Aral Balkan @aral

The Nordic Creatives podcast I was interviewed for after my talk in Copenhagen is now out. Among other things, hear me rant about surveillance capitalists like Google and Facebook as well as their cohorts (like Singularity University and the Danish government that appointed an ambassador—of all things—to Silicon Valley) and rave about Mastodon and @Purism :)



Many thanks to for the lovely interview :)

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@aral @Purism Glad you mentioned SingularityU. This sectarian movement deserves more critical comments than it gets now.

@KeaW @Purism @aral The whole Singularity idea is bogus, so building a university around it is probably only going to attract hucksters and scam artists

@bob @Purism @KeaW It’s not a university; it’s a lobby.

@bob @Purism @KeaW A good enough synonym for surveillance capitalism :)

@bob @Purism @KeaW (They’re a major influence in Danish tech policy and have the prime minister’s ear. They represents the interests of surveillance capitalists.)

@aral @KeaW @Purism @bob

Alas, this doesn't surprise me.

Denmark may portray itself as liberal, but also seems to aspire to be "the Singapore of Europe", seeks the "thriving business / startup environment".

Also Martin Luther still remains a "social influencer" in that country (a lot more than I had expected/realised..)

@vfrmedia @aral @Purism @bob
Well, Martin Luther would oppose with all his capacities to transhumanism and call it fake. I rather think that Singularity and Transhumanism seeds grow better on a secular soil than on Lutherans. Margarethe Vestager is a daughter of two Lutheran pastors. She knows.

@KeaW @aral @Purism @bob

My mothers side of the family in Malaysia are Lutherans, but an aspect of wider Christian faith (that I also noticed with my Catholic father who attended college in Singapore) is "Gott sieht Alles", a feeling that "some type of invisible surveillance" was present and normal in society.

That was ofc co-opted by governments at various times, and in the more secular societies today (in both Europe and Asia) seems to be interlinked with the tech industry..

@vfrmedia @aral @Purism @bob This notion of the all-seeing eye has often been used in a negative way to frighten people off from doing evil things.

@vfrmedia @aral @Purism @bob But this is why Lutherans and other christians cannot accept Transhumanism: they do not think that human beings are capable of creating a paradise-like world. Because humans are both good and evil. So the soup always get spoiled.

@KeaW @aral @Purism @bob

the context I am thinking of in modern era is US tech companies get elevated to "divine status" even in a secular environment (like DK in 2018), to me there is a concern that if/when it all goes wrong, "old gods/old values" could well make a comeback.

I'm not quite as fearful that LGBT equality or multiculturalism could disappear overnight in Europe, but if they are interlinked with tech failures they *could* take a hammering like what seems to have happened in USA..

@vfrmedia @aral @Purism @bob Indeed, I think that some Silicon Valley companies have given themselves a divine-like status already. And if this is the case, you can be sure that it goes wrong, now or lateron. It's the Icarus story.

@aral @Purism @bob@soc.freedombone.
How can the Danish prime minister be so naïve? Vestager is smarter I suppose. Singularity is based on surveillance capitalism in its strategy but it is also based on a misconception of what it means to be human. To me it appears to be the utmost form of hybris.

@aral @Purism @bob Yes, they sell their products with great zeal. Tech Tupperware.

@aral It was a pleasure to have you in our show :) Hope we will have the chance to interview and discuss with you again soon :)