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Long Before “Her”, There was “Teknolust” — Lynn Hershman Leeson & Her Virtual Personas

Feb 24

Image above: Seduction,  part of the Phantom Limb Series, gsp, c. Lynn Hershman 1986

…and Spike Jonez knew all about it.

Lynn Hershman Leeson has been making art and films about the thin line between the real and the virtual for four decades. She is probably best known for two of her films — Conceiving Ada (I had a small role) (1997) and Teknolust (2002) — both starring Tilda
 Swinton, which explore emotions, sexuality and technology and the ways in which they converge. Around 1999, while Leeson was working on Teknolust, she
 contacted Spike Jonez, asked him to be in the film and introduced him to her online A.I. web
bot ,“Agent Ruby.”

This interview is a combination of some text we exchanged via email recently with an interview I did with her back around 2005 for my long lost NeoFiles podcast.

Cypherpunk rising: WikiLeaks, encryption, and the coming surveillance dystopia

Dec 12

The Verge, March 2013

This article, which predates the Edward Snowden affair (ongoing), seems to be getting renewed interest. One thing I would draw your attention to today is the segment that discusses the commercial availability of turnkey systems that can intercept all the communications of a medium sized country. In other words, the next revelation may be about private companies vacuuming up Big Data for their own uses, even without funding from the NSA. This, in fact, is entirely likely to be occurring. Read on…

Steal This Singularity: Entry #1

Dec 1

Acceler80r, October 2012

It was at the end of the first day of the Singularity Summit 2012 when Ben Popper — the dude from The Verge who I’d spoken to by phone — approached.  “What do you think?” he asked.  “It’s been pretty interesting,” I responded earnestly.  The absence of a superlative was perhaps telling, but I was not in the mood to think on it more deeply.  Ben agreed.  And then Eve and I made a wrong turn heading back to the North Bay and we found ourselves moving at a crawl through Chinatown.