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.

Twitter

8/02/2016

Procomuns refugee fund talk

This is a slightly extended write up of a lightning talk entitled "Creating a fair market and a fund for refugees" which I gave at procomuns.net in Barcelona, March 2016
When a person arrives in a new place, seen from a P2P perspective of a node, a network  of relationships and connections to people and concepts so beautifully depicted in the myth of Indra's net. When people move around then, they are a mix of slowly fading and recombining connections to experience, knowledge, and culture, plus their long distance relationships. If not cultivated these connections to the past fade, as new connections or knowledge are gained in the new setting.

I am Ale and I work at FairCoop, where we are working to create an alternative economic system that is more democratic, ecological and... fair! 

I arrived in Europe as a child, a refugee of the Pinochet dictatorship, in 1974; we were some of the first to leave Chile and there was no official structure there to welcome us. Instead, we were welcomed by an assortment of miner unions, academic friends and neighbours in Scotland, where my parents were able to complete their studies in humanities which had so damned them in the eyes of the dictatorship, and then found work soon after. The solidarity we found there still overwhelms me sometimes.

Here is the Catalan Integral Cooperative's site: http://cooperativa.cat/ - FairCoop's origins lie there in a way: a regional cooperative and legal structures that allow for smaller cooperative groups to do their activities.

Early on when designing a more ethical counterpart to Bitcoin and its POW algorithm, we were discovered by the P2P Foundation who have supported and written about us a lot: http://p2pfoundation.net/Faircoin

So I arrived as an exile to the UK. We were some of the first to leave and were helped by Roberto Kozak, who comes across as a very corageous figure with a kind of Schindler's list role, who was working for what later became the IOM - International Organisation on Migration. Kozak recently died and was conferred an honorary Chilean citizenship. His help consisted in a deal with the Chilean secret services and authorities. We would be allowed to seek the documentation needed in order to leave the country, in exchange for a stamp on our passports that said "sin retorno". No return.

But a little while later, many more refugees began arriving to the uk. The government began to find its own solutions, asking for documentation, putting people in hotels(thankfully this is long before Tony Blair decided to poodle Bush's militarisation push and start using prisons and private security corporations), and generally finding centralised solutions to the "problem", and later on, they even denied us the right to work. Luckily, by then we had European citizenship and managed to avoid the problems that today's refugees now face. Even organisations like the IOM are now puppets of the shock doctrine which has now spread across the world where it can be found today in the EU.

When the Spanish civil war happened, Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet and diplomat, managed to secure a boat that carried civil war refugees to chilean ports along the atlantic sea, stopping first at my father's home town of Arica, where people waited to cheer and take them in; and this was repeated at each port further south, despite the ongoing crisis that was hitting their exports at the time. They contributed in hundreds of ways and there's a strong cooperativist current in Valparaiso now recognised as coming directly from that input. They even say the man who inspired president Allende to pursue a political career was an spanish ex-civil war refugee of anarchist persuasion. 

Similarly in Palestine, during the Armenian genocide, an entire neighbourhood was once cleared voluntarily to make way for incoming refugees. 

Both these acts came from solidarity but also because they valued the actual capabilities offered by these people: artisans, workers, thinkers, people who through their pain had also gained wisdom and strength.

We are not victims and “refugee” doesn't mean we are inept people who need to be taught, (actually the entire refugee convention was explained outwardly as a humanitarian issue, but internally it was accepted that it was to be able to get intelligent people from across post war borders and across the growing cold war divides between east and west). 

Like in the feminist talk at procomuns.net (just before my lightning talk) this is also a clear example of an area of the commons that isn't being valued: the long distance connections we all might carry with our places of birth or origin, or where we have some kind of connection or have passed through somehow. I once interviewed some Azerbaijani failed asylum seekers who were in Section 4 status under the United Kingdom immigration act - they were destined for deportation, but as Christians, the EU kept them from being returned to a place where they were now deemed unsafe due to EU human rights law. The couple were confined to their house, and the only currency they had access to was government vouchers allowing them to buy at places like McDonalds or Pret a Porter, and the husband said he felt like all his knowledge and connections, all his culture and language was slowly melting away. I asked - what, if anything gives you hope or happiness... and they both smiled and pointed to the tomatoes they were growing out in the garden. ( https://archive.org/details/Section4_201603 9-13m in)

Enter FairCoop
So at FairCoop we asked ourselves: how do you find a way around these laws that in so many countries force people to not be able to make use of their intelligence, abilities, experience and contacts, especially at a time when so many more refugees are arriving?

(aerial view of Zataari)
Not all countries have this ban, but for example at Zataari refugee camp no-one is allowed to work, and it's a controversial subject to even mention this. It creates several black markets, and permanent precariety.

So we tried to just sidestep it all: what if we don't use official currencies, or mainstream processes where most of the budget is typically spent on legal protection against the giants who keep the status quo going? What if we came up with our own ethical system and even our own definition of what a refugee is (make a chart showing all migrants, economic migrants, asylum seekers, then a tiny circle in the middle representing those with accepted refugee status). What if the people who normally get sued to bits for challenging the system didn't have any money to begin with?

Coopfunding
Social movements now have 2 novel ways to access funds: one is crowdfunding - but refugees don't tend to have access to bank accounts - another is through 'alt currencies': we decide where we put our money and even how this money is organised. So we've started a fund for self organised, DIY refugee centred initiatives, that allow us to create separate economies - beyond the black markets  and grey areas where refugee economies usually exist, that we can shape as a common tool, rather than be shaped by market forces of mafias, people traffickers or state oppression. With Coopfunding anyone can start a campaign - we don't charge fees, it's aimed at the common good, and is cooperatively run. Now that our credit card payments go through BetaBank, the German cooperative bank, you don't need a bank account in order to start a campaign there.

A p2p ERP for cooperative work
One of the tools we are developing at FairCoop is the Open Collaboration Platform or OCP, a fork of the NRP used in Sensorica for peer to peer process management in creating sensors. Instead, our OCP is a system that lets you map your cooperative project and add it to an ecosystem of projects all using FairCoin.  We have been collaborating on this with http://mikorizal.org/.

FairMarket
This brings us to FairMarket, which of course is the central marketplace for FairCoop members to buy and sell; in fact one does not have to have had any dealings with FairCoop before to interact with the market; to buy it is sufficient only to have some Faircoins (which can be bought at www.getfaircoin.net)and to sell one only has to apply for an account https://market.fair.coop/web/signup and have a Faircoin wallet address in which to receive funds.

These low barriers to entry, plus the fact that almost any good or service, including non-physical informational or downloadable goods, can be bought and sold using the platform, mean that people who are excluded by the current system, such as refugees, economic migrants or stateless people who are unable to open bank accounts (and thus unable to participate in online commerce) can, as long as they have a means of accessing the internet, start taking advantage of this worldwide platform to participate in an alternative economy which could potentially be both a lifeline, and a way out of the trap in which the incumbent system has placed them.

6/23/2016

Using social currencies to fund the energy transition

This post is a translation of a proposal by Susana Martín Belmonte of which the original will soon be posted!
On July 13 2016, the city of Barcelona published a government measure to create an energy operator in the city. This operator aims to accelerating the energy transition to renewable energy sources, facilitating the citizen's energy self-consumption, and providing the citizens with access to electricity generation business income, as well as addressing economic justice goals, such as ending energy poverty.

One of this project's key points is financing new renewable energy generators, and this is where the social currency that the city of Barcelona is planning can play a very interesting role.

I drafted the proposal that comes next and I shared with the economy and ecology groups, as well as the social currency group at Barcelona en Comú. In addition, this can also be framed in the working group on energy and climate change mentioned in the document.


Offer advantageous conditions for investing in electrical generators to those citizens who access the scheme

1. The energy operator  would offer citizens to exchange euros for social currency. The incentive, for example, can be obtaining joint ownership of the panel(for example 10%). In this way, a citizen can change 100€ a month for 100 units of social currency during 20 months for example (or for the time needed in order to acquire a solar panel or associated equipment).

2. The operator would use the euros collected (some or all) to buy and install solar panels or other renewable energy generators.

3. People would use the social currency to pay for:
  • Goods and services from the companies participating in the scheme (local commerce, etc).
  • The energy bill(in part): The operator accepts a percentage of the electricity bill in social currency (this percentage should be compatible with the operator's cash flow needs, and it can be increased overtime).

The system:

The system can be a mutual credit system, in which other companies and local businesses can participate. Those who sign up for electricity provision from the operator will have an additional incentive as they can then use social currency to pay for their electricity bill. It would therefore be a currency backed by green energy (at least in part: the currency could have other types of backing too). The energy operator is aimed mostly to household customers, but here I assume that some SMEs could become customers of the energy operator too.


Potential Advantages

1. Financing: An interesting amount of capital could be raised to accelerate an energy transition. Basically, the project aims to substitute euros for social currency for the purpose of  goods and services consumption, and use the euros to invest in clean energy generation instead.

2. Promoting a local economy connected to the world of energy: citizens, even with a low income, can access and take part in investing in clean energy and its benefits (both private and common) via joint ownership, without the need to save, based only on exchanging money and substituting global consumtion habits for local ones.

3. Reducing energy demand: Social currency incentivates local consumption, reduces the supply chain (in KMs) and therefore reduces carbon footprint. This complements the energy operator's strategy by reducing the city's energy demand, because if you consume a product produced within a radius of 100km you use up less energy than if you consume a product created at a distance of 1000km.

4. Local economy is boosted. Incentives can be offered so that the operator also pays citizens in for the spaces to place the panels, and for the panel's returns (when the citizen is co-owner), in social currency instead of euros. This would increase the local multiplier effect of this extra income, so it improves local employment and economic activity.

There are many other additional possibilities, but here is the outline of the basic scheme:




Precedents

- Money Market and Climate Change: Theoretical Proposal by Shann Turnbull (2009) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1304083

- Ecoxarxa of Manresa (a bona hora) is a mutual credit system created in 2011. Participants can also buy social currency with euros. These euros are used, among other things, to purchase solar panels. The Ecoxarxa participants can use the energy generated by these solar panels and pay for it in social currency. https://abonahora.wordpress.com/

- Solarcoin: cryptocurrency (based currency block chain technology) created in 2014 to finance the installation of renewable energy generators. The market price can be followed here: https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/solarcoin/

---------------

Author: Susana Martín Belmonte
Translated: Alejandro Fernández and Susana Martín Belmonte
Date: 25-07-2016
Creative Commons Licence: 3.0. (Share alike)

OSCEdays Barcelona: Buscando una economía social, transformadora y libre...

Las siguientes son las primeras conclusiones que he sacado de mi participación en las jornadas globales y abiertas a la participación de distintas ciudades del mundo, OSCEdays:
Creado por la deportista Ellen MacArthur, el concepto de Circular Economy es una perspectiva ecologista que facilita un cambio masivo en los procesos industriales mundiales. El concepto sirve para ir a grandes empresas y convencerles o poco a poco exigirles a cambiar o por lo menos a ayudar a quienes lo hacen, cediendo espacios o recursos para las jornadas OSCE en otras partes del mundo por ejemplo. Mucho del contenido internacional de estas jornadas se centra en desarrollar "Challenges" o retos, de diseño, construcción y prototipado de soluciones grandes y pequeñas que transforman deshechos organicos en gas fertilizante, convierten deshechos urbanos en ladrillos, o crean baños públicos que reciclan nutrientes como fosfatos.

Obviamente en Barcelona se puede ir mas lejos que en las partes del mundo donde las jornadas son financiadas por grandes entidades y se desarrollan en sus espacios. Al ser una ciudad diferente, en crisis, pero en lucha, creativa, OSCEdays Barcelona han crecido desde la base, entre pequeños grupos afines a estos conceptos, y ayudados por la omnipresencia de proyectos sociales y espacios abiertos, de trabajo o de encuentro y herramientas vivas como los distintos huertos o proyectos sociales o ambientales alrededor nuestro. De la misma manera, OSCEdays Barcelona ha sido mucho mas claro en su planteamiento discutiendo temas muy vivos en lo que si es una comunidad que sin este enfoque y estas jornadas quizá no hubiera tenido tan buena oportunidad de conocerse y definirse. 

Contrariamente a dinámicas abiertamente anti-capitalistas como el Decreixement o la Permacultura que ya van mucho mas encaminados hacia procesos abiertos y positivas para el entorno, la Circular Economy no intenta llegar a estos "extremos". Los ecologistas de toda la vida plantean ya el cambio total a una escucha y cuidado del entorno, desde una forma de producir extractora y industrial, que trata la tierra como una piedra muerta, y que depende del quemar combustible fósil y de sistemas económicos que necesitan el crecimiento infinito de estos procesos destructivos. 

Pero por otro lado, las pequeñas iniciativas ecológicas que buscan vivir al margen de estos sistemas, no consiguen llevar con ellas tantos adherentes como estas grandes empresas con miles de trabajadores y las enormes masas de espectadores de sus oficinas de relaciones públicas y ética corporativa. Si solo una de ellas cambiara su perspectiva, podría darse un cambio enorme en la sociedad. En este sentido el concepto de Circular Economy funciona de manera similar al Open Source: es un término que se sobrepone a otros términos que comenzaban a tomar forma, introducido para ablandar los grandes comercios y empresas, en la esperanza de así dar grandes pasos desde estas mismas empresas, a veces las mas tóxicas, como se puede ver en la web de la fundación Ellen Mac Arthur.  

Pero estas dinámicas mas hacia los margenes también se habían visto en el mundo del software libre y abierto: el término Free Software había sido propuesto por Richard Stallman con sus herramientas abiertas GNU ya en los años 80. Luego estas se unieron al trabajo de Linus Torvalds en crear un Kernel (la parte mas central, o "nuez" de muchos sistemas operativos) para así producir en su conjunto el primer sistema operativo abierto y libre. Pero esta definición "Free", de Libre, del movimiento de Stallman que en inglés se entiende mas como "gratis", no iba a ser aceptada fácilmente por las grandes empresas que necesitaban remunerarse de su software o servicios. Fue así que otro gran personaje hacker de los 90, Eric S Raymond, junto con la OSI comenzaron a utilizar y difundir el término Open Source, popularizado por su manifiesto "The cathedral and the bazaar" y por el hecho de que la mayoría del software para servidores web o servicios internet ya era hecho bajo algún tipo de licencia libre. Este término si que tomó fuerza hasta que todas las grandes empresas llegaron a pasar al apoyo del sistema de desarrollo Open Source (la mas reciente siendo Microsoft). Sin embargo esta definición pierde varias libertades que aún siguen estando en el movimiento Free Software y su licencia GNU. El debate aún sigue en los círculos de los programadores, tanto que es común el denominativo FLOSS - Free and Libre Open Source Software - para que no se peleen demasiado. Es interesante que un sistema de desarrollo abierto haya dado otra definición de libertad a la idioma inglesa con el uso de "Libre" para denotar el derecho, no la falta de necesidad de pago. 

Hoy, el problema de la libertad o apertura ha migrado desde el software a la ciudad, el campo y la vida real, y es una apertura y libertad física, y es a que ver con los recursos y herramientas que tenemos alrededor nuestro, ya sea en lo que creamos entre personas, como en nuestro entorno natural. Quizá solo la unión entre los proyectos y consciencias mas radicales y experimentales y las dinámicas que ya toman pié en la gente normal de cada barrio puede junto defender y hacer crecer estos cambios. Es un buen momento para unir estas temáticas, seguir trabajándolas en sus nichos naturales y en la experimentación mas radical, o trabajando hacia grandes cambios en ámbitos mas populares y masivos(a cada quien su lucha), y expresar sobretodo, la ecología interna de la identidad local y carácter de lo que significa apertura, libertad y ecología sin deshechos aquí mismo en Barcelona.

2/28/2016

The socially constructed pheroverse

Imagine an interface much like the Construct in the film The Matrix - where you can run your own local simulator for practice or training (not necessarily fighting agents) from your biblically named hovercraft or whatever your vessel may be at that point in life.



So in it you can put all the actors, scenes and situations - as some describe in the experience of lucid dreaming, and put ourselves in them and experience them, or test out scenarios for what you will be doing in your work, or create imaginary environments and buy or create your own 3d spaces where these things take place, maybe sometimes inviting others to join in. Mostly though, it's just an extended interface with respect to today's touchscreens, mice and keyboards, for everyday use. Simulating is then freed from the domain of the dream so that we can imagine situations and train towards them. This was the intent of the Israeli army when they created the first army simulation that led to the first first person shooter.

But then let's go a step furthur: imagine you can also connect your simulation somehow to a main "matrix" of everyone else's interconnected simulators, each one similar to your own. This is what many posit as a future, with respect to the internet as one of many potential networks.

That's the end of the analogy with the film The Matrix: no robot dominion to hack into, depending on how you look at it. Just people, groups and communities connecting their 3d worlds between them, in the same way researchers once linked their HTML based documents via anchor tags to form the world wide web. So this time we join simulations into grids and grids into hypergrids to form a meta world that is the synergy of all of them.

The Pheroverse
This is what many metaverse proponents argue is the future - where different 3d virtual realities might be interconnected the same way the world wide web was once envisioned - a simple standard allowing you to connect disparate platforms in ways people can readily access. Online financial platforms take this new paradigm into account very seriously - as with Gloebit - which provides user avatars (identities), inventory (tradeable objects and creations), and a full currency, as well as providing backup storage and alongside accounting and tracking systems allowing a user to make money from different currencies coexisting across a grid of different simulations and game engines. I can see this concept migrate from gaming into buying and selling with apps like Wallapop where you are buyer and seller at once, or the ability to work under a pseudonym or company name in commercial social networking services. Now we also can carry, courtesy of crypto currencies, a central bank, minting press and even personal possessions (or the information and designs to re-create them) in pocket/worn devices and can use them in all these interfaces.

It's interesting to see this future in some new way, so that we can devise new words for the social and cultural context we are in today, and with that in mind, create a new way of seeing this, and its potential or use as tool or vehicle or simply means of communication. The novel Snowcrash showed a digital divide between the low resolution users of public terminals and private users. But it still had a client server interface, not a mesh of different dimensions and worlds, which is why I propose a new distinction: a p2p metaverse is where everyone emits 3d data as they perceive it: everyone can create, process, and convert, not only consume the data as we did in the age of the TV and one way mass media or as we still do now with short form video and film. So with the "Carrier" or "Bearer" meaning of the word phero I think we should be credited for being both broadcasters and receivers and thus able to perceive or share our view of the world in a unique mix of these inputs and outputs.

For most people 20 years ago, personal diaries, photos, and pretty much any self made creation would stay amongst your closest circles. We were unable to share them, whereas today this presence can be accomplished with social media accounts and mobile devices. The ability to share has led us to confront the idea that it wasn't just about the sharing but also about the way we live, the way we share and with what intermediaries. Airbnb is giving way to Gnubnb. With currencies failing across the world, and desperate situations arising through misuse of the money system, and unjust arrangements that stem from these now useless ideals about the world, I believe we need a new definition of VR and 3d experiences that can more accurately reflect today's interfaces and potential and experimental uses of them, which might soon become mainstream. This is why I propose the term Pheroverse for p2p metaverses, as a way to question what a physical life connected to a 3d virtual reality experience can mean in a way that makes sense to today's most networked people. Instead of all the brilliant data and information inside a phone accessible via thumbs, all this will be freed with new displays, projection, graphical, and multimedia or haptic interfaces, freed from the devices and inhabiting a mixed world of physical and virtual.

In 2016, with the rise of various competing VR platforms, and a large increase in their use - in gaming, but also as proposals from mainstream figures for various large platforms, in many areas, and as a kind of meta-effect of this, streamers - who stream their daily online gaming can now become the actors and protagonists in the media they follow, usually written as open worlds with set triggers and scene based programming and in turn these actors who play actors, can be followed, in a live streaming multimedia setting. It is obvious that VR as a medium and not just as "something you look at through glasses" but as a paradigm, needs to mature to encompass more uses. It's a 3d understanding of interface and space that transcends boxes and screens and allows us full editing capabilities over the known universe, within this simulated metaverse. The problem then is how to link 3d formats and be able to print or turn them somehow into physical objects, that complement or develop from the simulation, and bring these things into being. We could all, simultaneously, around the world, get all the materials, work to understand the process and raise the cash, and one day all switch to modern ecological appropriate urban tech that uses renewables usually recycled by town council services. It would allow for shared presence and third space in ways we still don't conceive of, allowing us to use still the benefits of the office and business world in a post capitalist setting.

We can also create interfaces that can go beyond intuitive. A tree containing people's thoughts, like the trees found at Christmas around Barcelona. People post their wishes on post-its and stick them on top. What if a tree could contain an online life, and the leaves fell as the caches expired? Or a programmer at once viewing all feeds and errors, software and data, at once in a team and alone, how could interface in 3d lead to its proponents going beyond the headset?

If we have to lose the internet, due to all the forces that work towards making it a censored, gated community, split into regional and interest blocks, then I hope the future is the mesh. I think VR can survive that, but maybe it's something we are just consuming, a commercial mesh, where we turn into the ultimate, matrix like, couch potatoes, or maybe it can be a tool for empowerment in the real world, that can make it brighter and more connected as we might relocalise and be able to rely less on low oil prices for long distance transport.

The Pheroverse in live art practice and social networking systems
A protagonist of a story, in a 3D VR, scriptable setting can be the result of putting together creative roles in all senses, from design to functionality, character, emotions, and all aspects of a character are brought about collectively, and scenes and environments planned and created. So they bring together this entity, and then a streamer "plays" the character by playing the resulting game and streaming their experiences, and the distance between this persona and the individual is still huge so that you can aspire to be like this super persona, but it's just a character brought to life collectively.

At the moment, it's unthinkable that a game server might reside in someone's device and allow people to connect to it, but many different VR or game engine related projects are nearing that point. A huge problem is platform disparity - the fact that only 50k polygons can fit in what can be seen at any moment, fluidly, by a Google Cardboard compatible mobile VR platform. Games - if not served by one central server can only be played at close proximity, and high bandwidth, but when distant geographically or with lots of small low power servers all talking to each other, they will have to change: lag and latency in p2p or supernode based p2p-like systems mean games like multiverse enabled 3d worlds must be turn based(like with conversation, debate), or simply must hold subjective realities where different people experience things with a graceful degradation of quality when going from the expensive commercial PC based VR setups to the phone based ones. One thing I think this will mean is that long format video will have a very limited future - as instantaneous recording, generating and streaming takes over from it: Imagine if hundreds of people could get together and make a live, streaming piece of cinema - like the recording of an express telenovela - where 20 full episodes are recorded per day, and the actors have little earphones to hear the next line as it's written in the next room..

An application of that to anime or other short form video for example, would mean for example showings of anime episodes, dubbed and performed live to online and offline audiences in different ways around the world, with different protagonists and local variations, and where the recording or "film" aspect is just a byproduct, or free media for people who couldn't make it in person. The original media being just the animations(which in future will be generated live and "acted" in various ways: bluescreen, motion capture, or more advanced ways of mixing media) and a dialogue script which is then performed live.

The result would be a democratisation of roles, so that many places could pay for art across the world, all coming from live performance bringing people together as prosumers. This way every area could have a different local composition of the performers they value, local stars an an easier ability for local people to get involved and rise up in that world..

Less to do with the world of performance and media, is the social aspect of opening your world and allowing someone to enter. In today's online simulated spaces, areas of the VR world are seen as public, but a personal 3d space could be very different, showing aspects of your needs, dreams, fears, psyche, knowledge, connections etc, and in ways that could be very creative but also inherently private and intimate.

Imagine you could imprint on someone's mind the exact experience you'd had, a bit like ants do when they exchange pheromones: I expect in a few years we will be able to invite people into our worlds and share our subjective narratives and experiences. Could VR be a way towards closer connections between humans? In the 90s, I used to leave spaces saying "insert image here" hoping one day for a world where I could insert images into text. I wished there was some way I could post a time based block of text and have it be full of links and pictures and other people could read it. I thought I'd always be a geek for wanting that.. Then came blogs, and after that came throwaway social media. Today I wish that people might one day have a world that they could share with other worlds, a worldview or weltangshaung. When they do, I'll probably criticise the larger commercial groups that will undoubtedly seek to control or define expensive or unfriendly standards, and the way the multiverse was once a free, open and creative place.

The Conosphere

In a world where bots can be friendly or evil depending on their programming, but still can be quite present in daily life, for me the new concept of what VR might mean is where a scripted interaction with the simulated world, or the real world might have repercussions such that we begin to have machine intelligence within our software that can be aware of and very good at a full range of online tasks, both for and against us. There's even an open source, steam compatible VR viewer project that is already working as an albeit high priced free alternative to the main commercial proposals. Already now, using Opensimulator and various tools such as the Radegast client, you can create a 3d world, or download a ready made creative commons licensed one, and put in an AI bot which you can program using AIML - much like with HTML. The only thing missing from it is the ability to link it's responses with an awareness of the 3d world it inhabits. I think this is a key towards a larger intelligence, that I really believe doesn't need to take long to cross through to the mainstream, and I think will be there alongside VR in a new transcendent post medium. So here is another subset of the metaverse: Cunh/ios is ancient greek for Common property. The sphere of shared intelligence. The Conosphere?

But beyond a name, this last aspect about AI is really interesting because if considered from a Buddhist perspective, a lot of the time we are working towards human happiness, without taking into account the environment. This is where people don't eat meat or even go to extreme lengths not to kill anything or anyone. But also there is a predilection for "life" as only meaning that which is organic and currently alive, whereas I used to love some of the interpretations of the silent prayers in Nichiren Buddhism where the entire universe that has potential for life should be worthy of our absolute care, as valuable as the care we have for other living beings. So we're going beyond just caring for humans as if they are above animals, and even beyond the idea that animals come before their environment.

So we shouldn't dig up our mountains and use this to make money or gain advantage over others, but this is because in light of what is seen as a utopian view of the singularity, you have the potential of that mountain to one day be sentient in some way. Everything around us might one day be intelligent. So if intelligence is a reason not to kill, dividing human from bug, the potential of AI for wisdom and positive action is as strong as its potential for untold damage. By using resources as unspoken property and slaves of the living beings of that land, you are mistreating this potential AI: what might one day be the potential creators or  guardians of values you might uphold, and even made of the very materials that might otherwise be used to fuel an extractive industrial economy.

I believe we mistreat the robots of today in an extreme perversion of this mistreatment of the earth around us, because their main uses are military and (non environmentally) commercial. A robot today in most cases carries an umbilical cord back to a factory, a military / capitalist industrial paradigm and a mountain side. But this Buddhist interpretation doesn't make full sense until I consider the potential of the singularity, of intelligent beings who are software based, or who exist as projections, as voices, or made of just about any material, who exist as shared agents, as individuals or different groupings of decoupled expertise, use and awareness, From here to self build, low impact machine intelligence I can see a clear road. Maybe that's the Conosphere within the Pheroverse, the idea that we are consumed as we consume: that we also, like the earth around us become merchandise as fail to see each other's value, or more humane and wise as our compassion grows and includes more areas and aspects where life might be.

2/14/2016

Terroni, Turkizzazione e regionalismi

Stasera sono andato a vedere Terroni O Eructos De Historia, di una compagnia teatrale italiana a Barcellona (con i sottotitoli proiettati sopra allo spettacolo, per chi guardava la versione in Spagnolo).

Credo che con i media virtuali sono condizionato a non apprezzare la qualità di quello che vedo e il teatro mi ricorda che i greci ai loro tempi già potevano avere esperienze simili senza bisogno di tutti gli aggeggi di oggi, che riempiono il giorno. Invece sono stato circondato da suoni, voci, gesta reali per 2 ore di storia, politica, arte e metafora - tutto di ottima qualità, con della musica in chitarra che punteggiava i vari atti, Musica che mi piacerebbe avere e riascoltare con calma.

La storia si centra sul momento della prima Europa industrializzata, in cui il regno delle due Sicilie venne distrutto e capovolto dall'unione dell'Italia coi suoi nuovi re. La gente fu uccisa, violentata, le fabbriche distrutte e colonne di profughi lasciarono la regione mentre i nuovi vincitori si dedicarono a piemontesizzare l'italia e instaurare la criminalità organizzata, prodotto laterale automatico dello stato nazione. Si dai, un po come é successo in Turchia, Cile, Scozia, innumerevoli altri sistemi statali che cercarono e cercano ancora di imporre la loro realtà di cosa voglia dire nascere dentro alle loro frontiere e sistemi di potere. L'unica realtá che capisco allora é il municipalismo democratico: una nuova coscienza anticapitalista, antipatriarcale e sopratutto, in questo contesto, antinazionalista, contro il potere distruttivo dello stato nazione con le sue identità di massa - oggi incarnato da poteri non solo dalle grandi potenze post guerra fredda, ma nuove organizzazioni della destra che farebbero del mondo il loro "paese", come IS.

Potermi sentire sgridare in faccia tutte queste ingiustizie non solo faceva il solletico al mio anarchista interno, ma anche il mio piccolo razzista, che era rimasto 12enne ma ancora si trova nei ricordi semi dimenticati, con le grida dei primi atti di terroni si svegliò e credo che si sia beccato un paio di schiaffi. Si perché a scuola negli anni 80 nella regione del Friuli Venezia Giulia sotto un'Italia Socialista che passava per vari grandi della corruzione: Andreotti, Craxi etc, i programmi scolastici che seguivamo ora mi sembrano quasi surrealisti e ho pensato - meno male che non ho mai studiato! Adesso capisco perché non aveva valore e facevo tanta fatica a mettermi in testa quelle cose. Durante le medie, e poi alle superiori, stranamente ero un enigma, visto che in quei tempi non c'era quasi immigrazione in Italia comparata con oggi, e anche venire dal sud d'Italia era abbastanza raro: ero di una razza sconosciuta, su cui si sapeva talmente poco che per insultarmi i miei compagni potevano solo ripetere le cose che non riuscivo a pronunciare, nel mio accento spagnolo quando parlavo di quanto mi mancava la Scozia. Questo mio stato di enigma, enigma che però parlava dialetto e ti tornava gli insulti perfettamente, mi dava un po di visione da outsider senza sentirmi escluso: specialmente dal costante razzismo contro il sud che era rampante tra le classi alle medie negli anni 80. Mi sono ricordato in quel flash di una conversazione che avevo sentito alle medie:

"..vardavo la TV ieri"
"cosa ghe iera, freddy krueger?"
"eh si ma iera quella publicitá, te sa quela do xe la baba figona che la se senta ta'l divan e se metti a parlar?"
"e cosa la disi.. "
"ma la dizeva robe in cabibo, no go capì niente"
"e lora?"
"eh, go spento - ogni volta che vardo qualcosa vien fora cabibi"
"eh bom cos te vol - xe pien de cabibbi in tv!"

(guardavo la tv ieri/cosa c'era, freddy krueger?/eh si ma c'era quella pubblicità - sai quella dove c'è una tipa figona che si mette sul divano e comincia a parlare?/e cosa dice?/ma parlava in terrone, non ho capito niente/ e allora?/ eh, ho spento - ogni volta che guardo qualcosa ci sono terroni/eh sai cosa vuoi, è pieno di cabibbi in tv!)

Io con questo mi ero immaginato una TV enorme piena di gente piccolina che saltavano, parlando con accenti regionali, che conoscevo solo dalla TV. Mentre vedevo "terroni" stasera ho ricordato questo scambio, l'innocenza con cui avevo riso e partecipato in questo tipo di conversazione, e la normalità con cui si parlava in questo modo. Contro l'America invece, era impensabile. Erano la cultura dominante, e tutta la musica e i programmi in TV erano degli stati uniti, oppure erano vecchie, di bassa qualità e poca immaginazione. Solo nei cartoni animati non dominavano. La professoressa ci raccontò che gli italiani eravamo visti come una specie di secondo, terzo mondo per loro.

Io invece solo 2 volte penso di aver sentito insulti o atteggiamenti razzisti diretti verso di me: una il primo giorno alle superiori, quando uno di quinta mi cercò di far paura dicendo cose tipo "sei qui con noi ma non sei come noi" ecc ma avevo i compagni intorno e non ci riuscì, e una volta in cui un professore quasi per scherzo ha detto "ti mando in Cile" e io come esiliato mi senti offeso perché anche se l'avessi voluto, non potevo tornare.

Per ricordare che anni erano, mi chiamo ancora "skoria" su varie reti sociali per colpa di Chernobyl, cosa che abbiamo vissuto personalmente in quegli anni con contatori geiger nelle scuole, il latte e la lattuga proibiti, brutti sogni e molta paura. Pensavo a quel tempo, nella scuola media che era divisa tra la lingua italiana e lo sloveno, dove ci indottrinavano nelle lezioni quello che non riuscivamo a indottrinarci nelle connotazioni razziali e negli innumerevoli odi tra la gente di Trieste e i Bisiacchi. Ricordo che la gente più in la dei fiumi Isonzo o Timavo erano detti "taiani" cioè - stranieri, forestieri.. Ricordo anche che a un certo punto tutti gli alunni di varie scuole superiori si sono incontrati in un prato per fare guerra aperta - botte a tutti! e stabilire una volta per sempre, chi vinceva nella rivalità regionale di turno.

E la cosa é che anche a Monfalcone, e in tutti i capoluoghi che oggi si odiano li intorno, sin dal medioevo c'è stato un controllo diabolico di ogni contatto umano, dove le chiese dovevano mandare documenti verso nord per dire chi era un buon credente e chi poteva essere sovversivo. Si raccomandava denunciare il vicino. Queste realtà tornarono in primo piano durante gli anni delle due guerre, che avevano stravolto la regione:famiglie divise, e di mezzo campi di sterminio e concentrazione. Naturale allora, trovarsi una situazione dove non ci si fidi più tanto degli altri. Questo è il punto - oltre a denunciare la violenza e il razzismo ma sicuramente parte del sistema quanto i libri di storia e geografia della Zanichelli, pieni di queste verità prefab per indottrinare chi voglia ascoltare.

E a scuola non avevo voglia. Adesso ne sono fiero. Perché erano tutte bugie, per lo meno in storia e geografia, ai 12-13 anni, ci insegnavano che la nostra identità deve essere quella di un paese. E qui sono stato fortunatamente escluso. Ricordo un diagramma. Magari l'avessi ancora quel mattone di libro, ma mostrava vari dati di produzione lorda divisi per paese, e di sopra ad ogni picco del diagramma, per ogni paese c'era un disegnetto di un personaggio che rappresentava quella nazione. Adesso mi rendo conto che i miei compagni dovevano interiorizzare tutte quelle caricature che si insegnavano come parte di un insieme dove la parte più importante dell'insegnamento era la cifra, non il fatto che bisognava assumere una identità nazionale. Facile farlo comunque, perché l'italiano della caricaturina non era un cuoco o pizzaiolo con mandolino che mi aspettavo, ma un operaio, un tipo come Mario bros prima che gli spuntassero i baffi. Con questo - un lavoratore onesto, tutti dovevano sentirsi identificati. Io che non centravo niente, non vedevo questo nesso. Ma la verità è che anche il Friuli, anche Trieste, e la Bisacaria è stata piemontesizzata, e tutte queste regioni hanno sofferto per tutta la loro storia perché si trovavano all'incrocio di altre culture o potenze. È qui che vedo una prima critica a terroni - alla fine sono tutte le identità regionali che sono partecipi nel gioco della dominazione che si vede quando si crea uno stato nazione. Il razzismo regionale è bruttissimo tra nord e sud, ma anche se vedo la rivalità molto meno conosciuta tra Trieste e Monfalcone, so che quei sentimenti non erano immaginarie ma provenivano da episodi storici tra quella gente. Giustissimo criticare e denunciare i fatti dei tempi della unificazione ma non solo come una sottomissione nord-sud ma come una estensione di altre ingiustizie regionali dove l'ultima a sentirsi è la terra stessa che tutti corrono a sfruttare, costruendo grandi fabbriche che fondono metallo. E poi sono stupiti quando viene fuori quell'altro con i soldati a ucciderli tutti e portarsi via i soldi. Non sarebbe stata la prima volta.

Credo che con la prima guerra di tutte le guerre, verso la fine del paleolitico, e questo NON me l'hanno insegnato a scuola, le ragioni erano un cambio climatico repentino(la fine della ultima era glaciale) che portò alla fine di molti fonti di cibo che a quel tempo si coglievano direttamente in loco. Chi sapeva coltivare allora, iniziò a dipenderci di più, e dopo un po si crearono magazzini dove lasciare il raccolto. E poi naturalmente qualcuno meno organizzato l'ha saputo ed é venuto con un gruppo di gente dando luogo a quello che ora si conosce come questo primo episodio violento. La tecnologia nuova era l'agricoltura, e un effetto, eccetto la sopravvivenza, è stato lo sbilancio tra chi coltivava e chi non, e il problema è che forse la gente che creava questa fantastica nuova tecnologia l'ha voluto tenere per se, invece di dialogare con le altre famiglie o tribù e metterla insieme.

Forse allora per me, il piccolo ingiusto, come il razzista, vive dentro di noi e possiamo solo identificarli e stare attenti: i cambi, le rivoluzioni, sono migliori quando si possono respirare, vedere e studiare a fondo. Per me il problema è stato quando la gente ha guardato i monti e le terre che avevano intorno ha detto che si potevano fare mine dentro, con questo ci arricchiremo. Sfruttare e togliere dalla terra le sue risorse e creare un sistema industriale basato su questo, questa é la causa se la guerra è l'effetto. Forse il problema inizia sempre quando vediamo il mondo come qualcosa da sfruttare a nostro favore, e non come un bene comune intrinseco che bisogna aiutare a essere fertile e vivo, a cui forse apparteniamo, ma che non ci appartiene.

Comunque, ogni razzismo e ogni ingiustizia deve essere evidenziata in modo da essere capita e in modo da farci avanzare. Ho pianto due volte vedendo lo spettacolo: la prima volta durante scena in cui il bisnonno pre-italiano raccontava com'era prima dell'unità e si cominciò a vedere l'estrema violenza e brutalità con cui era stato sottomesso il sud. Cose che avevo solamente sospettato che fossero successe finora, e che so che si stanno ripetendo oggi stesso a Cizre, Nusaybin e in tutta la zona Kurda della Turchia, con la versione turca della piemontesizzazione, la Turkizzazione ancora viva. Quante altre volte succederà? Terroni mostra quello che vedo arrivare oggi stesso su twitter, donne violentate e uccise a cui poi sono sottratti i vestiti. Forse non possiamo fermare quello che é successo 150 anni fa ma siamo ancora in tempo per la gente Curda e di altre regioni del mondo che soffrono ancora queste violenze statali perché i regionalismi ancora non sono stati dominati del tutto.



L'altra volta che ho pianto un po è stato quando mi sono ricordato una delle piccole distrazioni che mi venivano in mente quando cercavo di studiare. Non mi interessava per niente, ma non sapevo ancora perché e mi sembrava solo sbagliato e grigio. Il sogno era che volevo scappare dalla classe e fare il protettore ecologico, come un Batman, notturno ma color verde. Non sapevo neanche da dove cominciare ma volevo proteggere la terra dalle fabbriche, dalle case nuove che si costruivano su e giù per il Carso, dalla gente che progettava coprire il mondo di cemento. Dopo ogni avventura sarei andato alla dolina a riempirmi di energie magiche ancora. Amavo quelle terre e i suoi alberi e piante.

Dopo le medie sarei andato a studiare all'istituto agrario. Cerco ancora nel mio lavoro, di proteggere le varie ecologie e le attività più simbiotiche che sfruttatrici nei loro riguardi, ma ne ho guadagnate di terre di cui sono responsabile. Voglio proteggere e aiutare anche tanti quartieri in cui ho vissuto in Inghilterra e Spagna e di cui sento connessione attraverso il passato, come l'altipiano andino, e la responsabilità di connettere ancora. Forse la vera identità è un insieme di tutte queste regioni, che in me possono convivere felici.

ps: se vuoi fare cose simili in Italia, contattaci qui! Stiamo creando FairCoop Italia.. https://fair.coop/groups/faircoop-italia/

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