What is critical technology appropriation?

The case of IRC

Maxigas, August 19th, 2016, Fortmonostor, Camp++

Chat history

1. Chat programs

  • Operating system features
  • talk
  • Internet Relay Chat (1988 cf. web 1989)

2. Instant messaging applications

  • Download & install
  • ICQ, MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, etc.
  • Closed protocols, centralised infrastructure, obscure business model

3. Chat features

  • Social media features
  • Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.
  • Walled gardens

3. Hackerspace members

  • Popular since 2007
  • Async organisation of precarious tech workers
  • Bots: Internet of Things

(Maxigas 2015: Unfinished artefacts…)

4. Wikipedia editors

  • Popular since around the same time
  • Backstage conversations
  • Bots: Monitoring

(Jemielniak 2014: Common Knowledge?)

Contemporary use

  • Peer production communities:
  • Software, politics, hardware, knowledge, etc.
  • Backstage infrastructure
  • Qualitatively important, quantitatively irrelevant
  • Innovators are using old technologies

1. Free software developers

  • Since 1989 (GPL v.1)
  • GNU, Linux, Debian, etc.
  • Support, development, socialisation (, -dev, -talk)
  • Bots: Revision control, bug tracking, continuous integration

(Coleman 2012: Coding Freedom)

2. Anonymous hacktivists

  • Took off since 2008 (Op. Chanology)
  • Swarm subjectivity
  • Bots: LOIC remote control

(Coleman 2014: Hacker, Hoaxer, …)

3. Hackerspace members

  • Popular since 2007
  • Async organisation of precarious tech workers
  • Bots: Internet of Things

(Maxigas 2015: Unfinished artefacts…)

4. Wikipedia editors

  • Popular since around the same time
  • Backstage conversations
  • Bots: Monitoring

(Jemielniak 2014: Common Knowledge?)

Contemporary use

  • Peer production communities:
  • Software, politics, hardware, knowledge, etc.
  • Backstage infrastructure
  • Qualitatively important, quantitatively irrelevant
  • Innovators are using old technologies

Critical technology appropriation

What is it?

  • “Appropriate appropriation”

Why is it important?

  • Resistance to capitalism

What conditions make it possible?

  1. Historical experience
  2. Technical expertise
  3. Semi-autonomous culture

Reflections

  • Myths of nostalgia
  • Myths of modernity
  • Myths of decentralisation

Thanks

Questions?

Email address:

maxigas@anargeek.net

Slides URL:

https://slides.metatron.ai/critical-technology-appropriation/

Website URL:

https://relay70.metatron.ai/