The “Synthetic Pretenders” Series by Alison McDowell
I cannot begin to expound on how important and thorough the research of Alison McDowell truly is. Since around 2016, she has been tirelessly sharing her and others personal experiences, research and investigations into, what began as Education reform in schools, as she pursued her quest of researching what was taking place, new pieces of information started to emerge and weave a tapestry of much larger and world-wide agendas that effected all sectors of industry, and facets of biological and Natural life, economics, technology, psychology, religion and spirituality – EVERYTHING.
[The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – Agenda 21, Agenda 2030 – was the modern catalyst that established all member nations (178 countries agreed to Agenda 21 in 1992, then ALL 193 member nations/countries agreed in 2015 to implement these SDG’s and Agenda 21.) [SIDE NOTE: There are only 2 countries that are non-member observer states: the Holy See – Vatican City – and the State of Palestine. So this is TRULY a WORLD-WIDE AGENDA.]]
Her research has illuminated key players, institutions, NGO’s, governments, etc. and their connections, research and development into the ideas and direction they are attempting to take humanity and society as a whole. Ultimately, “the powers that be” (TPTB) are attempting to become god and steer “evolution” to their ends and redefine humanity, biology, and existence itself.
This series of blog posts from Alison McDowell at wrenchinthegears.com highlights various threads of research and pieces of the puzzle which overall begin to produce a larger picture of how these individuals and organizations are working towards accomplishing their objectives, and possible motives as to WHY they are so focused on doing so. I wanted to repost this entire series as one exhaustive post to have all of the information in one page, and easily accessible, while also sharing the information with more people and audiences who may not be familiar with Alison or the research into these topics.
Last but not least, I wish to thank Alison McDowell for dedication to researching and seeking truth and knowledge. Without her commitment, much of this material would most likely have gone unnoticed, and while these agendas seemingly accelerate as we grow ever closer to 2030, this information is more relevant and important than ever. Thank you, Alison.
TABLE OF CONTENTS NAVIGATION MENU
- The “Synthetic Pretenders” Series by Alison McDowell
- Scientific Management, Robo-Bees, and Digital Babies – Synthetic Pretenders, Part 1
- Apocalypse, Mind Files, and Interplanetary Promises – Synthetic Pretenders Part 2
- The “Magic” of Radio-Eugenics and Holographic Twins – Synthetic Pretenders Part 3
- Ritual Gaming and Berggruen’s Transformation of the Human – Synthetic Pretenders Part 4A
- Ritual Gaming and 53 Degree Podcast Debut – Synthetic Pretenders Part 4B
- Elite Views on Automated Law and Vending Machine Democracy – Synthetic Pretenders Part 5
- Reject Scientific Management, Celebrate “Weeds” – Synthetic Pretenders Part 6
- Computational Life and Industrial Design Erode the Boundaries of Our Being – Synthetic Pretenders Part 7
- Market Alchemy and Illuminated “Wellbeing” – Synthetic Pretenders Part 8
- Photonic Workhouses and Behavioral Scrip – Synthetic Pretenders Part 9
- Magenta at Dusk and the Royal Beacon of Decarbonization – Synthetic Pretenders Part 10
- Pre-Crime Prediction for “Better” Humans – Synthetic Pretenders Part 11
- Rocket Science and Zoology: Catalysts for Explosive Evolution – Synthetic Pretenders Part 12
- Bitter Lemons: Southern California’s Avatar End Game – Synthetic Pretenders Part 13
- Disgruntled Neighbors Oppose Berggruen’s Mountaintop Monastery – Synthetic Pretenders Part 14
- Charter Cities, Refugee Labor, and The Learning Economy – Synthetic Pretenders Part 15A
- Your Government As A Planetary Computer
- Disruption, Displacement, and the Solidarity Economy
- Charter Cities as Containment Zones for Remote Refugee Labor?
- Blockchain Collectivism and the Mormon Transhumanist Association Conference
- Paul Romer’s Vision Opens the Door to “Sustainable” ESG Finance
- Something Rotten In The State of Denmark
- The Learning Economy As A Digital Public Good
- The New Economic Model Is Shared Surveillance Branded as a “Data Commons”
- Mondragon, Focolare, and Inclusive Capitalism – Synthetic Pretenders Part 15B
Scientific Management, Robo-Bees, and Digital Babies – Synthetic Pretenders, Part 1
In the winter of 2021, I traveled to Salt Lake City to present on the threat of human capital finance, education technology, and sensor networks to children. Those talks are available here and here, slides here, and site visits here. Utah is the beehive state. I opened with a slide about bee populations that featured an article by Jonathan Matthews titled “Throwing Nature Under The Bus: GMO Bees And Robo-Bees.” The article critiques the assertion that following an insect apocalypse, robo-bees will provide pollinator ecosystem services. On paper at least such a transition would benefit impact investors and data harvesters, though it would be terrible for every other being on the planet. It is unlikely such technologies would work as advertised, if they even got off the drawing boards. A second facet of the article discussed use of synthetic biology to engineer super-bees that could withstand poisoned environments.
Welcome to the new world of “green” sustainability for “impact.”
In this series I will be drawing connections between Los Angeles-based billionaire Nicholas Berggruen’s “Transformations of the Human” initiative, which was launched in 2018 and operates out of Berkeley; Robert Hertzberg’s California Trust Framework legislation; and a horrific eugenic legacy that began with the Spanish Mission system and progressed to over 20,000 men and women sterilized between 1909 and 1963.
Source: Templeton World Charity Foundation, Sir John Templeton, Mutual Funds, Philanthropic Interests in Genius, Managed Reproduction, Religion and Theoretical Physics
Esteemed California academics and business leaders in the 1930s advocated policies of forced sterilization that had global reach, even influencing Nazi “social hygiene.” California promoted sterilization of the “feeble-minded” as a therapeutic measure to save civilization by reducing the number lives that were not anticipated to be respectable and self-sustaining.
Source: The Homestead Blog, The Slippery Slope of Social Engineering: The Case of Paul Popenhoe
In recent years, universities have begun to take down statues and rename campus buildings named after the individuals involved with California’s sterilization program, which was carried out with the enthusiastic support of maternal health providers and state social workers. Decades later there were hearings and a public apology by Governor Davis in 2003, but no reparations were ever offered to California victims. A 2012 feature in CNN said that at one time, sterilization was required in order to be discharged from state institutions like Sonoma State Home, a facility that housed youth whose parents were unable to care for them due to their special needs or reasons of family economic instability or dysfunction.
Art Torres, a former state senator who wrote the 1979 legislation to prohibit institutionalized sterilization, said few people in the state are aware of this history. Victims feel officials are simply waiting for them to die off, so they can sweep the whole thing under the rug. My concern is that the impetus behind these dominating tendencies have not disappeared at all but are being rebranded with terms like precision medicine. The Galton Institute changed its name to Adelphi Genetics Forum in 2021 to distance itself from negative associations. The reasons for doing this are understandable, but as we remove of evidence of past harms, it feels like they are more likely to repeat themselves. Conditions of scarcity and competition in society have certainly not abated.
Human Betterment Foundation members carried out their work in Pasadena against the backdrop of the Great Depression, an era of economic upheaval not unlike what we’re seeing now with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Sterilization was deemed a therapeutic required to preserve society and “good” families. I foresee on the horizon wellness protocols, including non-consensual medical interventions. In the four-minute clip below, David Roux, trustee of Jackson Labs in Maine, speaks to a future of managed breeding where intentional changes are made to the human germ line using cutting-edge technologies. In closing he makes it clear this is not a question of if, but when. “No fundamental technology breakthrough has sat on a shelf for long (CRISPR gene editing). It’s only a matter of time before someone blinks.”
Source: David Roux 2018 Lecture at the University of New England on Social Trauma and Technology
The flip side of genetic “enhancement” is weaponization as described by James Giordano and Diane DiEuliis’s 2017 article “Why Gene Editors Like CRISPR/Cas May Be A Game Changer For Neuroweapons,” an overview of the 8th Annual Review Conference of the Biological Toxins and Weapons Convention findings that year. Concerns expressed in this report, which was funded by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Institutes of Health, center the use of gene-editing to strategically modify and enhance neurotoxins that target the brain and nervous system in ways that can modulate cognition, emotion, and behavior.
“…attempts at neuro-hacking will increase in both number and sophistication. It may be, for example, that more indirect means of hacking the brain will be concomitantly pursued, which involve manipulation of microbiome elements that have been shown to engage bidirectional signaling with the central nervous system and affect cognition and emotion and/or the generation of novel (but indirect) pharmacological or microbiological activators / effectors of neural function.” Source
The report acknowledged there were significant hurdles that would need to be overcome, like crossing the blood-brain barrier, but that the pace of research has outstripped regulatory controls. Additional concerns included the emergent bio-hacking community and potential use of weaponized bacteria and microbes by non-state actors.
It seems like rather than committing to heal the planet from the harm wrought by petrochemicals and radiation, green new deal scientists and their backers are doubling-down, embracing even more disruptive robotic, synthetic-biological, and nanotechnological “solutions” to reimagine life on earth as a networked bio-computational model. The nano-tech microbiome makeover won’t just be applied to bees. The goal is to pull ALL of us into its vortex. Carbon capture presages an attempted silicon coup of water-based life. Humans and invertebrates gradually replaced by the robot pretenders of Wyss Institute, Boston Dynamics, Sanctuary AI, and Sarcos. The robots we train will generate data with more fidelity than their trainers, but at the end of the day they’ll still never be more than golems.
Last week The Guardian floated an op-ed on Tamagotchi babies that I’m pretty sure was a trigger for OSINT (open signals intelligence) meant to train AI and shape future narratives. The author, EY Quantum AI consultant Catriona Campbell, proposed a future where people opt for digital children who live in the Metaverse over live babies. Ridiculous until you see that decarbonization imperatives and high-tech eugenics are meant to overlap. In the middle of that Venn diagram is a digital baby with a very small carbon footprint – digital babies digitally trained to become efficient digital workers and compliant digital citizens in quantum digital societies of joyless uniformity. Read more about Campbell’s ploy, and how it fits into the Society 5.0 twin impact agenda here.
Source: Elise Bohan on “Future Superhuman: Our Transhuman Lives In A Make Or Break Century, London Futurists
Such shenanigans are typical for mind wars meant to normalize a pathological worldview where unimproved biology can eventually be deemed uncivilized, degenerate. How dare we choose not to become part of a cyber-physical system and opt-out of the internet of bodies? Give it five to ten years. That’s where this road leads. Through targeted use of social pressure, those in power will attempt to make data-commoning and biohacking to “save” the planet the obligation of all “responsible” citizens. You can see the contempt for material existence in a recent Guardian interview with transhumanist author Elise Bohan. Bohan, a young British poet who fell into Kurzweil fantasy, now eschews “meatspace” life in favor of a godless AI technocracy. They’re always tapping women influencers to peddle futures where natural reproduction has been made obsolete. Grim, but at the end of the day just another jangling bit of clap trap jostling for space in our psyche.
Berggruen and Hertzberg’s efforts to manifest a new type of superhuman is firmly situated in California’s eugenic legacy built on the Spanish Mission domination program. These efforts embody the dangers in uncritically embracing scientific management and pseudo-progressivism. Before launching into a future where natural life is expected to be augmented to better meet the needs of emergent mechanized hivemind consciousness, we would do well to revisit the harms corporate-backed government has done in the name of the common good. These devastating acts were carried out by religious authorities, business leaders, and academics at elite institutions.
Source: Letter Sent To WEB DuBois by Ezra Gosney on Sterilization
Source: Pacific Southwest Building in Pasadena, Suite 321 Human Betterment Foundation Office
Source: San Gabriel Trench Excavation 2012, Chapman’s Mill, “Yankee” Technology For Efficient Water Power, Industrial Age on West Coast, Gabrieleno-Tongva Project Oversight
We are human. We make mistakes, sometimes terrible mistakes. But it is our duty not to brush the past under the rug and pretend it has no bearing on the choices we make today. This is the first part of a lengthy series. I’ll be posting new installments throughout the week. Stay tuned.
Apocalypse, Mind Files, and Interplanetary Promises – Synthetic Pretenders Part 2
This is the second in a series examining the California’s proposed Trust Framework within the context of synthetic biology, eugenics, and the Spanish Mission System.
The feature photo for this post is of Jason, Lynn and me outside the Provo Library, originally Brigham Academy. We were there to attend the 2022 Mormon Transhumanist Association Conference (MTA) and find out what was being said about decentralization and blockchain. Outside the building was an elaborate fountain with a beehive in the center. Inside a banner asked, “What will you create?”
Source: Oliver Reiser, The World Sensorium: The Social Embryology of World Federation 1946, page 19
Source: Decentralized Society: Finding Web3’s Soul
Source: Tokens and the Latter Day Saints Endowment
As I understood it, and I could be wrong about this, members of the MTA felt God had given them this technology and is waiting for people to step-up as co-creators. Engineering new forms of life (with economic value) is practically an obligation. Perhaps they imagine their task is to manifest a new form of existence, a hive mind “World Brain,” from piles of Soulbound Tokens.
I’ll admit having a hard time wrapping my mind around the logic of those who assert climate change end times and global scarcity on the one hand while embracing the creation of new forms of synthetic life on the other. People know what happens when new species are introduced into ecosystems with established webs of relationship – system collapse. Is that the legacy we choose to leave to future generations, all because some of us wanted to imagine ourselves molecular “creators?”
Source: BCI Quantum Computing IPLD for the Brain
The Malthusian, apocalyptic outlook cultivated by Greta Inc. broke the ground needed to push us towards cybernetic enclosures and holographic life. Two years of lockdowns with “pandemic” segueing to “decarbonization” continued to move the ball forward. Their sales pitch is that by ceding our agency to technical experts (aka artificial intelligence), the system can be calibrated to pull us back from the brink. All we must do is agree to live virtually, disconnected from the Earth. Mark Andreessen, whose wife Laura Arrillaga established the impact investing field at Stanford, labels those who want to hold on to the natural, selfish and “reality privileged.” it appears they want real baby cuddles to be a luxury.
Source: Mark Andresseen and Reid Hoffman at Recode 2017
Campbell’s piece in the Guardian makes it clear to me that management of reproduction is central to their forced evolution project. That’s why children are being put on blockchain in utero as assets to be graded and traded based on maternal pre-natal compliance. See this piece I wrote about social impact finance and the first blockchain baby, born in Tanzania in 2018 and a more recent inquiry into IVF, crypto-egg management, and water by my friend Stephers at “A Piece of Mindful” here.
Just as important is controlling the minds of real children through trauma and gas-lit campaigns uplifting youth voice and youth empowerment. Future generations are supposed to feel both responsible and hopeless as Solutions Journalism’s torchbearers for impact media (another vertical for profit-taking) bang out a drumbeat of perpetual crisis, and wearable tech monitors their stress, resilience, mindfulness, and grit levels.
Fifty years ago, during the energy crisis, influencers like Barbara Marx Hubbard and Buckminster Fuller offered conscious evolution and L5 inter-planetary space colonization as antidotes to cultural toxicity, a Star Trek model of intergalactic diversity that I only recently realized was actually Fabian Socialism with holodecks. The idea of abandoning the earth hasn’t completely died out. Social engineers need the dynamic of end of the world / promise of off-planet escape to make their pathetic digital enclosures even somewhat palatable. Trent McConaghy of Ocean Protocol, the organization working to create economies of impact data for machine learning, was making the rounds peddling synthetic minds in 2017 as a means to expand our terrible habits of extraction to asteroids and “bend the cosmos to our will.”
Source: Trent McConaghy of Ocean Protocol 2017 Talk “Starships and Tokens: A Path to Human Self-Actualization”
The idea of SIMs (substrate independent minds) echoes a 2016 “leaked” video from Google, The Selfish Ledger, where humans become transient custodians of data stored on ledgers for use by future generations. Lives are managed on leaderboards with encoded nudges from sensor networks to put us through our paces with gamified behavioral economic incentives. If AI wants data it has not yet acquired, it will use 3-D printing to create a “bespoke” surveillance device and price it at a point where we feel compelled to purchase it to fill in that “gap.”
Source – Wayback Machine of LittleSis Map (Now Deleted – LittleSis Removed 300+ Maps I Made)
In 2016, the year of that video, Eric Schmidt was executive chair of Alphabet. Schmidt has been a major funder of New America, a centrist think tank. Through the efforts of MTA Decentralization of Power Conference keynote Tomicah Tillemann, New America made significant advances in the development of social impact investing (Bretton Woods II) and blockchain identity. In 2017, Barry Lynn, of New America’s Open Markets program, was fired after publicly criticizing Google, triggering significant support from other staff who were concerned about Google’s overreach, too.
Schmidt was one of fourteen people, including Robert Hertzberg, who devised Berggruen’s Blueprint for California in 2011 and currently serves on the advisory board for the “Transformations of the Human” project. During a Long Island press conference May 6, 2020, seven weeks into the “pandemic,” Governor Cuomo laid out plans to “reimagine” New York state with the assistance of Michael Bloomberg (track and trace), Gates Foundation (educational technology), and Eric Schmidt (education, tele-health, and broadband). Cuomo and Schmidt bonded over the possibilities Covid offered to incorporate new technologies into our lives and bring people together through public-private partnerships. Regarding track and trace, which is the underpinning of Web 3.0 augmented reality, Cuomo said: “Yes we have to do this for Covid, but we’re not going to go through all this trouble and then just forget it.”
This two-minute clip lays out a biosurveillance future where tokenized lifelong learning pathways and health data are used to: 1) program us 2) train AI and 3) enrich social impact investors and technology, telecom, and defense interests. It’s clear as day once you have the playbook. Track and trace IS the infrastructure needed for digital twinning, simulations, reputation scoring, and predictive profiling.
Sadly, there seems to be more financial value to be extracted continuing to engineer life towards some imagined Kardashev Plus future of “off-planet” holographic “life,” than to pull back from extractivism, mass consumption, and global supply chains and find ways to work with nature to heal itself. Choosing the former over the latter will erode our soul connection to the Earth and could seriously disrupt the flow of natural energy through the universe. Global ESG impact portfolios and AI demand the real time accounting enabled by nano-bio sensors. Few people in the world even know such things exist or and those who do seem unprepared to speak out about their potential. Such is our present conundrum. Who knows how much of the blockchain mind file story is a fairytale and how much is reality? In any event, it’s important to educate ourselves, acknowledge such plans are afoot, and publicly refuse them.
The “Magic” of Radio-Eugenics and Holographic Twins – Synthetic Pretenders Part 3
This is the third installment in the Synthetic Pretenders series examining the proposed CaliforniaTrust Framework within the context of synthetic biology, eugenics, and the Spanish mission system.
In December 2019, Chris Fall, head of science for the US Department of Energy, opened his comments at the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s “Moonshot Project” launch quipping that he wasn’t actually there, but was instead using a very sophisticated hologram. Which might be amusing if we didn’t know some of the most powerful entities in the world imagine us living as cyborg avatars by 2050. Please, look at the reports – here and here. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t gone through all the materials myself. It’s not just the Department of Energy, but also the White House, the National Science Foundation, the Director of International Science and Engineering, and XPrize (see March 2020 press release).
Source: Moonshot International Symposium December 2019
Source: Working Group 1 Report – Moonshot International Symposium December 18, 2019
Holography is a way to document an object in three-dimensions by physically, rather than chemically, recording the diffraction created by intersecting light waves hitting that object. The object being recorded disrupts the two light sources directed at it, a reference beam and an object beam. The resulting interference information where the two beams meet on the recording mechanism creates the hologram. Each bit of the hologram contains all the information needed to recreate the image. Thus, you can cut the hologram into pieces and the complete object can still be seen in all of them.
The technique was first devised by Gabriel Lippmann, mentor to Marie Curie, in 1891 to produce color photographs. Lippmann, also known for his research in piezo-electric energy, was awarded the Nobel Prize for interference photography in 1908. Dennis Gabor, a UK-Hungarian physicist, was later awarded a Nobel Prize for the invention of “holography” in 1971. I’m not sure why a prize was awarded twice for essentially the same thing. Gabor developed his technique trying to improve X-Ray electron-microscopy in 1941. The early history of the technology between the Lippmann era and the Gabor era has been obscured. Susan Gamble’s 2005 dissertation, “The Hologram and Its Antecedents 1891-1965: The Illusory History of a Three-Dimensional Illusion,” dives into its classified military uses during the Cold War and research carried out at the University of Michigan to discover why.
Access to affordable lasers in the 1960s for beam-splitting led to the technique being more widely adopted. Holography was a medium of considerable artistic interest in the 1970s and 80s and was used extensively in aerospace engineering to investigate turbine and rotor function and ice crystals in the atmosphere. The price-point dropped substantially with the development of embossing systems, creating new markets for inexpensive holograms that could be incorporated into quality control and anti-counterfeiting strategies. Disney Research, located just east of Hertzberg’s district, has also used holography for entertainment purposes over the decades. Based on recent patent filings, it appears that the technology will be merged with augmented reality and digital avatars.
Source: What Crazy Tech Could We See in Disney Parks Soon? These Permits Give Us Some Clues.
In 2018, London artist Suzanne Treister created a video art installation at CERN called The Holographic Universe Theory of Art History (THUTAH), examining art throughout the ages for clues around conceptualizing existence as a hologram. The installation combined a 16 minute 54 second video of art pieces and 13 watercolors by CERN physicists describing holographic principles. For a more in-depth look I recommend Michael Talbot’s book “Holographic Universe.”
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues to try and steamroll us, researchers are furiously working on holographic human renderings. They want to mimic the nuance of body language with more precision in real time to make Society 5.0, avatar life somewhat more appealing. A 2019 paper, “Holographic Projection of 3D Realistic Avatar That Mimics Human Body Motion,” prepared by scientists in the Philippines for IEEE proposes use of a KinectV2 for this purpose. Such a development should be considered within the context of telepresence and tele-robotic labor given the Philippines’ long history of migrant workers who live abroad and send remittances home. The digital labor transition can be seen in the rise of Care.Coach, a tablet-based service that remotely monitors elderly seniors featured in a 2019 New York Times article,” Human Contact Is Now A Luxury Good.” A significant number of Care.Coach employees are based in the Philippines and Latin America. Within a decade will those cartoon cat companions be re-rendered and projected into living rooms in “living” color?
Source: IEEE Paper of Holographic Avatars
When I first started my education research I spent a lot of time looking into the origins of human capital management, much of it stemming from the work of Marc Tucker and the National Center on Education and the Economy, which is based in Rochester, NY. Carnegie Corporation funded Tucker’s efforts starting in the late 1980s. Tucker retired in 2019 and was replaced by Anthony MacKay, an OECD / UNESCO affiliated advisor who chaired the Australian Council for Education Research and was Deputy Chancellor of the University of Swinburne.
Rochester, not surprisingly, is a pilot city in the LRNG “city as classroom” initiative advanced by Collective Shift (MacArthur Foundation) where youth engage with project-based playlists of curated content developed by corporate and academic partners to earn badges. Featured Rochester organizations include the University of Rochester’s Mental Health System and the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County.
Source: Rochester LRNG, Program of Collective Shift / MacArthur Foundation
Today NCEE operates out of an office at 2121 K Street NW in Washington, DC. In addition to members of the Business Roundtable, the organization is supported by the Gates, Casey, and Stupski Foundations, organizations that have shaped the evolution of Internet of Bodies, verifiable credential social impact investing in human capital. Current program areas include benchmarking, policy solutions, and leadership training. This is systems engineering of children’s lives, and eventually all of humanity under the pretext of “lifelong learning,” to maximize value extraction for impact investors through the invention of ever more creative and treacherous debt finance products of which “pay for success” outcomes-based government contracts are only the beginning.
Marc Tucker was widely known in conservative circles for the letter he wrote to Hilary Clinton in 1992 about the intention of the US Chamber of Commerce to shift public education in the United States towards a workforce-oriented model governed by regional economies tied to embedded human capital data analytics. With the additional context I have assembled over the past few years, I now think human capital management for cybernetic steering into planned, precarious economies via skills badging is only phase one.
Behind that effort lies the digital twin agenda, creating cognitive models refined through ongoing structured engagement with educational technologies the outcomes of which are stored in learning record stores, xAPI skill badges with tagged meta-data. This builds on the premise that people will have a digital tutor to monitor and guide them throughout their life. That is ultimately what “personalized” learning is – artificial intelligence using cybernetics to shape your cognitive and social activities to fit a predetermined outcome. The hosts of the 2008 conference at USC noted the parallels to Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age,” where the young heroine is mentored from across the Pacific by a “maternal-figure” hired actress through a “primer,” a digital tablet. The novel was written in 1995. Apple’s first iPad was sold in the spring of 2010.
Source: USC ICT 2008 Conference on Lifelong Learning Companions
In the 2012 clip below, Jose Ferreira of Knewton speaks about the use of educational technology for data aggregation. Massive numbers of data points legitimize algorithmic predictions made about the person engaging with the technology and recommendations for continued learner engagement. That is essentially what a SIM (substrate independent mind) is, and when combined with health data from wearables and biosensors stored in your blockchain electronic health record, you have a robust avatar, a mind/body map.
Knewton was sold to John Wiley and Sons in 2019. Staffer Brian Fitzgerald spun off Tinkergarden, a tech-impact backed pop-up pre-k enterprise. Imagine a future where Sep Kamvar’s IoT surveillance Wildflower Montessori model melds with Tinkergarden uber-esque forest schools. Education as a mixed-reality LARPing event (Live Action Role Play) with wearable surveillance to make your emotional state visible to the machine. They’re building it now!
Source: Kid-Tracking Sensors May Not Be The Wildest Thing About This Montessori Model
Source: Designing Future Social Wearables With Live Action Role Play Designers
Source: Fluxa Body Movements As Social Display, 2016
Source: Squat 20 Times and Get a Free Bus Ride in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2020
Source: Doctors Urged To Prescribe Woodland Walks For Mental Health Problems, 2019
I’m picturing blockchained toddlers, their digital identity tagged with Soulbound Tokens identifying which social impact finance deals they are a part of, donning IoT wearables , maybe capes and wands, wandering public parks now studded with digital beacons compliments of Google. Each has a personalized task list that automatically uploads behavioral and cognitive skills badges to their respective learning record stores. I can hear the angel investor pitch now. “We’ll be able to double dip on impact by data mining children’s relationships to one another and to nature. ECE social-emotional learning and sustainability metrics would be a win-win!” For parents wary of the increasingly repressive nature of traditional education, forest schools with gnomes will be quite appealing. But when would they find out about the digital twins and the hedge fund bets? Who is going to tell them? Some of this infrastructure is discussed in a post I did in 2018 about a Seattle-area smart park with embedded STEM activities and fitness trackers pitched as a school fundraiser.
Source: Tinkergarden Gnomes
Source / Source: Sep Kamvar Wildflower Montessori
While many in the education press gloated over Knewton’s demise, saying the company was just so much hype, I suspect the resulting research in data capture and psychometrics hasn’t gone away but rather has been embedded and expanded into the larger IMS global ecosystem of badge / xAPI infrastructure, the foundation for “anytime, anywhere” (in the digital panopticon) learning ecosystems, the mind mirroring mechanism of the twinning process. I discuss the military research behind this transition in one of my earliest blog posts, “How Exactly Did The Defense Department End Up In My Child’s Classroom?”
The focus of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) on standards-based education was grounded in W. Edwards Deming’s “Total Quality Management,” a scientific management approach introduced to Japan in the 1950s. Japan has been a leader in humanoid robot development since the 1960s. Xerox, which was also headquartered in Rochester adopted TQM, which influenced NCEE. Xerox gained a west coast footing in Palo Alto starting in 1970, PARC Xerox. Xerox’s electrophotography concept struggled until 1938 when its inventor, Caltech-trained physicist and patent lawyer Chester Carlson, gained the backing of Battelle Memorial Institute. Battelle is private research lab based in Columbus, OH that invented the barcode, played a leading role in processing uranium for the Manhattan Project, and now manages nine US Department of Energy labs, which loops us back to Chris Fall and the Department of Energy at the Moonshot Project in Tokyo.
Battelle for Kids arrived on the scene after Ken Kay, a long-time tech-sector lobbyist, stepped down from his role leading the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, an effort that positioned the in-school Carnegie-unit education model for a transformation into decentralized skills-badge competency-based education. Outside the larger context of digitally twinned life, this wouldn’t seem to make a lot of sense – a private research lab running defense and nuclear contracts playing a leading role in reimagining education and creating “portraits” of graduates?
Source: Battelle For Kids, Portrait of a Graduate
Rochester is known as the “World’s Image Center.” Optics and photonics are economic anchors in the city. Significant research has been carried out over the past decade in integrated photonics for biomedical and photonic-computing. Framed as a new Manhattan Project where electrical engineering is replaced by engineered light, the age of electrons now seems to be giving way to the photons. The US Air Force set up a cooperative agreement with the Research Foundation of the State University of New York in 2014 to create the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics as a public-private partnership. In 2021 the program was renewed for an additional seven years to the tune of an additional $320 million: artificial intelligence, biological sensing, light detection and ranging, quantum computing and “custom DoD applications.”
According to the industry group New York Photonics, the state’s optics, photonics, and imaging sector is concentrated around Rochester and the Finger Lakes with over 150 companies generating $3 billion in annual revenue. The region secured $16 billion in defense contracts between 2000 and 2020. Tom Brown, director of the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester is on the board of New York Photonics. The organization lists the following as key dates in the regional history of the industry:
1853 – Bausch and Lomb founded
1880 – Eastman Kodak founded
1916 – Optical Society of America founded, Bausch and Lomb, Eastman Kodak, and University of Rochester
1946 – Xerox Founded (preceded by H. Kuhn Photographic Paper Company in Rochester)
1970 – Laboratory for Laser Energetics established, high-energy physics, Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Agency Sponsors
1989 – Center for Optics Manufacturing established, US Army funding
1993 – Center for Electronic Imaging Systems established, University of Rochester, RIT, Kodak, Xerox, tech-transfer
1998 – New York Photonics established
2013 – Center for Freeform Optics established
2015 – AIM Photonics established
2015 – Upstate Revitalization Initiative Launched
In 2020, the University of Rochester along with Washington University in St. Louis and the Institute Neel of Condensed Matter Physics in Grenoble, France were awarded a $3 million grant by the John Templeton Foundation to pursue experiments in support of the development of a two-qubit quantum engine fueled by manipulation of entangled particles. Andrew Jordan, physicist and University of Rochester project lead, said the grant would fund the development of specialized circuits to explore energy, work, heat, force, efficiency, and entropy at the quantum level. Each particle entanglement would produce a very small amount of energy, so scientists need to develop massive systems of coordinated parallel processing to make it practical.
Source: Interactive Map Templeton Foundation Program Areas
My first inclination is to imagine how these scientists might use twin simulations for such a project. The mirroring of the material world into digital realms creates a twisted sort of economic value through data harvest, as well as the use of that data for machine learning. What if on top of that, quantum physicists devise a means by which to generate and capture “energy” from entanglements created between the real and the counterfeit? Could there be a role for blockchain in what University of Maryland and NIST staffer Nicole Yunger Halpern describes as Steampunk quantum thermodynamics? Would blockchains be up for this task? In a 2019 paper, “Quantum Blockchain Using Entanglement in Time,” in New Zealand mathematicians Del Rajan and Matt Visser proposed a future where blockchain encryption would take place through non-temporal interactions of photons.
Source: Nichole Yunger Halpern at Google, Clip on Entangled Particles
The first publication from the project in 2021, “A Two Qubit Engine Powered By Entanglement and Local Measurements,” described energy obtained through the manipulation of states, excited or grounded, in a red qubit and a blue qubit through the addition of a photon. Energy is created by photon transfers that result in the creation of a blue photon, which is more energetic than red. For reasons I’ll get into in a future post about the Queen’s Jubilee Beacon lighting and the color magenta, it should be noted that that “color (#FFOOFF),” which does not have a specific wavelength is represented in the RGB color space as being composed of equal parts red and blue, but no green.
Two German immigrants founded Bausch and Lomb, creating military product lines (binocular, periscopes, range finders, etc.) in addition to affordable eyeglasses. Another major Rochester employer was Kodak. Beyond its photography business George Eastman created a separate research lab in the spirit of GE labs in Schenectady, Kodak Research Center. A 1966 article in Physics Today describes the opening of a seven-story, 200,000 square foot building to support research into optics, radiography, sound recording, image structure, solar radiation, and long-range photography.
George Eastman made a large donation to the University of Rochester in 1929 to establish the Institute of Optics, the first research program devoted to the study of light. The university is a leader in AR/VR as well as acoustics and sound engineering for entertainment and clinical use. Eight years earlier, in 1921, Eastman funded the creation of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. Rochester Institute of Technology established the world’s first PhD program in the science of color in 2007. There’s been considerable activity around the study of light and sound waves happening in “The World’s Image Center” for the past century.
Source: Rochester Chapter Optical Society of America
Until the digital era, photography was a chemical-based industry, both for production and processing. When World War I made it difficult to secure methanol and acetone, the company decided to establish a large facility in Kingsport, TN. That location was attractive because of the availability of cheap timber. Cellulose was a primary ingredient. Tennessee Eastman expanded its industrial use of cellulose to include plastics, yarn, and munitions. During WWII, the company operated the Holston Ordnance Works, which is still one of the largest manufacturers of explosives for the US military. The company also provided staff to the Y-12 facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where uranium was processed by the Manhattan Project. The history page of the Y-12 website states: “The nuclear science in Oak Ridge that ultimately ended the war also led to innovative advancements in medicine that continue today.” Battelle has managed Oak Ridge in partnership with the University of Tennessee since 1999.
In1920, Henry Alvah Strong, one of George Eastman’s business partners, joined with Abraham Flexner and Dr. Benjamin Rush Rhees, then president of the University of Rochester, to establish a new medical center and dental school on the model recommended by the Carnegie Foundation-backed Flexner Report with financial support from the General Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation.
The University of Rochester hosted Atomic Energy Project Research between 1943 and 1971. According to the Department of Energy’s web site, “By the time the war began, the University of Rochester, which had a cyclotron, had assembled a group of first-rate physicists and medical researchers who were pioneering the new radiation research.” Rochester’s first cyclotron was built in 1936, three years after Ernest Lawrence’s invented the technology in Berkeley. In 1967 that cyclotron was taken apart and shipped as a gift to Panjab University, Chandigarh where it remains the world’s oldest functional particle accelerator and one of the few places to conduct research into nuclear physics in India.
Source: Dr. Jahnavi Phalkey – The Rochester Chandigarh Cyclotron
Lee Alvin Dubridge, a physics professor who oversaw the construction of Rochester’s cyclotron and served as dean of the university before the war, was given a leave of absence to run the MIT Radiation Lab between 1940 and 1946. After WWII, Dubridge became the third president of Caltech, which he led for over twenty years, also serving as an advisor to RAND, the Rockefeller Foundation, Institute for Defense Analysis, National Science Board, Edison Foundation, National Education Television, and KCET, the public television station in Los Angeles.
Following the selection of University of Rochester radiologist Stafford Warren to head its medical division, the Manhattan Project turned to the school for an increasing share of its biomedical research – including research needed to set standards for worker safety. Following the war, Warren would be appointed as the first dean of the new medical school at UCLA.
Warren’s assistant at Oak Ridge was Hymer Friedell who did postdoc training at UCSF in radiation treatments and leukemia. Friedell oversaw the human injection experiments that took place at Berkeley, Chicago, Oak Ridge, and Rochester medical centers. Friedell also traveled to Japan to document the harm caused to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and after the war was appointed director of the Atomic Energy Medical Research Project. His colleague Louis Hempelmann ran Washington University’s cyclotron program, injecting unsuspecting people with radiological isotopes. The cyclotron was being used to create plutonium for the Manhattan Project. A few years later he relocated to Los Alamos where he studied victims of accidental radiation exposure on site, and after the war Hempelmann headed the radiology department at the University of Rochester Medical Center where the Manhattan-Rochester Coalition’s Cold War testing on radioisotopes on human subjects was coordinated.
Lisa Martino-Taylor’s 2011 dissertation, “The Manhattan-Rochester Coalition, Research on the Health Effects of Radioactive Materials and Tests on Vulnerable Populations Without Consent in St. Louis 1945-1979,” uses the case of top-secret aerosolized spraying in St. Louis as an entry point into an analysis of the culture created by interlocking military, academic, and corporate interests that conditioned hundreds of elite researchers to carry out covert radiological experiments on US civilian populations at the height of the Cold War. Experiments included feeding disabled children under state care irradiated oatmeal, dosing pregnant women with radioactive cocktails to track iron uptake in infants, and spraying particulate matter in a low-income neighborhood of St. Louis in 1953 and again in 1963.
The experiments, which were associated with Project GABRIEL (Strontium-90 testing from radioactive fallout) and Project SUNSHINE (tracking global spread of Strontium-90 through examination of tissues and bones), were kept out of the public eye and framed as defensive research needed to protect populations. This was not accurate. The projects were to develop new forms of offensive radiological warfare. Such efforts were supported by Robert Oppenheimer despite the remorseful persona he cultivated regarding his role in devastation wrought by the atomic bombs he helped create. Starting in 1930 and up until the war, Oppenheimer split his time between Caltech and Berkeley. His time in Pasadena overlapped with the operations of the Human Betterment Foundation. SRI (Stanford Research Institute) and RAND, which has its headquarters in Santa Monica south of Robert Hertzberg’s district, were both involved in analysis of the findings around the radiological experimentation.
“SRI also contracted with the military related to radiation and nuclear-test studies, such as the detonation of nuclear bombs. As well as analyzing airborne radiation samples related to military nuclear tests Tumbler/Snapper and Ivy Operations, (RAND: 36), SRI, along with the New York Operations Office of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC aka NYOO), were in the early 1950s, developing a new analytical method for radioactive Strontium-90 (Sr90), using electrostatic precipitation. Thus, SRI was working with NYOO on a new type of analysis for aerosolized radioactive Sr90, while SRI oversaw the St. Louis aerosol studies. NYOO’s role was central to the efforts of the Manhattan-Rochester Coalition.” Page 97
Source: Atomic Heritage Commission, Human Radiation Experiments
Project SUNSHINE required “body-snatching,” in order to obtain tissue samples for analysis. On page 137 of Martino-Taylor’s dissertation she outlines how members of the Manhattan-Rochester Coalition developed regional networks of supplies through hospital systems. They knew where people were less likely to ask questions. Houston was mentioned as having few formalities because it was largely a poor population. The Appendix on page 235 indicates 9,000 tissue samples were obtained for this project, including 584 whole fetuses worldwide. Page 239 shows a project out of the University of Chicago related to GABRIEL where 59 fetuses were cremated and assessed for Strontium-90.
Source: The Manhattan-Rochester Coalition, Research on the Health Effects of Radioactive Materials and Tests on Vulnerable Populations Without Consent in St. Louis 1945-1979,
John D. Rockefeller was a major benefactor of the University of Chicago, the flagship school for the expansion of Baptist institutions of higher education advanced by Rockefeller’s philanthropic advisor Frederick T. Gates (no relation to Bill). In recent years the University of Chicago, through the work of Jim Heckman, has devised the equations and policy infrastructure needed to predict and gamble on the behavior of young children. It was also responsible for creating the first computational model of COVID-19, a case of a digital counterfeit reaching out from the Metaverse to substantially influence life in the real world. Lead author of the paper, “A Multiscale Coarse-Grained Model of the SARS-CoV-2 Virion,” was Alvin Yu, an affiliate of the Department of Chemistry, the Chicago Center for Theoretical Chemistry, the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, and the James Franck Institute. It is exactly these models that seek to corral humanity into the cybernetic enclosures created by neoliberal policy wonks to profit global hedge funds and train artificial intelligence.
Harold Hodge, a biochemist at the University of Rochester since 1931, was tapped to run the Manhattan Project’s pharmacology and toxicology division. He was a co-founder and first president of the Society of Toxicology. Hodge was a leading advocate for fluoridation of public water supplies, publishing research assuring the public that it was safe. A 1997 article, “Fluoride, Teeth and the Atomic Bomb,” based on declassified documents linking the Manhattan Project, fluoride, and public water systems was commissioned by the Christian Science Monitor, but then they refused to publish it. The linked article includes quite a bit of information involving activities in Rochester. Around the same time, in 1995, Dr. Phyllis Mullenix, then with the Forsyth Dental Institute in Boston, published research about sodium fluoride toxicity in rats, after which she was promptly let go from her position and the institute received a substantial grant from Colgate. Concerns about fluoride were documented during WWII in a lawsuit brought by farmers in Deepwater, NJ due to crop loss and poisoning from hexafluoride releases at the nearby DuPont plant working on the Manhattan Project.
Source: Radiological Survey of E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. Deepwater, NJ
The University of Rochester’s Strong Medical Center was the site of secret US military experiments where they injected unknowing patients with plutonium between 1945-47. Joseph Howland who had earned his medical degree at the University of Rochester created a metabolic ward at the Strong Hospital Medical center in 1943 to research radiation dosage. The following year he was appointed medical officer in charge of “special problems” by the Manhattan Project of the Army Corps of Engineers. He worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, too.
A 2009 report by the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health showed no records were maintained of radiation exposure of hospital or laboratory staff – none! A search of Atomic Energy Commission records in Chicago was unable to come up with the closing file for the project. Howland’s papers are held at the University of Rochester and include documents pertaining to allocations of isotopes to regional hospital systems. In an October 11, 1939 letter to President Roosevelt that set the stage for green-lighting the Manhattan Project, Alexander Sachs, chief economist for Lehman Brothers, lists power and “healing” as goals beyond national defense. I am left to wonder, was the project actually closed?
Source: Research regarding radiological exposure of staff at the University of Rochester 1943-1971
Source: Page 31-32, Alexander Sachs Letter to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, October 11, 1939
Richard Wendt, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester was a contractor to the US Navy during the same era, drugging unsuspecting student volunteers in search of a truth serum. The project was affiliated with Project Chatter and Project Artichoke. Frederick T. Gates, philanthropic advisor to John D. Rockefeller, was a University of Rochester alumnus. A timeline of the Strong Medical Center notes the emphasis on treating the “whole patient” and the construction of “Wing R” in 1946, “one of the first psychiatric facilities in the nation to function as an integral part of a university hospital.”
Much of the twentieth century was spent leveraging research carried out under the auspices of “defense,” to refine technologies through which our experience of reality can be altered. This has been accomplished through manipulation of information and communication – written word and moving image. Before writing this piece I had no idea that the celluloid that made the film industry a reality started out as explosive “gun cotton.” Its unstable tendencies burned down many movie theaters and film archives – full of creative potential and yet harboring extreme danger.
Leaving behind the film era, precision manipulation of information through digital means seeks to fundamentally change how we live. The most vulnerable are the youth who don’t have memories of a world that was anchored in direct experience – where there are no coded filters or haptic controllers. Beyond data surveillance and predictive profiling, one of the most insidious aspects of this era is custom curation of reality, and there’s only an illusion that we’re in control. Once you realize what’s happening, everything becomes questionable. Unless you’re incredibly grounded, your identity can easily become untethered, adrift in a treacherous sea of garbled information.
Source: “A Proposed Concept of Learning Based 3D Hologram To Enhance Attention Among Primary School Learners”
Even if we’re able to disconnect children from screens, the introduction of pervasive biosensing means alternative education models like Montessori and Waldorf are vulnerable to new forms of data-mining and digital mirroring. There’s a reason Jeff Bezos is financing Montessori pre-k, and it has nothing to do with educating a class of children who might overthrow his business model. This line of inquiry requires a bit more investigation, but the influence of Silicon Valley extends into gnome, forest schools like Waldorf. Why are Waldorf schools continuing to mask their children? Could it have anything to do with the plans for “healing money” by the RSF Social Finance? What does it mean that the fund, moved from the Hudson Valley to the Presidio in the 1980s, was reimagined by the son of a former executive with Xerox and ITT (Siegfried and Mark Finser)?
Educational technology is now pervasive in schools and in alternative settings. Through children’s tokenized interactions with digital artifacts the machine seeks to process their humanity in mechanical terms. The digital holography market is projected to almost double between 2020 and 2024 – up from $2.7 billion to $5.4 billion. While the focus is presently on medical imaging and commercial advertising, augmented and gamified edutainment can’t be far behind. Our children are in crisis, and their fractured mental states are about to be raided for tele-health digital data financed through “community school” pay for success wrap-around services.
How can we reasonably expect them to retain their sanity in a world where military and finance operatives want us interacting with holograms, literally digital hallucinations, daily? This isn’t even considering increased radiological exposure from disruptive new forms of telecommunication that may ultimately become embedded in our bodies. While this may sound extreme, once you grasp the massive fraud and deception that has been perpetrated at the highest levels against regular moms, dads, and children trying simply to survive in this so-called “civil” society, you cannot discount anything.
Source: Queen Appears as A Hologram in Jubilee Coach
Reflect on what I’ve laid out about the University of Rochester’s ties to the Manhattan Project and behavioral experiments on unsuspecting college students. Many of those researchers had ties to California universities, either through their training or their teaching. Do you think those tendencies of deception and domination have disappeared? I’d like to pose an open question to the optical engineers, to the defense contractors, to the academics at the MAGIC Spell Lab in Rochester:
What do YOU think Battelle has planned for the children of the United States with their “portrait of a graduate” campaign?
What happens if the “future of work” for the masses involves being turned into walking bioreactor hosts for holographic quantum computing?
Source: Portrait of a Graduate, Related to Ted Dintersmith’s Film “Most Likely To Succeed”
Source: Magic Spell Studios
Ritual Gaming and Berggruen’s Transformation of the Human – Synthetic Pretenders Part 4A
This is the fourth installment in the Synthetic Pretenders series examining the proposed CaliforniaTrust Framework within the context of synthetic biology, eugenics, and the Spanish mission system.
Part One: Scientific Management, Robo-Bees, and Digital Babies
Part Two: Apocalypse, Mind Files, and Interplanetary Promises
Part Three: The “Magic” of Radio-Eugenics and Holographic Twins
The Berggruen Institute’s “Transformations of the Human” project (TofTH) launched in 2018. The effort is led by Tobias Rees, a human science researcher pursuing fieldwork in the microbiome, neuroscience, global health, labor, and governance. Rees worked at the University of Zurich, McGill, UCSF, UC Berkeley, and Parsons/New School. The four-minute clip below lays out his thesis: “It is as if the logic that is implicit in the vocabulary we have to think about ourselves as human, to experience ourselves as human, to make sense of ourselves as human doesn’t work anymore.”
Source: Tobias Rees Describes the Transformations of the Human Project
TofTH advisors include:
Antonio Damasio – USC professor of psychology, philosophy and neuroscience, Salk Institute
Yoshua Benigo – University of Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms
Mustafa Suleyman – Head of Applied AI at Google DeepMind
Yann Lecun – NYU Data Science, Facebook AI
Margaret McFall Ngai – Director Pacific Sciences Research Center, tissues interacting with light
Alison Gopnik – UC Berkeley professor of psychology, theory of mind and children’s learning
Stewart Brand – Long Now Foundation, Global Business Network
Tess Posner – AI4ALL social entrepreneur
Others listed in the map below.
Source: TofTH Interactive Map
Institutions connected with TofTH and h.Earth, an initiative to embed artists and humanities scholars in science labs in order to facilitate the creation of new narrative framing for public acceptance of the Internet of Bio-Nano Things, include the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL), affiliated with UC Berkeley, and Stanford’s bioengineering and human-centered AI programs. Other TofTH clients include Google and Google Quantum AI, X The Moonshot Factory, Facebook AI, Element AI, and Commonsense Machines.
Eric “Astro” Teller who has degrees from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford and is the grandson of Edward “father of the hydrogen bomb” Teller, is another individual that spoke (remotely) at the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s Moonshot Project launch in December of 2019. He did so in his capacity as “Captain of Moonshots” at Google X, one of TofTH’s clients.
Source: Edward Teller Reads to Grandsons Astro and Zander
Source: Japan Science and Technology Agency, Moonshot International Symposium, December 17, 2019, Moonshot Lecture Astro Teller
Tobias Rees’s position as a Parsons’ humanities professor was sponsored by tech entrepreneur Reid Hoffman who co-founded LinkedIn and now pursues angel investing through Greylock Partners. Hoffman is also the primary funder of TofTH. If you have a plan to “transform” humans, it’s to be expected that you will also need to create a “transformed” world for them to inhabit. Because it’s about fictitious value creation from of data, right?
Source: TofTH Consultancy and h.Earth Map / Reid Hoffman
This month Reid Hoffman was featured as one of sixteen emerging technology investors, along with Joseph Lubin of Ethereum/Consensys, supporting the launch of Peter Vessenes’s LAMINA1, a base layer for an Open Metaverse. Vessenes’s collaborator on the project, set to go public in Austin, is futurist Neal Stephenson. Stephenson, born in Fort Meade Maryland to an engineer and a biochemist, is a cyberpunk science fiction author who’s been writing about mixed reality and nanotechnology since the early 1990s.
Source: Visionary Futurist Neal Stephenson and Crypto Pioneer Peter Vessenes Announce Lamina-1, The Layer-1 Blockchain For The Open Metaverse
It was Stephenson who coined the term Metaverse in his novel “Snow Crash,” which I wrote about last winter in relation to blockchain governance and spellcasting. This is not Stephenson’s first venture into mixed reality. He was an advisor to Magic Leap VR as the company worked to come up with cost-effective, functional models of wearable computing. The creative team was laid off in 2020 when the company pivoted to industrial applications, but the audio-drama, New Found Land: The Long Haul, Stephenson had been working on for Audible continued to move forward. The plot centers around optical engineers who discover two warring alternate realities one of which is a world called Laminar.
Source: Magic Leap 1
Above is the type of wearable that will be needed before mixed reality and spatial computing can truly scale. The consensus seems to be Magic Leap overpromises and under-delivers. Even so, there is an imperative to create an environment in which such devices become as normal as cell phones are today. They must also be made available at a sufficiently reduced price point so that the people of global south can be boosted into the telepresence labor pool. Those in power may not have the technology up to snuff just yet, but they’re not going to stop trying, because the new globalization 4.0 paradigm depends on wearable computers interfacing with blockchain, holograms, and remote robotics.
While touted as cutting edge technology for use cases like visualizing complex surgery to separate conjoined twins, in reality these systems are meant to disconnect us from our material selves and unleash profoundly destabilizing economic forces into the world. The new game is blockchchained skill badges (SBTs) that will enable AI to rank and sort applicants for global gigs for the lowest wages. While conservatives rush to embrace crypto as a technology of “liberation,” they don’t seem to comprehend how globotics can only undermine feeble attempts to protect living-wage jobs in their communities.
In Web 3.0 (now Web 5.0?) we need to be concerned about AI and automation, not immigrants. Yes, there will continue to be dispossessed people, because as moveable assets, pawns in the game, they fuel impact markets. Social, economic, and environmental displacement keeps the machine running, keeps the game in motion. Stability is anathema to the World Brain, whose manifestation is tied to an elusive quest for civilizational homeostasis.
Other people are not our problem, the supercomputers running high-frequency trades based on Internet-of-Everything sensor networks for hedge funds bets should be the focus of our attention. Unfortunately, we’ve created an economic structure that demands we keep looking the other way. It’s a structure that was built by our family members, our friends, community elders. Since the prospects for untangling it all are overwhelming, we inhabit old stories and create new ones that justify our internalized avoidance.
We need to stop fixating on physical borders and realize geo-fencing will enable on-demand borders both in the real world and the emergent digital empire. Show me your papers. Show me your token. Borders don’t exist for capital, only for people whose compliance to the new regime of digital enclosures can and will be calculated as human capital portfolio assets. Read Mark Stasenko’s 2018 Slate short story “Overvalued” or Van Diamondfinger’s 2017 “The Domestic Front” in Oxford American or Hannu Rajaniemi’s 2018 “Unchained: A Story of Love, Loss, and Blockchain” in MIT Technology Review for fictional insights into near future dystopias where the decentralized automation of a cyber-physical world plays our emotions as if life were all a game.
Source: Economist Richard Baldwin on Globalization 4.0 and Globotics
In the case of Vessenes and Stephenson, the choice of the name Laminar1 feels significant. A Lamin is a thin overlay placed onto a surface, and as a visual is congruent with the development of augmented reality infrastructure and also with deceptive stories we tell ourselves that build off reality even as they obscure it. Lamins are also architectural protein structures that are vital for DNA replication and cell function. As my friend Leo Saraceno pointed out, there is a parallel in proteins functioning as scaffolds for biochemical life and blockchains that are being positioned as scaffolds for the emergence of digital “life.”
A final esoteric reference, but one that these Metaverse wranglers are probably aware of, is the use of the Lamin, like a talisman, for astrological purposes. In his 1988 book, “John Dee’s Actions With Spirits 22 December 1581 to 23 May 1583,” Christopher Whitby provides the following quote from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s “Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy” on page 130:
“The lamen which is to be used to invoke good spirit you shall make after this manner; either in metal conformable: or it may be made in clean paper with convenient colours: and the outward form or figure thereof may be square, circular, or triangular or of the like sort, according to the rule of the numbers: in which must be written the divine names, as well as the general names as the special. And in the centre of the Lamen, let there be drawn a character of six corners: in the middle whereof, let there be written the name and the character of the Star, or of his spirit his governour, to whom the good spirit that is to be called is subject. And about this character, let there be placed so many characters of the five corners, as the spirits we would call together at once. And if we shall call only one spirit, nevertheless there shall be made four Pentagones, wherein the name of the spirit or spirits, with their characters, is to be written. Now this table ought to be composed when the Moon is increasing, on those days and hours which then agree to the Spirit. And if we take a fortunate starre herewith, it will be the better.”
Source, Page 129
While this may seem a touch “woo-woo” for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, if you follow the interest areas of the most powerful figures working to remake society (Nicholas “Transformations of the Human” Berggruen’s tutelage under Brian Copenhaver), you’ll see attempts to unite ritual and alchemy with emerging technologies. I can picture the conceptual structure that extends Renaissance principles of “natural magic” to crystallography, bioacoustics, and photonic communication. For some insights into Copenhaver’s inquiries into the Hermetica, listen to this episode from the History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps Podcast with Copenhaver on Renaissance Magic.
Source: Worth, The New World of Nicholas Berggruen, Copenhaver’s Book on Magic
Lamins are related to sigils, magical figures. Recently, Curved Labs’ Sovereign Nature Project pitched a proposal for reimagining human relationships to public natural spaces using ritualistic programming tracked and logged as blockchained behaviors. Their “interspecies game” includes a Tree of Life, a Game of Oracles, and a Game of Sigils where participants make digital offerings of images and sounds at natural shrine locations in parks. These offerings of data, if accepted, generate NFTs and create mechanized networks of information and meaning on top of the natural landscape. It’s quite striking to see how esotericism has melded with social-impact behavioral economics and cyberpunk anarcho-capitalism, but such is the world we live in now.
Source: Curve Labs’ Interspecies Game
Ritual Gaming and 53 Degree Podcast Debut – Synthetic Pretenders Part 4B
This is Part 4-B in the Synthetic Pretenders series examining the proposed CaliforniaTrust Framework within the context of synthetic biology, eugenics, and the Spanish mission system.
I know a lot of folks appreciate it when I do shorter talks, and this one is right around an hour. It’s the first episode of Raul Diego’s 53 Degree podcast in affiliation with Silicon Icarus, and Leo and I had a great time with it. Our discussion expands upon some of the themes I shared in yesterday’s post, “Ritual Gaming and Berggruen’s Transformation of the Human.”
There’s a relatively small number of us working to interrogate emergent systems of techno-enclosure in the context of digital colonization. I encourage you to subscribe to Raul’s channel’s Silicon Icarus where this episode is located and Inspired Ground, his other channel featuring an intriguing selection of street musicians and updates for his upcoming documentary “In the Beginning Was The Song” that explores the murky flip side of Austin’s music scene during pandemic lockdowns. Support his work here and here.
Leo Saraceno, an expert in blockchain technologies, has joined Raul and me in critiquing its applications, especially in the social finance arena. In this podcast we discuss the push to tokenize and gamify life and our relationships with nature to make social “transactions” more visible to the machine. Central to this discussion is Curve Lab’s “Interspecies Game” of Oracles and Sigils and the recent LED-lighting of the Queen’s Jubilee Beacon, the “Tree of Trees.”
Episode No.1 Summary – Featuring Alison McDowell and Leo Saraceno.
In this episode, Alison McDowell and Leo Saraceno discuss the implications of “interspecies currency” and bio-informational engineering in the context of efforts to gamify our interaction with nature in the emerging data economy. Alison and Leo break down the systems, symbols and organizations involved in this must-watch, maiden episode of the 53˚ Degree.
Intro 1:16 Decentralization
2:30 Giraffes on the Blockchain
5:15 Sensors in the Grass 13:10
The Queen’s DNA 18:00
Track & Trace & Stake 31:10
Oracles and Sigils 36:10
Pseudo Religion 41:45
Colonial Garden Tools 54:41
Data Ownership vs Data Privacy 1:00:29
Lord of the (Data) Flies 1:11:40
Re-Minting Eugenics Show Notes:
Third-party works and articles referenced in this episode
1- Introducing: Interspecies Games – https://medium.com/@sovnature/introducing-interspecies-games-bfdf667009e1
2- Curve Labs – https://sovereignnature.com/projects/curvelabs
3- Sovereign Nature Initiative Manifesto – https://sovereignnature.com/sni-manifesto
4- Breakthrough, Chapter Five – https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Chapter-Five_Breakthrough.pdf (Source: https://www.brookings.edu/book/breakthrough/)
5- Sensing the future of bio-informational engineering – https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-20764-2
6- Data Garden Plant Sonification Workshop – https://www.bartramsgarden.org/event/data-garden-workshop/
7- Leveraging Technology for the Planet – https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do/our-insights/perspectives/looking-back-techstars-accelerator/?en_txn1=s_two.gc.x.x.&sf165519954=1
8- Blockchain Futures – https://www.iftf.org/fileadmin/user_upload/downloads/blockchain/IFTF_BlockchainFutures_Map.pdf
Works and articles by Podcast guests referenced in this episode:
Tracking Students: Google Rolls Out “Anytime, Anywhere” Learning in Kirkland, WA Parks This Spring – https://wrenchinthegears.com/2018/04/24/tracking-students-google-rolls-out-anytime-anywhere-learning-in-kirkland-wa-parks-this-spring/
Blockchain, Digital Twins, and Global Brain Economics – https://siliconicarus.org/2022/05/06/blockchain-digital-twins-and-global-brain-economics/
Interoperable Identity Tokens and the War for Our Soul – https://siliconicarus.org/2022/05/30/interoperable-identity-tokens-and-the-war-for-our-soul/
Celo’s Alliance for Prosperity: Microworkers for the Humanitarian AI – https://siliconicarus.org/2022/06/08/celos-alliance-for-prosperity-microworkers-for-the-humanitarian-ai/
Silicon Icarus and the 53˚ Degree Podcast are a completely reader and listener-funded independent journalistic endeavor.
If you enjoyed this episode and appreciate our articles, please consider making a contribution or becoming a Patron:
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Elite Views on Automated Law and Vending Machine Democracy – Synthetic Pretenders Part 5
This is the fifth installment in the Synthetic Pretenders series examining the proposed CaliforniaTrust Framework within the context of synthetic biology, eugenics, and the Spanish mission system.
Part One: Scientific Management, Robo-Bees, and Digital Babies
Part Two: Apocalypse, Mind Files, and Interplanetary Promises
Part Three: The “Magic” of Radio-Eugenics and Holographic Twins
Part Four: Ritual Gaming and Berggruen’s Transformation of the Human (Part Four-B Interspecies Game Interview)
Tobias Rees’s “Transformations of the Human,” which includes a spin-off consultancy and school, embeds artists and philosophers in life science projects to generate a narrative framework to sell the public on a future world where engineers are authorized to create new life forms to solve “climate change,” technology becomes “natural,” and we forsake society as an organizing construct, replacing it with a data-generating network where relationships are reduced to mere substrates for platform capitalism. This sentiment is expressed in a brief interview Rees gave in 2019 reflecting on his time as a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s center in Bellagio, Italy (featured photo).
In the 1960s, convenings were held at the Bellagio Center to advance the Rockefeller’s “green revolution,” remaking global agriculture as a mechanized, petrochemical endeavor tied to debt finance through CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research), and in the 1990s to establish GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization). The imperative to “transform” the human has been decades in the making. Altering food through the introduction of genetically modified organisms and nanoparticles was key, as is the introduction of bioengineering through injection, aerosol, and frequency.
What is quite concerning are Rees’s closing comments regarding changes that must be made to human rights in the context of burgeoning artificial intelligence. The clip doesn’t come to any resolution as to what those adjustments might look like; but since The Institute For The Future’s stated plan is for machines to have equivalent rights to humans under automated blockchain law, his vagueness seems intentional.
Augmented reality requires a “Trust Framework” of the type that Robert Hertzberg’s California legislation seeks to enact. Within such a framework all “things” will eventually be designated with a unique identifier and managed within the smart contract layer according to how they are “programmed.” The twinned Trojan horses of privacy and compensated data-commoning are the means by which those in power hope to achieve the standardization, tagging, and data interoperability required to run real-time, global simulations.
Rights, actions, and privileges in smart environments will be conditioned on how “things” are encoded. That is why the privacy argument is a red herring. Sure, we’d prefer NOT to have our data stolen or used in ways we do not approve of, but privacy and micropayments will not keep anyone out of the smart contract layer of automated blockchain law. The world is being remade as a vast interlocking sensor network where access can be arbitrarily cut off in real time, an emergent digital empire built on a decentralized domination principle.
Source: The Truth about Decentralization, Leo Saraceno, Silicon Icarus
The following passage is taken from Bettina Warburg’s 2019 feature for the British Council, The Blockchain Revolution.
A helpful analogy is the experience of using a vending machine. The terms of the transaction are straightforward: you drop in payment, make a selection, and in return receive your soda of choice. Vending machines encode a little contract ‘if I pay you, you will release a product.’ We are not relying on a bank or a salesperson to perform this transaction, rather it is being performed by code on the machine. The state of the vending machine changes over time based on each customer selection, and the machine will stop selling the soda in a given row, once it runs out. We can think of a blockchain as a similar structure: a state machine that manages the inputs and outputs of transactions, and anyone who uses it is dealing with the same reality – the same vending machine. Expand this simple analogy to image a machine that isn’t run or owned by a company. Instead, we can each see exactly the code that the machine uses, and we are able to verify all the transactions ourselves. Rather than only delivering sodas for money, this expanded machine can execute any transaction written in code, helping to automate business logic.
The global brain (and impact investors) demand access to aggregated meta-data associated with our actions to predict what we are likely to do next. The intent is to remake each “life,” which now includes machines, as a node for risk-scoring and an access point for overt and covert optimization through digital Metaverse nudging. Behaviors are gold in the data economy, but without the interoperability created by digital ID the deposits can be accessed only at the most superficial level. Picture panning for gold alongside a stream versus mountaintop removal.
Influencers will attempt to convince the public that they’re the ones “in control,” but all freeDOM money/tokens are programmable and conditional in the CIA’s mixed-reality video game. The new economic construct of planned dispossession and portfolios of human capital in need of “improvement” will turn the masses into segmented data-vaults as public-private partnerships hold knives of economic precarity against their throats demanding the combinations. Do Zelenskyy’s recent holographic “appearances” at European tech conferences proposing a next-gen digital lend-lease program for rebuilding Ukraine offer a glimpse into what that may look like? His proposal for transforming “government” into a digital service delivered on a smartphone is certainly well suited to a scattered population in need of humanitarian assistance linked to digital ID. Not coincidentally, the situation could also turn out to be profitable for global investors like Brent Hoberman of Founders Factory venture capital who underwrote this ephemeral sleight of hand. Building out digital empire will certainly be more palatable if it can be framed as a benevolent intervention.
Source: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky referenced “Star Wars” and World War II as he sought aid from big tech firms on Thursday, appearing as a hologram at a conference in Paris.
Our inability to perform a desired action in the material or digital realm, which could be as simple as not having an up-to-date “token” that allows us access to public transportation or a VR training module, will have serious consequences. Do we want to live under a tyranny of token exchanges that enable the machine to “see,” integrate and compute every transaction we make: neural impulses, our last AI assigned gig, who we marry, the DNA of our extended family, how much piezo-electric energy we’ve produced over X amount of time against our caloric intake and economic productivity?
Carsten Stocker, WEF “Global Future Network” member and CEO of Spherity, is a German physicist working on digital identity and cyber-physical systems in Web 3.0, Fourth Industrial Revolution applications. The following three clips taken from a presentation Stocker made at the 2018 Tech Open Air conference demonstrate the imperative for digital ID adoption and raises questions about how we are expected to relate, as humans, to networked machine systems with their own “hierarchy of needs.”
The concept for digital ID goes back to the 1999 and Erick Hughes’s Cypherpunk Manifesto.
Machines are reimagined as “self-aware” life forms capable of transacting.
Energy audits / provenance (think human energy harvest) is linked to behavior change at a civilizational level (decarbonization).
Carsten Stocker works at Spherity. His company is one of the sponsors of the 11th annual conference of Rebooting the Web of Trust, which is set to be held in the Hague in September 2022. The focus is decentralized identity.
Source: Rebooting the Web of Trust
All of this intersects with Nicholas Berggruen’s plans to redesign democracy as well as transform our understanding of what it means to be human. The goal is for humans to meld with machines through digital contracting arrangements. This is the much-discussed bio-digital convergence. In Web 3.0, our “identity” is at once “fixed” by the unique identifier assigned to us and “fluid” in the amount of information we release for any given transaction. A story is being spun that people will have “choice,” but we know that many will be coerced into agreeing to otherwise unwanted transactions by life circumstance. Taking part in performative forced “choice” rituals is not autonomy.
The Berggruen Institute released, “Renewing Democracy in the Digital Age,” in 2020 after planning meetings took place in London, Palo Alto, Madrid, and Bellagio the previous year. I’m imaging that might look like tokenized rights framed as direct democracy with RadicalXChange’s quadratic voting and Cesar Hidalgo’s avatar voting agents. Something tells me patriot Constitutionalists are not going to approve. The image below is Berggruen’s Democracy Working Group in Bellagio where they were hosted by Rajiv Shah, who worked in vaccine finance at the Gates Foundation and public-private partnerships with USAID before coming to lead the Rockefeller Foundation.
Source: Future of Democracy Working Group, Bellagio Summer 2019
To close out, an interesting side note is that the Rockefeller Foundation came into possession of the Bellagio Center the late 1950s when Ella Walker asked James D. Zellerbach, then US ambassador to Italy, to find an organization to take Villa Serbelloni off her hands. The first wife of Heinz Berggruen, Nicholas Berggruen’s father, was Lillian Zellerbach. Both J.D. and Lillian, via her father Harry Haight, were heirs to the San Francisco paper fortune of Crown Zellerbach, sold to Georgia Pacific in 2000 and now subsumed within Koch Industries. The corporate records are held at the UC Berkeley archives. In doing this research the harms of resource extraction, especially lumber and pulp industries, keep coming to the fore. I sense more attention should be paid to artificial intelligence and nano-technological research into fungal-microbial communication networks in our forests. I don’t think it’s all about carbon sequestration. There’s more to it.
Source: Rockefeller Foundation Feature on Bellagio Center
Source: A Masterly Collector of Art
Source: Zellerbach Family Papers, Online Archives of California
I gave this lengthy presentation on smart cities, digital identity and pay for success pathways in Tucson last June. It provides insights into how the smart-contract mixed reality video game operates.
Reject Scientific Management, Celebrate “Weeds” – Synthetic Pretenders Part 6
This is the sixth installment in the Synthetic Pretenders series examining the proposed CaliforniaTrust Framework within the context of synthetic biology, eugenics, and the Spanish mission system.
The exchange went something like this:
Can you lend a hand on Sunday? There are a few new members of our tree tender’s group, and they want to work on the street trees in the middle of Spring Garden. I know it’s Father’s Day, but we could really use the help.
That was the ask by an acquaintance of many years over a cider at Lloyd Hall last Friday. I’m no longer affiliated with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, though I did do the tree tenders training many years ago. The weather was supposed to be lovely that day, and so even though I’m rather out of shape I reluctantly agreed. At the appointed time I grabbed my spading fork and pruners and headed out.
On the short ride over, the future of public gardens came up. I said they’d be alright, after being incorporated into pay for success “wellness” deals – you know social prescriptions, wearables, and citizen science impact metrics. They asked for more information, I hesitated, but then they asked again. So, I began by telling them about the need for new debt products after the mortgage crisis, that this time around it would be debt for public services tied to data-driven behavioral protocols. I tried to explain that wellness and mental health would be associated with urban greening, but after a couple of minutes I saw they’d already mentally checked out. So out of politeness I paused and let the conversation slide back to the crooked politician who’d help set up a community garden and married a younger woman after he finished his jail sentence…was he still alive?
Because that’s how we manage social interactions when the most crucial concepts that will shape the future for the world’s children are simply too big and awkward to discuss. Lean into irrelevant trivia. After the politician, it was family traditions with Halloween candy. Look for the comfortable rut. And here I am left sitting on the story no one wants to know about – the one where well-intentioned horticultural clubs may one day take a terrible turn towards eugenics and eco-fascism. I just hold my tongue and look out the window until we arrive then hop out to scope out the site.
Spring Garden Street is a wide avenue that cuts across the city. There’s a median of varying width. Some segments have what passes for “grass” in the city – it’s green at least. Most of the stretches are bare concrete. These dozen trees were in the barren section east of Broad Street – a mix of ginkgos and honey locusts planted three years ago and not thought about since. The tree pits were large, about five or six feet across and exuberantly overgrown.
That’s the thing about the concrete jungle; rugged life cannot be tamed. Each crack fills with silt and debris and in them seeds of possibility arise. In the squares into which these trees had been planted were rich ecosystems of “weeds” with a liberal sprinkling of decaying plastic litter. I stepped up to one of the squares. It was a ginkgo. I surveyed the soil and saw the delicate, bobbing heads of purple wild onions and stolid prickly stalks of teasel and soft grasses, now buff, going to seed. I made a nice bouquet of them and then set it aside to start work loosening the soil and pulling up the surrounding vegetation. It’s stressful for city trees to try to survive in dead soils, auto exhaust, baking heat in the summer, salty snow in the winter, not to mention EMF pollution and geoengineering particulates. These specimens were holding their own.
The goal for the day was to get the tree pits under control so the trees didn’t have to compete for water, and it would have a tidier appearance for passersby. I’d been told the initial plan was to chop up the vegetation in the pits and use it to mulch the trees. We didn’t have any mulch, and with the size of the pits and the number of trees, a lot would be required.
I did my first tree that way, pulling out the trash, loosening the soil, overturning the roots of the “weeds,” chopping the bigger bits into 6-8-inch segments. I even found a few seedling oaks. I laid a low mulch ring around the edge of the pit away from the trunk, where it could slow rainwater run-off and channel moisture towards the tree. Then I moved to the next pit with a honey locust, which was a slightly different ecosystem, shadier. This one had vetch in it, a nitrogen-fixing legume that’s often used for a green manure. So, I set to work with the pruners making piles. Extracting the roots of the teasel, used in Chinese medicine for the kidneys, took some diligent work with the spading fork.
As I was finishing up the woman who’d asked me to come pointed out that the adjacent square was empty. The original tree hadn’t made it. She said maybe we could put the baby oaks there once we’d cleared it out. I looked over to where I’d placed the seedlings and my bouquet, and they’d vanished. All the vegetation had vanished, stuffed into bags along with the trash. My face fell as I looked out to see six tree pits behind me now totally exposed, bare soil. The grey, dusty squares firmly defined by their white cement setting. It felt like the weed equivalent of urban renewal.
I felt a wave of domination come over me – a disrespect for an ecosystem that had found a way to thrive for three years in a space no human cared about. Then one day, well-meaning people decided to put things straight. They arrived with tools and bags and in a few hours had erased most of the life from those squares.
My friend told me she’d changed her mind, and that a tidy presentation was the priority. It was “her call.” There were no firm plans for mulch to be applied. No one had considered that the July and August would bake that grey silt into a hard surface into which no water will penetrate. The ecological roles of the “weeds,” the minerals they’d brought up from below how their roots had added to the microbial ecosystem under the trees, carried no weight. They were simply “trash.” To the tenders of tidiness, the job was to make things look presentable. The function of urban ecosystems, the honoring of the life of the weeds and the beings that lived in and among them didn’t matter.
I’d been there about an hour and a half, and I could easily have stayed another hour, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore. This acquaintance, the wife of a scientist, could have graciously proposed an A/B experiment where my couple of tree pits could use the mulching technique and see what the outcome was. That didn’t happen. So I said my goodbye and turned to walk home. I passed the younger woman who had organized the day. She said her partner had told her to talk with me about the plants and the mulching. So, I laid out my thought process, primarily about the stormwater run-off and the way the bodies of the weeds would enrich the soil as they decay. There was no way those tree pits were going to stay weed-free. They’re in a dynamic city environment with minimal care. The “weeds” were always going to be back. As far as keeping things “presentable” I mentioned how we, as a society, have been working to shift outmoded ideas about the utility of homogenous turf lawns considering the toxic impact of lawn culture on the environment. Maybe it was time we used the same lens on city ecology? Who gets to say which life has value and which doesn’t. As I said this I pointed to an abundant bush of chicory on the other side of the street. It was glorious.
I think she understood where I was coming from. Maybe I planted some seeds. It could be my reaction had to do with understanding that many of the early eugenicists came out of horticulture – breeding within a colonial mentality of scientific management. For me, today at least, that is what the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society founded in 1827 represented.
I walked home with my spading fork. On the way I passed the magnet school my child attended for eight years. I honestly thought I was doing the right thing sending them there. Now, I’m not so sure. After graduation, asbestos was found. I’m not sure about all those years swimming in that culture of scarcity, competition, and meritocracy soaked with a pervasive low-level anxiety.
You don’t know, until you do. Then you try and do better.
There was a yew hedge in front of the school. In defiance of the deep shade, a single dandelion, gone to seed and still intact, waited for my arrival.
I blew those seeds across the mulch.
Be the weed.
Be the medicine the world needs, even when you face rejection.
PS: This is the link to the 2020 annual report of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. If you look through it, it is easy to see how the wellness narrative and social impact metrics are being woven into the story of urban horticulture and public space. The fact that we seem to be unable to engage in meaningful discussion about the potential pitfalls of social prescribing tied to wellness and decarbonization and IoT data is a problem. People need to be willing to put in the time to understand what I’m trying to tell them. It matters.
Computational Life and Industrial Design Erode the Boundaries of Our Being – Synthetic Pretenders Part 7
This is the seventh installment in the Synthetic Pretenders series examining the proposed CaliforniaTrust Framework within the context of synthetic biology, eugenics, and the Spanish mission system.
Source: Google Maps Berkeley
The office for the “Transformations of the Human” (TofTH) initiative is 2225 Fifth Street, a few miles from downtown Berkeley and about three blocks north of a 46-acre Bayer campus being upgraded for cutting edge biopharmaceutical research.
Stanford and Berkeley along with UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, and Caltech host five of the fifteen research centers funded by the Kavli Science Foundation based in Oxnard, CA in Ventura County north of Robert Hertzberg’s district. In 2008, the Kavli Foundation began awarding prizes for research into astrophysics, neuroscience, and nanoscience. As seen in its logo, Metatron’s Cube and the Flower of Life, the organization is interested emerging technologies that can be leveraged to understand and engineer slices of existence across all sectors of the universe – as above, so below.
Kavli Nano Energy Science UC Berkeley
Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology Stanford
Kavli Center for Theoretical Physics UC Santa Barbara
Kavli Nano-science Institute Caltech 2003
Kavli Institute for the Brain and Mind UC San Diego
Source: Kavli Foundation homepage, note geometry and logo (no sound)
Fred Kavli was a Norwegian immigrant whose father had spent time in the Bay area as a young man. Fred started out as an engineer working on cybernetic feedback systems for Atlas missiles, set up his own company in Los Angeles, and made a fortune developing sensor technologies during the Cold War for defense and automotive applications. Major Kavli clients included NASA, GE, and Ford. In his later years Kavli was a trustee of UC Santa Barbara, which sponsors research into nanotechnology, gamification, brain science, emotion, and theoretical physics. The Kavli Center for Theoretical Physics has brought together thousands of physicists from all over the world to collaborate on interdisciplinary projects since 1979.
Source: UC Santa Barbara research map
Gabriel Coren, a recently minted-PhD in anthropology from UC Berkeley who co-directs h. Earth at Transformations of the Human (TofTH), aims to break down conceptual barriers between living and non-living materials through investigations into bio-geo-chemistry and novel forms of matter. He spins a story in this clip from a February 2021 lecture that positions synthetic biology as a preferred “natural” alternative to harmful petrochemical industries.
Source: Biotech from a h. Earth Point of View
In the lecture, Coren lays out planned partnerships with three California companies: Twist Bioscience, artificial DNA for specialty chemical compounds; MycoWorks, fungal-based materials; and Antheia, bio-inspired medicine. We are meant to envision a future where mechanized industrial-era technologies are replaced by engineered biological systems. The climate narrative is being used to shift public acceptance towards bio-reactor fabrication and nanotechnological products that center “local production” and assert their “greenness” through claims of biomimicry.
Coren also speaks of a project featuring TofTH fellow and Harvard comparative literature PhD Nina Begus who holds a postdoc position at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Eoin Brodie lab. Brodie’s research centers the dynamics of biogeochemistry with a particular emphasis on climate change.
In the spring of 2022, Brodie and the US Department of Energy broke ground on BioEpic (Biological and Environmental Program Integration Center), a unique 77,000 square foot facility that will co-locate researchers in biosciences and earth sciences to examine the activities of microbial communities. All this work is unfolding against the backdrop of emerging technologies. Remember, the US Department of Energy is an active partner in the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s Moonshot Project where Goal 1 is Cyborg Avatar Life / Society 5.0 by 2050.
Source: Carnegie Endowment for Peace – Examples of US-Japan Science Collaboration: High Energy Density Science and AI
A 2021 paper in Nature Nanotechnology, “Bioelectrical Control Of A Microbial Community Using Surface-assembled Electrogenetic Cells to Route Signals,” discusses the development of BioLAN where bioelectronics interface with living cells plugged into external electronics systems that regulate biological function in real time. The research, which was done with the support of the Army and Naval Research Laboratories, uses free-floating planktonic bacteria to interpret the signaling.
Pivot Bio has developed a “biological fertilizer,” PROVEN, that uses genetically modified KV137 bacteria that can have their genetic content selectively “turned on” to enhance nitrogen-fixing capacity in the cultivation of cereal and corn crops. Because of the expense and energy involved in manufacturing traditional fertilizers, it is easy to imagine these bio-electric synthetic biology “solutions” being used as social impact cost offsets for UN Sustainable Development Goal 2, Hunger. Trials of this technology expanded from 250,000 acres of corn in 2020 to millions of acres in 2021. These developments will be positioned as “organic,” natural, and pro-biotic. This is narrative warfare, the battle for our minds. They need for us to accept that BioLANs created by military interests are the new form that life will take. We don’t have to agree with that story.
I was unsettled to discover years ago that the Gates Foundation had developed implantable remote-control birth control with scientists at MIT, but this is a whole other level of intervention. It is difficult to fathom how the scientists developing these “solutions” are not aware of their potential to be weaponized against every being on this planet from microbe to elephant.
The people featured in the BioEpic ground-breaking photo provide insight into the scope of the work now underway.
Source: Groundbreaking for BioEpic with Susan Hubbard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Trent Northern, DOE Joint Genome Institute; Peter Nico, Berkeley Lab geologic science; Margaret Torn, climate and ecosystem sciences Berkeley Lab; Paul Adams, bioimaging, crystallography, and macromolecular structure design; and Adam Arkin, Arkin Labs Bioengineering / ENIGMA Program assessing microbial communities in Oak Ridge Lab’s radiologically damaged watershed.
Adam Arkin’s interests range from biomedicine to bioremediation to bioenergy to space. His faculty profile says the purpose of the Arkin Lab at Berkeley is to:
“…uncover the evolutionary design principles of cellular networks and populations and exploit them for applications. To do so they are developing a framework to effectively combine comparative functional genomics, quantitative measurement of cellular dynamics, biophysical modelling of cellular networks, and cellular circuit design to ultimately facilitate applications in health, the environment, and bioenergy.”
Note the choice of the word “exploit.” This pattern of domination is shown clearly in a January 2021 paper, “Sensing the Future of Bioinformational Engineering,” published by three scientists from Macquarie University in New South Wales in Nature Communications journal. I think it’s worth spending some time with it in order to grasp the head space in which these mad scientists are operating. The three Australian co-authors aspire to a future dominated by cyber-physical systems where the distinction between living beings and machines is no longer relevant. The boundaries of our thoughts and physiology are meant to become totally permeable, able to be joined and disconnected with other information substrates depending on circumstance.
Source: Internet of Nanothings and Bio-nanothings, Ian Akyildiz, Georgia Tech
The idea is that in the not-too-distant future the biochemical information storage systems of living beings will be remade to communicate with electrically engineered systems through redox, ionic currents, and electromagnetic radiation, including various forms of communication through light. Upon reflection, I can see that this the premise of bio-digital convergent communication was illustrated in the above slide from Ian Akyildiz’s 2017 depiction of telepathy-enabled “internet of everything life.
“Biological devices are being reimagined as advanced cyber-physical systems through their integration with digital and mechanical length scales. Engineering biology is moving beyond mechanical biomimicry, and next-generation biological devices are beginning to make use of life’s multi-scale information architectures. We use the term multi-scale here to describe the integration of different engineering length scales (10x metres) into one design and solution. This perspective is primarily focused on the opportunities and challenges arising from engineering across length scales that bootstrap biological functionality – that is, electrical, chemical, and optical scales of existence. We call this bio-informational engineering, because biological devices are finely tuned sensor arrays optimized for translating non-traditional information into the digital world. Importantly, we anticipate that the global research and development response to the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate the advance of bio-information engineering across the coming years.”
The paper goes on to state there is a need for standardization in modular biosensor architecture to better manage input and output communications. Biosensors translate biological data into a digital format to enable bi-directional communication. Light is an area of intense investigation for facilitating this communication through photo-regulated protein coding and CRISPR. Poke around and see what you uncover when you search for “bio-photonic communication” and “photonic edge computing.” I think we must give careful consideration to possible intersections of remote monitoring of healthy people through wearables and in vivo deployment of nano-sensors, bio-photonic communications, edge computing, and alternative energy generation, storage, and accounting on blockchain.
In order for this new quantum internet of everything to function as imagined, the transmission rates of data need to be far beyond our current technologies. It is the need for speed and the immense scope of ubiquitous computing, the takeover of natural bioelectrical systems, that is driving the shift from the age of electrons to the age of photons. The authors mention Voight Lab as a leader in the synthetic biology programming needed to adapt biology so that is can interface with electrical engineering. Voight Lab is an initiative of the MIT-Broad Foundry, funded by LA-based housing and insurance billionaire Eli Broad who is also active in predatory philanthropy targeting education privatization and ed-tech and served on Berggruen’s California Blueprint committee in 2011.
Before arriving at MIT, lab director Christopher Voigt earned his PhD in biophysics at Caltech, did post-doc work at UC Berkeley, and was a professor at UC San Francisco. He helped develop Cello, automated circuit design in cells for use in therapeutics and “other applications.” Cello 2.0 expanded the function beyond Escherichia coli plasmids to “new organisms and other genetic context, including the genome.” Voigt’s research uses biotechnology to scale systems of manufacture where the cellular processes of host organisms like yeast can be reengineered to produce desired industrial products like synthetic spider silk. Ginkgo BioWorks, spun out of MIT in 2008, is an example of this frontier in biological design. The company currently has a contract to carry out K12 Covid testing in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health through its subsidiary Concentric. Again, note the rainbow coloring and wave patterns used in the branding – optics / photonics.
Source: Ginkgo Bioworks Concentric
According to a feature on the company in a 2009 MIT Technology Review article:
“Synthetic biology is the quest to systematically design and build novel organisms that perform useful functions, such as producing chemicals, using genetic engineering tools. The field is often considered the next step beyond metabolic engineering, because it aims to completely overhaul existing systems to create new functionality rather than improve an existing process with a number of genetic tweaks.”
Once you cross the line from using bioengineering to address serious health issues and begin to use it for in vivo industrial processes, you are dealing with eugenics masquerading as some sort of Soylent green future that is anything but sustainable. It’s not just human lives at risk, it’s the molecular make-up of everything on the planet. The whole spectacle is a sale pitch for the unbelievable, and the quote shows the degree to which the full spectrum dominance of synthetic biology agenda depends on public acceptance.
“Anti-vaccination sentiment could be a forerunner for oppositional sentiment to multiscale bio-informational monitoring via environmental surveillance systems and the IoBT. It will be critical from the outset that governments communicate the value of these programs in ways that bring all publics along. The impact on biofoundaries and next-generation biomanufacturing platforms arising from poorly executed science and public health communication is likely to be acute.”
Battalions of public health enforcers and behavioral psychologists have been summoned to create a narrative framework that will attempt to pin us down and force us to give in to their post-human nightmare. Six weeks after the “pandemic” was announced forty-two academics had already signed on as co-authors of this paper published in Nature Human Behavior, “Using Social and Behavioral Science to Support COVID-19 Pandemic Response.”
Many of the institutions represented are leaders in the fields of impact investing and artificial intelligence/machine learning. Among the authors was Cass Sunstein who, along with University of Chicago’s Richard Thaler, practically created the field of nudging. The techniques described may count as “scientific,” but they are incredibly manipulative and demonstrate how professionals are used to advance the interests of power. The paper goes so far as to assert the efficacy of “pre-bunking,” where people are exposed to weakened versions of persuasive arguments, like inoculations, in order to get their senses accustomed to the desired mindset. It’s incredible and shows that we are in a pitched battle for hearts and minds in this arena of the Internet of Bodies masquerading as public “health.”
Source: Using Social and Behavioral Science to Support Covid-19 Pandemic Response
Does the yeast have the right to NOT be remade as a bioreactor? If lower beings are subject to this synthetic predation what assurances can be made that humans will not be re-made as bioreactors to produce alternative energy products and nano-materials, too? It seems to me a line has been crossed over the past two years as rights to bodily autonomy have been strategically undermined.
These developments raise serious ethical issues, especially in light of our eugenics history.
- Who gets to determine what an optimal life form is?
- Will we allow companies poised to reap profit from assertions of our feebleness decide?
- Will we cede boundaries between our own biology and demands for collective computation?
- Should living beings have the right to live the lives they choose?
- Or must they submit to a full bio-chemical overhaul whenever the bio-economy demands it?
Organic technology is the next big thing. Scientists at the University of Cincinnati are working on adapting biological DNA (not artificial) into optical materials for photonics, LEDs and lasers. We are supposed to embrace such developments in nano-biotechnology unquestioningly, because they are framed as a counterpoint to legacies of chemical poisoning of people and the environment.
We are not meant to notice we’ve embarked on a bullet train hurtling towards full spectrum dominance of natural life masquerading as saving the planet through bio-informational engineering. Richard Jefferson’s hologenomic theory of microbial interdependence is merging with industrialized synthetic biology fabrication, automated bioreactors, terminator genes, and social impact metrics. It is a Lamarckian organismic outlook harnessed to social efficiency, and militarized debt finance with children and the natural world caught in the crosshairs.
Most adults are either professionals who have been coopted into the predominant narrative, are struggling to make it from one day to the next, or are wandering around in some tangential storyline that has no real relevance to this unfolding immanent disaster. To the mad scientists we are just so much molecular raw material, playthings without souls lacking the sacred touch of the divine. Hyper-materialism has brought us to this degraded place. We need to join together and find the string that will walk us back out of the Minotaur’s maze.
For me the feature image for Adam Arkin’s lab at UC Berkeley tells the story. Voigt, as it turns out, was a student of Arkin’s at Berkeley. The lab affiliates in the feature image wear matching black t-shirts with cybernetic representations of trees like a cloned silicon forest of hybridized “life.” Sponsors of his Berkeley lab, beyond the US Department of Energy, include NASA, DARPA, the NSF, the Innovative Genomics Institute and qb3. The latter is one of a constellation of institutes set up to advance California’s bio-economy and life sciences research with seed funding and accelerator space. The program was initiated in 2000 by then governor Gray Davis, who went on to serve on Berggruen’s California Blueprint task force in 2011.
As someone pointed out to me, the technologists worship not at the tree of life, but rather the tree of knowledge. They’re planning a world of Merkle trees, a synthetic nature with lots of magenta and very little green.
Source: Arkin Lab Twitter
Market Alchemy and Illuminated “Wellbeing” – Synthetic Pretenders Part 8
Following up on the emergent bio-economy, this post examines how digital identity interfaces with health-tech implementation designed to deliver the data that will be needed to fulfill pay for success deals in monitored “wellness” behaviors. As people are displaced from jobs and housing by the planned economic disruption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, large populations will be made dependent on the state, which will in turn outsource its responsibility, through the vehicle of public-private partnerships, to social entrepreneurs and allied NGOs. Individuals and families will lose their economic independence as Universal Basic Income is implemented. Compliance to behaviorist conditions embedded in “supportive housing” and “workforce training” programs will be the cost everyone must pay to survive. While framed as “charitable,” such models are paternalistic and demeaning, the legacy of reservations and further back the California missions.
Name choices are significant. When I was creating my relationship map for the California Trust Framework legislation, the health company Lumedic stood out to me, because it incorporated the concept of lumen that seemed to highlight emerging technologies relating to light, optical and photonic computing.
Chris Ingrao, co-founder of Lumedic, got his start in the mid 1990s working in the semiconductor industry at Micron in Idaho then came to Seattle where he was employed by companies doing business in the domain name registration, asset tracking, smart cities, IoT, AI, natural language processing, and machine learning sectors. In 2018, Ingrao helped found Lumedic. In 2019 he joined the blockchain task force for HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society), which is a partner in the Stewards of Change / National Interoperability Collaborative’s effort to create the massive interoperable system of health and human service data needed to streamline social finance prediction markets and collection of impact data. That year he also joined the steering committee of Trust Over IP, the Linux Foundation-hosted enterprise for digital identity in Web 3.0.
His partner at Lumedic is Michael Nash, who had been at Radius / Luxoft at the same time Ingrao was. Again we have “lux / light.” That firm is based in Zug, Switzerland, the crypto valley, and has been acquiring firms in IoT (Radius), health-tech, automotive, and finance since 2000. In a 2018 blog post, Nash lays out an origin story for Lumedic that revolves around a misunderstanding involving insurance coverage and billing for a dermatological procedure. This blockchain, machine-learning patient management software isn’t about building out a robust health-data bio-economy to run impact markets in IoT-managed human capital. No, we’re supposed to play along and nod our heads to vapid assertions that products like Lumedic’s are about empowering consumers of insurance products – eye roll.
If you’re not familiar with my work around social impact finance and digital healthcare nudging, the following links provide useful context: here, here, here, and here.
Source: Chris Ingrao LinkedIn
Jim St. Clair of the Linux Foundation, which is closely involved with so-called self-sovereign identity development, is also working with verifiable health credentials on a project affiliated with the Blockchain Advocacy Coalition. This group is one of the leaders pushing for the passage of the California Trust Framework. Jim was hired in January 2021 as the Chief Trust Officer for Lumedic.
Source: California Trust Framework Map, Lumedic
Source: Jim St. Clair LinkedIn
Providence Health, a Catholic healthcare system headquartered in Renton, WA and providing services to California, acquired Lumedic in February of 2019 to help with “revenue cycle management.” The Catholic Church has been deeply entangled in the social impact space since its first global conference on the topic co-hosted with Notre Dame’s Mendoza Business School in 2014. Sir Ronald Cohen of Social Finance and Matthew Bannick of Omidyar Network have been stalwart attendees. Last year due to the pandemic drama they mixed it up and swapped impact investing for soulful “innovative” health. See “Unite to Prevent” below.
Source: Vatican Unite to Prevent Conference May 2021
Health is United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Three, and many health system behemoths are wading into new territory, because they need to create new vehicles to circulate their immense reserves. It’s not just about capital flows and profit, however; equally important is the use of impact data to build a mirrored universe of digital agents available 24/7 to train artificial intelligence. There is an imperative to transform healthcare delivery using big data for profit AND twinning. Telecom infrastructure and social impact narratives are central to the coerced adoption of immersive surveillance tech around the world. Increasingly, that option is looking like “smart” supportive housing (Housing First) with data-driven wrap-around services that will tokenize the needy as impact commodities. See this feature on the church’s foray into pay for success housing with digital surveillance leaderboards to manage the poor.
Source: Littlesis United Nations Broadband for Sustainable Development
Providence, which maintains a $12-billion reserve, was criticized after taking over $500 million in federal Covid bailout money. The system operates in seven western states and manages 51 hospitals, plus hundreds of non-acute facilities that deliver supportive services. It is that type program that has been set up to be mined for social impact finance profit in “pay for success” preventative care and mental health management.
The health system has invested significant resources in data analytics, aligning itself with the new value-based payment model. Oregon, one of the states in which Providence operates, is a leader in adoption of this new compensation framework. In 2019, legislation was introduced to set up a Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Implementation Committee, and in 2021 a Value-Based Payment Compact was adopted with 47 signatories. Providence Health was also a stakeholder in the development of a HUD-sponsored pay-for-success supportive housing study for the city of Anchorage, AK in 2018.
Social impact finance deals run on data, and Providence’s source for data analytics is Seattle-based Tableau software. Tableau, founded in 2003 with over 4,000 employees, was acquired by Salesforce in the summer of 2019 for whopping $15.7 billion. A year later with record earnings, Benioff announced layoffs of 1,000 people, including some Tableau staff. The rationale was repositioning Salesforce, which has used its philanthropic and venture capital divisions to carve out the nascent human capital finance sector.
Source: Tableau Feature Providence Health System Data-Driven Cost Savings
Salesforce Ventures joined with Lumina Foundation and Robin Hood Foundation in 2018 to create a workforce development fund that will leverage creative debt products to profitably groom the digital gig workers of tomorrow. See this post on Salesforce and toxic philanthropy from 2018. Tableau’s dashboards are used to track key performance indicators systemwide. Dr. Ari Robicsek, the Chief Medical Data Analytics Officer for Providence, said of the system they developed, “What my team set out to do was to build a kind of ‘one ring to rule them all,’ the one central dashboard that included all the KPIs that were important to all of our hospitals.” The intent was optimization of patient data with “care metrics” to identify wasteful practices. According to their website staff compensation is now based, in part, on the data in the Tableau dashboards.
Providence extended the reach of its data collection well beyond its facilities during Covid, sending patients home to be monitored remotely. Vital statistics were harvested through apps and low-cost technologies like thermometers and pulse oximeters. Pandemic was the goose that laid the golden egg for the bio-data-economy.
The first Covid case in the United States is said to have been admitted to the Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Snohomish County, WA in January of 2020. Twistle and Xhealth were brought onboard to assist Providence in scaling the infrastructure for tracking patients, which at points had one nurse monitoring 85 to 100 patients per shift through texts, video chats, and surveys. Data was integrated into each patient’s electronic health record. The companies said compliance rates, responses to texts for vital signs, was around 70-80%. Reliance on technology continues to ramp up. This year the company announced a new clinical innovation fellowship in partnership with Microsoft advancing interdisciplinary health-tech innovation.
Source: The First US Case, the First Death, the First Outbreak in a Nursing Home
In 2016, the health system set aside $100 million in seed funding for a new initiative,”The Wellbeing Trust,” which is affiliated with “The Wellbeing Economy Alliance.” The latter is a global enterprise with over 300 members promoting an “equitable” and “sustainable” future of circular economies and creative place-making. Let me translate – they’re pouring out social-impact-financed NGO green-washing to obscure the true horror of bio-digital convergence and full spectrum domination of natural life. The primary funder of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance is Partners for a New Economy whose catalytic capital is provided by the Rockefeller Foundation and Omidyar Network.
The Well Being Trust is affiliated with the California Children’s Trust and the Northern California Grantmakers’ Association. It will set up infrastructure for data-driven social prescribing. Tyler Norris, Executive Director and Board Chair of Naropa University, served on a foresight planning process in 2020 led by RAND for the Morristown, NJ Based Rippel Foundation, “Rethink Health: Amplifying Stewardship Characteristics and Trends Stewards Consider When Expanding Equitable Well Being.” Other advisors on the effort, which was coordinated with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, included Beth Rabbit, the Learning Accelerator (hybrid online learning); Mateus Baptista, Panasonic (Internet of Bodies); Amit Bouri, Global Impact Investment Network (social impact investing); as well as staff from the Project for Public Spaces (creative place-making), parks, and regional planning commissions. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation backed MyPass, the Austin program to blockchain unhoused people to create biometric health records; supported the Center for Digital Health; and Data Across Sectors for Health. The foundation is linked to smart cities, impact investing, and data interoperability through Stewards of Change. The branding makes it all appear so pleasant. It makes you wonder if these experts really don’t understand that militarized mixed-reality tech embedded in community “improvements” is a terrible idea.
Source: Wellbeing Trust Littlesis
Source: Providence Health
Rick Brush, CEO of Esther Dyson’s NGO Wellville, consulted for Rippel Foundation on Rethink Health. Before that, he launched Collective Health to pave the way for health impact bonds that can be used to finance disease prevention linked to social determinants of health. Wellville is the brainchild of Esther Dyson, a technology angel investor who led ICANN, the entity that assigns IP addresses, and is the daughter of space-theorist and physicist Freeman Dyson.
Dyson was also an advisor to Perot Systems and long-time owner of EdVentures, an education technology firm. All these connections make it clear to me that the intention behind these “wellness” protocols is to harness people to digital ledgers where, through social prescribing and compliance data, they can be turned into profitable commodities for the social impact economy.
Note the logo at the bottom of the Rethink Health cover – both the hexagons (graphene, hive mind, tessellation, blockchain) and the rainbow coloration (IRIS impact metric data and spectroscopy).
Source: Rethink Health
This clip from a conversation with blockchain expert Leo Saraceno, a contributor at Silicon Icarus, touches on the potential for blockchained human assets to be used as “stake” in “regenerative finance” deal structures. As an asset class, human capital will need to be assessed in real time, calibrating individual and collective compliance to established protocols of “wellness,” among other behavioral standards that can be tracked across cyber-physical environments. In this way even the most impoverished can be remade through the alchemy of tokenization into profit centers for social entrepreneurs, affiliated philanthropies, and sponsored NGOs.
Source: Silicon Icarus, Human Capital Prediction Markets
It’s no surprise that this health system, with its spin-off “Wellbeing Trust,” has been working closely with Microsoft on a “healthcare” chat bot on Azure. Following Cuomo’s pronouncement – sure we have to do this for COVID, but that doesn’t mean that we’re just going to forget about it – these AI apps are designed to be our minders, nudging us and building out the data sets to create our compliant (or not) digital twins.
Providence Health’s roots go back to the mid nineteenth century in Quebec. Sisters of Providence emigrated to the west coast in 1912 where they did social work in indigenous and settler communities. My continued assertion is that the proper context for bio-colonization and the surveillance data economy are the California missions that informed the brutal control practices refined across the United States’ network of reservations.
General Richard Pratt, founder of Carlisle Indian School, the model upon which the genocidal residential school system was based, once expressed the imperative to kill the Indian to “save” the man. It is this twisted mentality that could very well walk us down the road where we endeavor to kill natural life in order to preserve a well-managed, synthetic substitute. Conditional care will be tied to compliance and data-harvest. The future of work being planned is the performance of “wellness” behaviors while logging verifiable credentials, proof of impact for outcomes-based contract pay outs and machine learning. The “wellbeing” that is being served is that of artificial intelligence, not of the world’s children, the poor, or our sibling beings of the Earth.
Source: US Army to Return Remains of Native American Boys Killed in Reform School in 1880s
Photonic Workhouses and Behavioral Scrip – Synthetic Pretenders Part 9
It is my contention that you cannot disconnect developments in synthetic biology and hybrid life from California’s legacy of eugenics. The field emerged from ideas around racial superiority, inherited intelligence, and expectations that individuals and families meet prescribed social norms. Fourth Industrial Revolution energy accounting and tracking of social investment against economic productivity must absolutely be considered against the backdrop of graded human capital, behavioral compliance to sustainability metrics, and manufactured conditions of scarcity, debt, and displacement.
As the “end of the world” narrative continues to unfold with the imagined Singularity on the horizon, I foresee a ramping up of demands for social efficiency, the obligation of demonstrably (through generation of IoT impact data) doing one’s part to help “save the world.” Namely this would involve building and defending the digital empire while submitting to bio-tech upgrades as required.
This ethos combined with “work hard” imperatives embedded in faith-based NGOs lined up to deliver privatized social welfare “solutions” could easily result in techno-Dickensian workhouses of unwaged and un-free labor: children, refugees, and prisoners. See this telling clip from a February 2020 Simpsons episode, “The Miseducation of Lisa Simpson.” If you watch the entire segment, you’ll see that it opens with a performance by John Legend, a University of Pennsylvania graduate honored for entrepreneurship by Wharton, who helped roll out the LRNG anytime/anywhere, mixed-reality competency-based, skills-badge education model being parodied.
Source: Full Episode of The Miseducation of Lisa Simpson
Now about those upgrades…
This month, IBM and Dell announced the creation of the Responsible Computing consortium, a membership group committed to “sustainable” business practices I imagine may be determined by the United Nations/WEF in consultation with the Impact Management Project. The alternative energy sector is deeply intertwined with synthetic biology and hybridized “life,” not to mention human piezo-electric energy harvest.
Source: Overview of Human Piezoelectric Energy Harvest and Application, 2022
In 2018, I wrote a short story that featured children laboring in data centers managing racks of artificial DNA. George Church, based at Harvard and the Wyss Institute was publishing experimental results with in vitro artificial DNA data storage a decade ago. At that time, I was not aware of in-vivo applications for DNA data storage. It shook me to realize in vivo applications, to store digital files in live bacteria, had been developed the year before.
It’s significant that the first GIF preserved in bacterial DNA was a 5-frame clip of Eadweard Muybridge’s “Horse In Motion.” Leland Stanford, California governor, railroad baron, and horse racing enthusiast, commissioned a set of images of his horse Sallie Gardner running at the Palo Alto race track to better understand gait analysis. Gait analysis is an alternative to facial recognition in determining identity through artificial vision / surveillance. Stanford University researchers and alumni are at the nexus of the military-finance complex advancing Metaverse life through impact investing and bio-nano-technology. We are literally racing towards a post-human future, the twin spurs of a global economy built on disruptive innovation and narratives of apocalyptic climate crisis driving us forward.
Source: The Horse In Motion
Horse In Motion was the first example of chrono-photography where the passage of time was represented. Those who saw the images described the series as “freezing time. The choice of the moving horse feels like a symbolic bookend to the art piece “Dead Horse” created by UK photographer Tim MacMillan in 1998 with the Time-Slice camera he invented to explore manipulations of time and space in the spirit of Cubist painters. The technique was used the following year to film a sequence called Bullet Time in “The Matrix.” For a discussion of that work see Raul Diego’s “Behold A Dead Horse – The Dark Nexus Between Art, Fashion, and Mixed Reality.” Will “time” have the same meaning once we “live” primarily in synthetic realms shaped by military simulations run at varying speeds? And how does the idea of “productivity” fit into this future of fractured existence? I have so many questions.
Source: Tim Macmillan Early Work 1980-1994
The June 2019 issue of Giga Science features an article by Shihong Chen of the Beijing Genomics Institute and Sha Joe Zhu of Roche, “Carbon-Based Archiving: Current Progress and Future Prospects of DNA-Based Data Storage,” which outlines developments in both in vitro and in vivo DNA data storage protocols. It mentions a collaboration between Twist Biosciences, Microsoft, and the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering to automate construction and deconstruction of coded bits into an artificial DNA structure to maximize data storage in a format that is not likely become outmoded. Remember, Twist Biosciences is collaborating with Berggruen’s TofTH.
The impetus behind sterilization and research into the genetic nature of intelligence was the belief among the elite that over time working class and poor communities became degraded. Thus, public support, through higher taxes on the rich, for perceived non-productive, or inefficient members of society would be an undue burden if reproduction of the masses were not actively managed. This sentiment is illustrated by the Fitter Families movement of the 1920s.
So we must ask ourselves what if Fitter Families 2.0 involves an expectation that for the “common good” under Web 3.0 norms, the masses will be expected to submit themselves to programmed pathways of educational and wellness improvement, bio-digital “upgrades,” and genetically-engineered progeny? In order to survive the dispossession created by this new AI / big data / robotics economic construct, will we be expected to live precarious lives as domesticated livestock? Will we earn our keep by handing over our brains and bodies to imperial bean counters to serve as bio-digital parallel processors for the Global Brain / hivemind?
Here’s one more clip from Carsten Stocker on nano (NEMs, the implantable organism) and CRISPR genetic modification tracked on one’s digital identity, which has been positioned to replace Zeke Emanuel’s Affordable Care Act-enabled electronic health record.
Don’t kid yourself; this is about much more than precision medicine and cancer treatment.
Source: How Your Identity Will Change In The Fourth Industrial Revolution
The bio-computational makeover of human tissues will be accomplished through digital twinning tied to blockchain electronic health records that integrate remote sensing data with tele-medicine prescription compliance. I think digital identity, the proposed California Trust Framework, is part of that effort.
In an October 2020 blog post Camille Crittenden of CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interests of Society) and the Banatao Institute at UC Berkeley presents work her institute has been pursuing around blockchain health records for unhoused people in the state. They could have just checked with Austin’s ID2020 project where they grabbed biometrics, linked them with health records, and handed people a QR coded on a laminated piece of card stock. I wrote about that here in April 2020.
Source: Camille Crittenden and the CITRIS Policy Lab Publish On Blockchain Digital Identity
CITRIS is working out how to conduct identity verification and pay for the program, but there’s an imperative behind getting this identity infrastructure in place. I suspect investors are getting antsy about accessing the social impact opportunities California’s burgeoning homeless population will create once they’re plugged into interoperable biometric identity systems synced with smart city digital twin optimization. Crittenden chaired the California Blockchain Working Group of which Robert Hertzberg was also a member. Interesting that blockchain health records didn’t come up in Hertzberg’s testimony about potential use cases for the Trust Framework, isn’t it?
Source: California Blockchain Working Group
Could there be some twisted idea that out on the horizon regional health care providers and insurers will provide IoT-enabled housing on the condition that the dispossessed follow prescribed “wellness” protocols, including bio-convergence treatments that will retro-fit them as human computing nodes in some vast photonic network run on blockchain tokenization? At this point nothing seems out of the question, but first things first. Next steps are to close the digital divide, establish biometric blockchain ID, refine outcomes-based contracts for privatized public assistance, build the smart IoT housing, and produce the smart clothing.
How much time do you think we have before California’s tech and finance billionaires and the defense-gaming-entertainment industrial complex slam the door on their ultra-deluxe open-air prison? Mission 2.0
Source: Fifteen Million Merits Analysis
Magenta at Dusk and the Royal Beacon of Decarbonization – Synthetic Pretenders Part 10
Adam Arkin’s cyber forest from Part Seven of this series was echoed in the Platinum Jubilee beacon lighting on June 2, 2022. The feature image conveys the intent of the new regime. Wild nature must be replaced with a contained, quantifiable version. Trees are not forest elders, but rather biological armatures for sensor networks. Their biochemical data will be mined for carbon credits and ESG impact metrics.
Source: Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood and the Major Oak
Children must be trained that it’s normal to put trees in buckets, tie them up in LED lights, hang them on high, and then replant them for urban greening. Their labor, too, will be incorporated into data-harvest schemes aligned to STEM education standards and citizen science volunteer hours. The picture shows Black and Brown children being groomed to exhibit proper behaviors towards the earth, for the digital eye. Upon verified demonstration of their compliance, Soulbound Tokens can then be issued on blockchain to their digital twins to update the planetary simulation. Everyone who participates gets a badge with life re-rendered for leaderboard culture.
The photo shows it all being so very tidy. To me it feels like a soulless photo-op with innocent students used as pawns in a deceptive game of performative colonial “greening.” This isn’t a ceremonial one-off either. Even the ancient Sherwood Forest has been hooked up to the cloud and remade as an immersive digital experience complete with remote monitoring for real-time portfolio management. We’re meant to believe that by living through digital media we will be kept “safe” and nature kept “safe” from us.
Really, though, it’s about turning life into a series of networked biological assays that will supposedly “teach” the counterfeit about the vitality of biomes. The delightful “surprisingness” of creation my friend Leo talks about will never be fully-computable no matter how many oracles they insert into laminated data layers to capture and quantify our bio-photons in relation to those emanating from the expansive, generous universe we were born to traverse. It’s just not going to happen, as hard as they may try. I wish they’d just drop it and go enjoy an afternoon in the shade of a real oak tree.
Source: Move Over Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest Will Now Be Monitored by Robot Rangers
Source: 5G Bringing Sherwood Forest and Robin Hood to Life
The Queen walked gingerly with her cane and large black handbag around the border of the Windsor Palace lawn until she stood before a garish pink podium in the T-Mobile corporate palette waiting to ignite a “fuse” of stranded LED lights. She laid a gloved hand on the Commonwealth Globe, which rested on a blue tasseled pillow encircled by a crown (corona). Then, a Kundalini serpent energy (h/t Stephers) raced across a precision-trimmed lawn, leaping through time and space from Windsor to Buckingham Palace. On the other side, the fuse of white bulbs crossed a pavement until it ran into an artificial steel tree. Upon impact, hundreds of electric lanterns blinked on, the advent of an age of bio-technological domination of the natural world. Divine awakening through activation of the chakras re-routed through a colonial intercept and stored, like those captured seedlings in aluminum buckets, to power a counterfeit reality.
Source: Queen’s Sparkling Tribute to the UK
One could read the queen’s cane as the caduceus of Hermes, messenger, trickster, and keeper of commerce, boundaries, and ritual. With the rise of synthetic biology and nano-machines, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the Hermetic tradition and the propensity of power to attempt to mask black magic rites with feeble trappings of fraudulent divine intent. In my opinion such a dynamic was at work here, broad-based attempts to propagandize the world into believing synthetic is natural and sacred. It has everything to do with England’s traditions of scientifically managed breeding, including Galton and eugenics.
On Twitter someone suggested this may have been a ceremony invoking Ningishzida, the Sumerian god of the underworld associated with intertwined serpents and lord of “the good tree.” Ningishzida is involved with laws of the earth and the underworld and associated with Hydra, which has a curious synchronicity with Cardano’s Hydra smart contract layer. Interesting food for thought.
And, what to make of that T Mobile pink pedestal?
Source: Platinum Jubilee Jewels: Beacon Lighting Ceremony
T-Mobile is the US offshoot of Deutsche Telekom. It’s headquartered in Bellevue, WA which is a twenty-minute drive north of Renton where Providence Health, which I discussed in Part Eight of this series, is based.
Source: Map T-Mobile / Providence Health Metro-Seattle
T Mobile sponsored an eerie magenta-themed New Year’s Eve laser spectacle consisting of augmented reality compositions projected onto the Seattle Space Needle as the city rang in a socially-distanced 2021. The structure, built as a centerpiece for the 1962 World’s Fair, was financed by the Pentagram Corporation. That fair’s theme was “Century 21” with space, science, and a progressive future as focal points. Click here for a nifty document of facts about this iconic skyline feature.
The Space Needle has some notable neighbors. Walk five minutes northeast from it and you’ll hit the Gates Foundation. Walk another six minutes and you’ll arrive at PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health), an NGO dating to 1977 with a $300 million budget and sixteen-hundred employees in seventy countries researching immunization technologies and food supplements (Ultra-Rice). The 2021 kick-off in Seattle used a “needle” as the anchor and opened with larger-than-life projections of DNA and cellular division. What memorable way to wrap up a first year of lockdowns.
The wide-ranging imagery of Terry Morgan’s eleven-minute production, which was titled “The Dream,” incorporated biology, mechanistic lotus plants, jellyfish, planetary alignments, Platonic solids, space craft, clock works, dancers, and giant twinned heads. I won’t go into a whole analysis here, but if you haven’t seen it there’s a lot to chew on.
Source: T Mobile New Year’s at the Needle 2021
T Mobile is a major player in Seattle, and the company has a lot of peers in the region who are also banking on public acceptance of Web 3.0 mixed-reality: Amazon, Microsoft, and firms in the IT, bio-tech, health-tech, gaming, and food innovation sectors. If collectively these companies implement their planned internet of everything panopticon and successfully acculturate, through perpetual campaigns of carrots and sticks, residents to Metaverse life, dissidents will likely experience this magenta phone company as more of a digital jailor (T Im-Mobile) than a communication service provider.
As I think we are increasingly recognizing, QR-code governed life is not some far-off possibility, but a near and present danger. Deutsche Telekom, T Mobile’s parent company, was tapped by the World Health Organization in February to develop a COVID health credential for the EU. Deutsche Telekom is active in both the blockchain and the social impact finance space via a partnership with Celo. It’s also active in IoT and quantum computing efforts through a collaboration with the French Aerospace firm Thales.
Source: Deutsche Telekom / T-Mobile Map
T-Mobile took on the identity of “Un-carrier” (Un = United Nations?) in a 2013 advertising campaign developed by Jesse Purwal’s marketing firm Prophet. The company made a big splash in late March 2022 promoting a “New Magenta” color that celebrated expanded 5G services across the United States following its 2020 acquisition of Sprint.
According to the press release, T-Mobile wanted to redefine “the very idea of color” by investigating “molecular level of light wave propagation. Mike Katz, marketing director, says the “New Magenta” ad was designed to engage the emotions and even shock viewers. This it accomplishes with an atomic bomb evoking sunset, a draw knife cutting into an oversize flesh-like crayon, a trowel digging into glowing radioactive soil, and an optical scientist who “cries” a crystalline magenta tear at the end. This has the feel of a carefully-choreographed tongue-in-cheek parody. My take is that it uses humor to mask crumbs of clues laid down for the enjoyment of a select audience in possession of certain rose-colored glasses.
Source: The New Magenta
The campaign’s supporting materials make a point of saying magenta is not found on the visible spectrum of light but is rather an extra-spectral color created in the brain. Amelia Settembre explains it in “Magenta, The Color That Doesn’t Exist and Why:”
“Usually, when trying to determine color, the brain simply averages the colors to come up with an outcome. If you mix green and red light, you’ll end up with yellow light, because the brain has averaged it. When you mix red and purple light, your brain averages them. Ultimately, this would reasonably come out to green – that’s the average wavelength – but because your brain wants the outcome to make logical sense, it mixes the colors, and you get magenta.
This is how we view most colors: as averages of the three main colors. So, which three? As it turns out, the brain only has three photoreceptors, and because of this, the three colors we can technically see are as follows: red, blue, and green. That is why when you see colors labeled, you’ll often have a number that looks something like (r,g,b) (255, 0, 255) – this is actually the number for magenta – which defines what amounts of each of the main colors go into the making of the end color.”
T-Mobile trademarked Magenta, Pantone Rhodamine Red U, in 2019. The color was created in the mid nineteenth century when chemists developed an aniline dye to represent the shade of the flower fuchsia. In 2016, India’s Reserve Bank chose magenta for their 2,000-rupee banknote, the largest denomination in circulation in that country. Interestingly, because of its fluorescent properties, Rhodamine is used as a dye for biotechnology purposes to show the rate and flow of water and can also be used to inhibit mitochondrion function.
Source: T Mobile Parent Loses Exclusive Rights Over Color Magenta in France, 2020
In attempting to hold on to exclusive use rights for Rhodamine Red U, T-Mobile was following in the footsteps of Owens Corning, fiberglass pink, and Tiffany’s later claim on that iconic shade of blue. Deutsche Telekom filed cease and desist orders against at least three companies for using their shade of pink, most recently in 2019 against Lemonade, an insurance firm. MAGENTA, Multi-functional Algorithm for General-purpose Encryption and Network Telecommunications Applications was developed for Deutsche Telekom in 1998, but it was withdrawn after vulnerabilities were discovered in the code.
“New Magenta” may seem like a prank, since the color isn’t obviously different from “Old Magenta,” a fact that’s voiced by a young artist twice in the commercial. But if you understand that this may be alluding to a twinning process, the parody makes more sense. I think it’s also worth pointing out the “T” in the T-Mobile logo echoes the Tau, or Franciscan Tau cross. It was the Franciscans that established the missions in California. For me, the dots on either side evoke twinned bits of information. In Platonic solids, the cube represents the earth.
Source: Franciscan Seculars: The History of the Tau Cross
The spiraling counterfeit “tree” was made for the Queen from 80 steel branches interwoven with LED lanterns holding aloft 350 aluminum pots with trees to be planted later for “sustainability.” The whole effect reeked of control and contortion, electro-magnetic, disconnected, inorganic, and set up for carbon offsets and citizen participation metrics. It struck me as a ritual energetic imprint, an attempt to manifest a future of “life” as engineered photonics working in man-made circuits, full spectrum dominance of the natural world by an aging monarch whose mint green coat dress stood out disconcertingly against the Windsor red carpet. Remember in the RGB system, Magenta has no “green.”
Source: Tree of Trees, Prince William and Michael Bloomberg
Source: London Map
Source: Bloomberg London Mithraeum
Prince William, stationed in London by the “tree,” was flanked by “what works” e-government, WHO and UN climate liaison, social impact solutions peddler Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s European headquarters is located 2.5 miles away from Buckingham Palace at 12 Walbrook, around the corner from the Bank of England in the City of London. The building was completed in 2017 and sits on top of excavated Roman ruins, a temple to Mithras.
To be honest, Elizabeth didn’t appear all that happy to be there.
Reference: A compilation of what has been recently scrutinized in relation to deconstructing what seems to be an overwhelming and highly obscure presentation of the color, MAGENTA. “W0RLDBU1LD1NG: One MAGENTA BEACON at a Time”.
Pre-Crime Prediction for “Better” Humans – Synthetic Pretenders Part 11
In this post, I’ll be talking about several individuals associated with the Human Betterment Foundation’s eugenics / institutionalized sterilization program who were based in the Bay Area where the Berggruen’s Transformations of the Human office is located. From these figures I’ll draw connections to current policy implementations in California that appear benevolent, but are really about social efficiency and scientific management of children.
Source: Human Sterilization Today, 1938
Three board members were associated with Berkeley:
Herbert Evans, chair of the university’s school of anatomy with a research focus in endocrinology and reproduction
Samuel Holmes, a UC Berkeley zoologist with strong anti-immigrant sentiments
Rabbi Rudolf Coffee who led Berkeley’s Temple Sinai from 1921-34 and then led the San Francisco Conference of Christians and Jews
There were also representatives of Stanford, a school that is at the forefront of developing social policy; financial innovation, including social entrepreneurship; and biomedical research. Transformation of the human is definitely in their wheelhouse. David Starr Jordan, a founding member of the board of the Human Betterment Foundation and mentor to its director Paul Popenhoe, was the first president of Stanford University. After a review in the summer of 2020, university officials decided to remove Jordan’s name from numerous buildings and a street on campus and make plans to better educate the community about his legacy through historical exhibits and programming. Jordan, a naturalist and ichthyologist, held racist views about dysgenic degeneration, unfit populations, and that the “efficacy of education was limited by genetic potential.” You can read more about him in this request to rename Jordan Hall, prepared in 2019 by the Stanford Eugenics Project.
Source: David Starr Jordan with Brigham Young University President George Brimhall at the Provo, UT train station in 1912. Jordan was there to deliver a lecture.
Lewis Terman was another prominent member of the Human Betterment Foundation. He was a renowned psychologist at Stanford who developed the Stanford Binet IQ test and carried out extensive studies of genius seeking to determine the genetic basis of intelligence. In 1928, Terman wrote ” It is more important for man to acquire control over his biological evolution than to capture the energy of the atom.” With today’s nanoelectromechanical systems, some imagine they are close to harnessing evolution towards renewable energy harvest within living tissues.
Terman’s son Fred was a protege of Vannevar Bush who returned to Stanford after working at the radio research lab at Harvard during WWII. Fred became dean of the engineering school at Stanford and helped launch the Stanford Research Park in the early 1950s. This became the anchor for today’s Silicon Valley juggernaut. Fred Terman was also involved in setting up the Korea Advanced Science Institute in 1970 under Pak Chung Hee (fast forward to Samsung’s Metaverse). He mentored William Hewlett and David Packard and got them set up in business. An interesting, but probably related side note, is that HP’s first big break was selling processors to Disney for the animation of the film Fantasia – picture playlists of gamified edu-tainment with trademarked animated characters. In 2015, HP split off its enterprise unit from its personal computing division, creating HPE. HPE’s focus includes high performance supercomputers, IoT edge computing, digital medicine infrastructure, data storage and analytics, and cyber-security.
Source: The Vexing Legacy of Lewis Terman, Stanford Magazine 2000
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has played a leading role in remaking the non-profit sector to be data-driven and evidence-based for the coming era of social-impact finance. It’s also almost single-handedly funded the development of OER. These are Open Education Resources tagged with meta-data that will be used to program humans as lifelong learners chasing skills badges in haptic suits. The stuff Knewton was working on. I’ve written about them here and here.
Source: xAPI “We Can Track It”
In 2018, funds from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation were awarded to Franklin McKinley and Alum Rock schools in San Jose to participate in the Datazone pilot affiliated with the Silicon Valley Regional Data Trust. Datazone’s initial funding came from the National Science Foundation in 2013 and was expanded with support from Chan Zuckerberg. The intent was to aggregate a broad range of data including early childhood education, foster care, and juvenile justice data in addition to academic data. It is notable that Priscilla Chan was the keynote speaker at the 2017 launch for SVRDT.
David Haussler, the bio-molecular engineer who assembled the first draft of the human genome in 2000, was a panelist that day. So where does genomics fit into the data interoperability agenda? That would be those synthetic-biology upgrades and value profiling of human resources. Let’s just not call it eugenics. Precision education and nutrition sound much better don’t you think?
They are after the children – to convert the next generation to Metaverse life. The plan is to govern them as data commodities that will generate social impact profits and, strange as it may seem to say at this point, possibly as a source of alternative energy through entangled digital twins and quantum thermodynamics? Picture pre-k classrooms remade as bio-generators. So much un-harnessed piezo-electric energy going to waste. If only we had more “smart” playgrounds.
A lab for experimenting with a “concierge” model of integrated health and personalized learning grounded in family re-education was Priscilla Chan’s Primary School franchise, established in 2015 with a $5 million pass-through grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. There are now two schools, one in East Palo Alto and one in East Bay. So, pull out your “Fitter Families” lens as you scroll through these images and consider what they portend for Fourth Industrial Revolution bio-digital convergence.
Source: Littlesis.org deleted three hundred+ maps I made over five years on their open-source platform. Unfortunately, an interactive version of this map was not archived before the purge. Littlesis,org has also made it impossible to search their database for many entries I created. However, you can still find a lot of the records via Google if you include Littlesis in your query along with the term. Once you locate one of the records they are still interactive, so you can explore and uncover additional information.
Source: Universal Access to Early Childhood Care, Education, and Health Services
Source: Priscilla Chan’s 2017 Facebook post about financial support of Datazone for personalized learning.
Source: Priscilla Chan, note Breakthrough Energy Coalition membership
Source: Oculus Working on More Affordable VR, BBC News 2016
Source: The Primary School, note involvement of Playworks whose primary funder is Bechtel (S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation) – alternative energy research
Source: Priscilla Chan’s The Primary School Combines Healthcare with Academics
Source: Silicon Valley Regional Dat Trust: Investing in the Future of Children, Families, and Communities, 2017
Source: UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, Haussler-Salama Lab – What does this mean for eugenics? Who decides what optimum “health” is?
Source: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Pledge $3 Billion To Fighting Disease, NY Times 2016 – What if the “disease” is simply to be a natural human?
Source: Conversations on Los Angeles School District Daily Pass Program, QR-Code-Enabled Tele-medicine in Schools
Source: Investing for Impact: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Partnership. Santa Clara Count Office of Education Slideshare for Datazone, 2018.
The content of this presentation is about creating digital twins of pre-school children needed to underpin futures trading in human capital.
Source: Human Capital Performance Bonds, Steve Rothschild, Invest in Outcomes 2011.
Looking back over the fine print of the grant, coordinated by of the University of California Santa Cruz, I noticed that the IJIS (Integrated Justice Information Systems) has been tapped to provide input on the development of secure information sharing for the project. IJIS is based in Ashburn, VA on George Washington’s Science and Technology campus. Its mission statement is to unite “private and public sectors to improve critical information sharing for those who provide public safety and administer justice in our communities.”
The social-impact finance model is built on the premise of pre-crime, where “crime” is re-framed as being an economic burden on society. How much did the system put into raising you? What is the return on that investment relative to your anticipated economic productivity? In 2020, IJIS prepared an extensive white paper outlining the use of technology in transitioning to an open-air prison model for low-level offenses. I believe such a structure will eventually be applied to children and “lifelong learners” for risk assessment and reputation scoring embedded in pay-for-success finance deals. Prison and rehabilitation are significant cost-offsets used in the equations meant to finance this disruptive debt product boondoggle.
SVRDT’s data interoperability provides the predictive analytics needed to scale impact investing in pre-k, juvenile justice, and foster care. Picture the “anytime-anywhere” “learning ecosystem” model as a QR-coded carceral state intended to groom children, through digital identity management, for a post-human existence. E-carceration has been embedded into education infrastructure over the past decade: school security screenings with student ID scans led to QR codes linked to school bus ridership. The system takes advantage of parental concerns around safety to impose more and more surveillance on and off campus. Sadly, the characterization of schools as prisons is not so far off the mark for many children today.
Source: NSF Grant #1338411″Developing A Comprehensive Regional Approach to Data Set Integration to Support Data-Intensive Research in Education
Source: IJIS Corrections Tech 2020: Technological Trends in Custodial and Community Corrections.
Silicon Valley Regional Data Trust is the model Stewards of Change and the National Interoperability Collaborative (NIC) hope to use to create robust networks of health and human service data nationwide with California, Connecticut, and Virginia being pilot states. Beyond concerns relating to the involvement of IJIS, NIC maintains partnerships with both the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and the National Fusion Center Association. Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences (David Starr Jordan and Lewis Terman) is also in the mix. While the NIC’s website and logo are clunky, the inclusion of the icosahedron feels significant. It’s a Platonic solid that represents water. A figure of an icosahedron is featured in the Nobel Prize-winning Dan Schectman’s video on quasi-crystals. It’s a prominent theme in The Institute for the Future’s 2016 “Learning is Earning” video about blockchain identity, unbundled education, debt logs, and human value calculated based on “edu-blocks” attained. Could the repeated use of this shape be an indirect reference to biomedical sensing technologies, photonic computing, and fourth phase / structured water, and the possibility of holographic DNA?
Source: National Interoperability Collaborative
Source: Dan Schectman, Nobel Prize Winner, Quasi-Crystals
Source: Learning is Earning 2026, A Partnership Between The ACT Foundation and The Institute For The Future
Marcy Lauck of the Santa Clara County Office of Education was data administrator for Datazone and served on the board of the National Laboratory of Education Transformation (NLET). NLET was a subcontractor to Resilient Network Systems, Inc. on a NIST-sponsored digital identity project, Zero-Knowledge Identity and Privacy Protection Service for Education and Children, in 2012. Again, we see where the impetus for the California Trust Framework comes from. Robert Hertzberg didn’t just come up with this idea on his own. There is a deep backstory around the development of digital identity in the state. Look at all the parties involved. This is not just about a convenient way for students to share their high school transcript during college applications. It’s a plan to engineer the lives of all the people of the Earth by luring them onto cybernetic pathways where their autonomy will be stolen.
Source: National Laboratory for Education Transformation
Quality Rating and Improvement System block grants were awarded starting in 2011 as part of Obama’s Race to the Top initiative. Just as K12 and higher education were standardized for global gig labor, the same structure needed to be applied to pre-k. All levels of training for future digital citizens would be integrated into cradle to career, lifelong learning pipelines. Santa Clara County, CA, the epicenter of pay-for-success human capital pilots, was among the first counties in the state to participate. See this 2018 post on Strong Start and Big Lift as well as this post on Hatch We Play Smart tables used in Educare headstart classrooms in Tulsa to collect behavioral data on toddlers for impact finance deals. Educare launched in Chicago with the backing of former first lady of Illinois Diana Rauner and expanded to Santa Clara with backing from deep-pocketed ECE and tech interests. Rauner, executive director of Ounce of Prevention Fund, was closely allied with Jim Heckman and a trustee at Stanford Business School where she earned her MBA.
The pre-k “quality” effort in California has been led by the First 5 Association, coordinating fifty-eight county participants since 1998 when it was established with proceeds from the Proposition 10 tobacco tax. That’s an interesting detail, since the tobacco mosaic virus has been identified as a key material for use in biomolecular engineering to create nano-bio technology systems by US Department of Energy, NSF, and US Army researchers.
Mark Crandall of Early Quality Systems helped devise iPinwheel, the pre-k data architecture in 2012. The criminal justice aspect enters the picture once again, since before starting his business, Crandall had been an Agile consultant with BAE, a UK Aerospace defense contractor, developing FBI case management software. The integrated software system has since been renamed Hubbe and aggregates the following data: attendance, health, assessment tools with evidence documentation, meal management, payments, and parent engagement. Among the 100+ Student Information System fields is a reference to PayPal payment integration, the only company referenced. Under the document management section there are fields for family case notes, family documents, parent case notes, parent documents, and child case notes and child documents. When you sign up for universal pre-k, your entire family becomes part of a dossier that will very likely be used to profit human capital finance impact investors.
Source: Education Changemakers San Diego – Nobel Laurete James Heckman and Venture Capitalist J.B. Pritzker on Value of. Early Childhood Education to the Economy
Kris Perry led the First Five Years Fund in California between 2005 and 2018, supporting the Obama administration’s efforts to raise the profile of public-private partnerships early childhood education as James Heckman and J.B. Pritzker went up and down the coast pitching a 7-13% rate of return on improved human capital through “character training.”
Perry did a brief stint at Save the Children, a global NGO working in data-driven maternal and childcare, in 2018. In 2019, she was appointed senior advisor to Governor Newsom on Health and Human Services. Remember, California is a partner with Stewards of Change, and one of three pilot states in addition to Connecticut and Virginia to build interoperable systems of Health and Human Service Data linked with the Fusion Centers and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
In May of 2022 she became executive director of Screens and Kids on Long Island, an international group working tapped to make the case for evidence-based child digital media. There’s a full court press on to groom preschoolers to grow up to be good, compliant digital citizens of the Metaverse. “Helping children lead healthy lives in a digital world.” Not quite an icosahedron in that logo, but it has a crystalline quality to it. Screens and Kids, Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory (DNA and Eugenics Record Office), and Stewards of Change area within a 13-mile drive of one another on Long Island.
Source: Logo Children and Screens
Source: Map of Long Island, Children and Screens, Cold Springs Harbor, Stewards of Change
Over the past five years, we’ve seen a nationwide surge in media coverage and third sector advocacy around early childhood education, building brains neuroscience, and device-based parenting “solutions” labelled “evidence-based.” Low-income children, particularly Black and Brown children and immigrant and refugee children, are being groomed as human capital assets against whose futures profitable gambles will be made. In 2018, the CalWORKs Home Visiting Initiative was launched in California targeting expectant parents or families with children under age two in the home. The program saw a significant expansion in 2020 with financial support from Governor Newsom, which aligns with his expansion of pre-k services to include funding in the 2021 budget for transitional kindergarten for all four year olds in the state. Trauma screenings have also been prioritized, because ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) scores generate pay-for-success cost-offsets that can be leveraged to finance the digital interventions being sold to us as quick fixes for broken children to minimize their future burden on society.
Among those lobbying for program expansion was the Alliance for Early Success with a deep stable of “investors” in human capital including Ballmer Group, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, the Gates Foundation, Heising Simons Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Pritzker Family Foundation, Davide and Lucille Packard Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. William Keith Kellogg was the brother and business partner of John Harvey Kellogg, 7th Day Adventist entrepreneur in wellness and cereal. John was also a benefactor of the Eugenics Records Office at Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory on Long Island and a founder of the Race Betterment Foundation.
Source: Kellogg Family and Eugenics Record Office
Management of children’s behaviors, soft skills and character training, is a keen interest of researchers. Why? Because social impact investment equations have been designed to use that data by Clive Belfield and James Heckman. Social-Emotional Learning data lakes will also help “humanize” AI. A presentation about PBS Kids apps and social-emotional learning data harvest was hosted by the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity at the University of Chicago in 2018. The eleven minutes of content in the clip was drawn from a two-hour presentation. The target audience for interventions are low-income families, children in Head Start and their mothers. It’s a warmed-over story where the well-off set expectations for uplift of the poor to increase their value to society.
The following issues are touched upon:
- How to get children who cannot yet read to be motivated create accounts on the pre-k apps.
- Use of facial recognition and behavioral biometrics to determine who is using the app.
- Programmed digital nudges by NPCs in game that encourage pro-social behaviors like sharing.
- Incentivizing children by using gamification, leaderboards, and digital sticker books.
- Interest in getting access to data about the parents and the child’s environment in the home.
- Interest in advancing techniques for parental behavior change.
- Where to advertise to parents to get them to download the apps.
- Correlating in-game behaviors with OCEAN 5 personality traits.
- Importance of child engagement above all else, and the amount of competition among games.
- Using many different pots of data with “high-value tidbits” to find patterns and make predictions.
Shockingly, James Heckman, a professor of economics and Nobel prize winner, floats the idea during the presentation that parents be incentivized to get their children to regularly log in to PBS kids’ educational apps by using gamification and pornography for the adults.
What kind of social norms are being advanced in this oak-paneled room full of elite researchers? Who are they to be making decisions about appropriate outcomes for vulnerable children in this automated dystopia? Acknowledging that management of children on digital leaderboards as human capital assets is a direct extension of the eugenics practices of the twentieth century will perhaps get service providers and families to adopt a frame that prioritizes caution in the face policies that on the surface appear benevolent, but upon deeper investigation are found to serve other interests than those of families.
Thus far pre-k and home visits are optional, but for how long?
Home-visit programs may set up pregnant women and mothers of preschoolers for intrusive social prescriptions and collection of personally identifiable information on families. We see in the image below taken from the report “Big Ideas: Little Learners: Early Childhood Trends Report 2019” that a 13% return on investment is anticipated for investments managing children as impact commodities. The children must first be blockchained to create the interoperability needed to fulfill the requirements of the impact finance deals. This is another possible use case for Robert Hertzberg’s proposed California Trust Framework.
Source: “Big Ideas, Little Learners,” Omidyar Network, 2019
The report was prepared by Omidyar Network, a philanthropy of eBay/PayPal billionaire Pierre Omidyar, with offices in Redwood City, CA; Washington, DC; London, Nairobi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Pierre’s wife Pam operates Hopelab, a health data compliance research center that was involved in the deployment of the GoalMama app in conjunction with Nurse Family Partnership and a pay for success pilot in maternal care in South Carolina. Inclusion of health data boosts Heckman Equation returns from 7-11% to 13%. I wrote about that here.
Source: What’s your goal, mama? Hopelab 2018
Pierre Omidyar and associates Matthew Bannick and Sal Giambanco, a former Jesuit priest in the Bay Area, have been active supporters of the Vatican’s efforts to advance global impact investing through conferences in Rome in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Omidyar Network also happens to be a backer of RadicalXChange, a nonprofit now promoting SBTs (Soulbound tokens), which I believe will be used as meta-data “tags” to track populations receiving social impact financed services and obtain impact measurement at a future date.
California is the most populous state in the nation with a quarter of child residents under the age of five living in poverty. As we reflect on the techno-solutions being offered to engineer the lives of those in great need, we need to realize humanity hasn’t evolved much beyond the days of Evans, Holmes, Coffee, Terman, and Jordan. In the name of “human betterment” will we profile the next generation into a mixed reality panopticon and pretend we were doing them a good turn? Managing people in an age of automation will be about managing behaviors and mental states under conditions of unimaginable social stress. It should come as no surprise that creative debt finance innovators have come up with a system that will allow them to profit from this dehumanizing transition.
Rocket Science and Zoology: Catalysts for Explosive Evolution – Synthetic Pretenders Part 12
The Human Betterment Foundation was the West Coast affiliate of the Cold Springs Harbor Eugenics Record Office and operated in Pasadena, CA between 1929 and 1942. Pasadena is located about fifteen miles east of California Senate District 18, Robert Hertzberg’s district. The city was settled in the 1870s by Indiana residents, some of whom had respiratory illness and were looking for a milder climate. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe brought winter visitors, giant hotels, and development of citrus groves and real estate. When the Indiana contingent who had relocated to the area decided to incorporate the new town in order to exclude alcoholic beverages, they chose an eastern name rather than one of the Tongva, the original inhabitants. Pasadena is roughly translated as “valley” in Ojibwe. Below is a historic view of the 1927 Mediterranean revival Pasadena City Hall set against the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Source: Water and Powers Early Views of Pasadena
Pasadena is home to the California Institute of Technology, a private research endeavor devoted to the study of pure and applied science, often for military purposes. The school began as Throop University in 1891. Forty-five Caltech alumni or staff have received Nobel Prizes in the areas of physics, chemistry, medicine / physiology, economics, and peace (Linus Pauling).
During WWII, Vannevar Bush tasked Danish physicist Charles Lauritsen who had been working on high energy X-Rays at Caltech’s radiation lab funded by the eugenicist Kellogg family to coordinate with Robert Oppenheimer, a former colleague, on mass production of explosive lenses and detonators for the atomic weapons program. This effort was part of Project Camel and required the construction of eighty buildings in the desert at China Lake in the Salt Wells Valley.
That area comprises the Naval Air Weapons Station on the lands of the Coso people. It is the Navy’s largest land holding. The area, which has very restricted access, holds the highest concentration of petroglyphs in North America as well as sacred volcanic hot springs currently being mined by the military for geothermal energy. The tribe has asked that the Coso Hot Springs District, a National Historic Landmark, be returned to them and put back under tribal care. There is a lot of speculation regarding possible mind control experimentation at China Lake, for which I personally have no direct proof. It is interesting to note, however, that Sidney Gottlieb who ran MK Ultra earned his PhD at Caltech in 1943.
Source: China Lake Alumni, 1945
Source: Coso Hot Springs At Coso Junction
Arthur Henry Fleming’s substantial financial contributions enabled the regional vocational school to grow into an institution that has been on the vanguard of scientific, especially physics, research, for over a century. Born in Ontario, Fleming married into the Fowler family after settling in Detroit. His father-in-law held a large portfolio of mineral and timber assets that Fleming, a lawyer, helped manage. The couple relocated to Pasadena for his wife’s health and became heavily involved in civic affairs.
The Flemings’ transfer of the entirety of their estate to the school in 1920 was leveraged by Chicago-born astro-physicist George Ellery Hale, project director for the Mount Wilson Observatory, to recruit MIT chemist Arthur Noyes and University of Chicago physicist Robert Millikan to Pasadena.
Among Fleming’s holdings that passed to the school was a grove of ancient sequoias that the Forest Service sought to acquire in the 1920s. That offer was turned down, in part on the recommendation of George S. Patton, Pasadena’s first City Attorney, San Gabriel Valley landholder, and father of the WWII general. For fifty years Caltech did little to manage this acreage located in the Sierra National Forest. In 1991 a centennial grove naming ceremony was held to honor five of the school’s “pioneers:” Throop, Hale, Fleming, Noyes, and Millikan. The Railroad Fire devastated the area in the fall of 2017 and likely killed the Millikan tree.
Source: Sequoia Quest Nelder Grove 8/4/2019
I see industries of extraction and eugenics as being interrelated as both exemplify human attempts to dominate nature and undermine sacred energies through the hubris of imposed scientific management. Orson Scott Card’s Ender Quintet influenced my thinking in this regard – particularly the role of the Pequinino tree mothers and their relationship to Jane, the sentient AI described in “Children of the Mind.” Card, the great-great grandson of Brigham Young, seems to have interesting insights into what he called “philotic” twining that correspond to recent scientific investigations into the use of nanotechnology to discern forms of communication within fungal networks.
Source: Arise Biodiversity Conference, March 30, 2022
The longer I carry out this research, the more I encounter the destruction of forests as part of the story. The Fleming Sugar Pine Lumber Company is just one. Others timer interests I’ve run into include: Julian Stulman’s Lumber Exchange Terminal, Tennessee Eastman, Lillian Zellerbach, A.B. Dick paper copies, and Booth Gardner of Laird Norton and Weyerhauser. Fortunes made in timber underwrite dehumanizing policies and research programs that reduce life to molecular compositions that only a select class is allowed fabricate – GMO trees, GMO yeast, and GMO humans.
During the Depression, California, researchers were much more interested in the exploring the heavens than the microbial communities of forest soils. Rocketry was a big deal, and Caltech counted itself among an elite group of universities trying to develop the technology that would enable the United States to dominate the skies through avionics, aeronautics, and astronomy. The Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory and California Institute of Technology was established in 1928 with funds from Daniel Guggenheim’s foundation, sponsor of Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis flight and benefactor of early aeronautics programs at NYU, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Syracuse, University of Michigan, University of Georgia, and Northwestern.
In the 1920s, the Swiss-born Guggenheims held railroad stocks, controlled many global mining and smelting enterprises, and dabbled in a variety of international companies. Meyer Guggenheim‘s eight children comprised the second wealthiest family in the US. Three brothers became notable philanthropists: Daniel funded aviation; Solomon acquired modern art; and Simon funded the Colorado School of Mines.
Source: NASA JPL, The Gulch Explosive Storage Sheds, 1944
Below is a portion of a larger map I created to explore bio-tech and education in Texas. The focal point is Texas native of Czech descent Frank Malina. Malina obtained a PhD from Caltech studying under Theodore von Karman, Hungarian physicist and descendent of Rabbi Judah Loew known for creating the Golem of Prague. After graduating, Frank taught aeronautics at Caltech while working on solid-state fuel research.
After a few harrowing experiments in the lab, Von Karman asked Malina and the graduate students working on the rockets to move off campus. Thus, if we are to believe the story, the Jet Propulsion Lab was born in Arroyo Secco. Seven men attempted, with limited success, to launch their first rocket on Halloween 1936. In this mix was Ed Forman and Jack Parsons, an Ordo Templi Orientis occultist who met an early demise.
Source: Cal-Tech Map, Frank Malina with Jack Parsons
During WWII, Malina conducted work in the area of guided missile systems. He tested the first WAC (Without Altitude Control) Corporal Rocket at White Sands in New Mexico less than two weeks after Truman’s announcement of Japan’s surrender on September 2, 1945. The following year Malina left his post at the university, ostensibly due to concerns over the direction the field of rocket research was taking. My current assessment of the situation is that after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki a dialectical framework was established where scientists for “peace” became a counterpoint to scientists like Ed Teller who asserted the need for full development of nuclear technology for war.
Ironically it would be the scientists, both East and West, who aligned with “peace,” whose globalist mindset would enable construction of an atmospheric space fence to manage life on the planet through Internet of Bio-Nano Things “track and trace” digital twin geo-fencing. It is these “peacemakers” advancing radiation for energy and medicine and non-military space “development” who substantially advanced Oliver Reiser and Julian Huxley’s goal of radio-eugenics, Human 2.0.
The final war to end all wars was meant to be a silent war against natural life deployed through strategic use of atmospheric frequency weapons and neural entrainment. Citizens of the Earth were supposed to unquestioningly embrace the new bio-digital social paradigm as being for the common good, to save the planet. In retrospect, those like Teller who uplifted bombings of remote islands with no regard to the implications of fall out, played a vital, yet secondary role in advancing the disarmament conversation that would transition humanity to a new harmonization phase.
For Frank, the heating up of Cold War antagonisms and shift in leadership of the rocket research to Operation Paperclip imports like Wernher von Braun provided him with a good excuse to depart Pasadena and bring his research and networking skills to a global stage.
Source: A Pretty Wild Idea, Christina Lamont Interview of Roger Malina 2017
Malina relocated to Europe where Julian Huxley sought him out and appointed him Deputy Director of Science of UNESCO. It was established with the United Nations in 1945 to advance a culture of peace and eradicate poverty through cross-cultural education and scientific outreach. Malina worked from 1946 to 1953 on environmental studies of the Hylean Amazon and the Arid Zone Programme in North Africa / the Negev, today a center of nano-tech research and nano-enabled water desalinization.
Majorie Duckworth, a former Captain in the Women’s Auxilary Corps and daughter of a British textile manufacturer, was working in UNESCO’s personnel department. She and Frank married in 1949. Frank and his first wife, abstract painter Liljan Darcourt, had divorced in 1947. Frank and Majorie Malina’s younger son Alan would become a water engineer for the World Bank. Interesting, and somewhat odd, family conversation with brother Roger touching on local characteristics of water and homeopathy here.
After he left UNESCO, Frank’s Aerojet dividends supported the family as he experimented with lumidyne artwork, illuminated kinetic mixed-media pieces. Among Malina’s most ambitious works was “Cosmos,” installed in the lobby of Robert Maxwell’s Pergamon Press.
Frank’s son Roger later married Maxwell’s daughter Christine, yes – Ghislaine’s sister. The couple both now work at UT Dallas in the areas of educational technology and interdisciplinary technology-based art projects. Roger Malina spent most of his career as an astro-physicist at NASA’s Berkeley Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer satellite project and was involved with SETI.
Source: Frank Malina’s “Cosmos,” A Feature By W. Patrick McCray, 2015
Huxley, Malina’s superior at UNESCO, was a biologist who embraced the idea of evolutionary humanism, the belief that the human species was destined for some more transcendent future. Huxley and Teilhard de Chardin, Jesuit paleontologist who advanced the concept of the Noosphere, connected in 1946 upon de Chardin’s return to Paris from China. They maintained a decade’s long correspondence, and Julian wrote a forward to de Chardin’s “The Phenomenon of Man.” The book was posthumously-published in 1955. In 1959 Huxley assumed the presidency of the British Eugenics Society. He had served as vice president between 1937 and 1944.
Paul Weindling’s 2012 paper for The Journal of Modern European History, “Julian Huxley and the Continuity of Eugenics in Twentieth-Century Britain,” speaks to the ways in which Huxley’s evolving public relations strategies melded his scientific grounding in biological determinism with assertions of human rights for all.
Source: Julian Huxley and the Continuity of Eugenics in Twentieth-Century Britain
Huxley wrote in his 1946 “UNESCO Its Purpose and Philosophy” that the organization’s mission was to advance global scientific humanism. He imagined that by unleashing new scientific tools, the atomic age would bring about significant and rapid advances in human evolution.
The social sciences would be deployed to document existing cultures, including those deemed by UNESCO to be backwards and in the dark. They would utilize scientific education, psychology, art, and mass media to move people away from nationalist identities toward a one world government mindset under the banner of global peace. Spiritual practice, mystical experience, and even parapsychology would be studied and incorporated into the scientific regime so as not to become a distraction. Huxley clearly states that what he is proposing is eugenics; that in this planned future “mental defectives” and the “insane” would not have educational opportunities or equal treatment under the law. He asserts his desire to cultivate genetic variety for this imagined one world culture, positioning himself as anti-racist. The best specimens of each type would be cultivated with the “weaklings, fools, and moral deficients” weeded out so as to not impede the imperative of turbo-charged evolutionary progress. No tolerance for dissent in their new normal.
Source: UNESCO – Its Purpose and Its Philosophy
UNESCO’s cultivation effort, as with livestock, required determination of good and bad traits followed by identification of these traits in the world’s population. Huxley’s treatise asserts the need to develop tools, psychometrics, to sort people for appropriate roles in society – cognitive ability, temperament, aptitudes, and weakness. To my twenty-first century eyes, this seems like the perfect use case for the meta-data tags Cardano’s Charles Hoskinson describes for the Ethiopia digital identity pilot where from toddlerhood people will be monitored to see whose interests are aligned with the government, and who is worthy of having a job.
Scientific education is a primary aim of UNESCO. In this misguided scenario, the premise of lifelong digital tutors meting out nudges to generate the compliance SBTs (Soulbound Tokens) needed to build out digital twins for ongoing cybernetic simulations makes perfect sense. In NATO’s mixed reality video game “womb to tomb” cybernetic pathways for work and self-improvement will substitute for authentic, unscripted life.
I created a long thread of tweet “notes” on Huxley’s sixty-page document. You can scroll through and get a sense of the domination mentality embedded in his Fabian socialist mindset now melding with techno-Libertarian paternalism in cyber-physical “smart” environments. Seventy-five years later, the petty bureaucrats are on the verge of evolving into artificial intelligence avatars analyzing real-time sensor data. My UNESCO Twitter thread can be read here.
After leaving UNESCO, Frank Malina assisted his old mentor Theodor von Karman with setting up the International Academy of Astronautics founded in Stockholm in 1960. The organization holds dozens of conferences annually, puts out many publications, and fosters international collaboration. Malina continued to run it after von Karman’s death and indeed Aerojet Rocketdyne is still listed as one of the organization’s major supporters. For twenty years he split his time between “peaceful” space advocacy and avant-garde art production. During the Cold War the IAA worked with scientists around the world regardless of their nation of origin towards the non-militarized development of space. As with the Pugwash Conferences, forums were created for top scientists and policy makers to coordinate their strategies towards post-humanism even as manufactured polarities and fear ruled the lives of everyday people.
An enormous six-hundred+ page retrospective of UNESCO’s science program reveals the trajectory by which biophysics grabbed the reigns of the biosphere. Featured topics include: post-war international laboratories; the International Computing Center; the creation of CERN; the International Geophysical Year; the International Brain Research Organization; the International Cell Research Organization; the International Centre for Theoretical Physics; the Intergovernmental Bureau of Informatics; the World Solar Summit; the International Biosciences Network; The Science education and vocational training; Programme on Human Genome; Biotechnology Action Council; Conference on the Applications of Science and Technology to Development (CAST); Man and the Biosphere Programme; the International Hydrological Programme; Biosphere Reserve Integrated Monitoring; the International Geoscience Programme; UNESCO and outer space; valorizing traditional ecological knowledge; and integrated approaches for sustainability.
So, if you’re thinking that somehow the social changes wrought over the past five years from Greta to lockdowns and digital identity came out of nowhere; they didn’t. This is the nuts and bolts of the World Brain campaign, and it was carried out by tens of thousands of smart, thoughtful people over seven decades or more. Most of them were just doing their jobs thinking they were making the world a better place. I wonder how many realize the fruits of their labor will the world run by a HAL 9000 DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) if we don’t turn things around soon.
Source: Sixty Years of Science at UNESCO, 1945-2005
In retrospect, we see how assertions for “peaceful” space development provided a much-needed counterpoint to Cold War militarization. The Malina / von Karman / IAA narrative allowed the networked satellite-infrastructure that is coming into its own right now to be positioned as a helpful tool of global harmonization helping humanity address anticipated climate catastrophe and over-population. We are meant to view cybernetic DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) “peacekeeping” as an acceptable form of scientific governance. We’re not to entertain the thought that we are actually in frequency war, a radio-eugenics war on natural systems.
No, Huxley taught us that our fate is to experience an evolutionary upgrade that will managed by an elite class on behalf of the backwards, unwashed masses.
Source: “Early Days of Pugwash,” Physics Today 2001: Iwao Ogawa, Chou Pei-Yuan, Vladimir P. Pavlichenko, Shinichiro Tomonaga, Cecil. F. Powell, Antoine M. B. Lacassagne, Alexander V. Topchiev, Alexander M. Kuzin, Eugene Rabinowitch, George Brock Chisholm, Dmitri V. Skobeltzyn, John S. Foster, Cyrus S. Eaton, Hermann J. Muller, Joseph Rotblat, Hans Thirring, Leo Szilard, Walter Selove, Eric H. S. Burhop, Mark L. E. Oliphant, and Marian Danysz.
The theme seems to be, hand over responsibility to the high-tech California engineers, even if their actions are steeped in faux-gressive eugenics. They don’t believe we’ll have the wherewithal to start picking apart a century or more of their tangled intentions. We can still prove them wrong.
Bitter Lemons: Southern California’s Avatar End Game – Synthetic Pretenders Part 13
Ezra Seymour Gosney, a lawyer born in Kentucky, became involved in the cattle and sheep industry in Arizona and later in citrus production when he relocated his family to Pasadena in the 1920s. He owned one of the largest lemon groves in the state and was involved in numerous finance civic activities, including the California Boy Scouts, when he approached Harry Laughlin of the Eugenics Records Office at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island about establishing an office on the west coast to promote sterilization practices.
Source: E. S. Gosney, 1934
Source: Gosney Map, Human Betterment Foundation / Harry Laughlin.
Before the Human Betterment Foundation (HBF) officially launched, Paul Popenhoe was hired to conduct extensive field work in California and summarize the impact of the 6,000+ sterilizations that had taken place in the state following the enabling legislation that passed in 1909. Popenhoe was a horticulturalist researching avocado and date production who later became interested in human breeding. He wrote “Applied Eugenics” in 1918, a textbook that promoted the idea of segregated societies where “waste” humanity would do manual labor to create value on unimproved forestland as a means by which to offset the cost of their upkeep.
Source: Paul Popenhoe 1912 in India in Palm Date Research, “The Slippery Slope of Social Engineering: The Case of Paul Popenhoe 1915-1930”
This focus on sterilization coincided with intense anti-immigrant settlement during the 1920s and 30s. The Johnson Reed Act that was passed in 1924 implemented strict quotas, imposed a literacy test and tax, and excluded Asian immigrants other than Japanese and Filipinos, because the Philippines was an American colony at the time.
After Gosney’s death, the remaining assets of Human Betterment Foundation and his papers, were transferred to Caltech. The income from the Gosney Research Fund was to be used for “the promotion of the research of the biological basis of human qualities.” Of course today, Caltech offers graduate degrees in molecular biophysics, bioengineering, biochemistry, neural engineering, medical engineering, social and decision neuroscience (including economic theory and game theory and behavioral economics). I imagine there are many avenues for pursuing the engineering of certain qualities, though they are increasingly likely to be post-human.
Source: Caltech Archives Human Betterment Foundation Collection
Below are selections taken from the Human Betterment Foundation’s materials on the social benefits of sterilization. Remember, this was during a period of economic upheaval that caused grave distress for many families.
Chapter XII Sterilization for Eugenic Reasons
There remains, then, the principal field for sterilization; namely, the eugenic. Persons should be sterilized if it is to the interests of the commonwealth (or more broadly of the human race) that they bear no children, or no further children; and if it appears that sterilization is the most effective and satisfactory means of preventing such reproduction, more specifically, sterilization is justified 1) if mental disease and defect are a menace to the state 2) if they are perpetuated by heredity and 3 if sterilization seems to be the most effective means available for dealing with them, or with certain aspects of them.
Source: Sterilization for Human Betterment, 1929, page 116
The Problem Before American Citizens
The situation which has led all these commonwealths to adopt sterilization laws grows out of such facts as the following. Births among families habitually living on public charity are often 50% or higher than births among self-supporting families. The families that contribute children to the state homes for the feebleminded in California are multiplying about twice as rapidly as the rest of the population. The burden of taxation due to the mentally diseased and mentally defective is, at the same time, steadily mounting.
Source: Human Sterilization Today, Human Betterment Foundation, 1938, page 2
Eugenic Sterilization Is Not a Panacea
Sterilization is no panacea for these ills of mankind, but it is one of the many measures indispensable to any far-sighted and humanitarian program dealing with society’s tremendous burden of mental disease, deficiency, and dependency.
Source: Human Sterilization Today, Human Betterment Foundation, 1938, page 6
These quotes show that the foundation’s membership justified sterilization in part by saying families of feeble-minded people had too many children and were a drain on government assistance. These were among the wealthiest citizens of Pasadena, many of whom had made fortunes made in law, academia, and speculative real estate.
Source: Robert Millikan with Cosmic X-Ray Equipment 1935
While Robert Millikan was not a founder of HBF, he joined the board in 1937 and played a key role in securing Gosney’s papers and HBF’s funds for Caltech. Before coming to Pasadena in 1921, Millikan helped establish the physics department at the University of Chicago, where he pursued Nobel Prize-winning research into the charge of electrons. During WWI he served as vice-chair of the National Research Council and coordinated applied research for defense purposes. At Caltech he investigated cosmic radiation and served as board chair from 1921-46, turning the school into one of the foremost applied research institutions in the nation.
In the summer of 2020 concerns were once again raised about Millikan’s legacy with calls to remove his name from campus facilities. The Black Scientists and Engineers of Caltech issued a statement at the time, noting that of the 1,299 graduate students at the university, only 11 (.8%) were Black. This was not because there weren’t qualified PhD candidates, but rather that the school had chosen not to direct endowment support to the WAVE Fellows program for underrepresented communities.
Source: Paul Perigord, UCLA 1927
Paul Helie Perigord was another Caltech affiliate who served on the board of HBF. He taught European History there from 1919 to 1924. Born in France and a WWI veteran, he taught ethics at the University of Wisconsin and later French Literature at UCLA. Active in international diplomacy, he participated in League of Nations activities in the early 1920s, touring the country at the request of President Wilson. He was also president of the International Labor Office and served as a delegate to the United Nations after WWII. In retirement he relocated to Haiti where he established an English newspaper, the Port-Au-Prince Times.
Source: Hahn and Hahn LLC Website
Herbert Hahn and his brother Edwin, a Superior Court Judge, were lawyers and civic leaders in Pasadena. Herbert was a trustee at Caltech who managed the legal arrangements for donations to the university as well as handling multi-million-dollar government contracts. He was on the board of HBF, too.
Source: Albert Ruddock Trustee, Undated
Albert Ruddock came from a lumber family, served in the diplomatic corps in Berlin, Brussels, and Peking. In the 1920s he moved to California and got into the petroleum and banking sectors. He was a lifelong benefactor of Caltech and served on many community boards, including two Los Angeles hospitals. Ruddock was a member of many California social clubs, including the Bohemian Club in San Francisco where he died of a heart attack in 1970. He, too, was a member of HBF.
The Ruddock family acquired what they initially viewed as “worthless” copper mines in southeastern Utah in foreclosing proceedings. In the early 1950s the Atomic Energy Commission determined that lands held uranium deposits. They incorporated as the Cal Uranium Company and began removing ore in 1954. Albert’s son Merritt Ruddock helped manage the family’s mining investments and purchased Charlford Castle and extensive ranch holdings, now known as Cherokee Ranch, in Sedalia, CO in 1954. Following their divorce, Merritt’s ex-wife retained the house, modeled on a fifteenth-century Scottish castle. Mildred Montague Genevieve “Tweet” Kimball, an anglophile equestrian, hosted many distinguished guests including European royalty at the home. After WWII, Merritt worked for the CIA as an editor for the Central Reports Staff. He was a deputy to Frank Wisner who headed the OSS in southeastern Europe based in Romania. After the war Wisner ran Operation Mockingbird, domestic Cold War propaganda, and Operation Bloodstone, relocation of Nazis into the United States for covert intelligence operations.
Source: William B. Munro, Caltech, Undated
William Bennett Munro was a Canadian who became a Constitutional scholar and professor and administrator at Harvard. In the 1920s he began to winter in Pasadena and Millikan arranged a salary for him to lecture on government at Caltech half time. He served on the University’s facilities and grounds committee for thirty years. He too was a member of the HBF board.
Source: Rufus von Kleinsmid 1958
Rufus Von KleinSmid co-founded the Human Betterment Society with Gosney. He was an education and psychology professor who led Arizona State University before moving on to the University of Southern California. As the fifth president of USC, he developed international relationships in the 1930s, including with Japan, and undertook a massive building campaign in the years after WWII.
Von KleinSmid advocated for sterilization of “defective” people and deprived Japanese American students who had attended USC before being placed in internment camps during the war of their transcripts. His name was removed from the school’s Center for International and Policy Affairs in 2020 after over a decade of intense advocacy by staff and students. In 1913 as the director of research at the Indiana Reformatory KleinSmid prepared a speech, “Eugenics and the State,” delivered before the Cincinnati Academy of Medicine.
Source: Eugenics and the State
The following quotes are taken from that speech:
“The average worth of the individual to the society is constantly lowered because of both the lack of productiveness among the worthy, and the fecundity of the defective.”
“It is fair to say that too much of the effort which these organizations (social workers) have put forth has done little more than to save to the state the defective classes, making it less and less likely that the rigors of climate and the prevalence of disease and other devastating conditions among which these people live may tend toward the survival of the fittest. We who are strong have borne the burdens of the weak, and the weak have repaid us by furnishing still greater burdens for us to bear.”
“Whatever steps may be taken to prevent the augmenting of the part of society’s membership which can never be other than a hindrance and a drag, must be taken with the consciousness that what is best for society must be acceptable to the individual.”
“It may not be practical nor wise to adopt the Greek plan of welcoming every babe in the world in the presence of an agent of the state, nor yet to expose on the mountainside those babes who furnish immediate evidence of their unfitness for life. On the other hand, there is little question that the physician here in reporting to the proper authorities the physical condition of newborn babes and in so far as continued observation is possible, the mental condition, can render and incalculable service to society.”
“Psychology is, as yet, a comparatively new science, but when the most searching observation and test will have been augmented and explained by anthropometric records, statistics in the field of heredity, experiments in paidology and pedagogy, and investigations in the fields of neurology, pathology and biochemistry, we shall have every reason to believe that the commonwealth will make no mistake in organizing its affairs and legislating its will upon the basis of the most scientific research that it can employ. Nay, more, it is wholly the privilege as well as the duty of the state to deny itself no opportunity or obligation that will assure its people life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in ever increasing abundance.” Rufus Bernhard Von KleinSmid 1913
The quotes above candidly reveal the disdain held by those who controlled the resources for those deemed less-than, degenerate, not pulling their own weight. Those condemning included newspapermen, real estate speculators, conservationists, medical doctors, a media broadcaster, agriculturalists, ministers, and a rabbi.
Source: Human Betterment Foundation Board Map
It is this mental construct that was adopted by the Nazis who murdered hundreds of thousands of children and adults under the T4Programme starting as early as 1939. Germany passed a law in 1933 that legalized sterilization of hundreds of thousands of people labeled physically or mentally impaired. This law was based on American precedent – the Buck vs Bell Supreme Court case of 1927 that legitimized forced government sterilization. The Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act of was based on model legislation developed at the Cold Springs Harbor Eugenics Records Office by Harry Laughlin, a close associate of Ezra Gosney and Paul Popenhoe.
The systems of industrialized mass murder first used by the Nazis on the disabled were then scaled for deployment in forced labor prisons like Auschwitz-Birkenau. For a detailed look into the inter-generational impact of one woman’s murder after being institutionalized for a mental breakdown, see Andreas Heckler’s 2017 long-form essay for Disability Studies Quarterly, “Diagnoses That Matter: My Great Grandmother’s Murder as One Deemed ‘Unworthy of Living’ and Its Impact on Our Family.” The screenshot below is taken from that article. Emilie Rau fell into a depression after her husband, who had a harsh temper, was injured and became unable to support their family of four children. The institution into which her husband placed her severely limited visitation and would not release her to return home, stating that her condition was incurable. Her unwillingness to work led to her being of over 10,000 people identified for euthanasia in the gas chambers of Hadamar, “house of shutters,” in the first years of the war.
Source: Emilie Rau With Her Husband and Two Eldest Children 1915
Source: American Soldiers Uncover Medical Mass Murder at Hadamar, The National WWII Museum New Orleans
The following selection is from the 2020 East Tennessee University graduate thesis of Cameron Williams, “A Study of the United States’ Influence on German Eugenics:”
American eugenicists enjoyed a strong position in the international community and were admired by their European counterparts for their success in influencing legislation and gaining extensive financial support for the American eugenics’ movement. The German racial hygiene movement, in fact, followed developments in the United States closely. During the First World War the Society for Racial hygiene began to distribute a public flyer extolling the “dedication with which Americans sponsor research in the field of racial hygiene and with which they translate theoretical knowledge into practical.” The previously mentioned flyer was in reference to a donation of several million dollars by a widow of a railway magnate in support of Cold Spring Harbor. Also mentioned was the foundation established in 1915 following a eugenics conference held in Battle Creek, Michigan, which provided over three-hundred thousand dollars for conferences and exhibitions in the field of eugenics. The flyer also claimed that even American farmers believed that racial hygiene was the most important question of the century. It praised the funding of state commissions that attempted to awaken the nation to a eugenic centered consciousness. It applauded the control of immigration through legislation as well as laws in twelve states that regarded the prevention of procreation of “inferior families”.56 The Society for Racial Hygiene concluded that Americans recognized the “critical importance” of race improvement and were eager to adopt measures to further this goal.
If you try on the lens that the latter half of the twentieth century, and now the twenty-first, has largely been about using manufactured scarcity, military R&D, radiological exposure, re-engineered food, and poisoned ecosystems to advance the Oliver Reiser-Julius Stulman-Ervin Laszlo-Fritz Kunz World Brain agenda, you can see how the pre-WWII ethos of eugenics in the United States and abroad, wrapped in social progressivism, effectively set the stage for much of what has followed.
Frederick Winslow Taylor could only dream of a future where flesh-bound, fallible humans were replaced by programmed avatars functioning with supreme efficiency, never getting tired, never asserting their own ideas, never asking for a raise. The video below is a site visit I made last summer to the SEPTA bus depot, which was the site of Midvale Steel where Taylor refined his principles in scientific management while working on Naval contracts for the Spanish American War. I read from John Trudell’s 1980 incredibly moving and prescient speech “We Are Power.”
The eugenicist Von KleinSmid, USC administrator and Human Betterment Foundation member, oversaw the creation of the first film studies program in the nation. Cecille B. DeMille funded the photography classes and teaching partnerships with many early actors and directors in 1929. Fast forward seventy-five years, and we get the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California, a testing laboratory for the creation of synthetic people.
USC ICT was birthed from a 1996 collaboration of the Hollywood special effects industry and defense interests hosted by the National Research Council and chaired by Mike Zyda. In 1986, Zyda, a computer science professor at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterrey, founded a special research group, NPSNET, to develop gaming simulation technology for the military including virtual world building and America’s Army Game. Other participants included Gilman Louie who would go on to found Niantic and Alexander Singer, Star Trek producer who created a short film to demonstrate augmented cognition.
Source: Modeling and Simulation: Linking Entertainment and Defense, Mike Zyda 1996
Reflecting on my “Digital Babies” piece, what more perverse “solution” could engineers’ minds come up with than extinguishing the materiality of living tissue and re-rendering it in efficient computational formats? Nanotechnology is central to such an effort, and it was launched at Caltech. Richard Feynman introduced the concept of nanotechnology to the world with he “Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” lecture given in December 1959 in Pasadena to the American Physical Society.
Feynman taught at Caltech from 1950 to 1988, winning the Nobel Prize in 1965 for discoveries in quantum electrodynamics relating to how subatomic particles interact with light. In 2018 there was a celebration of his life on what would have been his 100th birthday coordinated by the following divisions of the university involved in carrying forward his research: Caltech Institute for Quantum Information and Matter; Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics (Burke was a financial advisor to Sherman Fairchild a major shareholder in IBM who increased his fortune from inventions in avionic photography and semiconductors); Kavli Nanoscience Institute (operating since 2003 and developed origami DNA in 2006); and the Nanoscale Systems Initiative established in 2004 with a $25 million gift from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Gordon created Moore’s Law, was co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, and Betty was an employee of the Ford Foundation.
Perhaps in the age of Huxley’s high-tech eugenics, water-based beings will be deemed too bulky for “interplanetary” (“inter-dimensional”) travel. Some days it feels like natural humans (and all other watery beings) are Pasadena’s plump, juicy citrus of the 1960s facing off against TANG. Suck out the water, crystallize vitality, toss in a few chemical additives, and store on a shelf for future use. Seriously, let’s not do this. I don’t want to go to “Mars” that badly.
Source: NCR Archive Grocery Store Checkout, Dayton 1979
The images below are from a military publication extolling USC ICT’s accomplishments over two decades including twenty-seven patents and sixty-five prototype programs like BraveMind and UrbanSim.
Source: USC ICT 20 Years of Military Excellence
The gamified Society 5.0 and cyborg avatar capitalism pitched in Tokyo in December of 2019 originated in multi-national networks of electrical engineers, digital artists, and animatronic roboticists funded from bottomless defense contracts, tried out in amusement park rides and feature films. The people who work in these arenas are tasked with delivering ruthless anti-life efficiencies. Make it a game; spackle Star Wars “hero’s journey” branding over the rough edges; and wrap it in an aura of novelty and exclusivity. Then people will beat a path to your door to boost their children into a Flat Stanley world run by military psychologists dialing up custom realities with internet of everything quantum supercomputers.
Given that many of the eugenics programs centered mental and physical deficiencies that impacted the abilities of adults to participate in economically productive work, it’s not much of a stretch to envision a future where AI synthetic therapists pull panopticon data on individuals deemed at-risk of falling out of compliance with the consensus reality, assign them mental health diagnoses, and issue treatment orders for ICT reprogramming or containment. We can only hope there are no Hadamars this time around.
Our nation’s eugenics history has not disappeared. Some of the most sinister tendencies had gone underground. Some of them have been rebranded in socially acceptable terms. The fact that we rarely teach youth contextualized history means velvet glove brutality can hide in plain sight in the land of movie stars and militarized digital “magic.”
It is my contention before society acquiesces to incorporating biology and thought forms into cyber-physical systems, we must have a better understanding of the ways in which scientific management principles have been used over the past century to dehumanize and degrade labor. Against a backdrop of eugenics, are we willing to disrespect the bodies birthed by our mothers and trade them for cyborg puppet avatars with holographic capabilities?
Is that really the world we are leaving for the children, so California’s modern day eugenicists can bring Julian Huxley’s plans to fruition?
Disgruntled Neighbors Oppose Berggruen’s Mountaintop Monastery – Synthetic Pretenders Part 14
Just beyond the southwestern-most corner of the boundary of Robert Hertzberg’s California Senate District 18 in the East San Fernando Valley, lies 447 acres of ridge line partially situated on a reclaimed landfill. It’s the intended site for a modern monastery, the dream of a billionaire financier turned “philosopher king.” A lofty perch from which to spin plans for a disconnected future where physical bodies are confined to structured cells, freeing minds to wander the Noosphere with assistance not from sacred texts or mental discipline, but from haptics and nanotechnology.
Source: Los Angeles Department of City Planning Virtual Scoping Meeting, Berggruen Institute Project, December 8, 2020
Picture the fruit of such ephemeral “labor” deftly harvested by neuro-nanobots and integrated into a Trust Network to train artificial intelligence. Streamlined, interoperable, on-chain tokenized data analyzed, and organized to efficiently stimulate an emergent global brain until, at long last (they hope), the Singularity is achieved. Each mind in each cell no longer acting as vital, autonomous beings with a soul, but as networked neuroblasts anticipating a bizarre metamorphosis for which they were never asked nor were ever consulted. This vision is chillingly described in Oliver Reiser’s 1946 book on radio-eugenics, “World Sensorium.”
The question of the future existence of biological life is central to the investigations of Nicholas Berggruen and his collaborators. In 2016, he tapped Portuguese-American neuroscientist, Antonio Dimassio, to undertake a study laying out what it will mean to be human in an age of artificial intelligence. The irony is that Dimassio, an adjunct faculty at the Salk Institute, directs the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC. USC is home to the Institute of Creative Technologies, where the Army Research Lab has been funding the creation of synthetic humans for over twenty years.
Antonio and his wife Hanna, co-director of the Institute, say they are working to understand the human condition through research into how the brain processes music, organizes narratives, and the nature of consciousness to treat neurological conditions. My feeling, however, is that it’s all dual use technology, much of it federally funded, and the findings will be likely used to make engineered systems function in a way that appears more “natural.” That’s an interesting choice of art behind him, not to mention the composition of the photograph.
Source: “In His Own Image,” Antonio Dimassio, New York Times 2011
In the spring of 2022, Berggruen’s Institute hosted an invitation-only, two-day workshop with USC Dornsife called “What Will Life Become?” Among the questions being considered were:
How will scientists reform expectations of life and personhood in a post-biological world?
How will the extra-planetary recapitulate or stage new social relations, institutions, and politics of earth?
How do novel human/non-human agents (animals, robots) disrupt andro- and anthropocentric hierarchies of species and mind?
How will concepts of indigeneity, race, and ethnicity be shuttled to worlds beyond Earth and times beyond our present?
The vice-chair of digital biology at Singularity University wrote a couple of blog posts about participating in the event. Tiffany Vora, trained as a computational biologist, incorporates gender and identity into her widely circulated talks. You know women and STEM, right? As a panelist, Vora pitched the idea of a new company to those in attendance, asking them first to understand that biocapitalism was a given in this planned future. Her fictional enterprise, BioFix, would integrate data from your family history to your wearables to your microbiome and then pair your body with synthetic bio-assets. These might include hybrid organs that could unlock novel abilities like breathing underwater or synthetic DNA that, if you pay the up-charge, you can pass on to your children
Now swap out the Marvel superhero lens for a eugenics-body-shaming one and realize this is leveraging manufactured self-loathing into a profitable keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ bio-hacking business sector. Is it any wonder people, especially children, are struggling with their mental health? Those with power and influence are fabricating a reality that will boost identity-based spectacle into the realm of cyborg hybrid existence. Are we ready for fast-fashion to morph into biohacking?
Source: “A Conversation on the Future of Health: What Will Be the Role of Doctors in This Radically Different Future? Tiffany Vora at HSM Brazil 2022
In 2015 Nicholas Berggruen’s Institute began to sponsor fellowships for dozens of independent scholars pursuing research in the United States and China in partnership with Harvard, NYU, Stanford, USC, Oxford, Peking and Tsinghua Universities. The first year it solicited “cross-cultural” and “interdisciplinary” proposals from thinkers on the following: the Autonomous Self and the Relational Self; Harmony and Freedom; Equality and Hierarchy; Democracy and Political Meritocracy; Humans and Technology; and Sustainable Innovation. All topics grounded in systems engineering of individuals and societies. There are over 110 alumni of the fellowship program, among them are:
Terra Lawson-Remer – social change entrepreneur focused on bio-tech and socio-genomic research, also member of CFR and advisor to the US Treasury Department
Stuart Candy – foresight strategist working with the UN, WEF, Ashoka, NASA, JPL, and US Conference of Mayors, Director of Situation Lab at Carnegie Mellon
Marco Ferrante – scholar of Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy researching metaphysics, language and action in early Brahmanical philosophy, and deontic logic (permissible, forbidden, required)
Gabriel Kahan – LA-based artist and technologist working on collective intelligence tied to civic participation and urban design management
Michael McCarthy – Economic Democracy Activist writing “Master’s Tools: Using Finance Against Capitalism”
Last year fifty fellowships were awarded, among them Saule Omarova, a Kazakh-born Cornell Law Professor who specializes in financial regulation and received considerable push-back on her nomination to become Comptroller of the Currency last winter. She’d floated the idea of a “People’s Ledger” where the Federal Reserve could involve itself in consumer banking, which was alarming for many given widespread concerns around Central Digital Currency and programmable money. John Titus gave a helpful breakdown of the issues surrounding Omarova’s nomination, which was later withdrawn at her request, in a December 2021 presentation. This is important, because one of the things Berggruen is looking to redesign is nothing short of capitalism itself.
In addition to the fellowships, the Berggruen Prize was instituted in 2016 in the spirit of a Nobel Prize, but for philosophy. A jury selects one individual annually whose body of work has made, according to them, a significant impact on wisdom and understanding the world. That winner is awarded $1 million. The Institute’s new outpost in Venice, Three Eyes Palace, hosted last year’s event. Peter Singer, an Australian whose work centers “effective altruism” won the prize. How perfect for the new imposed ethos of social impact investing, right?
Prior awards were made to Baroness Onora O’Neill, public discourse; Ruth Bader Ginsberg, gender equality; Martha Nussbaum, social liberalism; Paul Farmer, global health; and Charles Taylor, hermeneutics and social webs of relationship. If you follow my work, you will note how the interests of the winners interlock and align with the roll out of one-world government for the global good, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and blockchain impact finance. All winners are white men and women who hail from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. It’s important to note this not from the standpoint of woke-ness, but from the standpoint of empire and eugenics, both of which factor into the coding of the digital realm and next-gen eugenic efforts framed as precision medicine.
Nicholas Berggruen, the would-be monastic benefactor, grew up steeped in the Parisian modern art scene, made a fortune with his hedge fund rehabilitating Burger King among other undervalued companies, went on to study the Hermetica, and now seeks to bridge east and west through a global governance system grounded in non-dualism. Zhao Tingyang, a Berggruen affiliate and member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, lays out a Theory of Tianxia, or “All Under Heaven.” In ancient China the concept embodies a physical, psychological and political convergence towards harmony and a permanent peace. Harmonized digital citizens are the goal of IEEE.
Source: Berggruen Institute Tweet, December 1, 2017
Berggruen is a suave operator who’s spent the past decade courting G-20 influencers, Henry Kissinger, and Xi Jinping to join this effort, he needs an anchor point from which to launch this vision. I believe that intended anchor is California. This planned Trust Network of decentralized ledgers for avatar management must, however, be put in place before digital convergence can commence in earnest.
Source: Nicholas Berggruen Tweet June 11, 2022 on Kissinger’s article for Noema, the Berggruen Institute’s Journal, about Ukraine and US-China Relations
A dual US-German citizen, Nicholas was raised in France where his father Heinz operated a lucrative book shop and gallery space. Galerie Berggruen and Cie sold modernist prints in the 7th arrondissement two blocks from the Seine. Heinz was an avid collector, and amassed a large personal collection of Picasso, Klee, Matisse and Giacometti. A native of Berlin, he arrived in the United States in 1936 to study art history at Berkeley and married Lillian Zellerbach of the San Francisco paper dynasty. Heinz later worked at the San Francisco Museum of Art, pulling together an exhibit of Rosicrucian painter Diego Rivera’s works while engaging in an affair with Frida Kahlo. I did a couple of interesting presentations on Rivera with the What’s Left? podcast that you can listen to here and here.
Source: Henry Moore Lithograph, Klee Lithograph, Le Corbousier
Heinz was drafted into the US Army Signal Corps during World War II and stationed in Europe where his multi-lingual proficiency was valued. Following the war he divorced Lillian and decamped to France, initially landing, as had Caltech’s Frank Malina, at UNESCO, Julian Huxley’s project, before establishing the gallery that would bring him into contact with the most prominent figures in European Cubism, Futurism, Expressionism, and Dada. Picasso was a close friend.
Source: Heinz Berggruen, the Collector Who Befriended Picasso, At the Berggruen Museum 2004, Picasso’s 1939 “Le Chandail Jaune,” The Yellow Sweater.
Heinz’s three other children all have ties to the art world. Helen, a painter; and John a prominent San Francisco-based dealer active in global art scene including Art Basel Miami Beach, are from his first marriage to Zellerbach. Nicholas and Olivier, curator and board chair of the library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, are from his second marriage in 1960 to Catholic actress Bettina Moissi. Moissi starred in the 1948 film, Long Is The Road, the first German film about the holocaust that asserted the rights of displaced Jews to resettle in Palestine.
Towards the end of his life, Heinz donated sixty works by Paul Klee to the Metropolitan, loaned seventy pieces to the National Gallery in London, and sold at a greatly reduced price a collection of two hundred pieces to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. That collection, of which the majority of pieces are by Picasso, is housed in a1859 neoclassical building opposite Schloss Charlottenberg and managed by the National Gallery of Berlin.
The transfer of the collection was lauded in 1996 as a symbol of reconciliation between Heinz Berggruen, who left Europe during the rise of the Nazis when this collection would have been labeled “degenerate,” and the country of his birth. In a recent New York Times feature, Nicholas recalls having an “interesting” childhood immersed in art and culture. I do wonder how his father’s expertise in signals intelligence and non-representational prints, paintings, and sculpture may have influenced the philosopher king’s conception of “reality” and how it can be artfully manipulated.
Sources: Heinz Berggruen at Picasso’s Studio; Berggruen Gallery – Art Basel Miami Beach, Berggruen Museum Berlin
To say neighbors aren’t pleased with Berggruen’s planned mountain-top scholarly enclave would be an understatement. Nicholas, who branded himself as a “homeless” globe-trotter bouncing around luxury hotels now lives in a condo in the star-studded Sierra Towers, a 1965 high-rise on the Sunset Strip. In 2021, he acquired the Beverly Hills Hearst Estate, of The Godfather horse head scene and JFK/Jackie honeymoon fame, as well as multiple homes surrounding it since that deal closed. For privacy?
The planned monastery parcel, located west of the 405 Freeway, was acquired 2014 for $45 million from an embattled developer who had attempted to build homes on it. Opponents assert the proposed of “educational institution” use is illegal, inconsistent with the Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan, that the facility would damage the habitat of native pumas, and create an extreme fire hazard – methane gas from the garbage festering below. Neither are they keen on having “high profile diplomats and world leaders” coming and going up and down the mountain, disrupting local traffic with their security details.
A third proposal began environmental review in late 2020 and is ongoing as of April 2022. The well-connected Berggruen still hopes to obtain a unique zoning designation from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning to greenlight the project. If approved, thirty scholars would eventually be installed in sunken adobe-like alcoves atop the Santa Monica Mountains. Deep thinkers contemplating lofty ideas in relative solitude as children and those dispossessed by the City of Angels go about the soul-killing, but necessary drudgery of coding mixed reality. There are those who will be tasked with building and defending the digital empire and those who will be tasked with telling the stories that make it all seem necessary and right. Berggruen is gathering the storytellers who will be needed to keep the pot of post-humanism from boiling over.
Make no mistake. We are in the middle of an information war. Narrative frameworks are weapons to be strategically deployed to mold consensus reality and social norms. It is not surprising that a man who founded Alpha Investment Management, a profitable hedge fund, would seek the counsel of philosophers as the big game transitions into the noosphere. Through forecasting and spell casting there’s a fine art in crafting perceived reality to ones advantage. Berggruen’s sees his network of aligned thinkers as valuable assets in his campaign to makeover life on earth, worthy of considerable investment of financial and social capital. I picture the Berggruen Institute rather like a mini-World Economic Forum, but covert and nimble.
See the architectural rendering of the scholar alcoves below. Do they look like the intellectual equivalent of military bunkers to you?
Charter Cities, Refugee Labor, and The Learning Economy – Synthetic Pretenders Part 15A
The next four posts started out as a single article for the Synthetic Pretenders series; but as I continued to dig and write, the content got a little out of hand. If I were more self-disciplined, I’d probably be able to organize my findings better and perhaps offer up more compact, digestible posts. There’s a lot of background information provided here, so even though I cast a wide net, rest assured it does ultimately connect back to syn-bio eugenics, Berggruen’s Network, and California social impact NGOs joined at hip with defense-tech, global finance, and faith-based institutions.
You can read it in full here or access a PDF here.
Your Government As A Planetary Computer
When Nicholas Berggruen reestablished himself in Los Angeles in 2010 with an intention to train in philosophy, he sought out two mentors, both UCLA professors. One was Brian Esparza Walker, a researcher in comparative political theory and civic responsibility who has been working on a new book on cybernetics and Confucianism. The other was Brian Copenhaver an expert in the belief in magic in early Modern Europe and the Hermetica. Copenhaver’s 2015 book, “Magic in Western Culture: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment,” looks quite interesting, but comes with the hefty price tag of academic presses. If you’re interested in getting a sense of what he’s all about, there are a few online talks with Copenhaver here and here.
Source: The Secret History of Western Esotericism Podcast, Episode 101 Brian Copenhaver on the Hermetica
In lieu of payment, the two professors asked Berggruen to become a donor to UCLA. He ended up underwriting research at the Luskin School of Public Affairs on a good governance index and partnering with the humanities division on a lecture series aptly titled “Possible Worlds.” If you read between the lines of the tweets below, you can see how this governance index is infrastructure for outcomes-based contracts aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Remaking political systems for electronic government is the imperative; not only to ease the collection of data to prove “progress” towards the seventeen goals, but also to build the global data economy which, in turn, fuels machine learning for artificial intelligence. UN SDG 16 is “strong institutions.” The Governance Index is overseen by Helmut Ankeier, a German sociologist specializing in social innovation who splits his time between UCLA and the Hertie School in Berlin, one of Europe’s first graduate schools devoted to public policy. The Hertie School promotes e-government digitalisation as a means by which to steer behaviors towards “sustainability” through circular economic practice.
Source: Berggruen Institute Tweet, Good Governance Index, June 1, 2022
Source: Helmut Ankheier UCLA Bio
Source: United Nations Curriculum on Governance for Sustainable Development
A network emerged from the proceedings of Berggruen’s Think Long California committee, whose scope of work quickly expanded beyond the Eureka state to include international bridge building. In its first few years the Berggruen Institute established relationships with leaders in the EU and sent delegations to work with Chinese officials and industry leaders. A year after “The Blueprint to Renew California” went public, Nicholas headed over to Berlin for a European town hall co-hosted with French economist Jean Pisani-Ferry and Jakob Kellenberger, a Swiss diplomat working in the international humanitarian aid space. Both are members of the Berggruen Network.
Disruption, Displacement, and the Solidarity Economy
At that event, speeches were given by Minnesota native and former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou; and former UK Prime Minister and big-data social entrepreneur, Tony Blair. Then George Soros took the opportunity to chastise the greedy creditors that precipitated the Eurozone crisis, decry the refugee situation in Greece, and propose a new era in which “solidarity” community centers would be established to manage the masses of people flowing into the debt-crushed country. In 2013 his foundation launched the Open Society Initiative for Europe to promote “democracy” and “human rights,” with a special focus on refugees. Three years later he pledged $500 million for social impact initiatives targeting displaced people.
“Our goal is to harness the private sector for public good,” Mr. Soros said. “We will invest in startups, established companies, social impact initiatives, and businesses started by migrants and refugees themselves. These investments are intended to be successful. But our primary focus is to create products and services that truly benefit migrants and host communities. I hope my commitment will inspire other investors to pursue the same mission.” Source
In the image below, taken from the Berggruen Institute’s website, Nicholas is seated next to Ursula von der Leyen. At the time von der Leyen was a CDU (Christian Democratic Union, Center-Right) member of the Bundestag representing Hanover and Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. The year after the Town Hall, Merkel appointed her Minister of Defence. She became President of the European Commission in 2019. Her husband Heiko founded the Hannover Clinical Trial Center GmbH. He specializes in cardiovascular gene therapy and has held leadership positions at several bio-tech firms.
Source: Town Hall Meeting: Europe Beyond The Crisis
The issue of solidarity seems to be one of growing scholarly interest, which gives me the feeling that social integration of migrants may be being set up as a social impact investing opportunity – not unlike anti-racism and racial equity metrics in the US. If you want to read my concerns about equity dashboards, I wrote an open letter to Ibram Kendi about it in the summer of 2019, here.
Academics are parsing the differences between offering needy people “charity” and “solidarity,” examining how that distinction plays into the dynamic of EU politics. Seeing that, my first thought is that this is a narrative being spun to position “solidarity” as the preferred method of immigrant support, where asylum seekers can be “empowered” to work off their re-skilling and social care costs with impact investments tracked against future economic output. That’s the set up for the Career Impact Bonds former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy has been pitching with Social Finance in New Jersey.
The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) with funding provided from the EU launched the “Global Action: Promoting Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems” initiative in 2020 to begin to address income inequality exacerbated by Covid lockdowns. Or, to put it another way, the time had come to create the data architecture needed to channel global ESG capital flows through human misery.
The effort is being chaired by Secretary General Mathias Cormann, a Belgian born and educated politician who was previously affiliated with the German and French-Speaking Christian Social Parties in Europe before he relocated to Western Australia and rose to become Finance Minister with the Liberal Party of Australia. Prior to that he’d been working in the health insurance industry. Cormann, a conservative with a free-market outlook, met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken last June to discuss the post-Covid recovery; climate change; international tax reform; and management of the risks associated with the digital transformation of the economies of market-based democracies.
The intent is to transform all the so-called solidarity economies, but substantial “education” will be needed. Those targeted for the first round hard sell are: Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, India, the United States and the EU. Canada, Mexico, and Korea comprise three of the ten Digital Nations. Peer learning programs and conferences are meant to instill a desire in local leaders to develop the legal frameworks and impact metrics required to scale these planned “social economies.”
In 2021, the OECD developed a working paper, “Social Impact Measurement for the Social and Solidarity Economy,” with input from Catherine Clark of the CASE Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University; Lisa Hehenberger, management professor at ESADE; and Jeremy Nicholls a leader in the establishment of social impact metric values in the UK.
The document emphasized the need to shift to outcomes-based reporting tied to procurement and enforcement regulations; addressing the lack of common measurement standards and issues of credibility; opportunities for government and foundations to finance rigorous data collection; and getting buy-in from employees. All of this data will be used to keep capital flowing even as its collection normalizes ubiquitous digital surveillance for surreal simulations run through Taylorist optimization protocols to stave off climate catastrophe and mass social unrest. That’s the story they’ll tell us anyway to justify our dehumanization and the imprisonment of nature through blockchain financialization.
Source: Social Impact Measurement for the Social and Solidarity Economy
Who knows, they may even fancy it up by positioning contingent laborers as “cooperative” members. Envision pop-up refugee communities, enclosures of dispossession, reframed as a collective businesses where residents are made “token” stakeholders, living under rule of smart contract law with enforced participation metrics for a governance scheme they never wanted to be a part of in the first place.
Charter Cities as Containment Zones for Remote Refugee Labor?
My suspicion is part of the plan to manage the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution era of automation will be to disrupt social structures across the globe through economic and military interventions; remove people to different locations where they have no support network; and then set up ad-hoc charter cities where they will be leveraged as human capital commodities and trained to build and defend mixed-reality Internet-of-Everything infrastructure.
Displaced people aren’t to be blamed; no one wants to be forced out of their home and culture. The average length of stay in a UNHCR camp is currently five years under terrible conditions with very limited rights and economic opportunities. Yet issues of asylum tend to center the challenges of meeting the needs of individuals and families balanced against economic and social impacts on host communities, who are often suffering under conditions of austerity themselves, rather than interrogating the systems that led to mass displacement in the first place.
I believe millions of people are being pressured to be on the move, because it serves the interests of power to normalize biometrically-managed social instability as the disruptive potential of Web 3.0 materializes. Last year the Charter Cities Institute prepared a white paper proposing their solution as an improvement over the current horror of refugee camps where families may languish for years. In the introduction, the author Sarah Doyel states that data from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees indicates the number of displaced people has almost doubled over the past decade from 43 million to 80 million. Each of those people is a potential impact opportunity for global investment portfolios.
Markets in human capital “improvement” are created by trauma resulting from war and the breakdown of civil society. That’s the simple, brutal truth.
Source: How Charter Cities Can Create Better Refugee Responses, 2021
CCI pitches their planned communities as a better option to UN-managed camp life, because they would open up settlements to economic activity and thus pools of millions of desperate potential workers (page 19). This approach also creates investment opportunities for public private partnerships (P3), which are touted as a way to off-set costs for host countries desiring to stay in compliance with the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Though they speak of P3 investment in terms of local entrepreneurs, the reality is that residents of charter cities will most likely be working on the Web 3.0 build out. It’s not about supporting the creation of one-off mom-and-pop businesses. The excerpt from the CCI paper below brings in language of “the collective” and “cooperatives” with the additional element of female empowerment, since gender equity is UN Sustainable Development Goal 5. What this looks like is tokenized plural voting, NOT what most people understand as participatory democracy.
“Collective ownership and cooperative groups constitute the social and economic parallels to participatory governance in refugee charter cities. Land trusts, housing cooperatives, and what the International Labour Organization calls “Social and Solidarity Economy Enterprises and Organizations” (SSEEOs) create opportunities for refugee ownership and inter- and intra-community social and economic relationships. In partnership with the IKEA Foundation, UNHCR has already implemented livelihood cooperatives across the five Dollo Ado refugee camps in Ethiopia that seem to be popular among both refugees and host populations. Charter cities can also build on existing collective structures in local communities, which can be especially helpful for women refugees who face higher barriers to economic activity. For example, Dr. Holly Ritchie, founder of the refugee women’s empowerment social enterprise THRIVE for Change, pointed out that mutual aid networks have been particularly important for refugee women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, there is a strong need from both a normative and an empirical perspective to center refugee voices in the design of governance, business practices, programs, and institutions.” Pages 22-23
The policy paper closes out with a call for accurate measurement and evaluation – for the impact markets.
Blockchain Collectivism and the Mormon Transhumanist Association Conference
Below is a clip from the blockchain-themed March 2022 Mormon Transhumanist Conference in which I ask Kurtis Lockhart, head of research for the Charter Cities Institute (CCI), how he reconciles the use of digital identity and sensor networks to track behaviors within smart urban environments with his advocacy for high-tech communities managed through public-private partnerships. How will the concept he’s promoting avoid the creation of DAO “company” towns run on behavioral scrip? I mention that Foshan in China has been using blockchain to track the behaviors of individuals across the city, a topic I wrote about here. The model Mr. Lockhart envisioned for scaling charter city development was China’s complex network of Special Economic Zones.
Source: Charter Cities Empowered Cities for the Urban Age
The charter city idea was expanded upon later that day by Tom W. Bell, faculty of Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law advising on special jurisdictions, who logged in from Prospera, the West’s first charter city billed as a “platform for sustainable development” on the Honduran island of Roatan. Bell’s talk was on U-Lex standardized blockchain legal systems – perfect for “sustainable,” automated cities of well-managed human capital.
Vinay Gupta of Mattereum (Internet of Agreements) who describes himself as a “humanitarian turned technocrat” presented remotely on fair trade as spiritual liberation. At the end of the day, a young Lisbon-based scholar Bernardo Vicente presented on the application of Harbergeorgist principles, novel forms of property ownership, to governance in “sustainable” crypto cities. Various interest groups are working diligently to get all the parts up and running, but I sense it will take more manufactured disruption before things start to scale. I’d definitely keep my eyes on Ukraine being used as a case study for a decentralized, digital systems-engineered society.
Paul Romer’s Vision Opens the Door to “Sustainable” ESG Finance
NYU and former World Bank economist Paul Romer’s vision for geo-fenced, state-of-exception towns fell out of favor after an unsuccessful campaign in Honduras, but seems to be making a slow comeback. A former Russian energy lawyer doing consulting for the state of Vermont, Roman Sidortsov, prepared a paper, “Sustainable Charter Cities: The Development Solution to Environmental Problems,” as a Global Fellow at the University of Vermont Law School back in 2011.
Sidortsov began his paper describing how he and his wife were inspired to create a humanitarian NGO after listening to a National Public Radio program about women and children brutalized at the Chad-Sudan border. He then pitched charter cities as an effective “solution” to human misery that would also meet the needs of ESG impact finance portfolios. To Sidortsov’s way of thinking, charter city investments would generate profit, unlike traditional humanitarian assistance. According to his Michigan Tech bio, Sidortsov teaches courses in alternative energy and climate policy. It defies logic that he would embrace Romer’s proposal, which entails building enormous cities the size and density of Hong Kong from scratch in developing nations on uninhabited tracts of coastline. Strange indeed.
The Charter Cities Institute has been collaborating with the United Nations on “sustainable” global development per a 2019 webinar with Richard Bolwijn, head investment researcher with UNCTAD. The image below is taken from the website of the UN-affiliated International Organization for Migration and links migration to the achievement of Agenda 2030.
It is important that we recognize displaced people as victims of the planned transition to an automated, surveillance data economy, one that will center remote work. No amount of border control can mitigate erosion of wages once blockchain skill lockers and haptic-robotic / telepresence labor become acceptable. Each of the squares below represents an opportunity for billionaires to use technological systems to process other humans, including children, as digital commodities. Every heading is an intentionally unattainable goal meant to keep the masses on treadmills (pathways) of prescribed self-improvement optimized for machine-learning data harvest. Immigrants are not the threat; BlackRock’s ESG portfolios are.
Source: Explore the Interrelations Between the 2030 Agenda and Migration
Source: ESG Integration at BlackRock
Source: Iris Biometrics Facilitate Change In Aid Sector Worth Hundreds of Billions
An example of immigrants being targeted for “pay for success” finance is the Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement piloted by JEVS (Jewish Vocational Service) in 2018 in partnership with Maycomb Capital’s Community Outcomes Fund, Prudential Financial, and the Kresge Foundation. Digital identity is a way to profile and cream compliant immigrant labor. It is easy to see how such programs could be incorporated into charter cities where people may have to earn release into the general population through demonstrations of social impact compliance over time.
The idea is that purpose-built communities would be open to anyone who agrees to opt-in. They would be run by private managers and embrace Romer’s New Economic Theory of technological innovation guided by Meta-Rules. Of course the presumption that all people actually have a free choice in the matter is disingenuous. In a 2010 interview with the Center for Global Development, Romer laid out a variety of scenarios, including the use of Charter Cities as immigrant containment zones:
“Brazil could be the guarantor and the host, but Haiti could be the source. Brazil has already made a major commitment to providing security for Haitians in Haiti. They are the main supplier of troops and police officers in the force that entered Haiti under a UN mandate in 2004. To have a credible exit option, Brazil might consider chartering a new city on empty land in its territory that could accept Haitians as residents of the new zone, while maintaining standard immigration procedures for the rest of Brazil.
This could give Brazilian forces in Haiti a way to leave even if there is little progress toward stable governance. Brazilian leaders might say to the Haitian elites “we’ll spend several years trying to help you return your government to the point where it can provide essential state services like public safety. But if by then it still can’t serve this function, and things go back to where they were before we came, back to a situation where crimes like kidnapping were common and the police couldn’t enter zones controlled by gangs, we will leave. But if we leave we will also give Haitians the option to move to a special zone in Brazil where we will provide the basics of good governance.”
The charter cities model involves up to three parties – the host nation that provides the land; the source nation that provides the people; and the guarantor nation that enforces the charter. From the passage above one can imagine where United Nations’ Peacekeeping fits in. Once installed in new settlements, displaced people would become impact commodities, suitable for training as gig-economy remote workers. That makes sense given the push by UNICEF Innovation to “educate” children of the global south through VR headsets and condition them for a future of tele-robotic labor. There are already many coding boot camps that target refugees and immigrants for training into low-skill, task rabbit work in the tech sector including: Coding Dojo, DevMountain, RefCode, and Na’Amal.
Something Rotten In The State of Denmark
In a June 2021 Charter Cities Initiative podcast, the Jordan Compact and the economic upside of locating refugees in special economic zones is explored. While Denmark has taken an increasingly hostile position towards asylum seekers in recent years; we see developments like the tunnel project in Lolland that rely on immigrant labor. With advances in biometric identity, satellite surveillance, and geo-fencing, could charter cities become twenty-first century “pop-up” labor camps where people enter a country conditionally – borders within borders? Remote compounds like Lindholm Island would no longer be needed.
Source: A Baltic Island Bucks a Danish Anti-Immigrant Trend
The hard line taken with refugees in Denmark contrasts starkly with a 2018 Memorandum of Agreement to establish a Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement in Copenhagen’s UN City. The United Nations and the World Bank have teamed up to gather “evidence” on “what works” in the management of global misery, styling the effort as a “global public good.” The University of Copenhagen hosts the Centre for Advanced Migration Studies, established in 2013, and the Danish Refugee Council, Denmark’s largest NGO established in 1956, holds the world’s largest migrant dataset. That data is being used to explore Alternative Migration Governance Models (ADMIGOV) aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This is about managing humans for impact markets.
Martin Lemberg-Pedersen and Eman Haioty’s 2020 article “Re-assembling the Surveillable Refugee Body in the Era of Data-Craving” does a solid job of laying out how the process of digitally-managing millions of dislocated people have supported the development of global data economies and the emergence of disruptive financial “solutions” like programmable money. The latter seeks to supplant informal economies and reframe “othered” people as dynamic “risk” scores, though the narrative spun in a 2018 article in MIT Technology Review is that intense blockchain data aggregation should be seen as empowering for those looking to make a new start. Every displaced person is a credit score waiting to be compiled and rated.
“The act of biometric enrollment can be seen as requiring refugees to perform certain acts and roles to obtain the associated entitlements. Performing docility is key to the assembling and re-assembling of webs of rights, duties and consumption opportunities. This can be perceived as a form of quasi-coerced alliance, defined as when one or more actors involved in a transaction are either forced to abide by the rules of a transaction or are otherwise placed in a position in which rejecting a transaction can incur a loss beyond the scope of the rejected proposition.” Page 4
“Refugee acts of quasi-citizenship are increasingly determined by intersecting and blurred markets involving actors like the UNHCR, the EU, the World Bank Group, IrisGuard, Accenture and the Cairo Amman Bank. These markets are characterized by a pervasive craving for data about displaced populations as risky others. The identities of the displaced and dataveilled are thus re-assembled according to their aid needs, but also according to donor dictates concerned with risk management, and technological and financial market opportunities.” Page 15
This quasi-citizenship is evocative of the plot of a science-fiction novel. Cory Doctorow’s novella “Unauthorized Bread” in “Radicalized” comes to mind. Unfortunately, Lemberg-Pederson (Amnesty International) and Haioty (IT University of Copenhagen) stop short of linking manufactured dispossession to the cultivation of social impact investment opportunities. The networks are vast, and hiding in plain sight as illustrated in a map I made a few years back of the Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement Project. It links Jobs for the Future re-skilling; financialized income sharing agreements through Edly; Jonathan Greenblatt, Obama’s impact finance guy now head of ADL; and Bloomberg Philanthropies with its Hazira “what works” smart city government pilots in Israel where the start-up nation is pivoting to be a Tikkun Olam impact nation. Where impact data is the new gold, migrants will deliver as soon as blockchain ID has been fully implemented for supply train traceability.
Source: Map of JEVS and Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement
We see glimmers of Doctorow’s dystopian future in Jeffrey Berns’s plans for Painted Rock Smart City and Innovation Park, a privately-managed blockchain community in Nevada, and Bill Gates’s acquisition of 24,000 acres west of Phoenix for a smart city near Buckeye. The Charter Cities Institute weighed in over the Fourth of July Weekend in 2020 making a case for privately managed communities being compatible with the United States’s legacy of “good governance,” likening the model to the Mayflower Compact and the First Charter of Virginia.
The poor reception of Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs’s Toronto Quayside project gives me hope that there may still be some clear-thinking people in the world. While most of the criticism leveled at that smart neighborhood revolved around data privacy rights, I continue to hope that one day soon people will start to understand that human capital finance is what’s actually driving the demand for big-data ubiquitous computing.
The Finance Ministry of Denmark is a major donor to the UNICEF Innovation Fund, which operates out of the campus of Singularity University on the former campus of the NASA Research park, Moffett Field, CA. The fund’s primary sponsor is Disney. In addition to development of drones, artificial intelligence, and blockchain applications, the fund is working to scale adoption of VR for education in Africa and India and wearables for measured behavior change. The latter work is carried out with assistance from frog design and Cambridge-based, embedded sensor firm ARM Holdings.
The Learning Economy As A Digital Public Good
Deployment of educational technologies is being pushed to gather data for human capital finance deals and machine learning. One of the systems being prototyped is IMISI, an interface where pre-literate children learn to code by hand gesture. UNICEF believes children in Africa are never going to merit human teachers. Besides the continent’s substantial youth population is too important to leave as an unrealized dataset.
Much of the software being promoted by UNICEF is open-source and pitched as helping create “digital public goods.” UNICEF is a member of the Digital Public Goods Alliance. This framing is important, because the new economic model is driven by data. Tokenized data will be used as the primary governance mechanism of smart contract mixed reality as society acquiesces to cybernetic control.
The “commons” should be understood as an encoded cyber-physical system, not some shared pasture, cultural tradition, or civic space. The narrative frame that is being crafted is that the Metaverse is “open,” that it is being created with “open source” software for “sovereign” digital citizens, so it must be good, right? In fact, in this Alice-in-Wonderland world, everything is inverted. When you see “open,” read “restricted.” When you see “commons,” read “enclosures.” When you see “decentralized,” read “centralized.” Once you understand the game is enmeshing everything natural in a synthetic sensing web, the intent is easier to assess.
Source: Digital Public Goods Alliance
Investments in these so-called public goods will become quite important in the future. We already see the infrastructure being put in place to track “public benefit” contributions over space and time in David Dalrymple’s presentation for Protocol Labs on Hypercerts below.
Dalrymple worked on the creation of virtual organisms with Ed Boyden’s Synthetic Neurobiology Group at MIT and secured private funding for his research from Peter Thiel and Larry Page. My sense is that what they are doing is attempting to organize information, including biophysical and biogeochemical data, to catalyze “life/automata” using artificial neural nets, gamified IoT environments, and “moralized” market logic. The Hypercerts presented here would be part of the latter. Perhaps they imagine bio-digital convergence as a form of symbiogenesis? It’s difficult to imagine what might be going on in their minds beyond the goal of a seamless human-computer interface. Ed-tech is the testbed.
Source: Hypercerts On Chain Primitives For Impact Markets With David Dalrymple
Source: David Dalrymple Biography at Protocol Labs
They need ways to tag programs to track progress and claim “credit” for future well being. Hypercerts are one way to assess which of the various contributors have responsibility for a communal benefit and to what degree. Coming from a space as an activist parent who opposed the data-mining of children through educational technologies, I see that screenshot as representing many programs and interventions foisted on a child as digital society tracks their performance and future economic productivity. Sort of a cross between Los Angeles’s Daily Pass Digital ID, Clever’s QR codes, and Soulbound Token meta-data tags.
Children are quantified as “public goods” and subject to optimization by technological systems. The application of “evidence-based” scientific management of children toward pre-determined outcomes on pathways will be justified through the language of “equity.” The data analysts, program managers, and investors may attempt to convince themselves that this is benevolent, but it isn’t. You can see in the image below the treacherous fiction being peddled by UNICEF, Disney, and the Finance Ministries of Denmark and Finland.
Source: UNICEF Innovation Fund Graduate, IMISI 3D
This training will not only be imposed on children. The new economy is a so-called “learning economy” on blockchain. Refugees are targeted for perpetual data-mining through the United Nations High Council on Refugees and allied promoters of competency-based education.
Paul LeBlanc at Southern New Hampshire University, home of one of the largest distance learning programs in the US, piloted early blockchain transcripts with MIT’s spin off Learning Machine and partnered with Google on development of systems to track and log soft skills among enrolled students. I discuss these initiatives in this post.
SNHU’s GEM (Global Education Movement) mastery-based degree program was initiated in 2017 in refugee camps in Lebanon and Africa. The UNHCR’s also manages a “Connected Learning In Crisis” program of badge-based education for refugees, which is affiliated with several Catholic and Jesuit institutions. All of this needs to be viewed as a mining operation where children and adults from dislocated communities are literally plugged in to generate data flows that accrue to their biometric ID, establishing their digital reputation with the understanding that one day they may be released back into the real world.
Source: Southern New Hampshire University’s Competency-Based Education For Refugees Initiative
Source: Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium
The New Economic Model Is Shared Surveillance Branded as a “Data Commons”
The intent of manufactured communities like charter cities is ostensibly to improve economic productivity and well-being while reducing poverty. In the clip below from 2013, George Soros talks about his Institute for New Economic Thinking, which spent the past decade funding experts in the academy, paying them to conceptualize a new game of global economics to be built on cybernetic social impact finance and closing wealth gaps. The project lead is Lord Adair Turner, former head of the UK Financial Services Authority, who managed the aftermath of the 2008 global banking crisis in England.
Source: George Soros on Why We Have to Rethink Economics, Institute for New Economic Thinking, 2013
Paul Romer won the 2018 Nobel Prize in economics when he was teaching at the NYU Stern Business School. NYU is a major player in data-driven “what works” government through the GovLab based out of the Tandon School of Engineering. It is this government policy infrastructure that will pave the way for the “new economic thinking” described above. The prize was for Romer’s work in endogenous growth theory that states growth is best achieved through investment in people that will generate innovative ideas and new technologies. Human capital management is a core element of this proposal. Romer noted that he sought input from James Heckman.
Although I don’t fully understand it yet, the concept of “non-rival goods” that Romer proposes feels important. This is a paper he wrote on “Endogenous Technological Change” in 1990 for the Journal of Political Economy. Feel free to look it over and drop your thoughts in the comments. My sense is that this conceptual framework would be applicable to open source software (Linux in a major player in digital ID), the so-called “open” Metaverse (NVIDIA and Cesium), and digital public goods (Norway) meant to open low and middle countries up to the global data economy – economic liberalization for the Web 3.0 era.
As I’ve mentioned often, the growth imperative of capitalism demands creation of a digital empire before the Ponzi scheme falls apart. That empire will be made up of ideas and information. Those who aspire to be the next imperial rulers need for us to submit and build it for them. Unlike the colonial era in which lands lay on the horizon for the taking by force and trickery, this new world, the mixed-reality smart contract world, must first be made manifest through the organization of innumerable bits and bytes.
The pillow talk being deployed to get us to walk over to the edge of the Metaverse pit trap is that we’ll be creators, peers, members of a collective working in unity to enhance the Metaverse commons. When the harsh reality is that their plan is to use our naivete and need for belonging to turn us into piles of Soulbound Tokenized meta-data for a poker game run by techno-fascist billionaires and AI supercomputers. You see the way the story is being spun in this excerpt from P2P Foundation founder and former Belgian telecom executive Michel Bauwens 2007 “Key Theses on P2P Politics, which just happens to be eerily similar to RadicalXChange’s plans for plural property, plural money, plural voting, and plural funding.
“Our current world system is marked by a profoundly counterproductive logic of social organization:
a) It is based on a false concept of abundance in the limited material world; it has created a system based on infinite growth, within the confines of finite resources.
b) It is based on a false concept of scarcity in the infinite immaterial world (that’s mixed-reality / the Metaverse); instead of allowing continuous experimental social innovation, it purposely erects legal and technical barriers to disallow free cooperation through copyright, patents, etc.
Therefore, the number one priority for a sustainable civilization is overturning these principles into their opposite.
a) We need to base our physical economy on a recognition of the finitude of natural resources (circular economy), and achieve a sustainable steady-state economy (cybernetic homeostasis).
b) We need to facilitate free and creative cooperation and lower the barriers to such exchange by reforming the copyright and other restrictive regimes (free markets in data).
Hierarchy, markets, and even democracy are means to allocate scarce resources through authority, pricing, and negotiation; they are not necessary in the realm of the creation and free exchange of immaterial value, which will be marked by bottom-up forms of peer governance.
Markets, as means to manage scarce physical resources, are but one of the means to achieve such allocation (tokenization as alternative), and need to be divorced from the idea of capitalism, which is a system of infinite growth.
The creation of immaterial value (data economy / information economy / knowledge economy), which again needs to become dominant in a post-material world which recognized the finiteness of the material world, will be characterized by the further emergence of non-reciprocal peer production.
Peer production is a more productive system for producing immaterial value than the for-profit mode (peer to peer makes social relations visible to AI through tokenized transactions), and in cases of the asymmetric competition between for-profit companies and for-benefit institutions and communities, the latter will tend to emerge.
Peer production produces more social happiness (well-being metrics for pay for success finance and to train cyber-physical systems how to be more “human”), because 1) it is based on the highest form of individual motivation, nl. intrinsic positive motivation; 2) it is based on the highest form of collective cooperation, nl. synergistic cooperation characterized by four wins (the participants x2, the community, the universal system).”
Two interesting and related side notes:
- The techno-libertarian Holon future of free market peer-to-peer exchange is embodied in Daniel Suarez’s two books “Daemon” and “Freedom,” reviewed here by the P2P Foundation in 2010.
- Bauwens operates out of Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand, the mountainous former center of the Lanna Thai kingdom and home to ornate temples. Which based on conversations with my dear friend Deepti in Goa, India brings to mind a quote from Lincoln Cannon, member of the Mormon Transhumanist Association: “Maybe you just don’t see anything in this picture that you recognize as technology.”
Source: How To Raise The Dead By Lincoln Cannon, 2019
I haven’t had a chance to do more than skim it, but Nicholas Negroponte’s 1995 “Being Digital” appears to be a very accessible entry point into the physics of the information economy. Thanks Sebs for bringing it to my attention in your recent post about BRICs.
The planned future revolves around a knowledge economy, which is swiftly morphing into a data economy, which in turn rests on social impact finance, perpetual re-skilling to compete against AI, and health surveillance that legitimizes coerced bodily intake of the torrent of synthetic-biological “knowledge” churned out by thousands of biotech ventures. Romer’s theory of growth promotes investment in education, healthcare, and telecommunications, which on the surface sounds good. What they don’t say is that measuring returns on these investments will require the invasive use of Internet of Bodies wearables and biometric identity linked to your education and health records.
While teaching at Stanford, Romer developed an online homework assignment platform, Aplia, bought out by Cengage in 2007. So, he practices what he preaches. Ed-tech is an enormous area for investment as evidenced by BlackRock’s recent launch of a new entertainment/education-themed ETF (exchange traded fund) called PLAY that tracks stocks in the ed-tech, gaming, and digital device sectors. This new global economy of “ideas,” seems to be apps and games, while the future of “work” is navigating games under digital surveillance. I’m sure it sounded better to Romer back in the early 1980s when he was writing his dissertation. I imagine his outlook is closely aligned with the tenets of the United Nations and World Bank-affiliated Learning Economy Foundation. Learning Economy joined the UN’s ID2020 program six months after Romer stepped down from his position of chief economist at the World Bank.
Source: Is Education The New Currency? BBC, February 2020
Charter cities, built from the ground up with smart infrastructure, will become glorified Skinner boxes. Sidortsov also thought it would be useful for UN Peacekeeping Forces to get involved setting up these new settlements, because if international energy firms can own large tracts of land in developing nations, why not the United Nations? It’s such an honorable project, who could possibly refuse?
“As I noted above, Romer is currently trying to persuade leaders of developing countries to invest into charter cities. However, his idea should be appealing to a much broader audience. Charter cities present a rare “triple dividend” solution of environmental, sociopolitical, and economic problems. This makes charter cities a primary goal for international aid funds of various flags and colors. For example, refugee camps provide a temporary yet critical solution of humanitarian crisis. However, they depend on international aid and do not provide a permanent solution, whereas charter cities do. On the climate change front, a charter city can be a perfect candidate for a carbon offset project and can be funded through the newly established Green Climate Fund. Finally, because a charter city creates a mechanism for sustainable economic growth, it should be a primary target for economic aid. Overall, investments in charter cities are a much more effective and productive way to distribute $120 billion that developed countries spend on international aid.
Charter cities present a unique opportunity as a test bed for the “new economy” ideas reflected in the works of several authors. Free of public pressure, the governing body can internalize environmental costs by shifting tax burden from payrolls to carbon and other pollutants. As the German energy tax experience shows, such a shift spurs “green” economic growth and innovation. Because a charter city or village will be planned completely or almost completely from scratch, “smart” urban design and permaculture principles will be utilized. Finally, sustainable charter cities can serve as hubs for new business organization forms such as for-benefit-corporations.” Source
Sidortsov then goes on to say that while some worry cities run on public-private partnerships risk subsuming the public sector entirely, we shouldn’t be concerned, because there are models like Mondragon in the Basque region of Spain that generate strong economic growth. More on Mondragon Corporation in the next part, 15B.
Mondragon, Focolare, and Inclusive Capitalism – Synthetic Pretenders Part 15B
We’ll delve deeper in the next section when we discuss the model global cooperative Mondragon Corporation, but for now, make a note that while situated five hours across the peninsula on the Mediterranean side of Spain, Catalonia has synergy with developments in Basque Country.
For the past decade, the idea of applying collective ownership and governance principles to digital platforms has gained momentum, notably in the “rebel” ultra-smart city Barcelona where Francesca Bria, formerly of NESTA, vigorously promoted the digital sovereignty of citizens through cooperative ownership of data. In this scenario the “renegade” Left is used as a counterweight to establishment neoliberalism, shoring up the technological imperative to dominate the natural world into synthetic submission. They promise that theirs will be a kinder, gentler AI that really, really cares about us and about solving inequality – in a Fabian Socialist / Libertarian paternalistic kind of way.
Illustrative of this mentality is a May 2022 article featuring the “rebel city” touting adoption by their Urban Innovation Lab of coastal drone surveillance as a tool to “improve management of public space.” Sure, you can go to the beach, presuming you agree to follow an ever-changing list of rules. We’re supposed to feel reassured by the fact that the data is supposed to be anonymized. I don’t think people will forget, however, the use of drones to police social distancing over the past few years.
Source: Drones Flying Over Catalonia’s Beaches To Enforce Social Distancing As COVID Rates Soar, July 2021
The following is taken from “Building Digital Cities From The Ground Up Based Around Data Sovereignty and Participatory Democracy: The Case of Barcelona,” prepared by Francesca Bria in 2019 when she was Chief Technology Officer of the city having come from London where digital identity and social innovation were her areas of expertise:
“They can run smart, data-intensive, algorithmic public transportation, housing, health and education – all based on a logic of solidarity, social cooperation, and collective rights.”
“Barcelona is actively forging alternative municipal alliances of rebel cities, becoming a key site of struggles to fight climate change, build more liveable and just cities, and regain technological sovereignty.”
“Barcelona’s digital city efforts have centred on opening up governance through participatory processes and greater transparency. At the core of Barcelona’s model is a large scale participatory experiment powered by a digital participatory platform, Decidim (“We Decide”, in Catalan), which enables citizens to shape government policies by suggesting ideas, debating them, and voting on them. Decidim taps into the collective intelligence of citizens to create policies that better respond to their needs.”
“We focused on aligning the technology with the city’s core policy objectives selected through a large-scale participatory democracy process. In the case of Barcelona, affordable housing, healthcare for all, sustainable mobility, energy transition, increased public space and the fight against climate change are the top priorities.”
“Now the renewable energy operator is experimenting with distributed energy grid technology and with applications that allow citizens to own their energy consumption data.”
“The use of an open sensors city infrastructure called Sentilo and big data analytics makes it possible to define and predict better public mobility policies, and measure the urban impact of evidence-based policymaking.”
“Now, for instance, the municipality has a large contract with Vodafone by which every month the company is obliged to give back machine-readable data to the city hall, while also making sure they encrypt the data to preserve citizens’ privacy.”
“Alternative models of service provision are being fostered via the creation of special funds for platform cooperatives and digital social innovation, supported by an EU initiative that has channelled €60m in the last few years towards experimenting with next-generation digital platforms that work for the public interest.”
“Barcelona leads a network of rebel cities, “Fearless Cities”, that is adopting tools and experiments in open democracy and data protection. The first conference was hosted in the city last year, bringing together more than 180 cities from 40 countries and five continents.”
“Barcelona is the coordinator of the DECODE project, the biggest EU effort to establish a framework for data sovereignty, aiming to develop open source, decentralised, privacy-enhancing and rights-preserving technologies for citizens to decide what kind of data they want to keep private, what data they want to share, with whom, and on what terms. This proposes a new social pact — a New Deal on data that we hope will soon become a reality in many cities across the world.”
In addition to the city of Barcelona, DECODE’s partners include: Arduino – advanced cyber-physical infrastructure based in New York; ThoughtWorks – Chicago-headquartered Agile software consulting acquired by Ronald Cohen’s Apax Partners in 2017; NESTA – UK Social Innovation Lab; Thingful – search engine for IoT connected devices in a geography based in London; University College London Information Security and Research Group – end-to-end cryptography for societal uses; the Economic Center of the Sorbonne (CNRS); Dribia – geolocation data analytics in Barcelona; Eurecat! – industrial technology R&D center with bio-tech in Catalonia; Open University of Catalonia – Human Computer Interaction and Digital Commoning; Nexa Center for Internet and Society in Turin, Italy; Amsterdam – the other pilot city; Dyne.org – open-source software foundry in the Netherlands; Privacy and Identity Lab at Radboud University in Nijmegen, NL; and Waag FutureLab – promoting a Planet B proposal for decentralized tech in Amsterdam. The framework DECODE lays out is aligned with assertions of data dignity and plural property being promoted by RadicalXChange, developers of Soulbound Tokens.
Bria has since left Barcelona to head the Italian National Innovation Fund and consult with UN Habitat on smart cities. They mean for us to become “sovereign” citizens of the planetary computer. They’re giving us two options: 1) allow tech giants to control our data or 2) agree to become data commodities inhabiting a world of total surveillance. Both models are grounded in digital empire and conquest of natural systems. There are other options that would not require us to submit ourselves to the AI gods, and we need to be advocating for them now. With all the talk of social credit scoring, we should remember that vulnerable populations, including children, are on the front lines of the social impact data commodities game.
With a deft sleight of hand, platform cooperative refugees could wind up contingent remote labor even as they’re publicly lauded as empowered token-holders with a stake in the brutal fiction that is the twenty-first century data economy. That’s what the “impact economy” looks like. Don’t get caught up in their manipulative interactive digital storytelling. Unfortunately, most of us are pretty easy to fool. We don’t want to face the horror that we may ALL end up living in a cross between Black Mirror’s “Nosedive” episode and Ira Levin’s “Stepford Wives.”
Source: Bringing the Platform Co-op “Rebel Cities” Together: An Interview with Trebor Scholz
Mondragon, Focolare, and Capitalism’s Catholic Makeover
Currently one of the largest companies in Spain, Mondragon Corporation started out in the 1950s as an effort of Catholic social teaching by Father Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta who combined technical education with a worker-centered model that remade the metalworking industry that had been the community’s economic engine since the middle ages. Laminates was one of their products – sheet metal, which is interesting given the ties to Lamina1 and lamins I wrote about in a previous piece.
The priest’s legacy is one of a vanguard entrepreneur who sought to go “beyond a mercantile and economic society dedicated to satisfying the private interests of its investors” to “spearhead a complex social movement based on principles of self-management, subordination of capital to labour and Christian communitarian ethics,” establishing a cooperative model that by the 1950s “included real estate, sports, educational, cultural and health services.” Sociologist C. George Benello includes a chapter on Mondragon in his 1993 book, “From the Ground Up: Essays on Grassroots and Workplace Democracy,” that traces Mondragon’s influence to the creation of a cooperative cabinet post in Mitterand’s France, projects with the Welsh Trade Council, England’s Job Ownership Movement, and the establishment of progressive Catholic worker organizations in Detroit, Milwaukee, and Boston.
The United Nations designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives.
Source: UN International Year of Cooperatives
The online Christian newsletter Aleteia published “Mondragon and the Other Fr. Jose Maria.” The article opened contrasting Arizmendiarrieta with St. Josemaría Escrivá who founded Opus Dei, an influential and secretive fraternity of Catholic lay people and affiliated priests. Opus Dei began in 1928 and expanded to include the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross in 1943, the same year that Mondragon Technical College was started. Arizmendiarrieta was seventeen years Escriva’s junior; though the careers of the two Spanish priests coincided for three decades.
Elias Crim, author of the piece, sought to unite the distinct outlooks of the two men, one conservative and the other socially progressive (though within the existing capitalist model), under the umbrella of the Focolare Movement. Focolare translates to “hearth” or “fireside” in English and has the goal of universal Christian brotherhood. It was started by Chiara Lubich, a teacher from Trent, northern Italy, in 1943. The group was first acknowledged by Pope Paul XIII, “the Good Pope” as the “Work of Mary.” During his period of leadership Paul XIII modernized the church; dialogued with communist nations and Eastern Orthodox churches; increased the number of bishops to 85 and appointed representatives from Africa, Japan and the Philippines. He also called the Second Vatican Council in 1962. Additional approvals were given to Focolare by his successor Pope Paul VI. The movement spread to over 180 countries and now and has over two million practitioners and twenty-five “little towns.” Among them is Marianapolis Luminosa in Hyde Park, NY where the New City Press is based, one of twenty Focolare-affiliated publishers. That press has a new book series out titled MAGENTA meant to build bridges and address “polarization.”
Focolare embodies “Evangelii Gaudium,” a new era of evangelization by lay people. There is a center for Evangelii Gaudium at the University Institute Sophia, which became the successor to the Abba school in 2007. Lubich created the Abba School in 1990 with support from The Pontifical Council for the Laity to promote the charism “spiritual gift” of theological unity and “cultural potentiality.” The organization maintains an ecumenical outlook with an emphasis on Marian devotion.
“Volunteers of God” organized at a Parish level take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. Since 1963, its base of operations has been Rocca di Papa outside Rome. Lubich created three “Gen” programs for youth and then combined them as the “New Humanity” in 1966 followed by a “New Families Movement” the following year.
While undertaking “solidarity” work in Poland in the late 1970s, Focolare members met in secret with Archbishop Karol Wojtyla who was so impressed with Chiara’s writings that he invited her to meet with him shortly after he became pope. The following except is taken from the Focolare website:
“Before his election to Pontificate, Karol Wojtyla only knew Chiara through her writings. As soon as he became Pope he wanted to meet her. I was visiting Rome in that period and I received a phone call from the Pope’s secretary Stanislaw Dziwisc who I knew very well. He told me that the Holy Father wanted to invite Chiara and I to his mass the next day at 7.
Chiara, Eli Folonari and I left very early in the morning.As you can imagine we were very excited. When we arrived we saw that the platforms for the Conclave were still in place and so we had to take a longer path to get to the Pope’s apartment. That mass in the Pope’s private chapel is still vivid in my soul. There was such a special atmosphere of recollection, a presence of God. Along with the Pope, Don Stanislaw and the three of us there were only 2 or 3 Polish sisters.
After Mass the Holy Father greeted Chiara. I still remember with what high regard and great love he addressed her. He asked if he could have a map showing the different places where the Movement was present: “So that I can know where to lean on!” he said. It was the beginning of a special friendship, of an ever stronger unity between two people called on by God to do great works, two people to whom God gave two gifts for the Church and for all of humanity”.
The fact that Focolare’s global footprint expanded significantly under the protective wing of Pope John Paul II is notable. During his first decade as pope, the Catholic Church played an influential role in Polish politics as defined by Lech Walesa’s “Solidarity” trade-union social movement. In retrospect, what was portrayed as a grassroots worker movement had the involvement of US interests through the AFL-CIO and the CIA as well as clergy whose goals were to advance a nationalist conservatism. In the end, Poland’s economy was opened just in time to be eviscerated by neoliberalism and globalization.
The government repression workers sought to escape simply transformed into capitalist disciplining, leaving many Poles in poverty during the closing years of the twentieth century. More market shaping for a post-human economic framework where benefit corporations can pretend to care about people while milking them for poverty-compliance data to run the information economy. We now see “solidarity economy” messaging and a focus on platform cooperatives setting the stage for social impact finance, stakeholder capitalism, and cybernetic circular economies. In the May 2020 report below, funded by the (Klaus) Schwab Foundation in partnership with the World Economic Forum, “solidarity economy” was used interchangeably with “social economy” throughout.
Source: Unlocking the Social Economy, Towards an Inclusive and Resilient Society
I find it very odd that this teacher from a rural area, Chiara Lubich, was catapulted to such prominence after WWII, eventually gaining audiences with religious leaders from around the world including: Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury; Athenagoras I of Constantinople who helped write the Catholic-Orthodox Joint Declaration of 1965; Bishop Klaus Hemmerle, Bishop of Aachen, Germany; Nikkyo Niwano, founder of the Buddhist lay movement Rissho Kosei-kai; and the Supreme Patriarch of Thai Buddhism Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara. She gave presentations all over the world from the United Nations to the Malcolm X Mosque. At a conference for the 50th anniversary of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France she presented on “A Market-based Society, Democracy, and Solidarity.” They may speak of love, unity, and harmony, but it’s actually about leveraging markets to attain a global heart-mind synthesis those in power believe will lead to a new phase of bio-digital evolution and the emergence of a World Brain.
There are critics. It is said that Focolare adherents are expected to exhibit self-denial and center themselves almost exclusively on the words and ideas of Chiara Lubich. There was child sexual abuse. Certain Catholics were also skeptical of the influence of Focolare and other organizations of the Neocatechumenal Way that held sway over John Paul II, though they held Opus Dei above critique. A number of Jesuits have actively opposed Lubich’s beatification.
Source: Focolare Condolences on Death of Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, Spanish Bishop and Head of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus De
Selling Sacred Economies
In 1977 Chiara was awarded the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion in London, an event attended by Prince Philip. The presentation was made at Guildhall, the ceremonial administrative building for the City of London and its Corporation, which feels significant. John Templeton made his fortune as a contrarian mutual fund investor turned philanthropist who had a keen interest in character education, planned reproduction, free markets, genius, religion, and theoretical physics. He became a UK citizen in the 1980s after moving to Nassau in the Bahamas and was knighted for his charity work by Queen Elizabeth II in 1987. At the close of her acceptance speech, Lubich quoted the Converso Spanish mystic John of the Cross, who worked with Teresa of Avila to “reform” the Carmelite order in the late sixteenth century: “Where you do not find love, put love and you will find love.” They do seem to know the power of love.
Source: Today, We Remember Chiara Lubich, Founder of Italy’s Focolare Movement, John Templeton Foundation
Focolare members gathered in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1991 to launch the Economy of Communion, (EOC) a premise that involves private enterprise solving social problems. Business owners, workers, and customers dedicate a portion of their profits to uplift people out of poverty. The effort promotes “vaccines for all,” climate-related investing, and an examination of individual behaviors around people and the planet in a spiritual context.
Last October Fordham University hosted a four-part series on EOC with Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs. Sachs, an economist specializing in the transition from planned to market-based economies, is president of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and chair of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission. He’s been an advisor to UN Secretaries General António Guterres and General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals and played an advisory role in the transition of Poland’s economy in the 1980s. Over a thousand corporations have signed onto the Economy of Communion. While their website isn’t all that impressive, the involvement of Fordham and Sachs says something. There’s also a rather strange 2018 paper published in the International Journal of Engineering and Technology sponsored by the Seoul National University of Science and Technology that calls the Economy of Communion “a new ideal economy.” That’s the actual title of the paper and it feels very cybernetic / circular economy / systems engineering. It’s clear how that outlook meshes with the Vatican endorsement of Inclusive Capitalism in December 2020 and the mobilization of Catholic investment dollars behind social impact investing.
Source: The Economy of Communion As The New Ideal Economy
Elias Crim, the Aleteia author, wrote about EoC in 2014 under the headline “Economics As If People Mattered.” 2014 was also the year that the Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative (CIIC) was established. Patricia Dinneen, affiliated with the Boston Archdiocese and lead on impact investing for Catholic Relief Services, chairs that organization. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania, the London School of Economics, and MIT, she held positions in international telecommunications, the White House, and RAND before entering into private equity managing emerging markets in BRICs nations and heading the advisory council for the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association. The following is an excerpt from Crim’s article about Focolare and the origins of EoC:
“When Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus appeared in 1991, some American observers read it as a break with Church tradition, suggesting it somehow endorsed a particular set of economic arrangements—i.e., those of American-style free market capitalism, also known as neoliberalism. Focolare’s founder, Chiara Lubich, read the document rather differently—perhaps more presciently, in fact. She did not read the Pope as bestowing a blessing on “business as usual.” Instead, she saw him calling for a social economy that was capable of orienting capitalistic society toward the common good rather than individualistic consumerism.
The future pope’s interest in the meeting and in Focolare generally was due to the heightened awareness of this group to the interrelationship between spirituality and socioeconomic life. The Focolare movement’s special charism of unity, one which grew to include an “economy of the gift,” with its values of cooperation, sharing and justice, was extending outward from an initial focus on family life to an influence upon the larger community. This relational economy was indeed a form of capitalism but with a strong emphasis on the human person rather than on a deterministic confidence in an “invisible hand.” Source
Why is Crim so interested in this topic? Well, he’s a Chicago-based writer who is currently founding editor of Ownership Matters, a bi-weekly newsletter focused on impact investing, racial equity, and the solidarity economy. He previously managed a $2 million US Department of Education Grant for character education in Chicago schools; founded Solidarity Hall a podcast and publisher featuring works on radical Christianity, the New Economy, and localism, and assisted Molly Burhans’s on her Good Lands project to map Catholic holdings and make land “work for good,” featured in The New Yorker. Yes, we are supposed to believe a young college student just happened to be staying at a Rome hostel, cold-called Vatican officials, and got the chance to pitch her cartographic database skills. Ah, narrative shaping.
See how the story is used to package free-market exchange as the gift economy or sacred economics? As the age of cybernetic enclosures and programmable finance tightens its grip on refugees, the poor, and those thrown out of work by economic upheaval, propagandists are working overtime to convince us that disruption is merely the opening act for an age of digital abundance – no mention of the ubiquitous surveillance that’s being baked into the transition.
Source: Celo on Sacred Economics
A current example is this duplicity is Yale alumnus, Charles Eisentein, author and speaker on Eastern spiritual teachings, indigenous culture, ecology, and the new economy, who recently made common cause with Celo, a social impact “regenerative finance” company that’s doing the full court press to convince the world that “beautiful money” is the wave of the future.
During the global lockdowns Celo took the opportunity, in partnership with Impact Market, “A Decentralized Poverty Alleviation Protocol,” to seed a future customer base for Universal Basic Income. Impact Market is already active in the refugee space in Africa. Celo’s project involved a 30-year old traditional weaving cooperative (yes, cooperative) in the Philippines that became destabilized when the tourist economy was taken out. The program offered members, mostly women with children at home, a small monthly stipend to offset their losses. First, however, they had to obtain smartphones (mostly from their children) and learn the ropes of digital money and Valora wallets.
Valora is a peer-to-peer payment system based in San Francisco that completed a $20 million funding round led by blockchain/crypto VC Marc Andreessen. In a recent interview with The Rogan Experience, Andreessen discussed the importance of Metcalfe’s Law, X-Squared. Every connection you make to the network doubles its perceived value. This is the economic imperative, beyond social control, that lies behind the “no one gets left behind in mixed reality” campaign. Jason Bosch, Lynn Davenport and I unpack that interview here.
Source: How Celo Powered A Small Community of Philippine Weavers To Access International Markets, January 2022
Source: Kotani Pay Partners With Rio and Impact Market To Enable UBI Payments to Refugees In Africa
Source: A16z Leads $20M Bet That Celo’s Valora Becomes A “Global Gateway To Crypto, July 2021
Celo’s founder and spokesperson is Sep Kamvar, the guy who invented Google’s page rank algorithm and, while working as the head of MIT’s Social Computing Group, started a Montessori-inspired pre-k franchise (Wildflower) where children had to wear slippers with sensors in them so adults could track their social behaviors and what toys they played with in school. Oh, and there were also artificial vision cameras mounted on the ceiling that fed data to dashboards on each child.
Eisenstein has not responded to repeated Tweets asking him to clarify his relationship with Kamvar and Celo and to explain how the company’s use of his “Sacred Economics” branding is compatible with the heartfelt blog posts he writes about protesting digital futures.
These characters are working all the angles to sell the masses on tokenized cooperatives as a wholesome remedy to the current brutal economic landscape. It’s not. For me it’s a gut-punch to see that so many supporters refuse to look at the facts and hold individuals and institutions whether Catholic, or New Age, or something else accountable for the deceptions they’re so deftly spinning.
Source: @Philly852 Tweet to Charles Eisenstein, May 19, 2022
Source: @Philly852 Sep Kamvar Tweet, May 19, 2022
Source: @Philly852 Tweet to Charles Eistenstein, June 23, 2022
In a Basque Village – Education for Liberation or Impact?
Mondragon gained attention in the 1970s as a singular example of the unification of social justice with theology, worker empowerment through education. The firm has grown to include two hundred and eighty companies employing eighty one thousand people in forty one different countries. Its products have moved far beyond sheet metal, paraffin heaters, and office furniture of seventy years ago. Now it specializes in automated production lines for automotive and energy system fabrication. It also advocates circular economy practices.
Source: Cooperative Economies in a Global Age, Thesis Stefan Siebel, RMIT University 2016
Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, the Jesuit founder of Mondragon cooperative, was a seminarian during the Spanish Civil War and part of the Vitoria Priests’ Movement, guided by the teaching of Spanish Renaissance theologian and jurist Francisco de Vitoria. His training focused on Catholic social teaching grounded in the Rerum Novarum, rights and duties of capital and labor. Dominican Thomist scholar Tommaso Maria Zigliara prepared the encyclical that was issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 to address suffering of workers caused by industrialization, a response to rising socialist sentiment that threatened to undermine the influence of church and uplift state power. The document reasserted the importance of private property while laying out responsibilities of employers to provide dignified work suited to each person’s capacity and for labor to refrain from violence and complete their tasks diligently. The Basque priest internalized the ideal of hard work for the collective good being a tool of economic and spiritual liberation. He was taught by his mentor Rufino Aldabalde that the exclusion of God from society through industrialization and secularization had led to the Second World War.
Another influence on Arizmendiarrieta was Clement Atlee, UK Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955. Atlee was Deputy Prime Minister under Churchill in 1942 and later presided over the partition of India. This was the era in which Michael Dunlop Young, father of social entrepreneurship in England, shaped the agenda of Labour, including the creation of the National Health Service. This influence led Arizmendiarrieta to endorse the public-private partnership model, which he used in the development of a TB treatment facility and early housing cooperative.
Source: Atlee and Churchill in 1946 from “Labour Battles Over Its Own History Hoping for 1945 And All That,” Financial Times Op-Ed November 2021
In their 2008 profile, “The Origins of Mondragon: Catholic Co-Operativism and Social Movement in a Basque Valley (1941-59)” sociologists Fernando Molina and Antonio Miguez state that Arizmendiarrieta had a desire to create a “new Christian order” where through proper education and training, Basque peasants could be morally transformed while building a “communitarian Christian practice of worker solidarity” that would “give them equal footing with their bosses and break the ruling-class structure.” When he arrived, the town was dealing with the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, which divided the community. The town’s economy revolved around Union Cerrajera, a sheet metal company. Children of the elite had access to education and apprenticeship programs that enabled those in the network to control managerial jobs, while the rest had few opportunities for advancement.
The priest sought to mobilize the youth through sports and Catholic volunteer programs. He was very successful at shaping public opinion, having refined his skills in narrative crafting while working at a Basque Nationalist newspaper, Eguna, during his seminary years. Arizmendiarrieta targeted young men he felt could be molded to become “redeemers of their class,” and hosted weekly discussions on “private property, capital and labour, social justice, or novel Catholic social theories such as the ‘dual salary’, which sought to divide salaries into a portion for consumption and another for investment.” The priest centered the idea of emancipatory education and dignified work promoted by French Catholic philosophers Jean Leclerq, French Benedictine monk known for writing “The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture“ and Jacques Maritain a Thomist who help develop the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Emphasis was placed on learning in the service of others, which supported the eventual expansion of the Mondragon cooperative model.
Source: 2018 Documentary of Arizmendiarrieta’s Life, El Hombre Cooperativo
With support from local businesses, Arizmendiarrieta launched the Professional School of Mondragon with the goal of “socializing knowledge to democratize power.” Technical education and training has always been a central feature of the Mondragon program, which is important to remember as we consider the place of this model in human capital re-skilling tied to data-driven investments by social entrepreneurs today, not to mention the meta-data captured from online learning that is being leveraged to train our AI replacements.
While the priest had hoped to be able to change the corporate culture of Union Cerrajera from within by training up through subsidization of the education of a cohort of young managers, he was not successful. In 1956, a group broke off and petitioned to create a new Christian company, Ulgor. Their first product line was kerosene stoves. The business thrived under Spain’s Stabilization Plan enacted by Franco in 1959 that backed-off the dictator’s previous efforts at autarchy, industrial self-sufficiency, and began to liberalize the country’s economy allowing for growth in exports. Over time Mondragon expanded production to include a range of home appliances.
The education component remained central with three interrelated programs that operated in affiliation with the University of the Basque Country for its first four decades. Mondragon University was incorporated as an independent university in 1997. Today it hosts 4,000 students studying engineering, business, entrepreneurship, communication, gastronomy, education, cooperativism, and social innovation. The school partners with ESADE, Spain’s influential Jesuit-affiliated MBA program second only to IESE, the Opus Dei-affiliate. Together ESADE and IESE hold substantial sway over business operations in Spain, maintaining extensive alumni networks that include over a quarter of the board members of the Ibex 35, the index of Spain’s principal stock exchange, with particular representation in the telecommunications sector. ESADE created a Center for Social Impact in 2017. In 2020 ESADE joined with Comillas Universidad Pontificia and Universidad de Deusto, two other Jesuit institutions, to create a special post-graduate program of study for international management with a focus on helping others through the development of social impact enterprises.
Source: Twitter ESADE Study Abroad Partnership with Mondragon University
A credit union was added in 1959, Caja Laboral Popular. Its descendant, Laboral Kutxa, has 400 offices and is the third largest credit union in Spain. The credit union was vital to business expansion, because each member business would put forty-percent of their after-tax profits into funds for research through the university or solidarity. The remainder, after a ten-percent distribution to charity, was deposited to cover worker pensions. All of the funds held could then be used to offer low-rate loans to support business expansion (page 122) among members.
Given the amount of funding that is anticipated to run through human capital-related projects Mondragon Corporation could be in a position to channel a lot of money through worker re-skilling at their technical university. The financial infrastructure is already in place, integrated into the program from the beginning, and complements their history of faith-based philanthropy. I think a similar dynamic linking wellbeing metrics and human capital investments could be in play in the United States with plans for public banking.
Source: Inclusive Capitalism About
Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the religious order of the Society of Jesus or Jesuits, was born in Azpeitia. He was the most famous Catholic priest from the Basque region. Pope Francis, of course, is the first Jesuit pope, one with some skeletons in his closet from Argentina’s Dirty Wars. Pope Francis has thus far issued three encyclicals: 1) Evangelii Gaudium, in 2007 that announced a new era of evangelism in which Chapter 4 speaks specifically about care for the weak and poor; 2) Laudato Si in 2015 critiquing consumerism and advancing environmental and climate concerns; and 3) Gaudete et exultate, a universal call to holiness in 2018. The following paragraph is taken from a website promoting the canonization of Arizmendiarrieta, which is consistent with stakeholder capitalism:
“The basis of the Christian endeavour he founded was “a group of young people, who are very good Christians, and I would even go so far as to say they are good apostles”. He wished to fulfill the dictate made by Pope Pious XI in his encyclical “Quadragesimo Anno”. The result, following on from the Professional School, was the creation of ULGOR, the San José cooperative society (which would later become Eroski), the Caja Laboral savings bank and other cooperative enterprises. He considered that “the workers will not believe in the Church’s social doctrine if they cannot see it put into practice through work for society”. And he added “The cooperative formula requires human activity in order to share and implement higher human values, and work, capital and organisation are therefore not its ends in themselves, but means for better serving human interests“. Source
In the United States, quite a few of the institutions at the forefront of advancing social impact finance, digital governance, and data analytics are affiliated with the Jesuits: Santa Clara University, Gonzaga University, Boston College, Fordham University, Loyola University, and Georgetown University. In my opinion the Jesuit’s history of mass conversion of colonized people through control of labor for large-scale agricultural projects, standardized education, and enforced faith practices cannot be discounted moving forward. Look to the history of the original people and enslaved Africans that Jesuits used to subjugate the lands of Brazil and their use of aldeias, small villages designed to instill new social norms.
“For the Indians the aldeias meant a new and inhabit living space. The customs as well as the structural layout of the village must have been very strange for the Indios (given their previous living environment). Besides the living conditions, the aldeias created a new identity for the people. The all-encompassing concept ‘Aldeia-Indian’ was created and applied to Indians from different tribes, with different cultures and languages. For the Jesuits the aldeias represented spaces for realizing a utopia which they already formulated in Europe. (Krumpel 1992) The missionary movement was strengthened in the counter-reform to fight Evangelization, so the Jesuits saw in the peoples, who were discovered during the Portuguese expansionist movement, an opportunity to shape Christianity and form a catholic community free from the problems which suffered the church at home in Europe. Because of this plan to create a purer and better Christianity abroad, the Jesuits in Brazil tried to keep a strategic alliance with the Portuguese Crown. Like the priest Antonio Viera said, they dreamed of creating a worldwide realm of Portuguese Catholicism.” Page 7
I imagine these are not so different from Focolare towns or charter cities for refugees. The networked built environment will be constructed with encoded social values and used to attempt to transition us from our original biological state to Nicholas Berggruen’s planned transition to holographic life. Continued in Part 3, Mondragon, Tokenized Cooperatives, and Moral Markets.
Tokenized Co-Ops and “Moral” Markets – Synthetic Pretenders Part 15C
Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and Columbia University professor, paid visits to Mondragon in 2005 and 2018. He was looking at worker-owned cooperatives as a possible tool to resolve economic disparities created by capitalism. UN Sustainable Goal 8 is decent work and economic growth. In a 2020 New York Times article, “Co-ops in Spain’s Basque Region Soften Capitalism’s Rough Edges,” Amal Chevrau of the OECD was quoted: “Mondragón is one of the landmarks of the social economy movement because of its scale.”
Source: Mondragon Timeline 2005, “Joseph Stiglitz (Fourth from the Left)
Peter Goodman, author of the piece, goes on to say the co-op model is suited to a new corporate outlook that asserts the importance of stakeholders, not just shareholders. The Business Roundtable affirmed this position in an August 2019 press release clarifying the purpose of a corporation. Cooperatives have been positioned as tools to meet targets for UN SDG 8 as seen in “The Mondragon Case: Companies Addressing Social Impact and Dialogic Methodologies.” The following is taken from the OECD social impact measurement policy paper:
“Indeed, cooperatives have taken the lead in adopting appropriate indicators to capture their impacts in terms of social inclusion, well-being and community engagement. To be responsive the specificities and goals of Italian Work Integration, Social Cooperatives have developed a dedicated model with indicators on well-being and personal growth, which are operationalised through psychosocial perceptions of vulnerable people after their work experience in social cooperatives (e.g. trust in their abilities, happiness with their lives, enthusiasm and commitment to work). In Canada, the Urban Institute’s ABC of Co-op Impact identifies metrics to measure the community impact of cooperatives compared to other forms of businesses. Democratic governance and member empowerment in particular are identified as distinguishing features of cooperatives compared to for-profit companies. Similarly, the Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Cooperatives has developed a set of key performance indicators along the domains voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training and information, and concern for community.” Page 39
Here’s how the sausage gets made. To those who know nothing of platform cooperatives, tokenization, and impact finance it probably sounds benevolent and hopeful. I think, however, that if you review the topics and framing of these blog posts prepared by the Platform Cooperative Consortium carefully, you’ll see that their economy that “puts people first” has chosen that tactic, because the new economy demands everyone’s data.
Yes, they pay lip-service to the fact that you will own your own data and be able to participate in governance through awarded tokens, but the truth is that mixed reality is not a game created by the masses for their benefit. This is made very clear by the fact that the sole funder of the Platform Cooperativism Consortium is Google – a $1 million grant in 2018. The fact that this NGO’s headquarters is one block away from Union Square, a landmark for labor organizing and free speech in the United States, is a slap in the face to all who made sacrifices for workers’ rights.
Source: Platform Co-ops in Action, Platform Cooperativism Consortium Blog Posts
Source: PCC Affiliates – US, UK, Kenya, Germany, and Australia, plus Michel Bauwens P2P Foundation
Source: Platform Cooperativism Consortium Building With Union Square Park, Historic Site of Labor Organizing and Several Anti-Lockdown Rallies
Source: Sain Lopez, Platform Cooperativsim Consortium Research Fellow, Mondragon University
Source: Sole Funder of Platform Cooperativism Consortium, Google
Source: The History of Union Square, the Public Square That Hosted the First Labor Day Parade
Source: Alison McDowell;s speech at Union Square Rally, March 2021
The concept of Information Economics, the impact of asymmetrical information on markets, was developed by Stiglitz. This fixation on resolving information inefficiencies precipitated the demand that everything be measured. One way to obtain measurements, and quantification of social relations for impact, within workplaces is to turn employers into platform cooperatives and then adopt a tokenized governance model to visualize the dynamics of internal operations, including adherence to stated corporate values.
It also drives the push for finclusion of the so-called un-banked. Eliminating anonymous informal transactions is an imperative for the data economy. It is a misguided quest for full spectrum dominance of all financial activity. Nothing is meant to exist beyond the reach of, the vision of, the machine. In “Decentralization at Work: Cooperatives on the Blockchain,” Joshua Davila of dGen, a Berlin-based consultancy working on “responsible” deployment of Web 3.0 technologies describes a DisCO (Distributed Cooperative Organization) Co-op model which is like a DAO with embedded aspects of eco-feminist economics. The effort is backed by TNI, the Transnational Institute, a program of the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal global NGO advancing the “green” economy, evidence-based drug policy, effective public services, people’s rights in trade, and opposition to structures of technological control (the irony).
Source: DisCo Coop Trailer
The author of the 2019 DisCO Manifest, “If I Had A Heart” is UK artist Ruth Catlow whose work asserts the potential of networked technology for emancipation. The project prefers the words distributed over decentralized and cooperative over autonomous. Their goal is to create community algorithmic trusts, DisCO CATs, to keep track of work related to the commons including unpaid care work through love, livelihood and pro-bono credits. The latter, especially when combined with fair trade certifications, will create metrics for UN Sustainable Goal 5, Gender Equity. The first use case was a Madrid-based online service, Guerrilla Translation, that uses a platform built on Holo, a pilot for Open Value Cooperativism advanced by Michel Bauwens and the P2P Foundation through its Common Transition project.
Open Value Cooperativism tracks contribution to a project so that participants have a claim on future value created. This reminds me of the new use case being applied to impact investing – Hypercerts by San Francisco-based Protocol Labs. The model of credit streams was later applied to a regional cultural project in western Spain relating to weaving and two maker-space “Fab-Labs,” one in Zimbabwe and the other Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi. Cooperation Jackson’s Fab-Lab uses software created by the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms.
On the surface this model seems reasonable. I know several extremely talented artists and writers whose ability to continue their vital work relies on navigating an increasingly perilous maze of gig work and one-off fundraisers. Stability and camaraderie of like-minded people is something we all seek. But to me this new brand of networked emancipation will demand all participants and the communities, online and offline, in which they are situated submit to the roll out of Web 3.0.
This will bring with it all kinds of smart contracts that will embed themselves in every aspect of our lives. It is only with great effort that activists are going to be able to hold onto the fiction that blockchain tools are serving them rather than confining them. The poster children for DisCO are eclectic, artsy makers, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves the model won’t be grabbed by the tentacles of corporate ESG portfolios or used to manage refugee camps or faith-based Focolare towns.
Bauwens founded P2P in 2006 in Amsterdam and is now focused on accounting for “planetary survival.” That’s life on the ledger. His previous career was in e-commerce working for Belgium’s largest telecom company, Belgacom (now Proximus Group). Before that, he worked as a “cybrarian” for the Cold War propaganda machine USIA and as information coordinator for British Petroleum. He collaborates on “commons” issues with Vasilis Kostakis, a professor of Peer-to-Peer at Tallinn University of Technology(TalTech) in Estonia and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, and Amherst-based David Bollier, co-founder of Commons Strategies Group. Another colleague, Silke Helfrich, independent researcher with the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Mexico, which was affiliated with the German Green political party, died in an alpine hiking accident last year.
Source: A New Post-Capitalist Ecosystem of Value Creation, Stacco Troncoso Affiliated with Guerrilla Translation and Based in Spain
Cybernetic Prosperity Gospel – Virtue and FreeDOM
The emerging economic system, embedded as it is within cybernetic enclosures, is taking on an anarcho-capitalist vibe where the far Left and far right, including the religious right, converge around a shared love of decentralization and the promise of techno-liberation. Somehow both sides think they can use a “tool” of state intelligence to accomplish their preferred economic and sacred ends. Color me dubious.
Perhaps the Left will enjoy a flat-horizontal social structure with weighted “woke” values embedded in its economic transacting for a while, but only until Aladdin comes on the scene. In the same way I think the religious right imagines a future of doing well by doing good and earning enough evidence-based charity tokens to pad their heavenly portfolio without stopping to think that the creator wouldn’t blockchain people and putting your faith in technology undercuts authentic spirituality.
I see the Acton Institute’s article lauding Arizmendiarrieta as the “patron saint of Spanish entrepreneurship,” as a clear example of the latter. Acton Institute is a Grand Rapids, Michigan based think tank that advocates Judeo-Christian values embedded in free-market economics. They are affiliated with the Atlas Network, which is anti-regulation in outlook, and publish a peer-reviewed journal “Markets and Morality.”
Grand Rapids, the childhood home of Gerald Ford, is the economic hub of western Michigan with Spectrum Health System its largest employer. Amway, founded by the influential DeVos family, is located ten miles away in the suburb of Ada. The DeVos’s are major donors, handing out millions upon millions in grants to nonprofits, many in Michigan, and to the Republican party. Betsy DeVos served as chair of the Republican Party of Michigan and was appointed Secretary of Education by Trump in 2016 where she advocated for charter school expansion and school choice. Among Acton Institute’s supporters are DeVos, Eric Prince, the Kochs, and the Bradley Foundation (Birch Society affiliate). Twelve miles from downtown Grand Rapids is Cascade Township, home of an L3 Harris Technologies manufacturing plant that saw a $2.6 million expansion last year. That company is a prominent military aerospace and electrical communications contractor.
Source: Venerable Servant of God Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta: Patron Saint of Spanish Entrepreneurship, Acton Institute, June 2021
The founder of Acton Institute is Robert Sirico, a man on an unusual spiritual journey. If there were ever an embodiment of shifted polarization it would be him. Raised in Brooklyn with his recently-deceased brother and Soprano’s actor Tony Sirico, Robert separated from the Catholic Church as a youth and moved to the west coast where he became a Pentecostal minister. He then changed course and established a church ministering to the gay community in Seattle and Los Angeles. Later, upon reading Hayek and the biography of John Neumann, he turned away from those beliefs and came back to the Catholic Church, attending Catholic University and becoming ordained as a Paulist priest.
A major influence on his theoretical understanding was Catholic philosopher Michael Nowak. Nowak, a strong critic of Liberation Theology, wrote “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, which theorized that democracy was only possible within free markets and a plural, liberalistic culture. During his time on the west coast Robert Sirico was active in peace and environmentalist movements. His goal at Acton is to bridge the Left’s position on the climate with the Right to become better stewards – though to my way of thinking this has everything to do with emergent markets in ESG finance and sensor networks.
The story goes that Sirico was inspired by Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Centesimus annus, which revisited the 1891 Rerum novarum in the waning days of the Cold War. It affirmed social and economic justice but in opposition to Marxism. He came to Grand Rapids to found Action Institute with Kris Mauren, a Johns Hopkins graduate in international policy with a focus on nonprofit management and measurement. The men sought to promote virtue and freedom and honorable business practices grounded in private property rights. The organization has 50 employees, a $12 million annual budget, and maintains satellite offices in Rome and Buenos Aires. Maximilian Torres, professor of business ethics and corporate organizational measurement, connects Acton to Mondragon’s Spain and the Vatican’s inclusive capitalism. The Harvard Law alumnus took a PhD in Management at IESE in Navarre Span, an Opus Dei-affiliated institution, and taught there for a decade before coming back to Michigan where he now edits Acton’s “Journal of Markets and Morality.”
Source: Sirico and Mauren with President Ronald Reagan
Blockchain Poverty Cure?
In the spirit of the church’s social teachings, Sirico launched the Institute’s PovertyCure initiative at the Newman Centre of the University of Toronto in 2018. The program, which now has over 400 international partners in 150 countries, applies Christian-centered entrepreneurship to the problem of global poverty, fostering voluntary civil associations outside the state to promote human flourishing.
In 2014, Acton underwrote the creation of a documentary Poverty, Inc., to prepare the ground for this work. The film, which won dozens of festival awards and was recognized by the John Templeton Foundation, is a good example of impact media. The website even includes an “impact survey” to capture metrics.
People on the Right who follow my work may be thinking, “So, what’s the problem? I don’t see anything not to like.” Well it gets murkier once you dig into the interests behind the creation of the film. Mark Weber was the point person. He’s the business innovation lead for IBM. From his online bio: “Mark focuses on cultivating the research-to-impact workflow within a hybrid cloud ecosystem for driving AI applications with pathways to integration and scale.” “As a researcher, Mark has published works on blockchain technology for supply chain finance, graph deep learning for anti-money laundering, and AI fairness for anti-discrimination in lending.” Weber earned his MBA at the Sloan School where he worked as a graduate assistant on MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative (DCI). Weber overlapped for a year with DCI founder Brian Forde, who relocated to his home state of California in 2017 to run for a Congressional seat in Orange County (Forde lost).
Source: Mark Weber – Driving Business Innovation from Fundamental Science
While at DCI Weber helped build b_verify, a blockchain commodities tracking platform developed in partnership with Boston University (Jesuit), the University of Pennsylvania, the Mexican government, and the InterAmerican Development Bank. The platform was ostensibly to create efficiencies in warehousing and storage of commodities, but as we know, all of this technology is dual use.
At this point very few people are willing to say out loud that the plan is to tokenize poor people and children as commodities, track them, and place futures bets on them as you would a silo of GMO corn. If you read my detailed investigation into Mexico’s pilot of conditional cash transfers to low-income women and children in the mid 1990s, you’ll understand my concern. There is a reason Mexico and InterAmerican Development Bank are on the partner list.
Michael Matheson Miller also helped create the film. Miller is an Acton Institute research fellow and wrote the book “Digital Contagion” with a focus on Big Tech and surveillance capitalism. Of course we know how the dialectic works – the planned “solution” being some version of “rebel city” digital sovereignty (branded Left or Right as needed) so we will elect to commodify our souls and join IBM’s blockchain supply network that’s being built out by Mark Weber’s colleagues. Miller’s podcast topics at “The Moral Imagination,” are meant to appeal to Libertarians. They hit all the buttons – classical education, awake not woke, principled entrepreneurship, crypto; totalitarianism, beauty and love. They know how to tell you what you want to hear, but they aren’t going to tell you everything.
Mark knows that there’s a game afoot. Sirico may talk a good game about human flourishing, but I’ll state again that Jesus would not blockchain people and put them under ubiquitous digital surveillance for supply chain tracking. That is not freeDOM. That is not liberty. If you want to pull out of charity so you can push entrepreneurship, understand that a poor person succeeding in this age of automation will be practically impossible UNLESS they agree to be used for anti-poverty washing data analytics and synthetic biology for the open air prison. What Acton Institute is doing is asking people to live in the game while pretending that there is no game.
I invite you to read the description of blockchain warehouse logs with IoT surveillance monitoring. Then read this open letter to Jeff and Laura Sandefer and parents who have children enrolled in Acton Academy franchise micro-schools. Acton Academy is loosely connected with Acton Institute through its Texas oilman founder Jeff Sander. The mom said she was very concerned about the amount of personal data being collected on her children in school through digital platforms. The Sandefer’s response was that they could choose to leave and that the kind of data they were collecting wasn’t Communist. I guess we’re supposed to be glad for it. I suppose they don’t count on people understanding digital twins and blockchain mind files. The school franchise and the Institute are both named after Lord Acton who is often quoted as saying “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Indeed.
Source: b_verify Warehouse Receipts An Open Source Blockchain Protocol For Verifiable Records
The text above:
“The selected use case informing this research is the negotiable warehouse receipt for agricultural commodities. Warehouse receipts (picture student meta-data on blockchain) are legally defined title documents attesting to a particular quantity, type, and quality of a commodity (securitized human capital) at a specific storage facility. These instruments can be used to secure inventory as collateral for loans, to facilitate trade, and to settle expiring futures contracts.
Development agencies and multilaterals have championed the benefits of warehouse receipts for price discovery (reputation scoring for securitization of humans as Berggruen’s tokenized assets) and access to credit for even the poorest of farmers. One USAID program in Tanzania produced a doubling of the prices farmers were able to command for their harvest immediately upon the installation of a storage and warehouse receipt program. Strengthening the agricultural sector also improves food security and competitiveness at a national level.
Three problems prevent warehouse receipts from realizing their full potential for farmers and society: forged documents, high transaction costs, and the potential for disparities (similar arguments used to advance blockchain learning lockers/transcripts) between the receipt attestation and the physical goods. Applications using the b_verify protocol can help mitigate these problems.
First, high profile frauds involving forged or duplicated warehouse receipts have cost banks hundreds of millions of dollars; this makes banks wary of lending against them and traders wary of buying them. The b_verify protocol addresses this problem by posting warehouse receipt issuances as cryptographic commitments to the data structure of the Bitcoin blockchain as a secure, public source of record.
Second, assuming the receipts are authentic, the transaction costs involved in verifying and transporting paper records are extremely high, especially in countries with poor infrastructure. The b_verify protocol addresses this problem using a novel method of coordinating updates to the records using cryptographic proofs constructed by a designated server, which need not be trusted (picture automated contracts/payments for remote gig labor).
Third, again assuming authentic receipts, banks and traders worry about the quality and honesty of warehouse custodianship; perhaps the goods are removed illegally for example. While this problem cannot be completely eliminated by technology, access control measures and Internet of Things (IoT) integrations can be combined with the b_verify protocol (surveillance of students/workers like Wildflower Montessori wearables and artificial vision cameras) to reduce these risks. For example, outflows of grain from a silo could require authentication via a query of the blockchain record, while digital devices measuring the outflow can independently commit updates to the record without human interference.
An added feature of the b_verify protocol is the opportunity for the programmatic enforcement of covenants and contracts (also known as “smart contracts”). For example, using an application servicing the b_verify protocol, the pledging of collateral with a warehouse receipt could automate the transfer of the collateral to the lender upon a hard loan default. Covenants such as maximum debt-to-asset ratios or minimum allowed commodity price fluctuations could also be constructed within the b_verify system.
The verifiable activities of a given business over time, such as inventory turnover and repayment history, can also provide valuable insight into the health of the business, which is the chief consideration in assessing creditworthiness (also applicable to human capital).
Lastly, the transparency provided by this publicly accessible and verifiable system of record may contribute to safer, more transparent asset-backed securities and derivatives markets as these develop in emerging economies.” Source
Excerpt from one mother’s experience with an Acton Academy Microschool – compare with excerpt above:
“The next big red flag was the 360 reviews that kids were asked to fill out at the end of every session on the Acton tracker. Acton says these reviews are meant to ‘normalize feedback’. Except, I do not know any professional who is allowed to offer feedback directed at an individual’s character. The 360 reviews ask students to anonymously rate everyone in their studio on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how ‘tough-minded’ and ‘warm-hearted’ they are. They are given a space to write a sentence of evidence for their rating, and then are given space to write ‘stars’ for things they like about the person, and ‘wishes’ for what they wish that person would change. After seeing this, I sent an email to the owners of our school with evidence I have accumulated from professors in my Master’s work which demonstrated feedback, especially personal feedback, does not have the desired positive outcomes, and induces shame responses. The owners of our school and founders of Acton told me normalizing feedback was valuable; and, if Acton was not a good fit, there are other schools for my kids.
The results of the 360 reviews were one of the metrics used to determine a student’s freedom level. Before Acton, the only time I had heard the term ‘freedom level’ was to describe a social credit system where those with higher credits get greater access-a program that has been piloted on a wide scale under the guise of ‘building trust’ with authoritarian governments. Inside each studio are 5 freedom levels. Freedom is earned or lost by meeting certain expectations, and in the middle and high school studios, higher freedom levels are not given to those with low peer 360 reviews. In upper elementary, a student on the highest freedom level can choose anywhere to sit during work time, and can even choose not to work. On the lowest level a student has to sit in an assigned seat, cannot snack, and must get a minimum amount of work done.
And, these 360 reviews are not written on paper or given any relational connection. They are written and published online, on Acton’s ‘tracker’. The tracker is a major anchor for many ‘personalized’ learning programs. It holds the student’s record, or ledger, of their work, their 360 reviews, their ‘SMART’ goals, their ‘badges’ for completing a certain amount of work, and their ‘buck’ balance (more on bucks below). This tracker allows you to look at the progress, bucks balance, 360 review scores, and badge earnings of everyone in the studio. It asks you how many minutes you worked on math or reading. It asks you to upload screenshots of proof, and answer questions about topics. One of the ways Acton keeps costs low is to utilize education technology for Math and English Language Arts, so that no expertise is needed by educators for what they call ‘core skills’ learning.
The tracker and the education technology learning platforms are forms of surveillance. These are ways data can be harvested and utilized. My open letter to Acton describes exactly how schools, institutions, and those set on 21st Century education reforms benefit from harvested data. I asked Acton how they are using the data from the tracker, how they are protecting the data harvested from my children on the tracker and the EdTech companies they promote. I was told that I could trust them or go to a new school, and that only I could protect my children.”
“Acton students are told they have a minimum number of lessons to do online for math and ELA. If they succeed, they will earn a badge and will get paid bucks. If they do not, they will lose a buck each week for not completing the minimum. This rewards those who learn well online. Some kids can earn bucks at a much faster rate, and others can be highly stressed. Now, if a student runs out of bucks they must go to an isolated room and work on core skills all day, for as many days as it takes to earn another hero buck by completing a badge. To avoid this, my kids have a badge they leave 90% completed so that if it were to happen they could get a badge and get out ASAP.
Bucks are also taken if peers see you not following the classroom rules. Peers are supposed to offer a verbal warning, and then if the behavior persists the peer can go on to the Acton tracker and ask the person for a buck. Guides take bucks for not being on time and prepared and not being respectful. There is not a moment in the day when bucks are not in jeopardy. Which, by definition, means this is not a self-directed environment.
I made several attempts to discuss why their learning and behaviors are incentivized, as this is in opposition to research that has been published for 30 years stating incentivization has a net negative effect. I was told to trust them and that these systems were being used wisely.” Source
Jason and I paid a site visit to a different Acton-affiliate in Utah this spring. To be continued, Part 4 on wellness metrics and smart environments.
Wellness Metrics, Teaching Machines To “Live” (With Us) – Synthetic Pretenders Part 15D
A year after taking office president of France Nicholas Sarkozy, who happens to be Catholic, tapped Joseph Stiglitz to head a Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. The center-right politician and former mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine served as Minister of the Budget under Balladur and Mitterrand and Minster of the Interior and Finance under Chirac. Sarkozy is also a member of the Berggruen Network.
The Commission’s findings, which were released in the aftermath of the 2008 global economic implosion, set the stage for stakeholder capitalism and began to walk back GDP as the primary measure of economic vitality. Stigliz is a member of the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences established by Pope John Paul II in 1994. Michel Bauwens is also an expert advisor to the group that gathers at Casina Pio IV in Vatican City. There, ensconced in a sixteenth-century summer villa, prominent thinkers discuss the church’s social teaching in relation to current issues of concern like: globalization, democracy, and human rights. The focus of one of last year’s meetings was “The Science and Ethics of Happiness: Caritas, Social Friendship, and the End of Poverty.” The Vatican is very big in the social impact sector.
Source: Science and Ethics of Happiness. Caritas, Social Friendship, and End of Poverty
Source: Education. The Global Compact, 2020
Given the information that follows, I think it’s worth considering architecture as a form of social technology. This villa exhibits a complex interplay of encoded mythological and religious themes that revolve around truth, knowledge, and memory. People with a deeper understanding of esoterica may be able to draw out additional meaning as to why this location was selected as a gathering place thirty years ago. The detailed descriptions authorized by the church are available here and here. Its Wikipedia entry notes of the design: “the Casina’s rich and at times obscure iconographic programme, features the efficacy of baptism, the primacy of the papacy and the welcomed punitive powers of the Church.”
Source: Casina Pio IV in the Vatican, Historical and Iconographic Guide
Stigliz’s project for Sarkozy asserted that social well-being be prioritized. The era of bio-capitalism and investments in prescribed social behaviors was getting off the ground. Assisting Stiglitz in this effort was the Bengali economic theorist and Harvard professor Amartya Sen whose career centered: development finance; social choice, whereby individual preferences were guided to generate collective decisions; and capabilities, taking into consideration people’s abilities to pursue their choices. Sen has served on Berggruen’s philosophy prize selection panel.
Read this selection from their report keeping the following factors in mind. Well-being metrics will quantify ALL our relationships, social and environmental. By assigning everything a numerical value our lives are made visible to the machine. This information will be used to inform the actions of autonomous intelligent systems in mixed reality. Everything will be compelled to interact with these systems on the basis of the data that comprises unique digital identities, digital twins. Blockchain transactions connected to cyber-physical systems will enclose our lives in mechanical energies. This is the new rule of law – smart contract law. Global financial interests, guided by artificial intelligence prediction markets, will place bets on our ability to attain indicators of “success” specified. Submission to the machine is being framed as good for society and the planet, appealing to progressives, and economically efficient, appealing to free-market libertarians. This is how the Earth may be remade as a planetary computer. This is the “wellness” economy.
“Another key message, and unifying theme of the report, is that the time is ripe for our measurement system to shift emphasis from measuring economic production to measuring people’s well-being. And measures of well-being should be put in a context of sustainability. Despite deficiencies in our measures of production, we know much more about them than about well-being. Changing emphasis does not mean dismissing GDP and production measures. They emerged from concerns about market production and employment; they continue to provide answers to many important questions such as monitoring economic activity. But emphasizing well-being is important because there appears to be an increasing gap between the information contained in aggregate GDP data and what counts for common people’s well-being. This means working towards the development of a statistical system that complements measures of market activity by measures centered on people’s well-being and by measures that capture sustainability. Such a system must, of necessity, be plural – because no single measure can summarize something as complex as the well-being of the members of society, our system of measurement must encompass a range of different measures. The issue of aggregation across dimensions (that is to say, how we add up, for example, a measure of health with a measure of consumption of conventional goods), while important, is subordinate to the establishment of a broad statistical system that captures as many of the relevant dimensions as possible. Such a system should not just measure average levels of well-being within a given community, and how they change over time, but also document the diversity of peoples’ experiences and the linkages across various dimensions of people’s life. There are several dimensions to well-being but a good place to start is the measurement of material well-being or living standards.” Page 6
The language around establishing consistent standards of data to capture the diversity of experiences across dimensions of people’s lives is very much in keeping with the premise of developing social simulations that can be used for systems engineering of large populations. The dimensions Stigliz’s commission recommends tracking include: 1) material living standards (income, consumption and wealth); 2) health; 3) education; 4) personal activities including work; 5) political voice and governance; 6) social connections and relationships; 7) environment (present and future conditions); 8) insecurity of an economic as well as a physical nature. These are all metrics that will be used to assign and manage improvement pathways towards “equity.” Remember that the next time you are nudged to complete an online survey.
Source: Berggruen and Sarkozy (Who Is Half Hungarian) in 2013 at the 21st Century Council Gathering in Zurich
Richard Layard of the London School of Economics Centre for Economic Performance first developed metrics around the “science of happiness” that were used to finance mental health services in the UK. By establishing that economic losses due to “mental health” amount to billions of dollars, the social impact sector has created an enormous cost-offset for pay-for-success social prescribing. The following excerpt is from a 2006 Guardian article, “Spread A Little Happiness,” about Layard’s pilot “happiness centres.”
“Imagine the situation. You have had a relationship breakdown. It has left you depressed, alone and turning to alcohol. Work is impossible. But, thankfully, your local NHS “happiness centre” is just around the corner. Part sanctuary, part psychology laboratory, happiness centres are a sort of Ikea for the mind, where the feelgood factor is flat-packed for you to take home. A branded chain of open-access outposts offering the latest talking therapies for some of the most common and distressing mental illnesses. No long waits. No need for a referral – simply turn up and get help.”
This is what ongoing mental health screenings are about; what ACEs scoring is about; what emotion-sensing digital surveillance is about; what social-emotional training in schools is about. The power structure is gathering baselines and sucking up data for prediction markets in future behavior management. That quote is sixteen years old. Today, your “Ikea of the Mind” drop-in center could easily be a tele-therapy chatbot or a cognitive behavioral therapy game in a VR headset.
Please understand, I am in no way dismissing or trying to minimize the reality of mental stress in society today. It is a serious concern. What I am trying to say is that these programs are dual use, and we’re moving into the phase where artificial intelligence really wants to learn what makes us tick as complex, emotional beings. There is a fiscal and pragmatic logic behind this pivot to tele-“wellness” management.” The plan is to use us to explain to AI how to be more like us. That’s human-centered design – that and cognitive warfare, the Sixth Domain. Hat tip to my friend Raul at Silicon Icarus for bringing a 2020 NATO report on the subject to my attention.
Source: Marketising the Mental Health Crisis: How the CBT Empire-Builders Colonised the NHS
Source: Cognitive Domain: A Sixth Domain of Operations, Hervé Le Guyader
In 2019, the Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), a professional association with over 400,000 members in 160 countries headquartered in New York City and Piscataway, NJ, prepared “Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems.” Their intent was to outline social policy imperatives in the face of pervasive computing with the goal of supporting human well-being. The effort was chaired by Raja Chatila, a professor of robotics and ethics at Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris.
“Ultimately, our goal should be eudaimonia, a practice elucidated by Aristotle that defines human well-being, both at the individual and collective level, as the highest virtue for a society. Translated roughly as “flourishing”, the benefits of eudaimonia begin with conscious contemplation, where ethical considerations help us define how we wish to live. Whether our ethical practices are Western (e.g., Aristotelian, Kantian), Eastern (e.g., Shinto, 墨家/School of Mo, Confucian), African (e.g., Ubuntu), or from another tradition, honoring holistic definitions of societal prosperity is essential versus pursuing one-dimensional goals of increased productivity or gross domestic product (GDP). Autonomous and intelligent systems should prioritize and have as their goal the explicit honoring of our inalienable fundamental rights and dignity as well as the increase of human flourishing and environmental sustainability.” Page 4
Looks like the eudaimonia protocol may involve scary ghostlike presences pulling the strings of your smart appliances to gaslight you into accepting the programmed new normal. I often link to this piece by Van Diamondfinger, “The Domestic Front.” The guy must know what’s coming; it dates to 2017. Still, it’s worth fifteen minutes of your time. Keep the image below in mind as you read it.
Source: A Meta User Interface for Interaction with Mixed Reality Environments
Page six of the document indicates that metrics assessing “flourishing” will be aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and will require universal access to communication networks. Otherwise how can the autonomous intelligent systems aid us on our self-improvement pathways? Then on page eight the document discusses the importance of well-being metrics, the very same ones laid out by Stiglitz’s commission. The authors go on to say that social norms of different communities need to be documented and made computable, otherwise the intelligent agents won’t be able to serve their intended purpose.
“At the present time, the conceptual complexities surrounding what “values” are make it difficult to envision A/IS that have computational structures directly corresponding to social or cultural values such as “security,” “autonomy,” or “fairness”. It may be a more realistic goal to embed explicit norms into such systems. Since norms are observable in human behavior, they can therefore be represented as instructions to act in defined ways in defined contexts, for a specific community—from family to town to country and beyond. A community’s network of social and moral norms is likely to reflect the community’s values, and A/IS equipped with such a network would, therefore, also reflect the community’s values.” Page 171
In charter cities, the idea is that communities will be created from scratch under the presumption, likely inaccurate, that all residents have opted-in and personally endorse the structured social norms coded into the infrastructure at the time of incorporation. I’m picturing a cross between a busy-body homeowners association, intentional community, monastery, or college dorm. Ok, really I’m thinking about B.F. Skinner’s Walden Two and its real life counterpart, Twin Oaks in Louisa, VA. In the clip below former Twin Oaks community member turned Smith College behavioral psychologist David Palmer makes a case for cooperative living where the use of shared resources creates economic efficiencies that might even “save the world.”
Source: Reflecting on Walden Two With Dave Palmer
The one not so insignificant issue, however, is human behavior management. The ideal of the charter city would be to develop a machine for “sustainable” living, even “flourishing.” This would be accomplished through sophisticated development of behavioral economics to guide society towards optimization metrics with such subtlety that even residents might forget that the choices being made were not entirely their own.
I haven’t had a chance to read Alexandra Ruthorford’s 2009 book, “Beyond the Box: B.F. Skinner’s Technology of Behavior From Laboratory to Life, 1950s to 1970s,” but I ordered a copy and added it to my summer reading list. Linked is a PDF if you’re partial to a free, digital format. It would seem that Skinner’s legacy, expanded upon by the many social science researchers affiliated with Ideas42, is being manifested in the linkage of DeFi (decentralized finance) to Internet of Things connected living situations for which displaced people receiving “aid” are on the front lines as Leo Saraceno has laid out in great detail through his work at Silicon Icarus.
This is another excerpt from the OECD social impact measurement policy paper that discusses the need for system change / social change:
“Further, social entrepreneurs are under growing pressure not just to deliver on their mission, but also to create system change. For example, one of the pioneering and most eminent incubators of social entrepreneurs, Ashoka, views its purpose as transforming inequality by changing mind-sets globally. This implies heightened information needs in order to understand complex social problems and evidence social change. Undeniably, such large scale and ground-breaking aspirations require the ability to learn and build from failures. However, instances where charities or social enterprises are lauded for being transparent and open about failure remain seldom. The discomfort and stigma around failure need to be addressed if social impact measurement is to help uncover and address the drivers and impediments to social change.” Page 56
I propose that the framing used here is operating on two levels. The first is the one most readers would see, and that is about assessing effective strategies for mass social control and steering – systems change. The second, which I doubt would register for most readers is the use of so-called evidence generated through trial and error, and made legitimate through pay-for-success finance structures, to LEARN human social systems and transmit that learning into the hivemind as impact data. The images below show how ordinary people are tasked with collecting impact data in and around the homes of their peers and how Ocean Protocol then uses that data to advance the development of artificial intelligence. Aggregation of information about group dynamics and the use of it for social physics and prediction markets is based on work carried out by Jacob Moreno, father of sociograms and psycho-drama in the 1930s, and Alexander “Sandy” Pentland, pioneer in interactive media at MIT in the 1990s.
Source: Inclusive Tokenized Economy: Blockchain for Impact Measurement, Social Finance and Social Development
Source: Data Tokens and DeFi Implementations
Source: Invention of the Sociogram: Some of the Earliest Graphic Depictions of Social Networks, Jacob Moreno, 1933-34
Source: Sensing and Modeling Human Networks, Tanzeem Khalid Choudhury with MIT Media Lab Advisor Sandy Pentland, Sociometer Wearables, 2004
The evolution of artificial agents requires ongoing data transfer from our human experience into the emerging World Sensorium (Global Brain). The desire is that this data be structured to maximize utility and potential for pattern recognition. That means humans, in addition to other beings and objects, need to be assigned unique identifiers, which is why there are so many options bubbling up: ID2020, health passports, digital driver’s licenses, blockchain education transcripts and medical records, crypto play to earn games, and programmable money for refugees. Eventually all those side chains will interlock into comprehensible digitally-twinned individuals and societies.
According to the IEEE authors, their intent is for affective computing to be deployed in such a way as to neither amplify or dampen human emotional experience. It’s strange to contemplate that these engineers really want us to accept and internalize interacting with machines as if they were peers is a sane way to live. Though, if the goal is to nudge us towards a post-human existence, digital mediation of all social and environmental transactions towards some optimization scheme would be in keeping with the de Chardin / Huxley / Vernadsky / Reiser imagined World Brain evolutionary imperative.
Among the many concerns raised in the report are: the potential for psychological manipulation of humans by intelligent systems (page 85); artificial intelligence impersonating humans (page 86); interference by non-human agents in human interpersonal relationships (page 96); the threat posed by coercive nudging (page 97); loss of individual autonomy (page 103); the use of intelligent toys for surveillance and profiling of children (page 120); weaponization of smart home technologies (page 145); labor displacement due to automation (page 152); the inability of intelligent systems to adapt to dynamic social norms (page 173); and how lack of understanding by the masses regarding how the technologies actually work will lead to poor implementation and bad outcomes (page 213).
As laid out on page 184 of the Embedding Values section – “Failures Will Occur.”
Source: I’m Afraid I Can’t Do That Dave, Hal 9000 from 2001 A Space Odyssey
IEEE has taken on the role of looking out for our interests by promoting digital identity as the key driver in the attainment of human rights, good governance, and self-determination in mixed reality. It is interesting that they keep bringing up democracy and political freedom, even though the authors must know the planned future is that of Estonian e-citizenship, a world where where one’s identity is defined less by the geographic location of your physical body than the accumulated SBTs (Soulbound Tokens) that define your avatar doppelganger.
Source: Estonia.com “We have built a digital society. We can show you how.”
Centering international human rights is key, because they need for one consistent legal system to extend across their borderless digital empire. The same set of smart contracts must function throughout the Metaverse no matter where you reside. On page 200, IEEE speaks of the Ruggie Principles, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Read the following with the understanding that the goal is for the government to become fully corporatized so as to eventually operate without human management as DAOs, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.
“The Ruggie principles have been widely referenced and endorsed by corporations and have led to the adoption of several corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies in various companies. With broadened support, the Ruggie principles will strengthen the role of businesses (read DAOs) in protecting and promoting human rights and ensuring that the most crucial human values and legal standards of human rights are respected by A/IS technologists.” Page 200
Page 212 of the document speaks of a future where intelligent systems attain some degree of legal personhood. Picture citizens of an incorporated charter city that has its own legal standing to manage everything contained within its boundaries – citizens as wards of a machine, or collection of nested “machines.”
Below the slide of Villa Savoye are images of a pre-fab “tiny-home” model with embedded IoT, to maximize data extraction. Kasita, an Austin operation that rebranded from domiciles to resorts, eagerly promotes that its built-in technology can be customized to your mood, or perhaps the inverse depending on how “smart” it gets. Part of the pitch is that the “relatively” low unit cost makes the Kasitas good for affordable housing and disaster relief. The scheme below shows the units stacked and packed in the Agenda21 aesthetic. Perfect for charter cities or intentional communities of dislocated labor living off UBI, haptic gig work, and sovereign data sales. Stripped-down Villa Savoyes against a backdrop of Zamyatin’s “We” and Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One.”
Source: Corbusier, House As A Machine For Living, 1927 Vers Une Architecture
Source: This Tiny Modular Home Is 325 Square Feet Of IOT Heaven
In his book on grassroots and worker democracy, Benello described the revolutionary qualities of Mondragon Corporation as creating a total system where one can learn, shop, and live within a cooperative environment. In such a culture people are supposed to be highly motivated, because moral incentives are integrated into every aspect of life: work, community, education, consumption, and family. Benello says workers have to be socialized into the culture; growing up Basque isn’t sufficient (Page 96). Yet he praises the systems engineering approach to workplace management, stating that cooperatives reward labor, rather than capital, with profit and control. This, according to Benello, empowers workers rather than infantilizing them (Page 96). I have many concerns as to the applicability of such a model in a world of ubiquitous computing, tokenized “participatory democracy,” platform cooperatives, and digital nudges. Rather than uplifting community agency in work, education, and living spaces, it feels far more likely that we’ll end up Tamagotchi pets trapped in cybernetic biospheres.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that Dave.”
The well-being framework that the IEEE used was based on the OECD’s Better Life Initiative’s 2013 document, “Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being.” IEEE is developing its own draft standard for well-being metrics for autonomous intelligent systems through its working group IEEE P7010. As a person who lives in a poor city with serious problems in the areas of housing and food insecurity, addiction, low-wage employment, mental health issues, and community violence, the idea that these technocrats are going to adopt some survey so that machines will interact with us in ways that actually improve the conditions of people’s lives is quite infuriating. It is hard to know that people are being harmed to lower baseline scores to make the odds better for bets on future improvement, but we cannot look away and pretend that’s not what’s happening. For more on my perspective you can read a piece that I wrote about poverty in Philadelphia’s 5th Councilmanic District in 2019.
California and the Border Crisis
To bring all this back to the Berggruen Network and California’s Blueprint for “good governance” and close out this exploration, we must understand that displaced people are a central feature of the social impact economy. Much of the infrastructure to support this new economic model was developed in Silicon Valley and funded through tech-related “philanthropy,” of which the Silicon Valley Community Foundation is a major player. I find it interesting, given these investigations into Mondragon Corporation and the tradition of Spanish cooperatives, that the father of Laura Arillaga-Andreessen; Marc’s wife, pioneer of west coast impact investing, and former SVCF trustee, just happened to be the son of Basque immigrants who moved to Inglewood. John Arrillaga, one of Stanford’s top donors – to the tune of $300 million over his lifetime, won a basketball scholarship and went on to build much of Silicon Valley with his real estate partner Richard Peery. Arrillaga played for Bilbao Aguilas in 1960-61, so he could travel abroad and learn more about his family’s culture.
Source: John Arrillaga, the Basque Silicon Valley Creator Who Played in the Bilbao Aguilas. In Memoriam, January 2022
An influential presence in the tech-impact space is Marc Andreessen and his A16z blockchain portfolio with holdings in Celo and Valora – all based in San Francisco. There’s the research taking place at Singularity University where management of data is inexorably moving us towards a Kurzweil post-human future, and of course Google and Linux Foundation and Unity and Salesforce and countless others. Sufficeth to say, many of the strings being pulled on the global stage around UBI and ubiquitous computing are being pulled from locations in California. Much of the groundwork for Web 3.0 has been laid by Bay Area faux-gressive techno-libertarians. California is a leader in the development of policy infrastructure for blockchain ID, micro-finance, digital payments, and human capital management. It’s in malleable mixed-reality, beyond the relative concreteness of the material world, that neuro-technicians of defense edu-tainment will do their best work concocting devastating cognitive warfare magic.
Seeing rising rates of homelessness in California, it is important to understand that the conditions are being created for social-impact “smart” towns of tiny homes where everyone can be put on pathways of self-improvement to train autonomous-intelligent systems and build character through remote gig work. It’s like the Jesuit reducions in Brazil and the Franciscan missions – captive neophytes converted through wrap around services to a holographic “faith.”
The state’s major health systems like Kaiser Permanente’s “Thriving Communities” are positioning themselves to get into the wellness markets in a big way. Authorized tiny house encampments are increasingly managed by faith-based welfare NGOs, fancied up with a “small-is-beautiful” aesthetic. Paint them with quirky murals and add some picnic tables, maybe a few raised garden beds, and the liberals feel good about it. Even though when you scratch below the surface, it’s obvious such a lifestyle is never going to be satisfying for anyone long term.
Source: Hope of the Valley, Tiny Home Shelter for Unhoused People in Los Angeles
Source: Arroyo Seco Tiny Homes Get Artistic Makeover, October 2021
Source: Health Center Role In Housing Innovation Pay for Success Models, Corporation for Supportive Housing (Conrad Hilton Foundation Major Funder – 2020 990), September 2021
I spoke about this outside Project Home, a Catholic charity in Philadelphia that launched the city’s first pay for success finance deal for supportive housing. I was doing some informational picketing with intrepid, now deceased housing rights activist Jennifer Bennetch. A blog post I wrote on Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, CA and impact investing provides additional context. It is important to make the connection between digital surveillance of displaced people abroad and internally-displaced residents here in the United States. Social impact finance creates profits from trauma and misery. Therefore the demand is to create as much of both as possible and slowly ameliorate those conditions, all the while collecting “evidence” on data dashboards.
Control of the Mexico-US border has been a polarizing issue for decades, and while less of an issue in California, the state does have the largest immigrant population in the nation. Industries have emerged from this manufactured disaster to process those kept in detainment, extracting practically free labor from captive workers. Some of those operators, like Geo Group, are now moving into social work, since pay for success finance deals are being linked to anti-recidivism stats.
Geo Group’s western regional office is in Los Angeles. The state operates a half-dozen facilities in the state. Knowing many conservatives are inclined to free-market investments and have ties to faith-based organizations involved in social service delivery, I see a possible future where refugees from US-enabled drug wars, gang violence, and economic manipulation are brought into charter cities in Opportunity/Promise Zones or remote areas of the US and managed for impact data and sweat-shop cyber labor. Of course it’s not only immigrants who will be subjected to these new purpose-built social-impact “communities.” Soon the fate of many Central Americans will befall working and middle class people in the United States as their economic lifelines are cut, and society becomes increasingly unstable.
Source: Geo Care Services – Continuum of Care, Reentry, Electronic Monitoring
Remaking Opportunity Zones and Promise Neighborhoods as mini-charter cities would subsidize profit-taking in less than desirable real estate, “smart” construction developments, and third sector servicing of marginalized workers and children. The education, health, and credit union systems built into the Basque Mondragon model would go hand in hand with “pay for success” finance. Worker “satisfaction” is a metric that is being built into social impact deals, and that has long been a selling point for worker cooperatives.
That would be a possible Third-Way “solution” designed to appease activists across the political divide. The understanding would be that refugees and displaced people would “opt in” to the programs, living under coded laws of what are sure to be austere settlements of pervasive surveillance, perhaps with a cooperative veneer of collective participation through tokenomics. The Charter Cities Institute mentions their hope that Biden’s election would create a more receptive environment for their proposals:
“Despite political challenges, the upheavals of 2020 have presented a unique opportunity to advocate for change. There is a new president in the United States, who has expressed greater willingness to engage with the international community on refugee issues than his predecessor. Policymakers and humanitarians are rethinking their approaches to refugee encampments as a result of the preventable disease outbreaks that continue to result from living conditions in the camps. This is a time for bold thought and action in a world that, if current trends hold, will only see forced displacement increase. There is no replacement for political changes at the global and national levels, but one starting point to make these changes possible is through local initiatives.” Page 29
Raul Diego’s “Biden Picks Kamala Harris to Carry the Carrot and Stick in Central America,” offers important insights into Harris’s involvement in the creation of OpenJustice database in California and what that means for her involvement in the border crisis – namely, more money funneled into the expansion of surveillance technologies like Biometric Identification Transnational Migration Alert Program (BITMAP), Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), and Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology System (HART).
Politically, there is no appetite to slow migration or resolve the physical and economic violence that compels so many to make dangerous journeys north. We have entered the age of the data economy. People on the move, once they’ve been properly tagged, generate a lot of data. The goal is to get as many people as possible into the track-and-track supply chain for future management as human capital assets. I have a suspicion that the trauma generated by separation of immigrant families with children, has a lot to do with plans to ensure everyone’s biometric information is attached to a blockchain identity in the near future. They create the problem to guide you to the “solution” they wanted all along.
Source: CBP Revitalizes Biometric Data Collection At Border
Kamala Harris was a junior US Senator during the years that the Santa Clara County pay-for-success pilot programs were put in place. Before that she had served as state District Attorney and District Attorney for San Francisco. During her time as San Francisco DA there was public criticism that she suppressed information held by her office relating to the sexual abuse of children by priests. The implication was that she was politically beholden to the Catholic Church. William Levada, Archbishop of San Francisco at the time, was later appointed Cardinal by Pope Benedict the XVI whom he served as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith between 2005 and 2012, the highest ranking American in Rome. Prior to coming to the Bay Area Levada had led the Portland, OR Archdiocese where he was also criticized for covering up abuse. Portland was the first Archdiocese to be bankrupted by settlements from abuse-related litigation.
Source: Victims Question Harris’s Record on Clergy Abuse
It is all our responsibility as adults to face the real and serious consequences of the technologies that are being brought into the world and reflect on their potential for profound misuse based on historical precedent. We have to be able to comprehend the playbook and cut through their sweet talk of tokenized cooperation and innovative funding programs for the commons.
State-of-exception charter cities could easily become places where abuse and authoritarianism flourish. Consider the profound intergenerational trauma generated by the sexual abuse, forced child labor, and murder of indigenous youth through residential school prison camps modeled on Carlisle. In the twenty-first century we have that same drive towards domination and attempted erasure of social systems that counter the industrialized model, but now that ethos can be combined with powerful tools of prediction, profiling, and cognitive warfare harnessed to automated global finance markets.
It feels to me like what we are experiencing is ongoing AB market research to determine how best to sell “sustainable” confinement in such a way that it can thread the needle – appealing to the Left on the grounds of “green,” progressive care and to the Right’s inclinations towards faith-based crypto sovereignty.
There but for the grace of God go each of us. Who knows how far out on the horizon our date with displacement or a charter city may be. The one thing that seems certain is that massive disruption was baked into the plan long, long ago. That is why, in my opinion, with the time we have we need to throw as many wrenches as we can into the gears of Web 3.0 mixed reality, digital identity, “regenerative” finance, and human capital engineering. All that is sacred hangs in the balance.
Manifest Destiny’s Blueprint for Post Humanism – Synthetic Pretenders Part 16
Nicholas Berggruen courted Robert Hertzberg in 2010 to join his campaign to begin to “fix” California’s governance problems while staking out a leadership role for the state in shaping the public imaginary as the Metaverse becomes manifest. It was the perfect task for a land of wine, citrus, and silicon built on mythic stories.
In California, material excess and entertainment have proven capable of deftly cloaking high-tech military R&D and psychological operations, though after two years of draconian measures it’s getting decidedly harder to maintain the fiction. According to a 2017 feature by Joe Matthews in Pacific Standard, the two men bonded on a plane flight from Panama to California geeking out over a shared love of policy. Nicholas launched the Berggruen Institute in 2010 as a home for the Think Long Committee for California.
Source: Beggruen and Herzberg at Book Party for “Renovating Democracy,” Donato Sardella
Hertzberg was one of sixteen tapped by billionaire financier / aspirational philosopher king Nicholas Berggruen in 2011 to develop a “A Blueprint to Renew California.” The document prominently features plans for workforce-aligned education and management of human capital for “future skills.” Though not listed as an official participant, the report states Gavin Newsom, then Lt. Governor, served on the jobs task force. Newsom’s mentor, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, was among those who facilitated preparation of the document. It was a bipartisan effort that included conservatives like Condoleezza Rice and George Schulz; democrats like Gray Davis, Maria Elena Durazo, and Antonia Hernandez; as well as individuals like Eli Broad, Eric Schmidt, and Gerry Parsky who know their way around technology, education, data, and financial markets. It is this document that underlies the Berggruen Institute’s intentions to remake capitalism, democracy, and what it means to be human in a world dominated by artificial intelligence.
Source: Relationship Map, Blueprint to Renew California
Source: Blueprint to Renew California, Think Long Committee 2011
Such seismic changes hinge on widespread adoption of digital identity, which is what Robert Herzberg’s California Trust Framework legislation will usher in. Mixed reality cannot function unless everything, humans, other animate beings, and inanimate objects can be properly embedded and monitored in the digital landscape. Precision virtual twinning is ready to come off the battlefield and into your kitchen to mitigate climate change – life in the CIA’s real time video game of impact data analytics. I discuss this during a site visit Jason Bosch and I paid to Maxar Geospatial Services in Westminster, CO in April.
Source: Maxar Homepage
Source: Site Visit to Maxar Corporate Headquarters
Self-sovereign identity is meant to replace relational trust cultivated among humans in real community with high-speed automated “trust” dispensed through sensor networks. It will usher in new forms of globalized, electrical existence. We will be expected to learn to navigate encoded ephemeral worlds built on military systems where nothing can be taken for granted and anything could be a deception.
It truly is a harrowing prospect, and yet many appear ready to rush headlong into such a future without giving careful consideration as to how the choices we make today, through our actions or inactions, could irreversibly harm future generations and the sibling beings with whom we share the blessings of this earth.
The Trust Framework is your government on a smart phone, vending machine government.
It’s your children assessed as stackable credentials and scored as human capital assets.
It’s conditional cash transfers (UBI) tied to pay for success finance schemes.
It’s electronic health records building out our digital twins for the world simulation.
It’s managed mobility solutions based on identity.
It’s knowledge management tied to reputation scores.
It launches Richard Baldwin’s Globalization 4.0, globotics, where AI reviews skill tokens in learning lockers to decide who can put their mind in a robot for gig work at the lowest wage.
Source: Why will future globalization be so different? Richard Baldwin
Those at the top are working overtime to incorporate perpetual-pandemic threat into the “New Normal,” to justify ongoing bio-surveillance measures meant to track and trace us into a cybernetic reality where individuals will be managed as “agents” in a contrived game of “life” to generate impact profits and data to train the blockchain global brain.
I recently finished a read-aloud of San Diego State emeritus math professor and conceptualizer of the Singularity Vernor Vinge’s sci-fi novel “Rainbows End,” set in a near future dystopia of mixed reality where everyone “wears,” their own view of the world even as the actual world falls apart. Vinge finished his Hugo Award-winning book in 2006. At a Comicon festival he admitted that since he writes slowly, it was challenging to keep up with his colleagues in San Diego who were building it all out.
Source: The Kollin Brothers Interview Vernor Vinge, 2010
The ongoing nightmare of Manifest Destiny has moved on from Leland Stanford’s railroads to Mark Andreessen’s crypto dystopia where those who seek to advocate for rights to access and preserve the actual material world will be branded as hopelessly naive and “reality privileged,” since Silicon Valley adamantly asserts that racial justice can only be attained in Web 3.0. In a world of 1s and 0s equity data will be accurately collected, used to demonstrate “impact” and siphon profits over to the Impact Management Project partners’ ESG portfolios.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that digital identity in California would surface now. For us to inhabit Vinge’s new imperial realm and interact with augmented reality, we must remain visible and identifiable. In Vinge’s book, the people who were not used to “wearing” had to practice a lot to make their digitally projected avatars appear real. The hardest part was making sure digital feet remained in contact with the ground. But it’s more than just appearances, a person’s past transactions and access credentials must travel with them through smart environments. That is the reason we must be assigned unique digital identifiers.
Once scaled, the California Trust Network will comprise an open-air decentralized carceral state of radical democracy run on conditional tokens. In this brave new world, public services will all be evidence-based, data rich, and linked to global financial schemes. This will be a SMART world where harmonized citizens are monitored for their conformity to the dictates of the Fourth Industrial Revolution overseen from the Presidio, the US headquarters of the World Economic Forum and the first Spanish colonial outpost on the West Coast.
Source: Presidio Sketch, 1816
Source: World Economic Forum San Francisco Center Opens, Aims to Spread Tech Benefits, 2017