(a series of feedback loops and spontaneous notes compiled into a sort of wonky review/brainstorm fallout zone, enjoy. Steve)
"Integrity of the individual is what we're being judged for and if we are not passing that examination, we don't really have the guts, we'll blow ourselves up. It will be all over. I think it's all the difference in the world.--Buckminster Fuller.
A colleague of mine here in Amsterdam gifted me a press-pass to 'Integrated Systems Europe'(iseurope.org) So Yesterday i put on my best hoody and headed over to the RAI exhibition center on the tram, due to the fact i had a press pass i feel it only right to write a review of my 3 hours spent inside.
I was pre-warned about the suits, but i did not expect them all to be so dark in colour which made many of the white males look very similar. The food vendors were easily the best dressed IMHO. Many had little or no hair, either facial or on top which had the effect of amplifying the long flowing locks of the women present. I estimate 20 males for each female at this exhibition. One future trend i predict for future iseurope gatherings is more females and the felt presence of the feminine other in the technology itself.
The exhibition was spread out over several halls inter-connected by corridors littered with coffee-bars and food outlets. A constant river of people from around the globe flowed back and forwards, and who knows what they were thinking, having probably also seen what i have seen...a glimpse of the future?
Like with all things, i can't help but view everything i see from my own skewed perspective, or in this case what i would do with these advanced technologies in the realm of the creative performance arts, rather than commercial business sector. Although if my suspicions are correct, the future will seem like an artists creation rather than a cold static kiosk in a run down shop. I say 'seem like' due to the fact that everywhere i look i see innovative technology aimed at selling products. Products that are often not so advanced or innovative, a burger meal at the fast food place, a beer at the stadium or festival, the signs and signals used to sell pretty bland stuff to the masses.
I do not wish to seem like a technophobe who is against the development and deployment of these advanced artificial advertisement technologies. The business backing and support and success of such gatherings as Integral Systems, and International reach gives me a good sense that there will be another iseurope next year with yet larger screens, more powerful light manipulators, holographic technologies, directed audio, surveillance and facial recognition systems.
I really felt the Kurtzweil curve and what Robert Anton Wilson called 'the laws of acceleration' the exponential growth in technology. One could extrapolate from this experience what other international exhibitions and conferences are like these days (2015) no matter what sector, the ability to engage your audience and or future business associates remains paramount. Shit, what if you could beam the messages you wanted directly into the heads of individuals, would you?
Larger screens, smaller cameras, faster processing, wider integration, weather proof, in the dark, immersive, 360, 4k, 10k, remote, automated, smart, digital. It's a mans world of information technology and social strategy for integration, implementation on a real global scale. McDonald's global, or Microsoft global, to mean global. Yet the future may hold a few surprises and the mechanical bride has yet to fully awake.
I wonder what Marshall McLuhan and Buckminster Fuller would make of the 12th Integrated Systems exhibition? and what might uncle Bob say? Much like the other huge gathering of global tech at the RAI in Amsterdam, the ICB, iseurope demonstrates the latest and the next in a very broad spectrum of technology. A deeper look at such exhibitions reflect cultural phenomena and all sorts of interesting things about communications and cybernetics.
Try taking the floor plans from a particular sector of an exhibition and transplant them somewhere else, and in so doing you come up with a single exhibition space that combines all the technologies into one area. Housed in the cloud, voice activated and omnipresent. A studio/stage. To record and playback in real time.
The great end-game technology that i envisioned would have turned every head present is the geoscope, as developed by the late great R. Buckminster Fuller. I say 'end-game' because from what i can gather, Bucky intended the geoscope to help integrate many systems together in a new global picture of spaceship earth, illustrating the past-present-future results of global co-operation versus a world at war, both in the sense of business competition for profit and contracts, and the very real killy' weapons based war. I quickly grokked, however, that this geoscope would attract the wrong kind of attention and most probably be turned into yet another advanced tool for the private eyes and pockets of the few. The fact remains that these technologies can be used for good or for bad, however you choose to define those primordial differences? Bucky used the terms 'livingry' versus 'killingry' get it? now you decide which technology falls into which category.
"Synergy is the only word in our language that means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the separately observed behaviors of any of the system's separate parts or any subassembly of the system's parts. There is nothing in the chemistry of a toenail that predicts the existence of a human being--R. Buckminster Fuller.
Although i experienced a little paranoia after walking around alone for one two hours, especially when revisiting a stand i had already passed and gawping at whatever was on display. I felt a bit of an outsider with my Nokia phone, scared to reach for it in case i alarmed anybody. Wherever i chose to stop and look, folks in conversation around me often hushed a little or moved on, many stands seemed like mobile offices, temporary HQ for the company and its products/services. All slick and streamlined, like the pages of an in-flight brochure on a journey into the future. iseurope was like a miniaturized New York times square scene set in 2019.
Screens and brand names burning bright together, lenses and LEDs everywhere, the low chatter of international business deals. Technical jargon beyond the capacity of 90% of the worlds population to understand. The scaled up international version of any technical appliance superstore, except every product is represented by the actual big wig reps of the company itself. Can you imagine the technical spec' speak from these top sales staff. I admit that i can struggle with the lingo of a simple assistant at Curries or Dixons, so here i really felt in the dark about the deeper significance of what i was looking at.
For me, any 800 inch screen with super 10K resolution and 3D immersive directed audio is pointless when the content of playback is what you would expect from a regular high street shopfront exhibit. Waterfalls, multiple news channel feeds, sporting events, surveillance of shoppers passing.
Do you remember the novel feeling the first time you watched yourself in a shopfront camera-monitor system? I might also draw attention to the fact that when combined together, all the exhibitors and attendees make a rather formidable force, a kind of technological illuminati, taking into consideration the large percent of exhibitors dealing with photons at a base level. To take that metaphor further, the future technological illuminati will combine the shadow world of techno- psychological principles with the photonic manipulating hardware.
The final frontier of consciousness might benefit from the integration of some of these fancy new technologies, however the current business model based on unrestricted capitalist expansion is finite, unlike human consciousness and cognitive processing abilities. What we need now are new stories and tales about how these technologies effect human beings from different walks of life in different locations around the world. Poets and brave new writers act as early warning defense systems, words are our weapons.
The social context and impact of advanced holographic and projection technologies, when driven by both centralized corporate business organizations, and when driven by co-operative 'not for profit' localized open-source endeavours. I'll leave you with a thought about another emerging possibility based upon what i witnessed at the exhibition. A faked alien invasion.
Yes, if only a handful of these companies wanted to produce the greatest global happening that would dwarf even the Olympic Games, they could. Or, maybe they already have and this is it, right here. The alien invasion, in this context the alien is the digital technology itself, or better yet an Artificial General Intelligence. Born of mathematical logic and electrical switching circuits, gestating over the last 80 years, this Digital alien stalks every device, every square meter of every city on earth.
Furthermore, to recognize the emergence of this alien would be in among the most mundane products, potato chips, soft-drinks, fast- food, and of course all the gadgets. The corporation seems like a good contender for the alien entity invading earth.
"Corporations are neither physical nor metaphysical phenomena. They are socioeconomic ploys — legally enacted game-playing — agreed upon only between overwhelmingly powerful socioeconomic individuals and by them imposed upon human society and its all unwitting members.--R. Buckminster Fuller--Steve Fly