The Long Troll

Trolls. They're everywhere. Or at least 2015 has seen trolling elevated to a higher plane—not just pe
Changeist
The Long Troll
By Changeist • Issue #5
Trolls. They’re everywhere. Or at least 2015 has seen trolling elevated to a higher plane—not just pestering you on Facebook, driving people off Twitter or making comment threads toxic wastelands. Geo/techno/socio-political trolling is becoming a new normal. Discussions of laws, borders and institutions as effective boundaries for trolls seem quaint. Commonly accepted frames of reality are not only not troll-proof, they are appetizing dares to the Reality Troll. Stretch goals, if you will.
This theme is one that is of great interest to the group here, not only as part of our participation in the (currently on vacation) Cross-quadrant Working Group, but as a lens for day-to-day analysis of world events. And we’re not alone. August think tanks are now taking seeing the world through the filter of the epic troll. Security and defense need to take the troll into account as a force on both networks and the battlefield. Global economic markets must react and respond to the troll. Various national political theatres now dance to the troll’s tune—the American presidential race is now a full-on conflict between a handful of outdated, reality-based institutions and trolls bossing the Nakatomi spaces between fractured social, technological and economic realities. 
We don’t just live in filter bubbles. Increasingly, we don’t inhabit the same realities. Wheee!

What We've Been Up To
Just a quick promotional note before we start — a reminder that I’ll be running our annual two-week intensive summer course on futures, innovation and design at IED Barcelona in July 2016. Friends John Willshire and Andres Colmenares will be joining, and some other celebs to be named later. Start saving now, and come join us. Last year’s students included folks from Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Denmark, Switzerland, the UK, and Spain. This year, we’d love to expand the map even further. I’m looking at you, Asia.  
Weekly Topic
As noted a couple of newsletters back, I was a guest of the Atlantic Council recently as it discussed the future of energy and security. I heard a lot of talk about state-to-state and institution-to-institution engagement with various emerging actors stoking global tension, but I didn’t hear a recognition (from politicians, ambassadors and CEOs there) of just how asymmetric the troll state is making the world of today, much less where it puts us in the metaphorical tomorrow. This AC essay at least understands one of the leading actors in this spreading asymmetry for its true nature.
…and this one carries on the theme.
Yes, there are markets in trolls. Or at least a potential profit to be made through financialization of trolling.
This story pleased me greatly, fakes inside of fakes. A kind of reality matroyshka doll. And the Chinese do it best. 
Egged on by groups like Anonymous, directed geopolitical trolling is becoming an online force.
…meanwhile, who’s trolling who when guns, LARP and sex toys collide?
It’s hard to tell what’s a real-real contrarian position, and what looks genuine, but is actually a windup. And does it even matter anymore? 
I look at situations like this as a kind of trolligami—folding, reticulating, warping troll/countertroll, all feeding media outlets that are more interested in play-by-play action and extending the narrative that some necessary forensics. 
The Network
After months of waiting, finally signs of life from HOLO 2. The upcoming issue, in which I have an excessively long essay on predictive algorithms, is due out in early 2016. Looking forward to getting my hands on a physical copy. You should too. 
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