Our society approves of technological progress unconditionally. But who gets to define the terms on which we embrace the change?
Does one community member’s victory march justify another community member’s social downgrade? Are we really members of the same community? Do we have a community at all? Who calls the shots on whether innovation is worth the sacrifice – and who gets to be the sacrificial lamb?
The purpose of VulnerableWin is not to pick winners and losers, and not to issue a universal prescription. The name of the game is, See a Fellow Human.
It is about the direct sensory experience of dialogue. It is about curiosity and legitimate human subjectivity. It is about exchanging stories that were born in different hearts, on different social islands – and about listening to each other from across the different echo chambers.
I chose ‘technology’ as a topic for this event so that I can demo walking the talk. Among the presenters, we will have some individuals who are technology enthusiasts – and some individuals whose lives and careers have been severely impacted by the ‘disruptive’ business models brought forward by today’s technology oligarchs. We will trade personal stories and maybe expose our vulnerability a little bit – and celebrate our common grounds and our humanity. At the very minimum, we will get to learn something interesting.
Each presenter will share their first-person, subjective experience – whether it’s being very excited by what technology has to offer, or bleeding from the new business models, or anything in-between. After that, there will be an open discussion so that we all get a chance to share our stories, feelings, thoughts and experiences related to the topic. It’s all about subjectivity, direct personal experiences, and remembering that we are members of the same community. No branding.
Eric Goodman is a musician and video producer living in New York City. For over fifteen years, Eric has produced the award-winning multimedia rock show The Spectacle, fusing original musical compositions, filmed and found footage, and research and insights into the nature and effects of our corporate-controlled, media-saturated, technological society. He is the recipient of the Media Ecology Association’s John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology and Jacques Ellul Award for Outstanding Media Ecology Activism.
Kit Krash is a composer and multi-instrumentalist/video jockey with the bands SpelZ and Byzar. He was a regular performer at the legendary Tonic on the lower east side in New York City being the last person to DJ there. He was also a pioneer of Internet radio producing some of the precedent shows such as Junk Radio and Pseudo.
Pat McAndrew is a NYC actor and theater practitioner who uses his theater background and artistic skills to help people communicate. Pat writes for The Low Tech Trek, a blog devoted to combating excessive technology use through theater and performance. As an actor, his one-man show, REEL, which deals with the impact that excessive technology use has on society, was performed in the 2017 United Solo Theatre Festival, the largest solo theatre festival in the world – and featured in the documentary Electronic Crack.
Sarah Barrick is a social media manager by day, and moonlights as an electronic pop artist. She used to be a neuroscientist working on brain-computer interfaces, but her study went dead in the water for the lack of funding. Two months later the viral marketing Ice Bucket Challenge happened, and suddenly funding was abundant – but it was too late. She derailed her career in neuroscience to do social media for artists, including herself.
Alexey “Immorta” Potapov is a serial entrepreneur and a co-founder and the first CTO of a large Cryonics company KrioRus.ru, Russian Transhumanist Movement, ReOrder.world, Cryo-Vitro.ru, ICOMax.io, MegaMine, human rights activist – cofounder of an American Russian-speaking association for civil & human rights, investor, blockchain, retail, automation, bitcoin, UBI, electronic democracy & democratic socialism adept. He is a long term supporter of practical transhumanism, digital immortality, cryonics.
Tessa Lena is a musician, writer and philosopher living in the East Village of New York. She fights robots. Tessa has been featured in a documentary about her action-movie-like adventures and on Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human.
LIVE EVENT DETAILS:
When: April 21, 1pm to 3 pm
Where: 6th Street Community Center
This is a free community event but if you are in the position to donate, it will help pay for the space and plan future events.
A NOTE FROM THE MODERATOR:
As a creative professional who has been involved in the artists’ rights movement, I have very strong feelings about being downplayed and manhandled by the Silicon Valley oligarchs and their darling business models that are not suitable for people whose calling is to make beautiful, oddly-shaped, non-predatory things. The conveyor sucks.
I know it most intimately from a musician’s perspective. Musicians are not the only ones, however. I am seeing similar trends in other areas, for example, in the news publishing industry (an area that I also have direct experience with). I know many bright, hard-working journalists and writers who have problems finding a dignifying job because the industry has collapsed at the feet of Googles and Facebooks of the world. It is very depressing to me to see bright, capable human beings being dragged through a soulless conveyor, because… why exactly? To make somebody like Brin or Bezos richer?
To give an example of what I am talking about, here is a story written by a very talented writer Frank Hopper who was forced to seek supplemental income – and who was fired from Amazon for not being good enough at lifting boxes.
I came to realize that each bleeding demographic is crying and outraging inside the fortress of their respective echo chamber. At the same time, there is another echo chamber – a much bigger one – that hosts the individuals working – and thriving – in technology (by the way I tried it – I wrote Java frameworks for a couple of years for $$ – the $$ was very good but I grew utterly unsatisfied and left the tech field to do what I was born to do).
Since making a dignified living does not require a miracle in today’s economy – as long your natural inclination is technology work – tech professionals are exposed to an entirely different set of narratives and realities in their lives than those working in non-technical creative fields. I had an epiphany when I went to a Humane Tech meetup recently, and met many great people with huge hearts whose palette of experiences with technology-driven social change is different from mine in many ways – although we share the experience of being treated like data hosts on two legs, and not liking it a whole lot.
We all need to talk. We the people need to be aware of what’s happening outside of our echo chambers – and we can start by telling each other stories about our lives, and comparing the notes. Besides, in the light of the growing impact of the gig economy, what’s happened to artists and other creatives’ so far could be coming to everybody in a few years, when technology gets smarter, and people – even developers – get even more dispensable. Maybe we start with talking and bonding?