Written by ctrlplus and Silvano Cacciari – Italian translation here
If the ancient augurs at the Roman rulers’ service listened to the shrieks of the birds, in order to express their predictions, divination today is a business of algorythms and statistical analisys models, these being specifically constructed in order to explain the meaning of flocks of tweets in real time. As times changed – with oracles and fortune-tellers now unseated by Big Data analysts – the interest of the people in charge about the future remains undiminished. Especially when the latter risks to be menacingly affected by political disorders, social upheavals and popular uprisings.
Demonstrations, marches and protests always happen during a diffusion of ideas that amplifies collective action and nurtures the subjectivity of its protagonists. The hypothesis of such a viral process of today being more or less fed by social networks like Twitter or Facebook has been at the core of heated arguments for several years: one one hand, studies that recognizes in the social media a beacon for new forms of mobilization and organization abound, on the other hand there is no shortage of invectives by intellectual and activists, based on the belief that such platforms constrain the rage of the users behind the monitor of a computer, thus discouraging real participation. Continue reading