Olsson, E. & Funk, P. (2009). "Agent-Based Monitoring using Case-Based Reasoning for Experience Reuse and Improved Quality." Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering, 15(2), 179-192.

"An Agent-based Legal Knowledge Acquisition Methodology for Agile Public Administration"1 is just one of the many hyper-dull papers on Agent-Based Modelling that require me to complete a course in antidepressants before reading. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors lend a certain numbness that cushions the deep boredom that comes with trying to come to grips with how logics at multiple scales work together to produce the performance of power in a world with computation at its center.

I have just finished writing a paper with Matthew Fuller from Goldsmiths (University of London2) about "Abstract Urbanism." This was my excuse for reading the aforementioned paper along with many other screeds, including Thomas C. Schelling's elaborately racist algorithm "Models of Segregation." Written in 1969—just four years after the Voting Rights Act gave a large percentage of African-Americans the right to vote--the paper posited a logic for interpreting micro/macro behaviours in segregated USA cities.3 Schelling's model worked by assigning black and white "agents" a space on a grid and a degree of happiness that is increased or decreased depending on the proximity they have to other black or white agents. Too little happiness, and they move toward their own type, creating discernible patterns of segregation.


Digging in the Age of Cloud Computing


de paso, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, 2011

The saying "Free like the wind, not like free beer" is a version of the legal distinction known as gratis versus libre. It's an attempt to add some definition to one particularly slippery region of language. Free got complicated in the sixteenth century when it became attached to the monetary system, where it began to be used to denote transactions that took place outside of this system (free as in gratis; without cost).

In mid 1600s England, a small group emerged who began to undermine – literally – the institution of private property. Partly in response to rising food costs and a collapsing social order, the Diggers, led by Gerrard Winstanley, set themselves up to cultivate the common land, and live off what they produced. Winstanley set out his vision for a new society in a pamphlet called The Law of Freedom in a Platform (1652), a radical and eminently practical solution to the crises of his day.

As Christopher Hill writes, "Winstanley’s conclusion, that communal cultivation of the commons was the crucial question, the starting point from which common people all over England could build up an equal community, was absolutely right…. Winstanley had arrived at the one possible democratic solution that was not merely backward-looking, as all other radical proposals during the revolutionary decades – an agrarian law, partible inheritance, stable copy-holds – tended to be." The group was small and short-lived, and their community was constantly threatened by landowners and violent mobs, but they left a legacy of ideas which continues to fascinate and inspire. 

The Diggers are undoubtedly the heroes of The World Turned Upside Down, Hill’s history of forgotten radical groups during the English revolution. He speculates about the "revolution that never happened" ("although from time to time it threatened ...