coming across as deeply knowledgeable of his time. 

In this interview he analyses his film Dunkirk, and in usual fashion is able to cover the entire spectrum of the craft - from narrative structure to the writing process. He is a skilled practitioner, a lonely artisan of classic deep media objects in the age of shallow simulations.

This is a weekly publication about Pop Culture, Software Studies, Business Strategy, Media Platforms, Algorithmic Management, Game Design, and everything in between.
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