Arrived at the first day of , the Institute for Network Society annual (). Realized today's talks are all in Chinese. This must be what it's like for non-English speaking folks coming to most tech politics conferences. Being a native English speaker is a privilege that's hard to recognize until I find myself in this kind of situation.

My first ever experience of being in the linguistic and ethnic minority at an event was as a teenager, attending Ngā Manu Kōrero, the annual Te Reo Māori speech competitions. It blows my mind that many people have never had such an experience.

The first speaker at , a woman in a pink lab coat, does an amazingly visual presentation on the mobile device as a magic mirror biased towards making everything "beautiful". She plays with these tools live on the screen, demonstrating "beautification" and then hacking this concept to showcase the more creative and expressive use these same tools can be put to.

program is here:

The speaker names are all in Chinese, which I can't read 😞

The second speaker is a young man in a cap and hipster glasses. He starts off with demonstrating something that involves a group of audience volunteers standing in a circle, numbering off. Then moves on to something about and continuous consciousness.

This second speaker is making minimal use of the presentation screen, as I often do. I'm having an experience maybe akin to that of a visual person attending one of my presentations 😏 He seems to be talking about various examples of applications, and a ? A tool for recognising emotions in human faces based on a schema? A photo of a person doing calligraphy with a brain scanning web attached. Who is Rosa? Why are these posts turning into bad haiku?

The third speaker, another young man in hipster glasses is talking about , and various other famous arts figures including John Cage. A B+W photo of an old French protest march. A photo representing infinite regression? Photo of the issue with "You" as Person of the Year.

Fourth speaker is a young woman wearing a grey overcoat and orange and black stripey pants. I approve 😉

Fourth speaker seems to be talking about of notable architecture. She quotes . A photo of a set of sails above a city. ? Photos of white folks in period aristocratic costume, and of palatial built environments, The White Palace? A photo of the contrast between low-rise and high-rise housing, in China? Photos of an old, communal neighbourhood. She quotes and others. A video of lit-up city nightscapes with massive group dancing.

What would you call a that turns up predictably at the same time every week? That's a common sight in public squares in China. Most of them seems to be huge dance classes.

The fifth speaker is a young woman in a black Matrix coat and glasses whose presentation is entitled "Blindness". She seems to be talking about or "" and how much time people spend on average online.

Fifth speaker is talking about "Computer Vision Syndrome" and quoting . Now she's talking about MS Windows and maybe how the overlapping nature of windows on a desktop contrasts with paintings like Alberti's Window and Magritte's window painting, and Friedberg's writing about windows. She quotes and . Then moves on to "trees blindness" and tree walks. Then to teen use of#SocialMedia and discourses of .

More images infinite regression. Photo of . A surrealist painting. ? a space suite on a couch. Everything is quite surreal when I have no idea what's being said 😏

Today's speakers seems to come from a range of universities around China. Now we seems to be moving on to a panel discussion and/or Q+A with the first group of speakers.

The first panel at was 'Spiritual Life in the Network Society'. The second panel is 'Political Economy Criticism of Social Media'.

First speaker for panel 2 is talking about the use of bots and fakes to game the corporate social surveillance platforms. Case studies include and . "Developers' lives matter"

The second speaker for panel 2 talking about the . Ironic to be putting a photo of this on the fediverse 😏 She starts with a brief history its roots as a legal concept in Europe, beginning in the EU in 1953, with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, proceeding through its evolution in EU law, and then focusing on the .

It's good that the GDPR assumes children (under-16s) have an automatic right to data erasure.

She goes on to talk about legal test cases. Goggle Spain vs. and . vs. Beijing Netcom Science and Technology Co. Ltd. Quoting Lady on the limits of the interpretation, and the on the GDPR. Moves on to services like , , and , and encryption. Then focusing on relevant Chinese law.

He seems to be talking about the general concepts of , , the and , and how the license relates to all this. "Why any software movement will fail", referencing , not sure what the proposition is here. He moves on to a critique of , and the proposition that , via decentralized tech like and , will allow users to monetize their own data directly, rather than mediators capturing that value.

"The marriage of democracy and capitalism is over". Quoting someone? Goggle, FarceBook, and the Amazone are both capturing far more value than they contribute and disrupting basic democratic rights in the process. In response to this, and the lack of action by most public authorities to do anything substantial about it, people move to the , , , and so on.

The arrival of # Netscape created an app environment within the web browser, which began to displace native Windows apps. Farcebook and others have begun to do the same things to the browser. In response, tools like offer "Post on Facebook, but not viewed by Facebook".

A lot more people in the audience for this session of than there were this morning.

The fourth speaker is based at the University of Melbourne and is rocking the pseudo-corporate dress code typical of the contemporary western academic. She must be relishing the opportunity to write and speak only in Chinese for a change, as all her slides so far have been entirely in Chinese characters. I'm totally lost. Can't blame her though, I certainly relish the change to speak, read, and write in English whenever I return to anglophone countries.


Post-lunch brain has turned up for its shift. OK, ummm ...

A few slides of text, bullet points etc. Something about and in one of her slides? A bar diagram with blue bars. Mmmm, blue bars. A actually looks really cool with Chinese characters! A table. Tables don't look as cool as word clouds. Another table, this one will coloured rows. Still not as cool as word clouds. I'm craving a coffee. An influencer or Chinese equivalent? More bullet points.

Fifth speaker has just started. We're meant to be having a break in about 20 minutes. I can't see it ;)

Good to see that gender is pretty balanced at this conference so far - biased towards female speakers if anything - although notably more binary than you'd see at a typical western conference these days. Mind you, since I have no idea what anyone is saying, they could all be announcing their pronouns when they get up to speak.

The fifth speaker for panel 2 is an earnest young woman in an olive overcoat. Again, most of the slides are bullet points in Chinese, so I'm not sure what her talk in about. Graphics of feminine avatars? Photo of plastic toy representing bald guy in a sweater with a framed picture (or a tablet?) in his hands. Photos from . Is this talk about ? Was that plastic bald guy a robot? Some names, , , . Epilepsy-inducting flashing photo of 3 men.

A sixth speaker. I think I'll have to skip out on the discussion, which I can't understand anyway, and find coffee. Speaker six for the second panel, a young woman with a tartan coat under a sleeveless windbreaker, is also using pretty text-heavy slides. Something about identity? My laptop died too, so I left once the discussion started. Now at a cafe recharging both my devices and myself ;)

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