21st-century tech arena of social struggle

Wired magazine, early 1990s

LAST DECEMBER 2022 (which seemed so long ago, in infotech terms), at first I had wanted my study group at UP Open University to focus on the potentials of an AI-based operating system (think of Linux on AI steroids) that ran on an alternative PC architecture. This AI-muscled PC would rely almost purely on GPUs + a standard CPU (think of a souped-up Raspberry Pi with external GPUs).

Such an approach would make it much easier for barrio kids to assemble a fairly cheap AI-powered rural network for empowering their province’s educational-cultural and info needs. If successfully deployed in many rural provinces, it could serve as a long-term innovator-disruptor not just in the “IT industry” sense but in the wider socio-economic and political sense.

But since my group was pressed for time, and what with the hype around Midjourney, Dall-E etc., I agreed with the more popular choice to focus on AI generative art and lit — which of course have their own immense (but I now feel, short-lived) innovator-disruptor potentials. I’m still satisfied though with how the research turned out.

But now I want to return to my original interest, advocacy, and prediction: that, in the longer-term, the biggest arena of struggle for cyber-control (in the IT field) will feature the “weaponry” of streamlined mini-PC servers on AI-architecture GPUs (even just Raspberry Pi-based for now).

It would run AI-enabled open-source operating systems and software, and be capable of hosting distributed-cloud services that can empower community-based networks. The network can even shield itself from external attack, to some extent.

So here are some links that should be of interest to 21st-century tech activists:

The key elements of this future 21st-century tech arena of social/class struggles are now here, or fast looming on the horizon. #

Conducting an electoral autopsy

IRAIA thoughts
An electoral autopsy

Most political analysts have already started to dissect the just-concluded Philippine 2013 elections—many of them focusing on the fate of individual senatorial candidates. Understandably, they pose such questions as why Grace Poe took the top spot, why Nancy Binay remained on 5th as predicted (despite the many brickbats thrown her way), or why Risa Hontiveros or Teddy Casino for that matter failed to land into the Magic 12 despite the all-out efforts and formidable strengths of their respective camps.

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For me, Apple means Wozniak, Alexan, and Obet

Doing piegraph on Apple ][ clone
An Apple II clone used two external floppy disk drives – one for the system or program disk, the other for the data files. The monitor could be a plain TV set or a green monochromatic CRT display.

Let me get this straight. Like the rest of the world touched by Apple computers and devices, I mourn the loss of Steve Jobs, as a very intelligent person, and as a visionary designer and marketing guru. But much of the tributes I read coming out after his death are too effusive and at the same time generic, mostly saying nothing new and simply repeating what has already been said in recent years.

To be honest, within a few hours after his death was announced, I had started to suffer a surfeit of tributes to Jobs. At the same time, these tributes lead me to think about how my own computer philosophy was shaped by Apple, however indirectly and incompletely.

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