Wild Systems

When anthropogenic systems go feral

We like to think that we are in control of our offspring. But just like children grow up, so do our systems. Human technologies have become so complex that they now behave like independent ecologies. Algorithms run the stock market. Computer viruses keep going long after their creators have set them free. Genetically modified organisms thrive in the wild. In this new world of wild, technological beasts, will humans be at the mercy of our monsters?

The Technological Sublime

ESSAY BY Jos de Mul
July 17th 2011

The sublime is an aesthetic concept of 'the exalted,' of beauty that is grand and dangerous. Through 17th and 18th century European intellectual tradition, the sublime became intimately associated with nature. Only in the 20th century, did the technological sublime replace the natural sublime. Have our sense of awe and terror been transferred to factories, war machines, and the unknowable, infinite possibilities suggested by computers and genetic engineering?

When we call a landscape or a piece of art ‘sublime,’ we express the fact that it evokes particular beauty or excellence. Note that the ‘sublime’ is not only an aesthetic characterization; a moral action of high standing or an unparalleled goal in a soccer game may also be called ‘sublime.’

Roughly speaking, the sublime is something that exceeds the ordinary.…

Machines of Loving Grace

Adam Curtis explores the notion that Ayn Rand influenced the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs of the 1990s to create a world where digital systems are more powerful than human ones.

Crops Running Wild

Minke Kampman
August 12th 2010

Only for the title already I wanted to post this as soon as I read it on Nature.com. The newsarticle is entitled "GM crop escapes into the American wild." Brilliant!…

Zombie Spam – botnet resurrects from death

Van Mensvoort
December 3rd 2008

Computerworld reports a big spam-spewing botnet, that was shut down a few weeks ago, has been resurrected and is again under the control of criminals.…

Meet the Worms, Viruses and Trojans

Van Mensvoort
February 7th 2008

Now there is an interesting biomimicmarketing technique we had not seen before. For their new marketing campaign internet security company Messagelabs worked with digital artist Alex Dragulescu to graphically show what cyber threats actually look like.…