“Engaging Ambivalence: Interventions in Engineering Culture” describes the ground ideas and goals behind the Institute of Applied Autonomy. Moreover they present the reasons why their research projects are not only relevant, but also necessary to reach certain areas of the “engineering world”.
After the description of DARPA that the article presents, the extremely morally dubious areas in which the engineers working in such projects are, is made clear. IIA approach is intelligent and pretty well thought, but at the same time I find it extremely poetic and subversive. The relevance of such tactical media projects is higher every year, as the political situation from top to ground levels promotes the necessity of military investigation in order to protect some developed countries from “foreign risks”. Examples can be found in every little detail controlled by governmental institutions, even in "banal" instances like the constant reminder of the CTA to watch for “unattended packages” create a sense of necessary hyper-awareness.
In this case, the IIA focus is placed on the engineer sector, which, as they claim, does no pay much attention to the art/social theory realms. “While there is a long history of artists and social theorists questioning relationships between technology and society, there is an equally long history of engineers ignoring art and social theory.” To fight this situation, in the Infiltration and Tactical Aesthetics section they describe theirs strategy, which I consider extremely sound tracking into account their purpose and the conceptual criticism they intend to achieve.
After reading the article, the only relevant weakness that I found is the lack of exemplification (only 2 examples) in their essay. I think their foundation is so strong that just relating their ideas with the specific projects they have developed would give the article a stronger and quite sounder finish.