MED 092718


STRATEGY: How Apple Thrived in a Season of Tech Scandals [NYT]  “by selling phones rather than advertising”

CHINA: Ex-Google Employee Urges Lawmakers to Take On Company [NYT]

PRIVACY: Proposing a framework for data protection legislation [GOOGLE]

DISCOURSE: Code of Practice on Disinformation [eu]

INFOSEC: Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information  [GIZMODO]  File under of course this was happening – what are you, new?

INFOSEC: Securing DNS across all of my devices with Pi-Hole + DNS-over-HTTPS + [ScottHelme]

ART: Whitney Museum of American Art New Acquisitions (Sept. 2017 —Sept. 2018) [Scribed] 25 Mitch Epstein photographs

INSTAGRAM: The Existential Void of the Pop-Up ‘Experience’ . [NYT]

AI: Litigating Algorithms: Challenging Government Use of Algorithmic Decision Systems [PDF]

AI ART : Quasimondo  Mario Klingemann, Artist    – Alternative Face v1.1 


LEXICON:  “stau sleptons.”  Theoretical supersymmetric particle called “stau sleptons.” Stau sleptons are supersymmetric versions of a Standard Model particle called the tau lepton. The “S” is for “supersymmetric” (really).

PRIAVACY:  How does the surveillance state harm democratic society?   [Big Brother Watch PDF]

Synthetic Manipulated Media Pt III

Ripe receptors in manipulated media swarms, architected to move men to action. 

This is the third in a series of posts on the media turn from human generated media to media that is algorithmically generated.  Specifically addressing synthetic manipulated media.

Points discussed this far.

  • Is ‘synthetic media’ a proper description for this type of media
  • Round-up of existing papers and discussions taking place.
  • Posit that the immediate term potential to be disruptive, destructive?

Why this is important

Video has the power to be a form of control and life changing force. Media that has deception as a core capability takes on increased importance.

In this post I would like to take a look at adjunct technology and how it might fit with synthetic manipulated media. Following up with a post that addresses potential course corrections that might improve potential outcomes.   

This algorithmically generated media that can deceive the viewer impacts both encoding and decoding of images. Visual interpretation one of the most primary human functions. 

As the saying goes… if our life were a 24 hour clock,  humans learned to read at 11:59PM. We are visual beings.

This is not even wolf in sheep’s clothing territory,  this is a wolf dressed as a dragon. (one of the reasons we should name it correctly)

We see more colours of green because it helped protect us from being eaten as early humans. Our visual acuity is a mechanism for survival.  If these systems of visual trust are disrupted the implications will be significant.

Todays digital landscape

Concern is this: synthetic manipulated media comes at a time when several other capabilities and behaviors are all hitting critical mass and the alignment of all these in the wrong hands is dangerous.

Everyday we see low-grade high-impact propaganda or information warfare campaigns. Couple this with synthetic media and current digital swarm behavior – driven by a divided tribal society and individual psychological targeting.  This formula sets up a perfect storm for infection.

Some of these digital environmental and human conditions include:

  • Cultural tribalism
  • Psychographic targeting
  • Media literacy/human receptivity
  • Synthetic manipulated media
  • Social networks
  • Swam behaviors
  • ML/AI

The term  ‘Cat and mouse”  game is the phrase used to speak around the issues that both law and tools are playing catch up ball- true to form falling behind significant technology developments.  We do not have the time for the solve to play out as the immediate term impact will be foundational

Swarm behavior

Have spent good bit of ink on ‘swarm behavior’ in digital spaces.  This is the ingredient that both acts as an accelerator and potential incubator that pushes false information to mainstream media channels.   It happens fast and is places that are not immediately seen. Often by the time a swarm hits critical mass its to late –  everyone who participated in it becomes infected in some manner.

There are analogs to look to: the fairness doctrine in TV, or the fact that you can’t just slap a hundred dollar bill down on a copier as potential frameworks or laws that can moderate technology preventing disruptive becoming destructive.  That’s the line in the sand we all seem to ignore until technology eats part of us in its evolution.

As someone who loves design,  the above diagram is a visual horror show it should only serve to illustrate a potential threat scenario  vs wow with visual brilliance. Please someone re-design this – please

Synthetic Manipulated Media (Part II)

This post purpose is to hold a mirror up to the current landscape and point to some of the information, discussions and positions being put forth.  It will also start to make clear the parts that allow for a perfect storm to form.

In reading through the amazing work addressing synthetic manipulated media (using all three terms until a proper descriptor emerges)  There are some comprehensive discussions and deep dives taking place.

Betaworks always digging into our next digital destination had a discussion “A Session at betaworks Studios Hosted by John Borthwick & Vivian Schiller”  They have posted the deck used to drive the discussion  I am sorry to have missed this session and will be sure and keep an eye out  and not miss the next one. John and Vivian’s attention to this can only benefit us all.

There are also solution scenarios being modeled.  

Specifically the excellent work from by Sam Gregory from Witness in a series of blogs on the emerging and potential malicious uses of so-called “deepfakes” and other forms of AI-generated “synthetic media” and how we push back to defend evidence, the truth and freedom of expression. The first in the blog series can be accessed here.

When I saw Mr Gregory speak he was comprehensive in scope and very balanced in the view ahead.  When he polled the room on where we all stood from; fear -to – ‘everything’s fine’. I was towards the fear end of the line. (no shocker there). However at the end when we all regrouped our positions after his talk,  there was more center clustering. When we pushed the timeline out ten years – the edges disappeared.

So one area of immediate focus might be the short term window between capability now and a needed constructive framework.  How do we avoid the destructive aspects of this type of media in this gap.

My concern is this: synthetic manipulated media comes at a time when several other capabilities and behaviors are all hitting critical mass and the alignment of all these in the wrong hands is dangerous.

Some of these digital environmental and human conditions include:

  • Cultural tribalism
  • Psychographic targeting
  • Media literacy/human receptivity
  • Synthetic manipulated media
  • Social networks
  • Swam behaviors


Is ‘synthetic media’ the right name for media that is made to manipulate

Spent last week digging into what is being called ‘synthetic media’. I attended (the always amazing) NYC Media Lab 18 which had a panel ‘Great Synthetic Media Debate’ that discussed dynamics of this type of media, and a talk ‘Deepfakes and Other AI-Generate Synthetic Media: What Should We Fear? What Can We Do?’ by Sam Gregory from WITNESS which was significant in scope and implications.

‘synthetic media’ is being defined as  “algorithmically created or modified media ”   

This subject has been in the news because of deepfakes.

Deepfake, a portmanteau of “deep learning” and “fake”,[1] is an artificial intelligence-based human image synthesis technique. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos.  

The name ‘deepfake’ implies something not real, approaching it with discern is inferred in its name.  This is good.  The term ‘synthetic media’ fails at conveying meaning, intent and does not serve to warn the receptor.

The word ‘Synthetic’ implies something that is man-made, to be exact…

(of a substance) made by chemical synthesis, especially to imitate a natural product.

This is something made from computational algorithms, that might be splitting hairs for some, but where we really fall short is divorcing it from intent.   This is not only man made – it’s made to manipulate.  

A media whose primary focus is to deceive to receiver, be it in art or politics.   

This post is not about the ethical implications of this medium.  I want to stay focused on foundational lexicon while we still can.  

‘manipulated media’ more clearly states the goal of the AI.  

A media that is disembodied  from context (intent) and providence.  Context and providence are critical interpretation tools. We should name it for what it is, since what it does negates the basic rule of seeing is believing.  

It is important to use an accurate descriptor, it is dangerous not to.

As we weigh in on plus and minuses of this type of media the early tl/dr is –  we are doing ourselves a disservice by not correctly naming it for what it is. Be it manipulated or some other term that more clearly states providence, context and intent.

(this is the first in a series on this subject: ….’Ripe receptors in manipulated media swarms, architected to move men to action.’) 

MED 092118


AI : Sloan Kettering’s Cozy Deal With Start-Up Ignites a New Uproar  [NYT]
In two meetings this month, staff pathologists confronted hospital leaders over the cancer center’s relationship with Paige.AI, some of them angered by the deal that would allow others to profit from their work.

THINK: The Decision Matrix: How to Prioritize What Matters [FSBLOG]
My strategy for triaging was simple. I separated decisions into four possibilities based on the type of decision I was making. Consequential and irreversible decisions are the ones that you really need to focus on.

AI:  on generative algorithms [/]

STORY TELLING: These Virtual Reality Films Are Blazing a New Trail in Storytelling and Art [Hyperallergic]

PRINT: THE VILLAGE VOICE (1955–2018) September 11, 2018 [ArtForum]
see also Seven Ways The Village Voice Made New York a Better Place  [NYT]

BLOCKCHAIN: The Private Blockchain Fallacy     []
But unfortunately most private blockchains are really just inefficient, insecure or simply stupid implementations in which a public blockchain-setup is used behind closed doors. This offers none of the benefits of that public version, but all of the downsides.

SOFTWARE: Carnegie Mellon is Saving Old Software from Oblivion []
The oldest application we’ve revived is Mystery House, a graphics-enabled game from the early 1980s for the Apple II computer. Another program is NCSA Mosaic, which people of a certain age might remember as the browser that introduced them to the wonders of the World Wide Web.





MED 092018


PRIVACY: Facebook and Twitter must comply with EU consumer rules or face sanctions [Reuters] Seven months after being told to bring their user terms in line with EU regulations, both Facebook and Twitter have yet to fully address all the issues, the European Commission said on Thursday

PRIVACY: John Hancock to only provide data-driven life insurance [CNBC]
Marianne Harrison, CEO of John Hancock, joins Power Lunch to discuss her company’s decision to only sell interactive life insurance policies that track fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones.

CRYPTO: National Museum of Computing to hold live Enigma code-breaking demo with a Bombe [TheRegister] As part of the World Computer Congress being held in Poland this Friday (21 September), the Bombe will be fired up and set to work decrypting messages sent from the eastern European country

PRIVACY: Data localisation: A matter of rule of law and economic development pdf



PUBLIC ART; Standing 26 feet tall and forged from painted steel, Isa Genzken’s yellow rose permanently installed at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. 

STORY: The Man Booker Prize announces 2018 shortlist [themanbookerprize]

VIDEO:  Ryoji Ikeda : point of no return *CAUTION: STROBE EFFECT [vimeo]

ART-TECH: String Art – from the Hand of a Robot

Looking forward to Fridays NYC medialab workshop  Deepfakes and Other AI-Generated Synthetic Media: What Should We Fear? What Can We Do?  Sam Gregory, WITNESS

As more sophisticated, more personalized, more convincing audio and video manipulation emerges how do we get beyond the apocalyptic discussion of the “end of trust in images and audio” and instead focus on what we can do about malicious deepfakes and other AI-manipulated synthetic media?  Based on WITNESS’ collaborations with technologists, researchers, journalists and human rights activists, we’ll explore types of deepfake and synthetic media, brainstorm threat models and review possible technical, journalistic and policy solutions available to fight these malicious uses.

Next week 

9-26 LIVE/PRIVACY:   Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy
Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing


Todays banner image self portrait of an surveillance  AI  by  Rafael Lozano-Hemmer as part of his exhibition Confirmation Bias at bitforms gallery nye

MED 091918


MUSIC: Music Modernization Act Passes in Senate With Unanimous Support  [Billboard]
It was over 15 years ago I testified on the hill about these rates.  Things move slow.

       TECH: Topical Collection on Technology and Addiction [Springer]

AI: AMI is a program at Google that brings artists and engineers together to realize projects using Machine Intelligence.

AI: SAP’s Guiding Principles for Artificial Intelligence [SAP] 

BOOKS French bookshops revolt after prize selects novel self-published on Amazon [Guardian]  

GEAR:The battle for sneakerheads [FT] 

REVIEW: ‘Garry Winogrand’ Pictures an Artist and His World [NYT]

OPED: We Know Everything Worth Knowing About Mark Zuckerberg [Bloomberg]
TL/DR Over his skis

PRIVACY:  Map of LINKNYC surveillance devices [GoogleMaps]  Imported locations into a google map.

CONTENT: The Circle: a reality TV show where contestants interact only via social network (  “The players rate each other – like in the Black Mirror episodes “

ROBOT:String Art – from the Hand of a Robot []

MED 7.18.18



Twitter  Chronological order observations

I switched to a cron timeline and have not looked back since.  It is the only way I can use Twitter. Some bullets on the expierence

  • RT’s ruin Twitter
  • Less click bait and polarizing Tweets  
  • immediately pruned legacy followers that were not relevant
  • Overall follow count reduced increasing signal
  • No more breaking news that are days old.
  • Honing my graph to be more symmetrical
  • When I look at the PTL ranked vs chronological you can see how polarizing the ranked one is
  • Your likes ended up in your followers stream –   No more of this crazy behavior either in your timeline or in your followers .

MUSIC:  Been keeping an ongoing list of tracks that are used in torture [lithub]

BUSINESS: TomTom shares crash as carmakers opt for Google Maps  [Reuters]

FBI: FBI releases file on the author of the Anarchist Cookbook:

ART: NY Art Book Fair 2018 – Printed Matter  [PrintedMatter]

OVERVIEW: Hyperallergic run down  [Hyperallergic]
SIGNINGS: Art Book signing schedule [ArtBook] 
TICKET: Accelerated Logic, 2018 by Ryan Gander. Printed, laser die-cut orange acrylic stencil containing annotations made by the artist, to page 11 of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. [NY Art Book Fair Entry Ticket Edition] 

HACK : Place hacking 2018 Best of so far

Mc Donalds
Trump Hotel
Aretha Franklin Street


Tweets I did not send yesterday.

When I headed home last night I found a couple of hundred people all dressed in white Head to toe in front of my apartment building, I knew right away that it was the secret meeting spot for the fall…. Dinner En Blanc on Governors island

My “‘Save The Robots” t-shirt has moved from edgy when it was issued by seminal NYC after hours club. Moved to iconic, then ironic at the turn of the century. In this time of AI’s it’s now turned the corner to sarcastic.

Good to see Jim Thirlwell at Wolfgang Tillmans opening the other night, went to see him with Matt Johnson last night at the Beacon

Asking for a friend re: ‘psychoactive’ or ‘hallucinogenic’ has anyone seen anything ever? or know someone who has?

Walking down 6th ave at noon, see un-named rockstar looking at his jag with jersey plates after his parallel parking job. As a rule I ignore celebs when I run into them in NYC mostly as a sign of respect, I spotted this one as I approached and despite having met him several times in a prior life saw no reason to do anything more than nod. So He’s walking away when I pass it and spot the front end of his hood fully mashed into the ball peen on the hitch of the truck in front of him . I say hey …. Did you see this. He walks over like only he can squarely looks at it, I could not bare to see his face, having turned to continue my walk to the green market


MED 9.17.18



LIVE: Code Commerce Sept. 17 and 18 [ReCode]

TREND: Machines will do more tasks than humans by 2025: WEF
“By 2025 more than half of all current workplace tasks will be performed by machines as opposed to 29 percent today,”  Simultaneously, rapid changes in machines and algorithms, or computer processes that are designed to solve problems, “could create 133 million new roles in place of 75 million that will be displaced between now and 2022,” the group forecast.

TOOL: Funding Choices – Google’s new tool for GDPR compliance and content monetization  [fundingchoices]
Currently in beta, is an easy-to-use messaging tool that can help you comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and recover lost revenue from ad blocking users.

AI We hold people with power to account. Why not algorithms?   Hannah Fry [GUARDIAN]
All around us, algorithms provide a kind of convenient source of authority: an easy way to delegate responsibility, a short cut we take without thinking. Who is really going to click through to the second page of Google results every time and think critically about the information that has been served up? Or go to every airline to check if a comparison site is listing the cheapest deals? Or get out a ruler and a road map to confirm that their GPS is offering the shortest route?

LEXICON: Gell-Mann amnesia effect [Wikipedia]
Gell-Mann amnesia effect labels a commonly observed problem in modern media,[2] where one will believe everything they read from a news source even after they come across an article about something they know well that is completely incorrect. 

ART:  Jon Rafman  The Mental Traveller [fondazionefotografia]
The Mental Traveller, the first large-scale exhibition of works by Jon Rafman to be shown in an Italian contemporary art institution. September 14, 2018–February 24, 2019  Palazzina dei Giardini  Corso Cavour 2  Modena Italy

TECH: Building bicycles for our minds  [John Borthwick]
After a ten year run, the technology platforms of today are atrophying, cracks are showing, and a new era of technology is starting to emerge. I want to discuss a framework for thinking about what’s next. But first, a bit on those cracks, each of which could be an individual post. Here is a short summary:

MED 9.15.18

– Mediaeater Digest Sat. 15th September 2018  –
Dispute The Text

STUDY:  Trends in the Diffusion of Misinformation on Social Media [Stanford]

We measure trends in the diffusion of misinformation on Facebook and Twitter between Jan- uary 2015 and July 2018. We focus on stories from 570 sites that have been identified as producers of false stories. Interactions with these sites on both Facebook and Twitter rose steadily through the end of 2016. Interactions then fell sharply on Facebook while they con- tinued to rise on Twitter, with the ratio of Facebook engagements to Twitter shares falling by approximately 60 percent.

ART: Agnès Varda on inequality, Godard and working with JR [FT]

The meeting of old and new is a recurring theme, and often made manifest in the ways technology has affected country life. “We’re slowly changing our whole way of living, especially in big cities, the way we interconnect,” says JR. “We actually disconnect with each other in a much bigger way than people in villages. They keep a real connection, a more physical connection.”

PRIVACY:  How Game Apps That Captivate Kids Have Been Collecting Their Data [NYT]

The study this spring showed not only that more than half of children’s apps on Android were sharing tracking ID numbers but also that 5 percent collected children’s location or contact information without their parents’ permission.

PRIVACY: Report: Anonymity could be the answer to feeling happier online [TNW]

What I learned is that while many people believe that social media has a largely negative impact, the majority believe that these issues aren’t being addressed. Additionally, two-thirds of social media users said that they wish social media was a more positive place.  (Good news is a business model] -ed)

PRIVACY: Google china prototype links searches to phone numbers []

A censored search engine for China that links users’ searches to their personal phone numbers, thus making it easier for the Chinese government to monitor people’s queries, The Intercept can reveal.

The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, was designed for Android devices, and would remove content deemed sensitive by China’s ruling Communist Party regime, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

PROGRAMING: Whispering Pines 10 [wisperingpines]

An episodic internet soap opera, with original music and libretto by Hallett.  The latest episode in Shana Moulton’s cult video series is an internet soap opera, with music by Nick Hallett.

PROGRAMING:   Data Space: The Architecture and Impact of Data Centres Podcast []

This episode was triggered by our encounter with the first data centre to be fully embraced as Architecture. Designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects, the AM4 data tower in Amsterdam only recently appeared on the city’s skyline. Being taller than most buildings in the city, and cutting an impressively slick, windowless appearance, the data skyscraper is hard to miss. Does this design treatment for data architecture signal a tipping point of data centres becoming more visible and acceptable elements of cities? For the podcast, we got inside the heavily secured AM4 data tower to see, hear and feel the internet, and talked to several people about data space.

TOOL: Guitar Dashboard []

An interactive music theory dashboard, including a circle of fifths for guitarists.

CITY:  The Unbearable Sameness of Cities [NewYorker] 

There’s no solution to the problem of this soul-dissipating uniformity, if problem is even the correct description. Yet you’ll still feel, walking into that cozy-looking bistro in Utica, a tugging in your gut, a whisper in the back of your mind that this somehow is all too familiar. Maybe you’ll shrug it off as déjà vu. But you’ll know different, deep in your soul: You’ve seen those fucking lights at Ikea.

CITY: America’s Art Scenes Off the Beaten Track [WSJ]

Yet beyond these global hubs, there exist smaller, self-sustaining art scenes that appear to thrive in good markets and bad. Santa Fe, N.M., is one such “microclimate.” Aspen, Colo., is another.  Some hot spots, like Palm Springs, Calif., benefit from vacation-worthy vistas or cheery climates, but other settings may come as a surprise.

LIVE: Code Commerce Sept. 17 and 18 [ReCode]

Part of our live stream program guide each week

TREND: Cord-Cutters Beware: Streaming TV Prices Are Marching Higher [WSJ]

The higher prices have also narrowed the value gap between new and traditional TV, since cord-cutters must still pay for broadband service. Cable-TV packages still cost more than their online imitators, though cable companies often charge higher rates for standalone broadband service as an enticement to bundle internet and video.

ARCHIVE:  Bjork – Unravel Radio City Music Hall .mpg 6th October 2001 “He’ll never return it“  MOV00031

(had posted this to youtube but somehow that account and videos have gone MIA.  Thankfully I maintain an archive. The web has no memory, contrary to popular belief.  It was in response to 911 this year and how music and art led nyc back to itself again.  Was Twittering on about and went to link to it and bam it was gone from the interweb.  (this clip on loop would be just fine for me forever)

banner photo – series of frame grabs of Miguel Almague reporting on Florence.