The CASPER super-computer from Neon Genesis Evangelion (1996).

If you haven’t come across the The New Design Congress before, I highly suggest reading their essays and research notes, and subscribing to their newsletter. The following is an excerpt from their most recent issue:

It is not only a gluttony for energy that animates Big and Small Tech, but also social legitimacy. Here, oblivion doesn’t just mean eradication: it is erasure. This manifests in the social burden of the so-called ‘unintended consequences’ of technology. There is much concern to hold regarding the deployment of digitised forms of identification, including so-called decentralised and self-sovereign ones. Feasible only at immense scale, their proposed reliance on power-hungry blockchains so susceptible to scams, frauds and wastefulness is but one issue. Digital identities sketch schizophrenic futures made of radical self-custody combined with naive market-based ecosystems of private identity managers. This assetisation is backed by a trust mechanism bound to become the mother of all social engineering attack vector, relying as it does on idealist claims of identity. If trustworthiness within a digital identity system can be defined as that which is necessary to permit access, it can also be defined as that which necessarily breaks security policies. In the US and UK, voter ID is already an efficient weapon for reactionary power structures to fight off democratic participation, particularly of minorities. No actors in the field has seriously reckoned with such socio-technical weaponisation of their tech stack.

As we etched in the previous Cable, another world is possible. One where new modes of self- and interpersonal recognition are developed from a posture of conciliation, rather than a fragile and vampiric extraction of socially-shared goods. The challenge now is sifting through the gold rush, to find systems that are capable of fulfilling this promise.

Source: CABLE 2024/03-05