August 24, 2014

Extending the self into the corporate cloud

Filed under: Technology by Branko Collin @ 9:19 pm

interferenceI went to Interference last weekend, a hacker convention run by anarchists in a former squat called Binnenpret. Most Dutch people know the part of the complex called OCCII, a music venue on Amstelveenseweg.

The talks were somewhat similar to what I have encountered at other hacker conventions in the past. If there was a difference, it was that in the Q&As audience members were criticizing language that could be used as a weapon, as a means to disempower outgroups.

Also, the hosts did not appear to serve coffee.

Cory Shores had a talk about post-humanism and spoke about the blind man’s cane. This is apparently an issue of some contention in philosophy: is the cane part of the man, of the self? A blind man ‘sees’ with the tip of the cane after all, his hand being no more than a relay.

A similar extension of the self was identified by Paulan Korenhof and Janneke Belt who pointed out technological differences in the way people remember things, such as remembering a shopping list versus writing one down. They did not further explore the issue of the self, but instead looked at where our shopping lists (and therefore maybe parts of ourselves) end up: in the cloud, specifically in the indexes of search engines owned by international companies.

Earlier this week I mocked visitors of the Lowlands festival in a posting who gave away their privacy for RFID trinkets, but perhaps my commentary wasn’t entirely fair. The Lowlands RFID wristbands do have some value to the user as they extend the self, even if the company behind them is solidly grounded in the philosophy of “if we give you something for free, you are in fact the product”.

See also: the Interference reader.

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August 14, 2010

One in five elderly bullied by peers

Filed under: Science by Branko Collin @ 3:05 pm

elderly_manA study showed last year that 1 in 5 senior citizens in retirement homes are bullied by their fellow residents.

Hester Trompeter, student behavioural sciences at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, interviewed 121 residents. According to Trouw, the bullying took the shape of ignoring people, gossiping and systematically shutting others out from common activities. Study coordinator Ron Scholte added that since the interviewees represented the people willing to talk, the real problem might even be bigger.

Last week the Ouderenfonds (National Fund for the Elderly) called for a protocol for dealing with bullying among the elderly. On the fund’s website its director Jan Romme gave a harrowing example of a man who was afraid to leave his room for seven years and finally died in complete loneliness.

Romme sees as one of the causes of the bullying problem that the elderly no longer can choose which retirement home to live in. “Bullies are put in the same homes as their former victims, and have the advantage of having all the time in the world now, and of having been able to perfect their techniques.”

(Photo by Frank Mayne, some rights reserved)

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