Smoking and eating the flowers of the Thames 2014

bnr#72 => Smoking and eating the flowers of the Thames 2014


E. & Funk, P. (2009). Agent-Based Monitoring using Case-Based
Reasoning for Experience Reuse and Improved Quality. Journal of
Quality in Maintenance Engineering, 15(2), 179-192.

Palinopsia, Harwood, YoHa

"An Agent-based Legal Knowledge Acquisition Methodology for Agile Public Administration"1 is just one of the many hyper-dull papers on agent-based modeling that require me to complete a course in antidepressants before reading. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors lend a certain numbness that cushions the deep boredom necessary in trying to come to grips with how logics at multiple scales work together to produce the performance of power in a world with computation at it's centre.

have just finished writing a paper with Matthew Fuller from Goldsmiths (University of London
2) about "Abstract Urbanism."
This was my excuse for reading the aforementioned paper along with many other screeds, including Thomas C. Schelling's elaborately

algorithm "Models of Segregation." Written in 1969--just
four years after the Voting Rights Act gave a large percentage of

right to vote--the paper

logic for interpreting micro/macro behaviours in segregated USA

Schelling's model worked by assigning black and white agents a space
on a grid and a degree of happiness which is increased or decreased
depending on the proximity they have to other black or white agents.
Too little happiness and they move toward their own type, creating
discernible patterns of segregation.

subsequent logics of agent-based computer modeling propose that
explanations of social structures can be derived from growing them
from the bottom up.
If you give (n) agents behavioral properties and structure the
environment through which they move, you can observe emergence:
system-wide phenomena arising through the interactions of small-scale
elements. This can easily be imagined as an adjunct to what Deleuze
termed Societies of Control, an environment in which the body moves
freely through reconfigurable control structures.

Based Modeling (ABM) is the direct descendant of Schelling's logics,
and is currently used in papers like
as Distributed Computation
mathematical model of the London riots and their policing,
Weakly Supervised Bayesian Model for Violence Detection in Social
The logics of ABM see society as people acting purposively with
self-interest, but with limited cognitive processes. Social
interaction is largely seen through the lens of technologically
facilitated social networks. ABM is integrated into live networks
such as stress testing transport systems, electricity grids, mobile
phone systems or, more recently, Ebola epidemiology.
The urban environment moves toward a state where networked existence
programs logical agents who then manage the environment of that
existence. Agents increasingly carry out mundane acts of consumerism
and education. Freedom becomes a choice between pathways that have
been modeled for us by agents - not unlike how Amazon, Ebay or Google
second guess what you want to buy, but this time ubiquitously, at
every level of life. You can choose a pathway, any pathway, as long
as it's based on bubble-sorted behavior derived from people just like
you. Never mind the drones will be fuelled using knowledge
extraction algorithms interacting with field operatives in Ukraine,
Iraq, Syria calculating

significant acts, work products, courses of action for the
scenarios of attack and awaiting the systems administrator to just
say yes.

in this imaginary becomes a cycle of knowledge extraction to create
more efficient agents to dictate on our behalf. Companies will regard
all knowledge you possess or process, and any decisions you make, as
the property of the enterprise. Having invested in you and made it
possible for you to consume calories and proteins through monetary
exchange, the enterprise will not want to lose that investment,
should you quit. Agents will be harvesting your decision-making
capability for machine learning that will structure the environment
of your choice; they will learn from you and calculate your
efficiency, as well as the optimum time for your retirement.
sounds attractive - a world where you can finally be free in any way
you wish, just as long as you keep shopping.

finished the article on "Abstract Urbanism," I decided to
take a drug holiday from anti-depressants and high blood pressure
tablets. It was during this vacation that I began to notice the
after-image, or Palinopsia, created by staring intently at my monitor
while replying to a never-ending stream of email. Apparently, the
photo receptors in your eyes exhaust their supply of photo-pigment
and become numb, resulting in a decrease of signals to the brain and
a lingering image in one's field of vision. Staring motionless at
inconsequential information programs the eye to retain an afterimage;
regardless of whether the eyes are closed or change focus to look
elsewhere, a small square of color remains on the retina. I decided
to try this technique in the office. I would sit motionless, staring
into the abyss of email with a fixed gaze. For one hour, I tried not
to blink; then, as someone entered the room and asked me some
meaningless administrative question, I would frame them with the
afterimage of the screen, enjoying the aesthetics of my eyes’
dysfunction, and completely ignore them.

act on and with multiple material scales at the same time.
Techno-logically-mediated '
becomes, in the words of Rossi Bradotti, a contested political
The space between the
who programmed my email account and people like me using computers to
experiment with Palinopsia create different forms of logic. This
occurs at the level of coding the machine to perform calculations to
display the text, and regulating my behavior as I push the mouse
around and navigate menu systems to produce desired results.

way to consider computational logics and current trends in
agent-based systems is to think of them as a Foucault-type
discipline. This means a mode that


and breaks down a phenomenon by modelling it to produce a kind of
remote control.

logics discipline the way a phenomenon is approached and analyzed,
breaking it down and reconstituting it inside the computer, thereby
making the phenomenon materially available for comparison and
modification. As users participate in the flows of power created by
comparing and modifying information, they become accustomed to its
process and involved in the inter-relation of logics at different
scales. The supermarket as a database interface is an exemplar of
this process, breaking down the world in which they act through
abstracting it's enterprise into an entity and relation model. The
governance of the enterprise, it's people, suppliers and consumers
all sorted together forming flows of power. I buy a can of beans and
that programs someone somewhere to put another can on another lorry
for resupply.

logics described above

Foucault would call “progressive training

are a form of complex training for those that model, feed, collect,
process, and react to the logics as well as the objects that are
subject to their calculations.  Logics like those we saw in ABM
decompose processes and entities, including people, which are
aggregate with such processes. Routine processing of/interaction with
such models sets a stage (or a collective logic) which can be applied
to all areas of society and the natural world.

the imaginary that logics construct, critical thought is replaced by
the structural analysis of behavioral data

systems like ABM. As we act out our extended minds through mobile
devices, the proxy of our actions will offer us the freedom of more
of the same in a well trained concentrated, pay-as- you-go form of

Logics have no need to understand anyone’s motivations,

to be able to detect discernible patterns of consumption, or monitor
the body as it moves through technologically structured environments.
This is a world without even the need for notional progress


its critics will become redundant. Rightly seen as just another jolt
to the decaying corpse of the humanist


perhaps, to start a new course in antidepressants and commit to
interfering interestingly in the world’s collapse


Agent-based Legal Knowledge Acquisition Methodology for Agile Public
a paper by Alexander Boer & Tom Van Engers from the University
of Amsterdam. The paper is tasked with finding mechanisms by which
administrative machinery can adjust to the production of new laws
using multi-agent systems to simulate agents in bureaucratic
structures making them more agile and able to save money by avoiding
potential liabilities or bottlenecks in the system.

Matthew Fuller is Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies,
Goldsmiths, University of London and is best known as an innovator
of Software Studies.

Schelling, “Models of Segregation”,
American Economic Review
vol. 59. no 2,
and Proceedings of the Eighty-first Annual Meeting of the American
Economic Association
1969) pp.488-493.

Epstein J. Axtel R. (1996)
Artificial Societies: Social Science From the Bottom Up (Complex
Adaptive Systems),

G. 1992.
on the Societies of Control
OCTOBER 59, Winter 1992, MIT Press, Cambridge, pp. 3-7.

R. L. () Economics as Distributed Computation , The Brookings
Institution, NW Washington.

Toby, Hannah Fry, Alan G. Wilson, and Steven Bishop. 2013. A
mathematical model of the London riots and their policing.

Cano, E; He, Y; Liu, K; Zhao, J. (2013).
weakly-supervised Bayesian model for violence detection from social

The 6th International Joint Conference on Natural Language

model: Ebola could infect more than 1.4 million people by end of
January 2015

Harwood G. 2014.
War: On the database structure of armed conflict,

Robert L. Axtell and Joshua M. Epstein.
in Transient Social Networks: An Agent-Based Computational Model of
the Timing of Retirement
Center on Social and Economic Dynamics, Working Paper No. 1, (May

R. 2007. Bio-Power and Necroploitics. ‘Biomacht und
nekro-Politik. Uberlegungen zu einer Ethik der Nachhaltigkeit’,
in: Springerin, Hefte fur Gegenwartskunst,Band XIII Heft 2, Fruhjahr
2007, pp 18-23

uses discipline to describe the regulating of space, time or peoples
conduct. Regulation requires that the object under consideration be
broken down into discrete ordered parts. In computation a simple
models of Foucault type discipline is the databases in which the
entity relation model breaks down it's subject into a series of
fields so as to create a form of remote control over the
materiality of it's subject. See

Michel Foucault,
Territory, Population, lectures at the College de France,