User:ThomasW/Notes Off the Network

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Meijas Ali, Ulises, (2013) Off the Network, London, Minnesota Press

Nodocentrism does not provide an incorrect picture of the world, just an incomplete one. It rationalizes a model of progress and development in which those elements that are outside the network can only acquire currency by becoming part of the network. “Bridging the digital divide”is normalized as an end across societies that wish to partake of the benefts of modernity. The assumption behind the discourse of the digital divide is that one side, technologically advanced and accomplished, must help the other side, technologically underdeveloped or retarded, to catch up. page 11-12

Search engine results are examples of nodocentrism in the sense that they point to documents, sites, or objects that have been indexed by the network. What has not been indexed is not listed as a result, and it might as well not even exist in the universe of knowable things as far as the search engine is concerned.page 12

Nodocentrism can help us talk about the politics of knowledge construction in an age when we seem to increasingly depend on the digital network as a historical archive page 12

While using networks to disrupt networks might make strategic sense at times (what Hardt and Negri call fghting networks with networks16), the goal of this work is to theorize models that ultimately move beyond network logic altogether. Disrupting the digital network cannot rely only on marginal strategies such as hacking, open-source/open- content paradigms, peer- to- peer sharing, and so on because these strategies rely on the same logic the network does, page 12

It is, in fact, the very appeal of the digital network as a cultural metaphor for imagining community that makes it particularly restrictive as a social determinant. The digital network is a ready- made image into which we can pour our hopes for social unity and connectivity. We can point to a location in the network map and say “that’s me!,” while admiring the wealth of our social capital. page 14

But it also represents an arena of restricted or diminished opportunities for meaningful political and social action. Walter Benjamin had already described similar dynamics in relation to Fascism. According to him, the emerging Fascist rulers recognized and feared the potential of the masses to change property relations; in order to preserve the traditional property system, Fascism found its salvation “in giving these masses not their right, but instead a chance to express themselves”22, thus introducing aesthetics into political life. page 15

The more we participate in digital communication networks, the more this ideology is reinforced. To paraphrase Deleuze, communicative capitalism does not stop people from expressing themselves but forces them to express themselves continuously. page 21

Labor is no longer conducted at the workplace in exchange for a wage. Rather, it is produced mostly outside the workplace, during our “free” time. It is rewarded not with a paycheck but with social capital such as attention, rank, and visibility. page 27

If Google is changing our cognitive makeup, Facebook is rewriting our social one. page 28

Power has shifted, we are told, and no longer is an elite minority in control of the production and dissemination of messages. That capacity has now been distributed among a new army of content producers who digitize, analyze, aggregate, and share content without a need for permissions or licenses, and who face no steep barriers of entry. This new state of affairs is summarized in Jay Rosen’s manifesto, “The People Formerly Known as the Audience,” in which New Media says to Old Media, “You don’t control production on the new platform, which isn’t one- way. There’s a new balance of power between you and us.”32 No longer are we dependent on a handful of broadcasters, publishers, or studios, apparently. Now we are the media, and our ranks are made of citizen journalists, blogger mommies, Wikipedia editors, garage bands, eyewitness videographers, mobile activists, consumer reviewers, self- published pundits, and so on. page 30-31

Unfortunately, the immense promise of these new models of interactivity has somewhat obscured the fact that more and more aspects of this public sphere are controlled by private interests. page 31

Jaron Lanier’s remarks about artifcial intelligence (AI) in which he suggests that AI does not make computers smarter but people more stupid: “[P]eople are willing to bend over backwards and make themselves stupid in order to make an AI interface appear smart.”9 page 40

Much like a video game player discovering the meaning of certain actions in the game, and discovering which sequence of actions has what set of consequences, the digital network user learns to play the algorithms of the digital network. page 48

Deleuze’s observation about control societies: “Repressive forces don’t stop people expressing themselves but rather force them to express themselves. . . . What we’re are plagued by these days isn’t any blocking of communication, but pointless statements.” page 69

However, Marxism does not seek the abolition of the state, but rather its transformation to a classless state of democratic socialism. And this is where many contemporary theorists part ways with Marxism. What is interesting about modern theories of the multitude is the way in which many of them propose a move toward complete statelessness: the realization by the multitude that it does not need a state. Jacob Grygiel explains this phenomenon: Many of today’s nonstate groups do not aspire to have a state. In fact, they are considerably more capable of achieving their objectives and maintaining their social cohesion without a state apparatus. The state is a burden for them, while statelessness is not only very feasible but also a source of enormous power. Modern technologies allow these groups to organize themselves, seek fnancing, and plan and implement actions against their targets— almost always other states— without ever establishing a state of their own. They seek power without the responsibility of governing. The result is the opposite of what we came to know over the past two or three centuries: Instead of groups seeking statehood through a variety of means, they now pursue a range of objectives while actively avoiding statehood. Statelessness is no longer eschewed as a source of weakness but embraced as an asset. page 73-74

w h e r e a s i t t o o k s e v e n t y - o n e y e a r s for the telephone to reach half of the homes in the United States, it took only ten years for the same portion of households to get access to the Internet.1 page 81


If you are not payingfor it, you are not the customer, you are the product being sold. However, most of us are happy to such products, given what we perceive we get in retrun. Participation in digital networks is not coercive in a strait forward manner. (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 6)

In the face of 410 million in state budget cuts in SUNY in the past two years, it is understandable why public schools are ken to save money wherever they can. And on the surface getting better function email, fl menu of apps (including calendaring), file storage, chat as well a 2,5 gig of storage sounds like a good deal. But when I ask whether there would be the only option for handling our school email, I was told this would be the only one. (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 7)

Nodocentrism

Nodocentrism does pt provide an incorrect picture of the world, just an incomplete one. It rationalize a model of progress and development in which those elements that are outside the network can only acquire currency by becoming part of the network “Bridging the digital divide” is normalized as a end across socialites that wish to partake of the benefits of modernity”

(Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 10-11 )

Search engine results are example of nodocentrism in the sense that they point to documents sites, or objects that have been indexed by the network. What has been indexed is not listed as a result, and it might as well not even exists in the universe of knowable things as the search engine is concern. (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 11 ) “if it not googleable, then it does not exsist”

We also see Nodocentrism at work in the digitization of archives, making analog materials (texts. Photographs, recordings, etc) available online. However not all materials are digitized, or not all materials are equally accessible to everybody. Nodocentrism can help us talk about the politics of knowledge construction in an age when we seem to increasingly depend on the digital network as historical archives, (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 11 )

The digital network is a read-made image into which aw can pour our hopes for social unity and connectivity. We can point to a location in the network map and say “thats me!,” while admiring the wealth of our social capital. A network map thus becomes an egotistic object for aesthetic contemplation; its visually pleasing, dynamic, and its about us, its the social world turned into an interactive mirror, miniaturise and projected onto a screen for our pleasure. (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 14-15 )

Fascism found its salvation “in giving these masses not their right, but a chance t express themselves” (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 16 )

The more we participate in digital communication networks, the more this ideology is reinforced. (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 21 )

Labor is no longer conducted at the workplace in exchange for a wage, Rather its a produced mostly outside the workplace, during our “free” time. It is rewarded not with a payback but with social capital such as attention rank and visibility. Surrendering privacy and property, lured by promises of leering viral fame and motivated by fear that we will be the only one left out. (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 26 ) a As reasons to opt out becomes harder to rationalize (nobody wants to be an outcast; these days, eve anti-establishment dissenters have facebook profiles). (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 26 )

If Google is changing our cognitive make-up, Facebook is rewriting our social one. (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 26 )

Jaron Laniers remarks about AI. AI does not make computers smarter, but make people more stupid (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 40)

Dreyfus suggests that because digital network technologies are making perception more and more indirect, and demanding that we take for granted the reality of what we perceive. (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 59 )

Deleuzes “Repressive forces dont stop people expressing themselves but rathrer forces them to express themselves. (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 69 )

Another strategy is to engage in network parasitology. To unthink the logic of the digital network is not to refuse to confront the network, pretending it does not exist, but to reimagine ones relationship to it. (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 90)

“Information technologies in particular does not so much bring near what is far as it cancels the metric of time and space” (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 98 )

Anne Galloways: “[U]biqutious computing was meant to go beyond the machine-render it invisible–and privilege the social and material world. In this sens, ubiquitous computing was positioned to bring computer to 'our world' (domestication the) rather then us having to adapt to them 'computer world' (domesticating us). (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page 99 )

Politically, digialism believes in mutual gift socity. The internet Is supposed to be virtually free from any exploration, tending naturally towards a democratic equilibrium and natural cooperation. Here, digitalism works as a disembodied politics with no acknowelgment of the offline labour sustaining the online world (a class divid that precedes any digital divide). Ecologically, digitalism promotes itself as an environmentally friendly and zero-emission machine against the pollution of old Fordist modes of industrial production, and yet it is estimated that an avatar on Second life consumes more electricity that the average Brazilian.” (Ulises Ali, 2013, Page130)