BLOG SCENERIES ‘THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION’
Written by Fleur Jakobs
Sceneries 22 March ‘The Digital Revolution”
With Jos Jansen, Bart van Liempd and Sijmen Ruwhof
My name is Fleur and I’m studying photography at AKV|St.Joost. I’m doing my traineeship at FOTODOK and I’ll report weekly on Sceneries this period.
As in other Sceneries evenings we discussed a central theme that links to the exhibition ‘Why work?’: the digital revolution. While our visitors enjoyed their dinner taken care of by SYR restaurant, Jos Jansen, Bart van Liempd and Sijmen Ruwhof talked about their views on the digital revolution.
This evening was, for me, a wake-up call about the future. I see the digital world as something positive, useful and progressive most of the time. But in some respects we humans are hardly ready for current technology, let alone a great technological revolution.
Photographer Jos Jansen started the evening with a few of his projects. Jos is interested in the relation between man and technology. In my opinion his project Battlefield is very special: a project about something we see daily but don’t give much thought at all. Jos shows in Battlefield images of dark digital screens full of smudges and fingerprints: it’s a phone at the end of the day on your nightstand. Jos said that he, as many of us, wages a daily battle: should I share or should I not? The choreography of our fingers on the screens is a metaphor for our unending battle with technology.
I was also struck by his project SEEDS. In beautiful images, Jos showed his interpretation of food that isn’t originated in nature but in laboratories. These laboratories carry out research to improve crop. The plants you see in his poetic photographs don’t grow by themselves, but are programmed by data, diagrams and graphics. Man and technology take over from nature.
Bart van Liempd shared insights on the influence of the digital revolution on the labor market. He told us about what is happening already and to what extent it will become reality: the middle classes threaten to disappear, much work goes abroad and online shops take over more and more. According to Bart, data are the new currency. You can sell data, and work may well become nothing more than producing new data. What you see now is that everything is being rated and everything is visible for everyone. When you want to go to a restaurant, you first look up the ratings of other visitors before you decide which restaurant to choose. This makes people behave in a certain way just to get top ratings.
All in all he isn’t very optimistic about our future. He states that we live in an era that’s foremost concerned by the advancement of technology, not in the advancement of mankind.
After this slightly worrying vision of the future, ethical hacker Sijmen Ruwhof tells us in twenty minutes how easy it is to hack many of the technologies we use every day.
Companies hire Sijmen as ethical hacker to test their security by hacking into their software. He started hacking as a youngster. Having read that it is possible to hack software, he has thrown himself into it just for the fun of it.
What he told us about our elections was rather alarming. It’s really very easy for hackers like him to hack the elections. Many people think that’s not possible because we vote with a pencil, but Sijmen stated that further on in the process, however, technology does enter the voting process. No less than 50 security leaks were found in this technology. So it’s very easy for hackers to influence the outcome, should they try. ‘How can we be so stupid to trust this software used in the elections’ he and other hackers asked themselves.
Sijmen wouldn’t be surprised to see a digital war take place in the future. Energy companies can be hacked and countries in conflict could use this as a weapon to completely block a country off the power grid. The digital revolution will be one big party for hackers, Sijmen thinks. We end up in a digital free-for-all world for hackers.