Frank Pasquale, The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016). Please attempt to sign up again. The Kindle quickly took over the e-reader market, becoming the best-selling product in the history of Amazon.com in 2010. A cylinder sits in a room. “How much would you pay never to see another talking frog or battery-powered bunny again?” this magazine asked when the first TiVo was announced in 1999. But decades earlier, the first commercial cable box that would inspire so many others was an unassuming wood-paneled console manufactured by Pennsylvanian company Jerrold Electronics, sporting three-way sliders for dozens of different channels. Second one is "The Empty Mirror: Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery". Vincent Mosco, To the Cloud: Big Data in a Turbulent World (Boulder: Paradigm, 2014). While Glass was officially shelved in 2015, augmented reality—displaying computer-generated images over the real world—is a concept many companies are still trying to perfect. Mezzadra and Nielson note that labor is central to this extractive relationship, which has repeated throughout history: from the way European imperialism used slave labor, to the forced work crews on rubber plantations in Malaya, to the Indigenous people of Bolivia being driven to extract the silver that was used in the first global currency. David Abraham describes the mining of dysprosium and Terbium used in a variety of high-tech devices in Jianxi, China. While ‘off the shelf’ machine learning tools, like TensorFlow, are becoming more accessible from the point of view of setting up your own system, the underlying logics of those systems, and the datasets for training them are accessible to and controlled by very few entities. The Salar, alongside the neighboring Atacama regions in Chile and Argentina, are major sites for lithium extraction. The 1961 Selectric model began by introducing changeable typefaces through the typewriter’s iconic, interchangeable, golf-ball-shaped print head. The Dynatac 8000x weighed nearly two pounds and cost almost $4,000. It held roughly 20 messages and enabled owners to listen to voicemails privately through an earphone. Beep boop bop beep. Now, for several hundred dollars per month less than we were paying in D.C., ... and still have a MoMA P.S. 1 (March 10, 2011): 1. In Shiva’s words, “the destruction of commons was essential for the industrial revolution, to provide a supply of natural resources for raw material to industry. 20 And they provide labor, as they continually perform the valuable service of contributing feedback mechanisms regarding the accuracy, usefulness, and overall quality of Alexa’s replies. The latex was processed then sold through Singapore’s trade markets into the British market, where it was transformed into, among other things, lengths upon lengths of submarine cable sheaths. The Makerbot Replicator was neither the first nor the best consumer-level 3-D printer. Sorolla Museum Madrid, Spain. The aim is to optimize the movements of the robots and humans that collaborate in these warehouses. Business Day, https://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/25/business/yourmoney/25Stream.html. While they are called ‘rare earth metals’, some are relatively abundant in the Earth’s crust, but extraction is costly and highly polluting. The ruby red model was the first to integrate the tapedeck into the camera. The Kindle also marks the beginning of Amazon’s evolution as a digital media company. Listening systems, even at this early stage, were about power, class, and secrecy. As Kircher wrote: “This statue must be located in a given place, in order to allow the end section of the spiral-shaped tube to precisely correspond to the opening of the mouth. Our exploded view diagram combines and visualizes three central, extractive processes that are required to run a large-scale artificial intelligence system: material resources, human labor, and data. The video begins, “Say hello to the all-new Echo” and explains that the Echo will connect to Alexa (the artificial intelligence agent) in order to “play music, call friends and family, control smart home devices, and more.” Millennials get plenty of flak over their penchant for instant gratification. In 1673, the Jesuit polymath, Athanasius Kircher, invented the statua citofonica – the ‘talking statue.’ Kircher was an extraordinary interdisciplinary scholar and inventor. Alexander Klose, The Container Principle: How a Box Changes the Way We Think, trans. Pedometers have been around for centuries (seriously, look it up), but it was Fitbit that helped bring them into the digital age and to the masses. But the majority of the pyramids are made from the dark tunnels of mines, radioactive waste lakes, discarded shipping containers, and corporate factory dormitories. An inexpensive upstart running Linux, Roku’s hockey-puck sized Netflix-and-more video streaming box emerged out of nowhere in 2010 to rally waves of cord-cutters who cancelled their cable. The listening system could eavesdrop on everyday conversations in the piazza, and relay them to the 17th century Italian oligarchs. What really made the iPhone so remarkable, however, was its software and mobile app store, introduced later. Two of Nauman's early auction records were for monumental neons, both walls of blinking punning phrases: Sotheby's New York hammered down One Hundred Live and Die (1984) to the Benesse Art Site, in Naoshima, Japan, for $1.9 million in 1992, and five years later sold Good Boy/Bad Boy (1986–87) to the Daros Collection in Zürich for $2.2 million. This is a key difference between artificial intelligence systems and other forms of consumer technology: they rely on the ingestion, analysis and optimization of vast amounts of human generated images, texts and videos. Google included. Thanks to Joana Moll and Meredith Whittaker for their inputs and inspirations on the first drafts of this text. They’re cheaper and accessible to the millions of Americans who still lack broadband access. Get up to the minute entertainment news, celebrity interviews, celeb videos, photos, movies, TV, music news and pop culture on ABCNews.com. The outputs of machine learning systems are predominantly unaccountable and ungoverned, while the inputs are enigmatic. From a slow process of elemental development, these elements and materials go through an extraordinarily rapid period of excavation, smelting, mixing, and logistical transport – crossing thousands of kilometers in their transformation. Their use peaked around 2001, as faster alternatives that carried data over cable lines arrived. On this tiny island, mostly ‘informal’ miners are on makeshift pontoons, using bamboo poles to scrape the seabed, and then diving underwater to suck tin from the surface through giant, vacuum-like tubes. Kircher’s talking statue was an early form of information extraction for the elites – people talking in the street would have no indication that their conversations were being funneled to those who would instrument that knowledge for their own power, entertainment and wealth. 9 Land and forests were the first resources to be 'enclosed' and converted from commons to commodities. At the end of 19th century, a particular Southeast Asian tree called palaquium gutta became the center of a technological boom. 11. 51 (For instance, its ability to use machine learning to detect and predict usage patterns for heating and cooling a home.) Kate Hodal, “Death Metal: Tin Mining in Indonesia,” The Guardian, November 23, 2012, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/nov/23/tin-mining-indonesia-bangka. Amazon Mechanical Turk digital workshop emulates artificial intelligence systems by checking, assessing and correcting machine learning processes with human brainpower. To the casual observer, it looks like it has never been easier to build AI or machine learning-based systems than it is today. The vanishingly few at the top of the fractal pyramid of value extraction live in extraordinary wealth and comfort. (It’s also part of the permanent collection at New York City’s MoMA.) But, more than that, it fundamentally changed our relationship to computing and information—a change likely to have repercussions for decades to come. Where medieval alchemists aimed to transform base metals into ‘noble’ ones, researchers today use rare earth metals to enhance the performance of other minerals. Jorge Luis Borges, “On Exactitude in Science,” in Collected Fictions, trans. A post-WWII innovation developed by Texas Instruments (which had been making devices for the Navy) and Industrial Development Engineering Associates (which previously put out television antennas for Sears), the $49.95, 3-by-5-inch, battery-powered portable was built on technology developed by Bell Labs. It’s necessary to move beyond a simple analysis of the relationship between an individual human, their data, and any single technology company in order to contend with the truly planetary scale of extraction. While at first Apple struggled to rationalize its comparably barren Apple TV-verse, Roku was offering thousands of channels and the most partnerships with the biggest players. All business? In 1770, Hungarian inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen constructed a chess-playing machine known as the Mechanical Turk. Bloomberg delivers business and markets news, data, analysis, and video to the world, featuring stories from Businessweek and Bloomberg News on everything pertaining to politics Eeeeeeerrrrrrroooooooahhhh ba dong ba dong ba dong psssssssssssh. 1 (February 1, 2008): 34–50, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8676.2008.00035.x. The jungles of Malaysia and Singapore were stripped, and by the early 1880s the palaquium gutta had vanished. After English scientist Michael Faraday published a study in The Philosophical Magazine in 1848 about the use of this material as an electrical insulator, gutta percha rapidly became the darling of the engineering world. The ecological price of transformation of elements and income disparities is just one of the possible ways of representing a deep systemic inequality. The box, called a “Personal Video Recorder” at the time, is the forerunner to today’s DVRs. Emily Achtenberg, “Bolivia Bets on State-Run Lithium Industry,” NACLA, November 15, 2010, https://nacla.org/news/bolivia-bets-state-run-lithium-industry. Long before cellphones became commonplace, beepers were the way to stay in touch on the go. Anything beyond the limited physical and digital interfaces of the device itself is outside of the user’s control. Statua citofonica by Athanasius Kircher (1673). Then in 1964, a magnetic tape model gave the typewriter the ability to store data, arguably making it the world’s first word processor. 49 Christian Fuchs, Digital Labor and Karl Marx (London: Routledge, 2014). Apple Newsroom is the source for news about Apple. Stricken by jealousy, the male volcanos stole her baby and banished it to a distant location. Just as the Greek chimera was a mythological animal that was part lion, goat, snake and monster, the Echo user is simultaneously a consumer, a resource, a worker, and a product. Microsoft unveiled a tablet that ran Windows XP in 2002. Most importantly, it allowed users to easily upload all that data to the company’s website for ongoing analysis, encouragement or guilt. One illustration of the difficulty of investigating and tracking the contemporary production chain process is that it took Intel more than four years to understand its supply line well enough to ensure that no tantalum from the Congo was in its microprocessor products. So we see that the attempt to capture the full supply chain is a truly gargantuan task: revealing all the complexity of the 21st century global production of technology products. Later on, water resources were 'enclosed' through dams, groundwater mining and privatization schemes. Jean-François Lyotard introduced the phrase “affinity to infinity” to describe how contemporary art, techno-science and capitalism share the same aspiration to push boundaries towards a potentially infinite horizon. To produce just one ton of this material required around 900,000 tree trunks. The DeskJet wasn’t the first inkjet on the market, but with a $995 price tag, it was the first one many home PC users bought. You can unsubscribe at any time. Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” video helped, too. 36. The product’s reveal was a classic example of Steve Jobs’ showmanship at its best. They are key elements in communication systems from fiber optic cables, signal amplification in mobile communication towers to satellites and GPS technology. The second half of the 19th century, with its focus on the construction of infrastructure and the uneven transition to industrialized society, generated enormous wealth for the small number of industrial magnates that monopolized exploitation of natural resources and production processes. It is difficult to place the human user of an AI system into a single category: rather, they deserve to be considered as a hybrid case. Musée d’Orsay, Paris Paris, France. 7 In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.”. Other Android-powered smartphones existed before the Droid launched in 2009, but this was the first one popular enough to push Android into the spotlight. Hence the need for a visualization that can bring these connected, but globally dispersed processes into a single map. By signing up you are agreeing to our, Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2021 TIME USA, LLC. Motorola’s Dynatac 8000x was the first truly portable cellphone when it launched in 1984. As a Guardian investigation reports “tin mining is a lucrative but destructive trade that has scarred the island's landscape, bulldozed its farms and forests, killed off its fish stocks and coral reefs, and dented tourism to its pretty palm-lined beaches. John Vidal, “Health Risks of Shipping Pollution Have Been ‘Underestimated,’” The Guardian, April 9, 2009, sec. In his one-paragraph short story "On Exactitude in Science", Jorge Luis Borges presents us with an imagined empire in which cartographic science became so developed and precise, that it needed a map on the same scale as the empire itself. The damage is best seen from the air, as pockets of lush forest huddle amid huge swaths of barren orange earth. In many cases, transparency wouldn’t help much – without forms of real choice, and corporate accountability, mere transparency won’t shift the weight of the current power asymmetries. Looking from the perspective of deep time, we are extracting Earth’s history to serve a split second of technological time, in order to build devices than are often designed to be used for no more than a few years. 44 One Piece is a Japanese manga anime series illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. 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