It is a peculiar fact that the severe economic turmoil of the past year has for the most part not led people to ask the most fundamental question about the root of all this angst: What is money?

Money is, of course, many things: the coins and notes rattling in our pockets, as well as the piles of real and virtual stuff lying in banks, or the smart money that tends towards disappearance and increasing immateriality, being shuffled electronically along the vectors of the financial networks.

That might serve as an initial, empirical description, but what does money really mean? What is the idea of money that we hold in our minds as we accept it, exchange it, squander it or save it? The core of money is trust and promise, “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of…” on the British pound; the “In God We Trust” of the U.S. dollar; the BCE-ECB-EZB-EKT-EKP of the European Central Bank that runs like a Franco-Anglo-Germano-Greco-Finnish cipher across the top of every Euro note.

It’s not that we revere the things that money can buy.

Rather, we venerate the money that enables us to buy those things.

In other words, the legitimacy of money is based on a sovereign act, or a sovereign guarantee that the money is good, that it is not counterfeit. Money has a promissory structure, with a strangely circular logic: money promises that the money is good. The acceptance of the promise is the approval of a specific monetary ethos. We all agree that the money is worth — in the best of circumstances — more than the paper on which it is printed. To buy and sell in the U.S. dollar, or any other currency, is to trust that each bill is making a promise that it can keep.

cérebro replicante


ScienceDaily (Sep. 4, 2009) — A model that replicates the functions of the human brain is feasible in 10 years according to neuroscientist Professor Henry Markram of the Brain Mind Institute in Switzerland. “I absolutely believe it is technically and biologically possible. The only uncertainty is financial. It is an extremely expensive project and not all is yet secured.”

The apparent complexity of the human mind is not a barrier to building a ‘replica’ brain claims Professor Markram. “The brain is of course extremely complex because it has trillions of synapses, billions of neurons, millions of proteins, and thousands of genes. But they are still finite in number. Today’s technology is already highly sophisticated and it allows us to reverse engineer the brain rapidly.” An example of the capability already in place is that today’s robots can do screenings and mappings tens of thousands of times faster than human scientists and technicians.


via @rgaidot

[via U.N. Reports on Developing Nations’ Energy Needs by Neil MacFarquahar]

“It will cost between $500 billion and $600 billion every year for the next 10 years to allow developing nations to grow using renewable energy resources, instead of relying on dirty fuels that worsen global warming, according to a United Nations report released Tuesday.

That astronomical estimate, far higher than any previously suggested by the United Nations, comes at a time when developed and developing nations are still deeply divided over who bears the responsibility for shouldering the expense of deploying cleaner energy resources, much less what the actual amount might be. “

It may require literally everything we have to save the planet, but it is unlikely that we will be able to concentrate the world’s attention on the urgency involved. How can we marshal the necessary will and commitment when we can’t get health insurance reform, or see the idiocy of fighting land wars in Asia?

at ambivalence



2010. It is a year which has been synonymous with past images of the future. Writers and commentators throughout the 20th century strove to depict 2010 as a shining example of a future framed by technological progress and social harmony.

But as 2010 draws nearer it is clear that global society is neither the utopia nor the dystopia traditionally presented in these fictions, architectures and theories of the future. Rather, it is an increasingly complex web of economic, political and cultural systems dependent on the convergence of rapidly evolving technologies. With the ubiquity of digital practices and social media firmly entrenched as an intrinsic part of our cultural code, we have caught up with our own notions of the future. The future is experiencing an identity crisis.

Futurity is a concept that examines what the ‘future’ as a conditional and creative enterprise can be. At its heart lays the intricate need to counter political and economic turmoil with visionary futures. With FUTURITY NOW! transmediale.10 explores what roles internet evolution, global network practice, open source methodologies, sustainable design and mobile technology play in forming new cultural, ideological and political templates. transmediale.10 invites artists, scientists, media activists, thinkers and visionaries to ask not what the future has in store for us, but what do we have in store for the future?