Category Archives: 03. zombie ontology

* summary & further reading

Tom Scott: welcome to life



In a networked information economy, our digital selves seem more and more shaped by corporate media and consumerism. How can storytellers and artists twist and reinvent the digital tools to reclaim a networked world? Can concepts such blockchain help us imagine digital and virtual communities with ‘data sovereignity’.

In what Harvard scholar & social psychologist Shoshanna Zuboff calls ‘surveillance capitalism,’ she states: “We thought that we search Google, but now we understand that Google searches us. We assumed that we use social media to connect, but we learned that connection is how social media uses us. Surveillance capitalists exploit the widening inequity of knowledge for the sake of profits. They manipulate the economy, our society and even our lives with impunity, endangering not just individual privacy but democracy itself.” We are now remotely controlled. Surveillance tools are being deployed as a means to exert social control, and turning security agency tech on their own civilians. Surveillance capitalists have committed a coup: they control the science and the scientists, the secrets and the truth.

Even if we as users would slightly be vigilant about how our data is used, we would have to review over 1000 privacy contracts, and by only questioning these, we would be written out of the system as access would be denied to these very tech tools, that in essence should be a part of our everyday infrastructure as a commons instead it has turned into an info-dystopia. “It is the right to our Future Tense.”



Eben Moglen,  “Anarchism Triumphant:  Free Software and the Death of Copyright,”First Monday” ‘August 2, 1999)

 Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas (2001)

Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks (2006)

Peter Drahos & John Braithwaite, Information Feudalism (2002)

 The Intercept: How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations  (2004)

Zuboff, Shoshana: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power (2019)

Marina Warner: Managing Monsters: Six Myths of Our Time: The 1994 Reith Lectures by Marina Warner (1994

Scott Bukatman, Hellboy’s World: Comics and Monsters on the Margins (2016)

Mark Fisher: The Weird and the Eerie (2017)

Jaron Lanier: Who Owns The Future (2013) + Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality (2017) + Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now (2018)

Eben Moglen,  Anarchism Triumphant:  Free Software and the Death of Copyright,” (1999)

Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas (2001)

Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks (2006)

Peter Drahos & John Braithwaite, Information Feudalism (2002)

The Intercept: How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations (2014)

David Bollier, Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own (2009)


Front Page: Free Software Foundation

b. The Truman Show


Peter Weir, USA
1998, 9 min 60 sec 

He’s the star of the show–but he doesn’t know. Jim Carrey wowed critics and audiences alike as unwitting Truman Burbank in this marvel of a movie from director Peter Weir (Witness, Dead Poets Society) about a man whose life is a nonstop TV show. Truman doesn’t realize that his quaint

c. Shoshana Zuboff, Surveillance Capitalism



Shoshana Zuboff, VPRO, Amsterdam
2019, 49 min, 59 sec

Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff wrote a monumental book about the new economic order that is alarming. “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” reveals how the biggest tech companies deal with our data. How do we regain control of our data? What is surveillance capitalism? In this documentary, Zuboff takes the lid off Google and Facebook and reveals a merciless form of capitalism in which no natural resources, but the citizen itself, serves as a raw material. How can citizens regain control of their data? It is 2000, and the crisis has caused deep wounds. How will startup Google survive the bursting of the internet bubble? Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin don’t know anymore how to turn the tide. By chance, Google discovers that the “residual data” that people leave behind in their searches on the internet is very precious and tradable. This residual data can be used to predict the behavior of the internet user. Internet advertisements can, therefore, be used in a very targeted and effective way. A completely new business model is born: “surveillance capitalism.”

d. Jean-Luc Godard, Alphaville


Jean-Luc Godard
1965, 1 min, 27 sec

Jean-Luc Godard’s film – “a science fiction film without special effects” in the words of the critic Andrew Sarris; “a fable on a realistic ground” in Godard’s own description – is a cry of protest aimed at the worshippers of science and logic. Unlike Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which now resembles a picturesque relic of long-abandoned aspirations, Alphaville still seems to be watching the world come to meet it. And the world is very much closer to the director’s creation than it was back in 1965.

e. The Barefoot College


Responsible Business,
2011, 6 min 38 sec

Established in 1972, the Barefoot College is a non-government organization that has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities for more than 40 years, with the objective of making them self-sufficient and sustainable. These Barefoot solutions can be broadly categorized into the delivery of solar electrification, clean water, education, livelihood development (health care, rural handicrafts and communication) and activism.

f. Democratic Cities


D-CENT Project, USA
2016, 4 min 41 sec

Interview with Adam Greenfield, a London-based writer and urbanist. He elaborates on his latest work ‘Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life’. To him, ‘radical’ can mean ‘politically radical’ or ‘cutting to the root of something’.  He focusses on technologies that fundamentally condition our everyday life, condition our ability to relate to one another, condition the sorts of selves we become, condition how we organise ourselves in groups. These technologies include automation, the block chain, virtual reality and digital fabrication. He questions their possibilities and limitations and concludes them as ‘scary’, since they don’t have anything to offer that can possibly do better than the experience of participating in a general assembly, this ‘old’ technology of being physically in one another presence, forced to reckon with each other as unique individuals, forced to recognise the subjectivity of one another and to grant their validity of their perspective on the world and that we don’t necessarily need to find agreement on all matters.

g. Bunker Roy, the Barefoot College


Bunker Roy, Rajasthan, India
2009, 6 min 35 sec

In Rajasthan an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men – many of them illiterate – to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. The initiative is called the Barefoot College and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains how it works. His dream was to build a college for the poor by the poor.

h. Richard Stallman, Free vs. Open Source…


Richard Stallman, Tech Perspectives
2009, 2 min 41 sec

Richard Stallman talks about free v open source software. Stallman quit his job at MIT in ’84 to start developing a free operating system, ‘GNU’. ‘Free’ refers to freedom, not price. Free programmes can (later) be worked on by a group of people including non of the original developers. In ’91 his team almost finished GNU, the goal was to create an operating system similar to UNIX but entirely free.  By exchanging a variety of worked out systems for free, he, along with many other people, for instance the developer of LINUX, completed all the different components needed to create GNU.

i. What does information really want?


Big Think, USA
2012, 5 min 16 sec

In 1984, Stewart Brand said that “information wants to be free” (and also expensive). A quarter century later, he revisits his famous phrase. Brand’s response to what he wants for information is “more, choice, options, sifting,…”.

He mentions the importance of blogs – a digital commons –  to lead him to information he otherwise would not get to. The fact that his research sources for his book are available through the internet and you can make up your own mind about it is a fantastic gain for Brand.