Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from August 23, 2021 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

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Options August 23, 2021: Shannon Mattern, author, "A City Is Not a Computer"

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Today: Shannon Mattern, author, "A City Is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences"


A City Is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences - available at Princeton University Press with 30% discount using discount code ACNC.

• @shannonmattern (Twitter)

wordsinspace.net, Mattern's site where she posts most of her publications and course materials, and upcoming events.

Mattern's original Places Journal article (February 2017) arguing that "a city is not a computer."

Wired magazine review of Mattern's book (Aug 10, 2021)

Starbucks customer gets drink order delivered via flying drone (Insider, July 27, 2021): the dystopian vision gets demo'd

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Artist Track Images Approx. start time
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
0:00:00 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Mark's intro  
  Interview with Shannon Mattern  
0:09:11 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Mark's comments  
0:43:58 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers  Tomorrow People   Options
0:54:35 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Shannon Mattern, author, "A City Is Not a Computer"

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Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm ultradamno:

Mark! Techtontitty Planners!
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:01pm listener james from westwood:

Howdy, Mark and all!
Avatar 6:01pm ARB:

Hallo Mark and Shannon and other kindred spirits!
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:02pm DjLorraine:

Hi friends. Traveling thru some states the rest areas had signs that said they were monitoring. Not so restful areas.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:02pm tim from washington:

Hey Mark! Hello Tech Tockers!
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:02pm WR:

Double Dip Techtonic!
  6:02pm P-90:

This episode was listed in “Upcoming Special Programs” so I expect it to be really special.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Webhamster Henry:

Hi Mark! more music this week? I can get yer link. www.wfmu.org...
  6:03pm P-90:

Mark gets my vote for “DDR Regular Guest Host”
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Hello, Mark and Techtocrats!
Avatar 6:05pm TDK60:

Hi Mark.
Avatar 6:06pm HyperDose:

Plugged in!
  6:06pm P-90:

“versioning” -a verb for the 21st century
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Sounds like a similar plan is going on in Poughkeepsie - www.poughkeepsiejournal.com... ("Uncharted Power turning Poughkeepsie to a smart city through sidewalks, roads, tech")
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Must always be New Versions - & never retro-compatible of course. & always for their own sake.
  6:09pm P-90:

Wait, you mean Google has never disclosed all of the capabilities of those LinkNYC kiosks? It’s a secret?
  6:10pm headcleaner:

Fun medium post from 2019: "Keep your internet off my things" - medium.com...
Avatar 6:11pm jeanli:

Avatar 🤖 6:13pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark! Connected ones!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm Mark Hurst:

@ultra @james @ARB @Lorraine @Tim @WR @P-90 @Webham @KfHP @TDK60 @HyperDose @RevRabbit @headcleaner @jean @Bas hi hi hi hi!! Thanks for joining!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:14pm ultradamno:

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments waiting to be computed
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Webhamster Henry:

I'm a HUGE Christopher Alexander fan .
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Mark Hurst:

@P-90 it's true, one of the docs acquired about LinkNYC mentioned dozens of sensors, but (beyond a few, like a wifi sniffer) the public has never found out what all of them are. AFAIK there's not yet been a privacy audit, either (a point that came up a couple of years in the NY state legislature, if I remember right).
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

ultrad - I prefer to consider myself more of a RepliCan than a Replicant...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm ultradamno:

Way to see the electric sheep as half charged!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Monoculture. Here we go again being the exact reverse of the Decentralized & personally empowering society computers & the interwebz were going to bring us...
  6:19pm Androu B.:

Greets, Techheads!

Any product with the word "smart" attached to it can have subliminally treacherous purposes integrated into it, with the exception of general use products such as batteries or phone cases.


That shouldn't be a surprise to you by now after all that Mark has already reported about Google's affairs so far.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm Mark Hurst:

I love that detail, that Hudson Yards had to force the trees to grow their roots horizontally, rather than vertically like normal trees. I'm sure the trees were delighted.
  6:19pm headcleaner:

"Computation" is indeed omnipresent in nature, but it's just another physical process - like thermodynamics. or the basic physical laws of chemistry. So to say that "everything is computation" is just as vacuous as saying "everything is thermodynamics".
Avatar 🤖 6:20pm Bas NL:

Smart soil...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm Carmichael:

"It is what it is." My favorite non-statement.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm Richy4619:

I have been greatly disturbed by the continuous use of my neighborhood in San Francisco as a training ground for Google's self-driving vehicle project (Waymo). Their cars are EVERYWHERE. It is particularly spooky to observe them driving through our empty streets late at night.
  6:21pm yippie:

thats why the tallest bike in the world is called STOOPIDTALLER
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:21pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Smart BS™
Avatar 6:23pm Megaroni:

Not surprising to connect that Sidewalk Labs has their office in that soulless part of town
  6:25pm yippie:

is it smart or is it resmarted?
  6:27pm Marci:

I’m glad to say I have never set foot anywhere near HY- yet I can’t avoid those sidewalk surveillance kiosks
  6:29pm Whoopsy:

Hudson Yards also has that sculpture that draws suicides
Avatar 6:29pm jeanli:

  6:29pm yippie:

and the escalator is overlong!
Avatar 🤖 6:30pm Bas NL:

Resistance is futile. You are one of us.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

What are you saying ...the Borg is not Transparent & OptIn ?!? Man are you a Subversive.
  6:31pm yippie:

but the architect has a cute haircut
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:31pm tim from washington:

That type of convenience sounds so hectic. It's fine to be habituated but it's really scary thinking about forcing the hand of habituation.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

What Are People For
  6:32pm hoohoo:

All needs anticipated and provided for. A future only a consumer pod person would love.
Avatar 6:33pm jeanli:

Eliminate Friction, ha. F-R-I-C-TION!
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:33pm tim from washington:

Bjorn Borg is transparent? No wonder he was a tennis whiz.
Avatar 🤖 6:33pm Bas NL:

Borg is inclusive!
  6:34pm Micheal:

Hudson Yards is for people who would otherwise be living in Kansas City, Minneapolis or some other second-tier city. It ain’t New York.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Let's say all I wanted was a Pepsi. Would the drone give it to me?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Carmichael:

And that's when Skynet became aware.
  6:36pm Eya Wacity:

As a librarian, it's nice to see someone acknowledge what's possible
Avatar 6:36pm jeanli:

YAY Libraries
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Mark Hurst:

@Eya welcome!
  6:37pm yippie:

the drones gonna shoot the pepsi in your nose
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Libraries are familiar w/ dealing w/ civili rights & free speech issues.
Avatar 🤖 6:39pm Bas NL:

Books are futile. Google will service us.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:39pm tim from washington:

As a public library employee and who is not a librarian, I think Shannon captured very accurately what is happening in libraries and discussions about the mission of libraries.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:40pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Wait, isn't Amazon out to corner the market on book delivery?
  6:40pm yippie:

you can ask the ants living in los angeles where you can pepsi in aluminum or glass
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:41pm tim from washington:

"and who is not a librarian" I mean that I'm not a librarian.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:42pm WR:

Right, @6:39 @Bas NL, Google has already started trying to obstruct libraries access to digital rights for publications.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:42pm WR:

Oops, I meant to say that about Amazon.
  6:45pm Eya Wacity:

There's actually a lot of bullshit gatekeeping in the profession of librarianship. The credential (MLIS) is expensive and the holders can be insecure. All library workers are essential
  6:45pm Androu B.:

The very reason I never bought into all the hype over iPhone.
Avatar 🤖 6:45pm Bas NL:

In our university all publications are entered in a commercial, payed database. If not entered it is not counted as a publication by the university.
  6:47pm kevlicki:

Hi mark and all. Late to the party. Wearing my techtonic sign off shirt today
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm Carmichael:

Dang Tim, I had so many Dewey Decimal questions ....
  6:49pm Eya Wacity.:

That sucks, Bas. Especially when there are so many non-commercial repositories available for archiving and public dissemination
  6:50pm Roland from Australia:

I very much like the idea’s around libraries, forward thinking for sure, very much highlighting the inadequacies of big tech.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm Folsom:

uh oh, Mark is conjuring poster Bigfoot
Avatar 🤖 6:51pm Bas NL:

@Eya Wacity It has generated a lot of discussion; especially with PhDs. They need to pay for the database to give proof of their publications.
  6:52pm Roland from Australia:

@kevlicky nice shirt 👕 I where mine often.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:53pm DjLorraine:

Thank you Mark Hurst and Shannon Mattern
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:53pm tim from washington:

@Carmichael - who's Dewey Decimal? Never heard of the guy? ;)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm coelacanth∅:

i've never seen these gobble kiosks. can they be reached with paint rollers?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

TY As Ever
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:54pm tim from washington:

Thanks, Mark and Shannon. I'm going to put in a purchase request for Shannon book at my library.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:54pm listener james from westwood:

Thanks, Mark!
Avatar 🤖 6:55pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark! Thanks Shannon!
  6:55pm Androu B.:

Heading off to PLU now. Bye all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm ultradamno:

I would hope the high rise is soulless
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Richy4619:

Nice, Tim! Direct impactful action. Power to the library assistants!
  6:55pm Roland from Australia:

Hey there is still five minutes!!! Keep talking :) love the show!!!
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Ken From Hyde Park:

I likely won't visit NYC for a few months. Is there a Hudson Yards app I could install?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm Greg from ZONE 5:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm People Like Us:

thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm coelacanth∅:

but i like the idea that for a moment a drone would be within reach, to be pulled down and stomped into the sidewalk -before pouring shitty starfucks coffee into it
Avatar 6:57pm Jeff Moore:

"Enjoyed" is a funny word, isn't it?
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:57pm listener james from westwood:

When I first heard Ziggy's track here I thought it was about that British sci-fi series from the ’70s.
  6:58pm Eya Wacity:

@Bas. Ed tech surveillance is the fucking worst
  6:59pm headcleaner:

Or get out of your chair and patronize your local independent (and hopefully decades-old) coffee shop!
  6:59pm Androu B.:

Btw, today marks the 10th anniversary of the Virginia earthquake felt all around the East Coast and Midwest.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 7:00pm listener james from westwood:

They're still repairing a cathedral in DC damaged in that quake! Unreal.
Avatar 🤖 7:00pm Bas NL:

@Eya Wacity The lesson is you can succeed in science if you pay through your nose..
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone!
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 7:04pm WR:

thank you Mark!
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