We are captivated by the realtime updated global spreading of Ebola virus. Suddenly we’re at a new, fearful edge of science, without a cure and unfamiliar deaths of horrifying certainty.


I’ve been obsessed by the science writings regarding zoonosisinfections diseases from animals to humans, including Ebola. It sounds like an emerging field but most of all human infections are forms of zoonosis. Before and after domestication of animals, as long as we interact with ‘nature ‘s will always have zoonosis.

“We’re invading their territory. We’re cornering them. We’re cutting down the Congo forest. And when the trees go down, things fall out.” – David Quammen

In David Quammen’s book Spillover, he discusses in each case study through personal stories of how infects are transmitted into a village, a city a society. Quammen comments on the speeding up zoological spread with our increased travel and transportation systems.

Singularity is this idea that as technology progresses, we will accelerate our rate of acceleration, until we reach a moment of singularity. Time will be defined not by the time passing, but by the age of acceleration. Our social values are under the pressure to accelerate in order to catch up. News as we know it has filtered out of the mainstream media into the viral world of StarsWars Kid, lolcats and selfies and we’re finding different ways of socially analysing how to digest and absorb them into society. Alain de Botton’s “The News A Users Manual” or Jonah Berger’s “Contagious” and Kate Miltner’s research on LOLcats (you really need to see her talk) are just the tip of the cultural iceberg of a huge army of cultural developer working on social acceleration to deal with the viral of information.

Yet illnesses like Ebola gruesomely set off out savage imaginations to reflect on our society. I eye roll at every online comment referring to films, because we’re seen it all before. They always end in social chaos and militarised government control.

It’s always boils to a social crisis. When news, embarrassing moment or an NSA leak goes viral, we look at cultural reactions sometimes even before political and technological debates have had time to respond. When we have a biological viral moment, we do not invest enough on the social implications and only direct ourselves to the scientific solution. There is an urgent case right now, people are dying and without out normal weapons of vaccination programs it’s terrifying. The fact is, there are yet many scientific aspects we have not discovered, let alone cure and fix. While we wait for doctors and researchers we need to evolve our social understanding of how to cope with the limits of biotech advancements.

Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.

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