[Noisebridge-discuss] Sigh -- I'm not helping with Maker Faires this year.

Michael Prados mprados at gmail.com
Wed Apr 4 16:20:27 PDT 2012


Ah, that brings me back.  It was the Grand Challenge that first forced me
to take a stand on DARPA, since I could have taken a leadership role in
building up the vehicle platform for Stanley, the winning car, while I
worked at Volkswagen.  I declined and accepted a setback to my career
instead.  I got into a similar debate on dorkbotsf-blabber in February
2006, url here if you are on that list:

http://music.columbia.edu/mailman/private/dorkbotsf-blabber/2006-February/thread.html

I don't think my decision process at the time adds a lot more to the
discussion, it was probably more emotional then- I couldn't march down
Market Street against the wars on Saturday, and carry DARPA's water on
Monday morning.  But I can't help but take the stroll down memory lane, and
note with resignation that we've come no closer to resolving this debate in
the last 6-7 years.  I'm happy that we're at least having a good discussion
about it now.

That dorkbot thread did remind me of the Institute for Applied Autonomy,
who started addressing these issues through interventionist art in 1998.
Although it is not overtly political, orb swarm was partially inspired by
their technique of adapting military robotic technology for grass roots
artistic purposes-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9RiS5OEBsQ

and here's their position paper-

http://www.appliedautonomy.com/essays/EngagingAmbivalence.pdf

I'd like to think otherwise, but I won't be surprised if we rehash the same
debate in 2018.  Corey, maybe your son can chime in then.

-Mike

On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 2:47 PM, Corey McGuire <coreyfro at coreyfro.com> wrote:

> Milo, my three year old, and I, watched a special about the DARPA grand
> challenge.  Apart from the buzz word "DARPA", there was not a single mote
> of military propaganda about it.  There was simple idle mention of
> military, but that was it.
>
> What did my 3 year old get from the video, "TERRAMAX!" the name of one of
> the robots.  He also has an understanding of the pain and work and
> excitement and the energy and the fun that people experience when working
> on hard projects...
>
> ...and in a world where shit is bought at the store, I think that
> knowledge is critical for our kids.
>
> On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 8:46 AM, Lee Sonko <lee at lee.org> wrote:
>
>> The age and maturity level of the students being presented with the DARPA
>> message is important to me. Is it alright to have, for instance, army
>> recruiters at colleges? How about high schools? How about elementary
>> schools?
>>
>> At what age is a person mature enough
>> * to go to war (rhetorically the answer is "never" but let's go beyond
>> that)
>> * play war games (cowboys and indians, Americas Army First Person Shooter)
>> * make war machines (case in point)
>>
>> The Army currently recruits in high schools (except for San Francisco<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Board_of_Education#JROTC>,
>> if I recall correctly). But certainly not in elementary schools.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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>>
>
>
> --
> Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler - Albert
> Einstein <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein>
> Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo Da Vinci<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_Da_Vinci>
> Perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when
> there is nothing left to take away - Antoine de Saint Exupéry<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoine_de_Saint_Exup%C3%A9ry>
> Keep It Simple Stupid - Kelly Johnson<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Johnson>
>
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