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If Everything is a Network, Nothing is a Network

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we shall sick IV Fuser Design educated and media activists based in Tel-Aviv and is the cofounder of shoe well that con uh as he says Foxy design studio and many
other things he said it everything is the net work nothing is the net work so welcome was shown of each if
the time and the the the and
the the no no no no no now you can generate OK so if everything is a network nothing is a network this is the title of my talk I I'm and I'm really grateful for Republika and Utopia full for their collaboration that made this happen that brought me and other Israeli speakers here so thank you so much and this this talk is based on um on an article about commissioned by Tactical Tech collective 2 words they're Responsible Data Forum on dieselization but which we which happened earlier this year so the way we're going to do it is will start by problematising networks sorry start by problematising networks and then I will uh consider the network investigation model and then I will try to see how can we make a network work so let's start drawing in network will start with a few points will call them nodes and that's connect them with a few lines will call these edges and then you would know we've got all the network at that but well yes and no it it gets a bit more complicated than that a few years ago I was invited to help redesign the maps the ways of the mobile navigation company we you know we face the complicated a network challenge now why am I talking about maps when this is suppose be about networks well essentially a street map is the network the map does a pretty good job of connecting the dots the road edges through the junction nodes but what about the traffic so let's say we wanna go here so always will tell us to go like this but why you know why is it taking us that way well apparently there's a traffic jam on on that road so that's the only way we're going that way so that the the the point of communicating and not not only the edges and the and um and the nodes but also the flow what actually happens on the network so it and and that's kind of a balance between what their algorithm says we should do and what you think you should do of traffic can be a pretty dynamic slow it can be light it can be medium it can get heavy and it can become completely stuck so at this point we already know how to get to that point right I but would now always is taking us directly through for the traffic jam what's going on here but apparently the jam useful cars taking left not for cause they're taking right so and we haven't even gotten into one-way roads forbidden turns express lanes turns but let's take another example 42nd Street in Manhattan it's a pretty and central road it connects the Grand Central Port Authority Times Square so drivers trying to get from north to south or from south to north often choose to go from 42nd Street which ends up being pretty pretty stuff now in 1990 the whole street was blocked for effort for Earth Day police read a prepared itself for major jams but but surprise not not only will there no air traffic jams the traffic was actually better drivers have chosen to goes along with her role as well tentative Rosa the wouldn't have chosen to go through otherwise and the this actually made the traffic more efficient in network theory it's called the brass paradox when removing an edge actually makes for better flow so let's go back to our network now what can we say about its flow nothing much and that becomes a problem especially in recent years where much of our communication and is is being framed around this a network the model in 19 a 64 deeply into the cold Cold War Rand Corporation scientists from global around published published is now a quite famous 3 options for network topologies the centralized network the decentralized network and the distributed network this communication network topologies that were meant to be durable against an in atomic attack so In the case of a centralized network would look like this In the case of the decentralized network it would look like this and in the case of the distributed network we can see that none of the none of the remaining American nodes have that have remained disconnected and that's also why the TCP IP protocol what was modeled after the distributed network and and is there and communication protocol at the core of the Internet that we know today today's Internet communication flows
mode mostly through centralized commercial networks the myth of the Internet's birth and in the popularity of social networking platforms captured our imagination and informed our conception of society and power relations in terms of a distributed network the recent recently flew so the phone neuro science biotechnology and machine learning with started to imagine a period partly science partly fiction Future of humanism through artificial neural networks there's something very
attractive about the idea that everything is connected to that that everything can be seen in terms of cause and effect that everything is a part of this and this network of feedback loops and if we could only call them all we we could have reviewed could reveal the big picture the something extremely wonderful about the esthetics of the network diagram its volume its physics its emergence of its power it's like the rendering of the hidden truth southerners suddenly emerging before our eyes that everything is connected man the every
place every institution every being every object every word of every concept the every cell or active could be nodes and as soon as we connect them with Godel so the network then we can lay a more data and more and more networks and in which it we can run some network mask to analyze the inner workings of the complex you the emergent network that we just help and you create and soon enough we're trapped in its web right or OK 1 2nd for just see them again and yeah it the OK the whole subcategory of data visualization is devoted to network graph drawing that was the tree layout those the arc layout with a force directed layout there is the sum the radial layout and those many many more where these layouts help us understand the structure of these networks they do little to expose the flow and more importantly the protocols that governs nothing in this distributed layout could hints at today's emergent centralization and it's important to remember that in fact uh this this network was imagine that the very spatial networks where nodes had to be have to rely on 1 another a to cross long distances now it's not like distance is no longer something from that that is important in to pay today's topology but both geographically distance and so the locations are very important but the visual representation of of this network is wrong yeah today nodes are much more interconnected the end and the topology of the network can no longer be represented through food these static diagrams this is a much more accurate representation of these 3 diagrams and a highly distributed network can still central hubs that behave in a very decentralized manner and and yes a distributed network still allows centralization in fact optional centralization is a feature of the distributed topology yeah so
notice tell us what is connected and edges still as well do they connect to and flows tell us how the the network indeed work but 1 thing is missing why does the network function like this 1 of the rules that govern it that's where the protocol comes to place so according to got away in fact here if networks all day structures that cause that connect people then protocols all the rules that may that make sure the connections actually work if we can't understand the flow and the protocol we can indeed imagine be endless possibilities of connectivity this is also why 0 why we get so excited about this stupid networks as the 99 % answer to the centralized power of state and corporations but it is also why these networks of so confusing it is simple to master the
Manhattan network of parliament junctions and roads but drivers on that FDA in 1990 had a simplistic model of their in midtown traffic flow GPS navigation systems might implement a protocol to circumvent human but it begs the question who's driving let's continue with other network investigation model good today as network to become the leading model for for power and control the visualization of of complex networks become an important political tool since the early 2 thousands the rule out now allows to to graph America's Most Powerful boards and and to look for possible conflicts of interests in the echelons of power they will and other
investigative activism tools follower network investigation model developed by police and investigative journalism
and popularized through TV series like The Wire in the to
solve the puzzle according to this model the investigator must collect and connect all the missing links the larger the network the
more possibilities it allows and when it
grows too big to comprehend network analysis algorithm stepped in to replace the human investigator so every bit that can
be captured will be captured as every bit could be that missing link that could
that completes the network did you know that that I think it was your inner Edward
Snowden's signed in silent
frustration the NSA and other governmental and commercial spying organization use the exact same network
investigation model so the model the motives of objectives and resources are
often very different the iconic image of
the scruffy be detective in smoking rooms connecting the dots between notes and
blurry photographs be into a tool called board has been infinitely extended to such a degree that now is the called bold
itself the does depending on the connecting the
larger the called bold go gets this smaller
it becomes these investigators often
have to untangle huge associated of webs of connections considering so spurious common correlations following dead ends
bordering on flimsy conspiracy theories
and like this those meet on drivers on 42nd Street cost in bad
traffic caused by a misreading of the flow and misunderstanding of the protocol we call it's a spear
ational networking the new managerial ideology that makes
everything possible as long as we're not actually explict expecting to make sense of what we're about to what is
actually happening there inside networks are in bad just drawn that way that's what makes visualization and
visualizing them even more crucial for us their puny nodes who still value political agency so let's remind
ourselves some notes tell us what is connected by edges where does it all go flow wadis hack it what actually happened and and how I and the Protocols tell us what why does the network function them the way that it does but there is a huge what would we see nodes and edges but we usually have to imagine the flow of the protocol after nodes and edges there's a huge drop in our ability to visualize flows and how do we even begin to visualize protocols so let's do that let's try to make the network we will take a few examples and they with the first one sometimes the nodes and edges are just enough
for example let's take a lot of times a social media network analysis so in this case you have mapped in media coverage of the latest armed conflict in Gaza clusters of pro-Israeli in black in blue and pro-Palestinian in green and the we have to understand where flow is stable and easy to comprehend who followed who who mentions who whole retweets who who we will use is there so old that hashtag and wondrous protocol is also pretty stable and mostly pretty simple so in this case there is no need to visualize the flows all the protocol says the story is contained within the nodes clustering and the connection density and we can and we can keep it simple and yes this is an example of a simple network as long as
we as the flows standardized quantifiable and stable we can visualize the volume as in the quantitative scale of the flow global money
flow is often visualized in that way em like in this case so the thicker the line the more money that goes between these countries and that in these countries most of our work and ways also fits this category as much as they wanted to visualize the safest router or the most scenic rout and at the end of the day ways visualizes the speed from point a to point B but what do we do when when the flow is incompatible or even not quantifiable like 2010 when
Google decided to turn your inbox into 1 big happy social network called will but anybody remember that so quite easily from your classmates your sister your boss your students your landlord your client your lover and some sales person might all be nodes in your social network but the flows of your correspondence with them are incompatible and presenting them as a social network is meaningless if not even insulting let's face it the greatest value of visualizing your social network is a narcissistic pleasure of seeing your own image portrayed in the center of things when 1 read text directionality is key with networks is often very hard to know what to even start from but does it have to be the case In 2010 this network of map mapped in multiple possible futures for the war in Afghanistan and to and to the role of the American army in it despite the many nodes and edges both at both the reading direction and the context of time extend extend the really readability of the flow and the protocol of policy embedded in the network it it the so that like we've seen in the previous example the directionality of text and time helps us communicate parallel park and narratives from the network this is important With this life as a narrative not as a map and most certainly not as a network recently
we witnessed amazing of the Panama papers millions of legal papers and and and thousands of journalists that are still trying to network them In noble effect to expose and narratives
the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists presented some network that some networks that will exposed in the investigation like the networks are rather than surrounding world during the famous cellist and they're Vladimir Putin's close friends never comes directly from the database and thus quite a few repetitions so you can see road to be in here you can also see rooted in here and is over there as well this is coming from the documents themselves after being read by computers so I tried to clear this up a bit so now we have all the real duties over there we have a so we have the the Swiss of lawyers over here and we have the offshore all stroke uh company over here and that makes perfect sense right well probably know and so let's try to see how I
the Guardian explains that they do they get a job in the world and the world and the rule of law and the and in all of the of the world and in the in the in the in the in the in link to the and the and the and the wrong and what the and M. and at the end of and means and the view toward a and they all were so remember our network let's make some
more room here does this look familiar on OK let's use a bit more work on this 1 and that's categorize the nodes of some color color would differentiate persons and institutions and we can also categorize the edges and differentiate personal relationships from business ones so we already know that the volume and originality of important so let's emphasize money flows among the direction of the flow the better but not enough rather than data and that's follow the story now as a narrative by weaving this network together I we have so the reviewing the cellist from his BFF with and Maria putting is actually his of uh and goddaughter so this is I you know and we and we continue on and now we have the big bank and the back the bank is becoming a routine is becoming the 1 of 3 % of the bank of flu um the banker at which it happens to also be a good friend of the pudding which is somewhat of a convenient and then we have the Swiss lawyers who who helped turn to more from 2nd the now famous some offshore specialist which helps set an offshore company and their their their Russian bank uh sends the money to to it's the supreme and its subsidiary and then so most Fonseca we can continue and move the money to send to send the wood and sandalwood can not given loan to all also but that Russia that big Russian a company that owns the ski resort the sky result where 1 because the not a ticket to hone over they get married and she's also a known and maybe you might wanna call covert Katharina putting that was a sister to marry a protein and the daughter of Vladimir Putin and and it kind of helps that it that the banker also owns quite a bit of so I would go so I'm in a network that that we can continue because we cannot continue we can speak about how the cut Caterina's husband also on some of the of the chosen the back and we can also talk about how and the cellist happened to owned a trucking company what but we can to continue and continue and continue and that's 1 of the problems we need to know where to stop because they've is everything is a network we need to know where to stop networking so finally I as they had rose uh bigger and the computer algorithms become more complex more control is more behind-the-scenes final visualization is usually only the tip of the iceberg visualization is for humans and computers don't need to stick to have anything visualize to them that's really important to remember until now we've been talking about data visualization but to really focus on the hidden protocols it is time to talk about visualising algorithms visualizing algorithms is still a small French and visualization world is mostly academic and used it for internal math and computer science the schools here we can see my postdoc explaining and algorithm so that all slime lines by the angle this is you having really really fast but it's slow down for of us understand how it works but the potential for for visualizing networks is huge they for visualizing network protocols is huge like we can see in the in this example of the excellent Visual Guide for machine learning by R to the 3 rather than a step size the opaque wonders of abstract networks the humanistic visualization could educate us about the protocols that govern us and provided its creators and potentially even asked with interfaces to adjust them liking liking this infographic the Tor network right of 1 but I think unencrypted links and many encrypted link with only the last 1 being unencrypted
so we've seen that the that flows and protocols don't have to be imagined the they can and they should be visualized it starts by by the scientist trying to to peek into Frankenstein's head but he doesn't have to stop there inspired by the Torah infographic we can visualize both insecure and secure from connect connections some of the TCP IP protocol even if protocol the realization is limited it sets it sets as an important expectation even an important frustration we need to be frustrated about not understanding when I 1st heard from frustrated enough about not understanding so that have expectations of understanding so to conclude only some of our approach proposed solutions for visualizing the wave with ways traffic flows where ever put to the test there's only so much you can visualize where when you want the driver's eyes on the road rather than on the screen interpreting the ones net network visualizations but the trend toward self-driving cars led by ways is new owner aims to take the human factor out of the equation completely while the question of whether human pseudo shouldn't drive their own cars is up for debate I would strongly argue against a wider trend driving us away from our agency in relationship to technology at large is quite mind boggling to think that never get diagram the Nazi points connected by lines when we cannot imagine a network without them as abstract rudimentary and confusing and as the maybe networks are the essential are an essential construct of the 21st century lack of of 21st century lights and we need the conceptual and technological tools to be able to analyze them we can see networks everywhere not not every network should be network but but when it should we have to remember I if if we can't read it if the if we can't read the flow in the protocol power moves away behind the scenes so if everything is a network nothing is a network but if this is a network let's make sure it works for us thank you the in connection with the question of who are looking perhaps 1 question 1 quick question if
there's question please raise your hand well not as was altered crabs latent so in a very much of axons they I use thank you very much thank you book you can
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Metadaten

Formale Metadaten

Titel If Everything is a Network, Nothing is a Network
Serientitel re:publica 2016
Teil 61
Anzahl der Teile 188
Autor Zer-Aviv, Mushon
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen und das Werk bzw. diesen Inhalt auch in veränderter Form nur unter den Bedingungen dieser Lizenz weitergeben.
DOI 10.5446/20674
Herausgeber re:publica
Erscheinungsjahr 2016
Sprache Englisch

Inhaltliche Metadaten

Fachgebiet Informatik
Abstract Trapped in an imaginary web of NODES and EDGES we have come to visualize much of our lives and relationships in terms of the simplistic network diagram. Networks aren't bad, they are just drawn that way. Yet their iconic visual representation and its gross misinterpretation have contributed much to our eroding privacy and political agency under the myth of Big Data and all knowing algorithms. It is time for us to challenge the network and its PROTOCOLS rather than blindly go with the FLOW.

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