What did we miss? “This Is What We Die For: Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt” (London: Amnesty International, 2016), https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/AFR6231832016ENGLISH.PDF. We start with an outline: an exploded view of a planetary system across three stages of birth, life and death, accompanied by an essay in 21 parts. With the help from an electronic bracelet, the human worker is directed though warehouses the size of airplane hangars, filled with objects arranged in an opaque algorithmic order. Supply chains are often layered on top of one another, in a sprawling network. Millennials get plenty of flak over their penchant for instant gratification. When the first affordable, easy-to-use instant shooter, the Polaroid OneStep Land camera, hit the market in 1977, it quickly became the country’s best-selling camera, 40 years before “Millennials” were a thing. All told, the 6210 was a pivotal step forward for mobile devices. Vincent Mosco, To the Cloud: Big Data in a Turbulent World (Boulder: Paradigm, 2014). But it forever set the standard for the way human beings interact with computers. Apple’s iPad wasn’t the first tablet, but it was radically different from what came before. By the early 1990s, having a pager became a status symbol, paving the way for more advanced communication devices like the two-way pager, the cellphone, and eventually the smartphone. The vanishingly few at the top of the fractal pyramid of value extraction live in extraordinary wealth and comfort. The latex was processed then sold through Singapore’s trade markets into the British market, where it was transformed into, among other things, lengths upon lengths of submarine cable sheaths. Anything beyond the limited physical and digital interfaces of the device itself is outside of the user’s control. Patty was one of my first “bosses” when I entered the working world in 1980. There are 17 rare earth elements, which are embedded in laptops and smartphones, making them smaller and lighter. 53 Nintendo’s tiny pearl-white box, released in 2006, and which users engaged with motion control wands, had moms and dads and grandpas and grandmas out of their seats and swinging virtual golf clubs or dancing. Jean-François Lyotard introduced the phrase “affinity to infinity” to describe how contemporary art, techno-science and capitalism share the same aspiration to push boundaries towards a potentially infinite horizon. “Thanks to Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata, we’re all gamers now,” went the headline of Wired’s obituary for Nintendo’s beloved president, who died last July. The original Palm Pilot 1000 solidified handheld computing when it launched in 1996, paving the way for BlackBerry and, eventually, today’s smartphone. What would the computer market look like today without the IBM PC? That quantification often runs on very limited foundations: datasets like AVA which primarily shows women in the ‘playing with children’ action category, and men in the ‘kicking a person’ category. Jean Francois Lyotard, “Presenting the Unpresentable: The Sublime,” Artforum, April 1982. It spawned a device category known as the “personal digital assistant,” or PDA. It is silently attending. But it was the model that made the technology widely accessible for the first time, thanks to its sub-$2,000 price tag. In 1770, Hungarian inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen constructed a chess-playing machine known as the Mechanical Turk. Maps and design: Vladan Joler and Kate Crawford, Published by: SHARE Lab, SHARE Foundation (https://labs.rs) and The AI Now Institute, NYU (https://ainowinstitute.org/), Full citation: Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler, “Anatomy of an AI System: The Amazon Echo As An Anatomical Map of Human Labor, Data and Planetary Resources,” AI Now Institute and Share Lab, (September 7, 2018) https://anatomyof.ai. In order to minimize their internal costs, most of the container shipping companies use very low grade fuel in enormous quantities, which leads to increased amounts of sulphur in the air, among other toxic substances. 22 Digital labor – the work of building and maintaining the stack of digital systems – is far from ephemeral or virtual, but is deeply embodied in different activities. Finally, thanks to Irini Papadimitriou and all the curatorial staff at the V&A Museum. Need proof? Sony’s Walkman was the first music player to combine portability, simplicity and affordability. For Kodak, the low-cost shooter was the hook that allowed the company to reel in money through film sales. It cemented Google’s Android platform as the iPhone’s biggest competition. When massive data sets are used to train AI systems, the individual images and videos involved are commonly tagged and labeled. “Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? Though the phonograph was invented in 1877, it was the Victor Talking Machine Company’s Victrola that first made audio players a staple in most people’s homes. But they are also a resource, as their voice commands are collected, analyzed and retained for the purposes of building an ever-larger corpus of human voices and instructions. In the specific case of the Amazon Echo, the user has purchased a consumer device for which they receive a set of convenient affordances. With Amazon Mechanical Turk, it may seem to users that an application is using advanced artificial intelligence to accomplish tasks. Andrew Hurley (New York: Penguin, 1999), 325. The iBook’s brightly-colored, plastic trim may look dated now, but it was the first laptop to offer wireless networking. Glass showed that designers working on computing devices that are worn face a different set of assumptions and challenges. His goal, in part, was to impress Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. 3 (May 1, 2017): 104, https://doi.org/10.1111/gto.12186. Grieving for the child that she could no longer reach, Tunupa wept deeply. 25 years later we would still talk once in awhile, and she would always ask about my husband and children. 11. At the end of 19th century, a particular Southeast Asian tree called palaquium gutta became the center of a technological boom. The scene of the woman talking to Alexa is drawn from a 2017 promotional video advertising the latest version of the Amazon Echo. Marcus Wohlsen, “A Rare Peek Inside Amazon’s Massive Wish-Fulfilling Machine,” Wired, June 16, 2014, https://www.wired.com/2014/06/inside-amazon-warehouse/. Now it is the turn of biodiversity and knowledge to be 'enclosed' through intellectual property rights (IPRs),” Vandana Shiva explains. Its blocky 8-bit graphics looked nothing like the lavish, rousing illustrations on its game jackets, but the black-and-faux-wood Atari 2600 game console was the first gaming box to stir the imaginations of millions. Auch für Schnäppchenjäger, die sich gezielt auf günstige Mode stürzen und schon kalkulieren, dass sie einen echten Rabatt einheimsen, ist das Outlet ein wahres Eldorado. But read from top to bottom, we see the story as it begins and ends with a human. Reflecting upon media and technology as geological processes enables us to consider the profound depletion of non-renewable resources required to drive the technologies of the present moment. The Segway’s symbolic impact greatly exceeded its commercial success. And as revolutionary as all this tech was, it only scratches the surface of how the Regency — by ushering in truly portable communications — changed the world overnight. BlackBerry made pocket-sized gadgets for accessing email on-the-go before the 6210, but this was the first to combine the Web-browsing and email experience with the functionality of a phone. 2–3 (May 4, 2017): 185, https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2017.1303425. For that reason, our map starts and ends with the Earth’s crust. It seemingly paid off—although neither companies disclosed sales figures, analysts estimated that between 700,000 and 800,000 Droids were sold in roughly one month following its launch. Long before cellphones became commonplace, beepers were the way to stay in touch on the go. But the precise configuration and use of these minerals is hard to ascertain. 23 Like the early Internet, GPS started life as a government-funded innovation. Each Tesla car needs approximately seven kilograms of lithium for its battery pack. 32 So we see that the attempt to capture the full supply chain is a truly gargantuan task: revealing all the complexity of the 21st century global production of technology products. 52. Such is the case with the ThinkPad line of laptops, which challenged the dominance of Apple and Compaq in the personal computing industry during the early 1990s by introducing features that were considered to be innovative at the time. Media technologies should be understood in context of a geological process, from the creation and the transformation processes, to the movement of natural elements from which media are built. Early pagers allowed users to send codes to one another, like 411 for “what’s going on” or 911 to indicate an emergency (for obvious reasons). This becomes a complex structure of supply chains within supply chains, a zooming fractal of tens of thousands of suppliers, millions of kilometers of shipped materials and hundreds of thousands of workers included within the process even before the product is assembled on the line. Some were unsuccessful commercially, but influential nonetheless. From Rodney King and citizen journalism to America’s Funniest Home Videos and unscripted television, the camcorder did as much to change the world from 1983 to 2006 as it did to record it. Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands. 1 visit looming. Like in Fuchs’ work, our triangles are not isolated, but linked to one another in the production process. The notion of digital labor, which was initially linked with different forms of non-material labor, precedes the life of devices and complex systems such as artificial intelligence. 36. With its graphical user interface, easy-to-use mouse and overall friendly appearance, the Macintosh was Apple’s best hope to take on IBM. Our apartment is furnished with period mahogany furniture with french curves and polished brass inlay, and the walls are covered with period artwork. II. I was fresh out of college, and Patty quickly saw my nervousness. Then in 1964, a magnetic tape model gave the typewriter the ability to store data, arguably making it the world’s first word processor. MoMA The Museum of Modern Art New York, United States. The scene of the woman talking to Alexa is drawn from a 2017 promotional video advertising the latest version of the Amazon Echo. But in this fleeting moment of interaction, a vast matrix of capacities is invoked: interlaced chains of resource extraction, human labor and algorithmic processing across networks of mining, logistics, distribution, prediction and optimization. The Salar, the world's largest flat surface, is located in southwest Bolivia at an altitude of 3,656 meters above sea level. 5 Furthermore, mining and refining activities consume vast amount of water and generate large quantities of CO2 emissions. It’s necessary to move beyond a simple analysis of the relationship between an individual human, their data, and any single technology company in order to contend with the truly planetary scale of extraction. As Liam Young and Kate Davies observe, “your smart-phone runs on the tears and breast milk of a volcano. 41. Thanks also to all those who have given feedback, support and insights since, including Alex Campolo, Casey Gollan, Gretchen Krueger, Trevor Paglen, and Sarah Myers West at the AI Now Institute and Olivia Solis, Andrej Petrovski, and Milica Jovanovic at the SHARE Lab and all the wonderful folks from SHARE Foundation. * The request timed out and you did not successfully sign up. Yet the material details of those costs remain vague in the social imagination. 46. But how is value being generated through these systems? The Regency’s pocket radio was the first consumer gadget powered by transistors, ushering in an age of high-tech miniaturization. 14 Earlier devices, like the GriDPad and Palm Pilot, had smaller touchscreens users had to operate with a stylus. 44 A mature palaquium gutta could yield around 300 grams of latex. The “palm top” computer (get it?) After the Pocketronic’s launch, circuitry quickly miniaturized and prices shrank to match. After English scientist Michael Faraday published a study in The Philosophical Magazine in 1848 about the use of this material as an electrical insulator, gutta percha rapidly became the darling of the engineering world. Even industry-friendly sources like the World Shipping Council admit that thousands of containers are lost each year, on the ocean floor or drifting loose. 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