My name is Ale Fernandez. I live in Barcelona, Spain and I'm Chilean and Italian.
I am a web developer, artist and technical researcher.
I've lived in Scotland, Italy, Spain and England and career-wise I am interested in distributed systems and their applications to improvised performance and ecology.

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11/25/2011

A recap

Here is a quick recap since it's been a while I've written here (I've written a bit on my blog in n-1.cc though).

When the spanish protest camps made their decision to shift focus from camps to assemblies in each neighbourhood, back in June, I started going to my local commission meetings. It was a brilliant experience, to sit with other spaniards and see what we actually wanted to implement from our experience of the camp. I took part in the culture group and talked about participative art, and how you can use flashmobs and quite innocent actions to get people involved, or at least questioning things. We organised a cabaret where we brought together lots of local people for a memorable performance in our local square. This was in Sant Andreu del Palomar. I've since moved to the city centre, so am too far away, but I have about 4 different assemblies to choose from here, and getting energy to get stuck in a bit more.

Sant Andreu in Barcelona is an area with small streets and old and beautiful mediterranean houses a bit like Gracia, but without the drunken tourists. It was a bastion of resistance to franco, and before then, one day in 36 it was the area where thousands of rifles were siezed by local anarchists - contributing massively to their short but inspiring time of self organised local democracy. One assembly participant said the soldiers there had left their bullets in a different warehouse across the yard so they couldn't shoot them! Another described the taking of plaza catalunya back then, as told by grandparents - that the fascist soldiers were expecting the civil guard to be on their side, but they weren't - and they didn't have a chance, and he showed me which way everyone had gone. Back to this century - we then organised an end-of-summer "university" with the Universitat Indignada, which led to me talking about Transition Initiatives together with Antonio Scotti of Barcelona en Transició to a full square, and showing In Transition. Somehow there were also 3 other Peak Oil related talks, one of which was Martí Olivella, doing the rounds with his own version of Transition - applied in his case to politics. Soon after, we started an urban garden project with a lot of enthusiasm from pretty much everyone who passed: someone asked - "when do you meet? Every Monday?" "I don't know it's our first time, but okay!" and they are still at it...

With all the other members of Barcelona en Transicio, this cultural revolution that was the 15-m protest movement emerging from the squares, really got us energised, as people were now asking real questions, not just about the economy but about the earth, and family and the future. I just got the news the other day that 400 people have signed up, in a village out in the countryside, to support a politically oriented version of the Transition Towns recipe, pioneered by one of the speakers at our Uni Indignada: Marti Olivella, and an enormous stretch of land once used by Coca Cola is now to be proposed as a project to the local city council for food growing projects, and of course there is Calafou - the post-capitalist experimental factory space outside Barcelona, by the fantastic Montserrat Mountains. In Calafou, there is a hackerspace and a brewery project, as well as many smaller workshop spaces and living spaces - all closely linked with local assemblies so as to provide an alternative system in which to start to inhabit, and slowly stop being so dependent on what are now very fragile and unequal societies.

The hackerspace for now is inhabited by Lorea developers, the creators and maintainers of the 15-M's own ELGG based social network (but federated, secure, private, collaborative, and task/collab oriented) - N-1.cc.

Of course I played a lot of gigs for fundraisers, and got out a lot of old chilean Nueva Trova songs that I'd not played for years, but somehow fit the times again....

Now that the Occupy movement has joined in this incredible form of protest and reinvention that began for us back in May, things are really starting to change on a global level. I expect the governments and powers that be might even make some token concessions at this point, to try and get everyone christmas shopping.

The occupy movement has inspired a huge amount of creative, projects that work across disciplines in modern culture creating international IRC networks, teamspeak meetings, physical journeys or meetings. Some of these projects and initiatives start to build a symbiotic rather than parasitic kind of technological and social system around us. Now we are dominated by algorithms that determine all the decisions for us.

And then, there's the urgent problems around. Who am I to say anything, but this is meant to be a global movement for democracy so here is my suggestion: http://pastebin.com/xz6kZ3HS

It's a plan for a way to do a global people's meeting, like a giant physical and virtual assembly where we all, the people of this earth, as a one off, meet, and decide once and for all the future of the planet and what we are going to do about it. Think of it as a people's Bretton Woods, without the bickering. There are lots of smaller regional initiatives going on, but it's hard to organise larger get togethers, but we can start to think of distributed ways for it to happen, although I first thought of it as a time constrained thing, where we were all at it simultaneously.

Here is the piratepad where we're working on more of it. Feel free to contact me and join in. One of the things about it is that it needs skills that are already there around us, and abilities that are pretty widespread already. I really hope something like this can happen.

If there was such a global meeting, I would take my non-crazy robot idea there. (see next post!)

Ban Robot Violence

[IN PROGRESS - need to add links. Sorry but I'm into participative process, please comment and help me write this! I was just thinking about this thing about robots - online or physical, or more tentacular cybernetic systems like what international corporations and/or tech companies have built up around us over the years and how it interacts with us. I felt I should come and write it down.]

There is terrible totalitarian news starting to edge it's way in to passive acceptance, from the government injustice and brutality across the world, and the international coordination of this violence (that goes all the way to the top), from that to the drones that patrol prisons and are made to kill people.

I've spent a little time working with electronics, making and conceiving of materials to make a symbiotic musical, solar, improviser bot, and programming software based bots to guide kids around a 3D reconstruction of Sydenham Crystal Palace in London (and Second Life). I learnt that through the years, robots have been acquiring the basic ability not only to be a bit overly specialised towards human interaction, but to carry out all the functions required to be considered alive, even when some of those functions are made through their relationship with us. In the case of killer or surveillance drones, their creators, the teams of scientists who work in places like and are completely insane, as are the structures who made them exist. And I wonder how many of them believe in a creator god.

There's one thing they probably don't want us to realise: We the people are the creators of robots. Everyone can join in by learning a bit of programming and electronics, and a huge DIY scene is still around making UAVs or just robots of all kinds, just from open designs - recently to film a protest.

We invented robots. Nowadays the killer robots aren't that autonomous, but they are getting there. They can mimic human behaviour in loads of ways already, but they shouldn't have to, as they are completely wonderful things, if you think that they can be made from just about anything. But soon, this intelligence, but also growth in availability of sensors and software libraries for interpreting them, means a robot will do as told and travel autonomously to kill selected people without much need for a human "pilot".

But robots shouldn't be made to do these horrible insane things. They come from our invention, from all our wonderful science that's supposedly so opposed to judeochristian religion, but that is the same white boys club, who deep down wouldn't mind a go as all powerful creator gods too. To want to not only kill you but create a robot but make it kill you more efficiently than a human in a plane or helicopter could, is psychopathic, and all the people involved in doing this should be tried for international war crimes and put under care and long term psychoanalysis for psychotic disorders. In the end though, the system as usual is to blame.

We know that it's going to be a huge crisis here on earth, with the euro falling apart and banks crashing any minute, no new fuels in sight and an environmental catastrophe after another. Some fear we really might not make it through as a human race in the slightly longer term, which has most other species sighing with relief! So if that's even a remote possibility, I imagine how the people in these companies and government departments react to that thought, wondering what their legacy might be.

Our robot brethren are whatever we make them, and we can get them not only to survive us , but be positive creatures. Maybe they will be merciless killers like in a space blockbuster, but maybe they can be ethical, positive things too, and I realise this must come from popular demand, not passive acceptance of these trends.

So I propose a ban NOW on robot violence. No robot shall ever be made, or forced to be violent to people. We owe it to them as their creator gods. And just as non-crazy people. Thank you.

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