fridgepunk: (Laughing Man)
I have a slightly morbid fetish for military technology pr0n.

Well not the actual miltech porn pr0n, but the mess load of drone news items that is what techie-nerds obsess a lot about these days, wiki pages on missiles and guns and the training of the odder little special forces groups beyond the boots and shootas shenanigans of the SAS or SEAL team sex, like the british Special Reconnaissance Regiment who's job is basically to stalk and identify potential "targets" for other special forces units or police, and who's training seems to involve sneaky photography, small arms fighting, "use of a vehicle as a weapon" and other facets of what I can only accurately describe as Advanced Car Chase Training (the course module on "driving through inexplicable piles of cardboard boxes" is apparently the funnest).

It's oddly fascinating to me because miltech pr0n like this is an example of what you'd get if there was an active and steering intelligent designer (or in the case of most of the nutters who come up with things like armouring a car almost everywhere, with the "almost" referring to deliberately unarmoured areas that exist so that people on the inside can return fire through the car, "almost intelligent" is probably a better term) operating over any sort of prolonged period – just this sort of hyper-funcitonality, where even aesthetic considerations ultimately can only exist for any length of time as either camouflage to hide deeply functional elements or some ergonomic spandrel.

Of course it was while doing this wallowing in morbid militarism, especially as I moved from issues of technology, which are shaped by issues of human biomechanics and physics, to the more sociological end of things; the training and methodological approaches adopted by these security organs. It was then that I started to note a similarity in resulting behaviour and mindset of the security agencies, specifically a similarity to the symptomology of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: the blunting of effect, the hypervigilance, the propensity to violent and angry overreaction often coupled to what basically amounts to sociological avoidance behaviour. That tendency to view with alarm groups or materials or activities that were related or involved in previous "traumatic" events regardless of whether that avoidance behaviour actually helps or even if it interferes with society's normal function such as airport security theatre or, spreading almost beyond the security industrial complex, austerity measures in response to the eurocrisis and global recession.

This is a Post-Traumatic Society Disorder that we live in then, with the further complication that in the form of the munchhausen-oppressed religious groups who claim oppression when their various hateful and harmful avoidance strategies aren't implemented and the Daily Mail and the FOX media empire you have, as it were, trauma engines – hyper-vigilance organs that sense all the things we do and then digest them until they turn brown and scary, ever justifying it all with their phantom traumas mainly arising from the newer and harsher avoidance strategies.

Of course it's with these thoughts in my mind that I then stumble across a concept like Affective Computing from the wikipedia page on surveillance, and you start to see an odd creature indeed – Because the security application for a machine that can identify human emotions is obvious; to be hypervigilant to a degree beyond that capable of humans who, even with the PTSD pushing them to view with alarm beyond what might otherwise be sensible, still feel things and can still sympathise with people or be tricked by tricky truths about why they were frowning in the airport's mandatory smiles zone. For the Affective Surveillance machine doesn't feel sympathy or recognise joy or love or know worry brought about by human social interactions or neurosis, it merely recognises threats, and in response screams; a warning klaxon alerting its inferior multiaffective meatbag to view with alarm THIS person or group or item.

In short, we're building the first artificial intelligences to feel not love or joy or to have friendly or associative bonds with humans, we're building them to fear, on our behalf, and programming them to fear the Other, not so we don't have to, but so we can experience augmented fear, hyper-real racial terrors that only an intelligence that has been built around the unending trauma, and who isn't so much suffering from blunted affect as absent of affect when it comes to anything but fear and threat, as we build robotic version of the little boy of the Craków Pogrom, who runs to the proverbial market yelling about the jews trying to kill him when he gets caught throwing rocks at the synagogue. It creates fear which it feels and then spits out at the potential threatoids it stares at all day, caught in the trauma loop it was built from the ground up to inhabit and facilitate.
fridgepunk: Image courtesy of webcomic Octopus Pie, available now at all good googles! (Oh Noes!)
FailBender is turning into the Dune-of-this-generation, RaceBending has a list of the changes between series and movie. Note how scenes that should have involved female characters having some sort of power or actiony involvement in the plot have been either removed or truncated into the equivalent of them tripping on a tree root and spraining their ankle.

Though I have to point out that the racebender community has turned out to have been quite unfair - by all accounts, Shyamalan embraced diversity to the point of hiring both bad AND mediocre actors for the movie, and then proceeded to direct them in such a cack-handed fashion that even the tiny minority of good actors in the movie were unable to shine through the murky post-production effects and bad scriptwriting. Which is really going above and beyond as far as diverse casting decisions go, and thereby invalidates all criticisms of the casting along diversity grounds. /tongue in cheek

Remember of course that Shyamalan defended the casting decision by stating that they hired the best possible actors, who coincidentally happened to all be white. The "good" news is that the casting seems to have been so bad that that defense is equally offensive and insulting to white and non-white actors alike. So I await the inevitable tarring and feathering that'll proceed Shyamalan being run out of Hollywood on a rail held aloft by crowds of insulted child actors.

In less schadenfreudean news, BP or British Agnes Petroleum (to use their sunday name) have begun their next phase of being a Captain Planet villain by setting fire to endangered sea turtles as part of their "clean up" scheme. Note that said clean up scheme isn't very effect, nor does deep ocean frying turtles make it somehow more effective than it would otherwise be.

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