benjamin bratton

benjamin bratton bw

revenge of the real.. model is the message.. benjamin on antikythera

intro’d to Benjamin here:

we need to talk about ted

New perspectives: What’s Wrong with TED Talks

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Benjamin Bratton, Associate Professor of Visual Arts at UCSD and Director of The Center for Design and Geopoltics at CALIT2, asks: Why don’t the bright futures promised in TED talks come true? Professor Bratton attacks the intellectual viability of TED, calling it placebo politics, middlebrow megachurch infotainment, and the equivalent of right-wing media channels. Does TED falsely present problems as simply puzzles to be solved by rearranging the pieces?

in our culture, talking about future  – sometimes a polite way of saying things about the present that would otherwise be rude or risky.

…does TED epitomize a situation where if a scientist’s work ..or an artist’s or philosopher’s or activist’s or whoever.. is told that their work is not worthy of support, because the public doesn’t feel good listening to them..
perhaps ..the proposition … if we talk about world-changing ideas enough, then the world will change.  ..not true…when inspiration becomes manipulation, inspiration becomes obfuscation. 

technology… the future on offer is one in which everything changes, so long as everything stays the same. 
..more computation along the wrong curve, ..
..TED’s version has too much faith in technology, and not nearly enough commitment to technology. … placebo technoradicalism, toying with risk so as to re-affirm the comfortable.
.. our machines get smarter and we get stupider. .. it doesn’t have to be like that. both can be much more intelligent. another futurism is possible.
a better e — economics, …imagining and designing different systems of valuation, exchange, accounting of transaction externalities, financing of coordinated planning, etc. ..states plus markets, states vs markets -insufficient models …our convo is stuck in cold war gear. 

worse  – when economics is debated like metaphysics, as if the reality of a system is merely a bad example of the ideal.  ..communism in theory is an egalitarian utopia… actually existing communism meant ecological devastation, government spying, crappy cars and gulags.
..capitalism in theory is rocket ships, nanomedicine, and bono saving africa. …actually existing capitalism means walmart jobs, mcmansions, people living in the sewers under vegas, …plus —ecological devastation, government spying, crappy public transportation and for-profit prisons.
..paradox -the system we have now — is in the short term what makes the amazing new tech’s possible, but in the long run ..what suppresses their full flowering.  

…design as innovation – isn’t a strong enough idea by itself…we need to more design as immunization …actively preventing certain potential innovations that we do not want from happening.
as for one simple take away… i don’t have one ..that’s kind of the point.

..if and when the key problems facing our species were to be solved, then perhaps many of us in this room would be out of work ..and perhaps in jail.
we need a deeper convo about the diff between digital cosmopolitanism & cloud feudalism..
i would like new maps of the world, ones not based on settler colonialism, legacy genomes and bronze age myths, but instead on something more… scalable.
problems are not puzzles to be solved. .. that assumes all necessary pieces are already on the table.. just need to be re-arranged .. re-programmed. ..not true.
innovation defined as moving the pieces around and adding more processing power is not some big idea that will disrupt a broken status quo: that precisely is the broken status quo.

..we have to slog through the hard stuff (history, economics, philosophy, art, ambiguities, contradictions).  ..focus just on technology, or just on innovation..prevents transformation.

at a societal level..if we invest things that make us feel good but which don’t work, and don’t invest things that don’t make us feel good but which may solve problems, then our fate is that it will just get harder to feel good about not solving problems.

in this case – placebo is worse than ineffective, it’s harmful. diverts your interest, enthusiasm and outrage until it’s absorbed into this black hole of affectation.

similarities to Benjamin’s critique of ted.. with perhaps.. what we keep missing in regard to politics ness…  ?

ie: if we invest things that make us feel good (and/or bad) but which don’t work, and don’t invest things that don’t make us feel good (or scare us) but which may solve problems, then our fate is that it will just get harder to feel good about not solving problems.


Benjamin founded d:gp in 2010. –

The Center for Design and Geopolitics is a think-tank based at Calit2 and the University of California, San Diego devoted to using Art and Design to develop new models for how planetary-scale computation transforms political, urban and ecological systems. 


find/follow Benjamin:

link twitter

wikipedia small

his site:

benjamine bratton site

Benjamin on ucsd site:

bratton on ucsd



UC San Diego

train the attention of another – in the classroom..

outside – delinking formal ed as sponsoring states..

our own stupification built within the language of our own cloud tools..

how do we evade that superficiality

how can an ethics of deep time architect that cloud…

the time of digital tech is too short.. we need very long classes.. not very short classes…?

download and possession gave a sense of mastery – short circuit ness – accessibility prevents the work and the grasping.. the movement through something by thought that is necessary for info to turn into knowledge

how do digital media change our sense of time…

condition of ed is to train to have attention… memory.. conception of time that is appropriate..

moratorium from real world – uni?

function of institution & moratorium – process of creation of the state citizen.. fashioning of tradition and heritage..

courses that aren’t teaching in a 500 year arc – might be too shallow

de-institutionalization – 

cognitive capitalism

google is free – but we are generating greater value for google than google is generating for us – google’s market capitalisation

the creation of publics…spain, california, korea – producing own currency – unless you count software as currency… uni of calif used to be free – used to be funded by aerospace, now based on software, content generation.. prisons have also taken a lot of that money.. mass public ed.. shift in world that kids are being prep’d for…  can we move toward cosmopolitanism? longer courses – buffet style.. ie: 10 courses for 40 yrs..

sounds like city as school…

in order to be successful for this legacy code base… & be willing to assign things that are currently illegal.. it’s the things that exist outside the legal structures.. that form the basis of the constitutional structures to come..

sandbox ness


stack ness

feb 2013:

Bartlett International Lecture Series 2012/13

2 or 3 Things I Know About The Stack: Projects and Projections Toward the Acceleration of Integral A

2 or 3 Things I Know About The Stack: Projects and Projections Toward the Acceleration of Integral Accidents

As a regime, planetary computation operates at multiple scales, from cloud computing to addressable nanobots. Instead of thinking of this heterogeneity as a unstructured proliferation of incommensurable technologies, they should be understood as layers of an emergent hardware/ software stack. The Stack is a megastructure built out of far-flung data centers, embedded urban applications, universal addressing schemes, weird quasi-sovereign geographies, and maniacal self-quantification. How might the emergent geopolitics of this architecture be designed? Each layer generates its own productive accidents: Westphalian geometries of State sovereignty are augmented by an emergent Cloud Polis, even Cloud Feudalism. Cities and mobile software spin out new rights and restrictions to a global hypercity based as much on the capitalization of gestures as the acceleration of mobility. IPv6 and other universal addressing schemes link objects and events into abyssal fields of information exchange. Monotheisms rush in to invest new interfaces with primordial scripts. Augmentation of skin with nanosensors introduces new genres of epidermal media and biopolitical securitization. How to intervene? Designing for the post-Anthropocene requires working across multiple scales at once, working backwards from catastrophic virtualities, and testing the breaking points of provisional totalities.

Benjamin H. Bratton is a theorist whose work spans Philosophy, Art and Design. He Associate Professor of Visual Arts and Director of D:GP, The Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California, San Diego. His work is situated at the intersections of contemporary social and political theory, computational media &
infrastructure, architectural & urban design, and the politics of synthetic ecologies and biologies. Current work focuses on the political geography of cloud computing, massively-granular universal addressing systems, and alternate models of ecological governance. His next book, The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, is forthcoming from MIT Press.

i’m an outsider on the inside.. working in the seams of its evolution

1. architectual thinking/materialisticality …are extraordinarily useful for understanding non-architectual things – so my interest is to smuggle things in and out of the field and put them to different use..

2. architecture is an extraordinary excuse to explore the spatial/geometric/temporal qualities/tensions of ugly non-architectural things.. ie: crowds, inappropriate bio technology, cannibalism, unusual neurological disorders…

the book – the stack


de-centering of blurring operation.. alternative topology – the stack..

not a hodgepodge – but an interdependent system..

the machine for utopia and/or oblivion – via Bucky – touch and go till the very end..

14 min – particularly tech of geology.. any invention of tech is also invention of new accident.. the inventedness and productivity of each layer is determined by its own integral accident, its accident is its design principal/power.. accident upon accident.. epidermis structure..  a secondary crust..

father of china’s great firewall – nov 2001 – although google had retreated from china its service was still accessible.. water has no nationality but riverbeds are sovereign territories… we cannot allow pollution..

fuller – like taming the ocean..

cloud futilism

hitler – silicon is nature calculating itself

30 min – not that the earth is reducible to computation (wolfram) – computation is in and of itself worldly.. algorithmicity is not some saccarin superimposition on natural processes and that  computation was not invented – but was discovered.. new computations that are discovered and imposed are/be less clumsy..

gamble – build the grid fast enough to keep from the carbon costs of stack itself.. the stack is in a race against itself..

33:45 – beyond physical capabilities.. itself single most significant energy consumption that it itself would be modeling.. 

39 – anti-war via societies of control deleuze..

41 – skin as a paradigm of security – the redesignability of skin – the spaces closed off and opened up by computation.. rather than to see and not see.. to sense and not sense..

bionanotechnology – that would sense chemicals – ink as extension of epidermis… temp tattoo – augmented skin – the architecture becomes epidermal

49 min – once gun is sensed by skin – it’s visible to crowd..

addresses – everything having an address – sounds like weinberger – everything is misc..

relations of relations of relations – the internet of things.. planetary stack… expanding and amplifying communication across multiple scales.. small to large and vice versa…

everything communicates.. ubiquitous communication as new literature.. compose and create lines of connection.. deep address .. between apparently unlike things… and also executable code..

deep addressability – not so much to trap, but to compose

1:18 – post anthropocene has benefits over post capitalism

anthropocence – relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

1:27 – build the system fast enough so it can save us from the system we build before… one that no one can govern… but rather happy accidents..

1:39 – technologies of self-reflection – data as technology of self-reflection.. the fiction of the self – the fiction of the coherence of the ego becomes greater.. but it reaches a threshold point – that like a canvas that’s overpainted – a kind of dis-allusion of the self takes place..

geopolotics – the study of the effects of economic geography on the powers of the state


guardian interview 2011:

bratton in 2011

how to work with capitalized things that because of tech are now commonwealth.. non-owned..


On the Nomos of the Cloud

Uploaded on Feb 19, 2012

“On the Nomos of the Cloud: The Stack, Deep Address and Integral Geography” Lecture by Benjamin H. Bratton at the Berlage Institute, Rotterdam, on November 28, 2011.

Benjamin starts about 7 min in..

In sociology, nomos refers to provisional codes (habits or customs) of social and political behavior, socially constructed and historically (even geographically) specific. The term derives from the Greek νόμος, and it refers, not only to explicit laws, but to all of the normal rules and forms people take for granted in their day to day activities. Nomos stands for order, valid and binding on those who fall under its jurisdiction; thus it is a social construct with ethical dimensions. It is a belief, opinion or point of view; it is a human invention.

18:40 – another nomos called the stack – that vast software and hardware formation – a proto mega structure about bits and atoms, literally circumscribing the planet..

which scales well and which (harps) on a common point..

22 min – the stack..

intermingling – swapping phase states, becoming harder/softer according to occult conditions.. composes both equilibrium and emergence… one oscillating into another in indecipherable and unaccountable rhythm.. territorializing and de-territorializing the same component for diagonal purposes.. but what is the state condition… and literally for governance.. what state does it describe in advance

the existing stack has 3 computing, ubiquitous computing and augmented reality

understand the stack as abstract model and as a real technical machine

each node -in network – a terminal.. with 7 layers..

why can communication only be with adjacent..? and if so.. who/how is ordering decided… ie: who gets to be by who..

similar to the urban street grid

what is the program of the nomos of the cloud – consituitive or constituent violence

31 min – the integral accident of this layers – the city and the city – 2 cities only partially visible to one another even if they occupy the same location.. constantly policing each other’s breaching..

designer of firewall – the breach..  references the water edge… territorial geography of nations..  34:45


44 min – the map of addresses.. the new economy of scarcity is the geopolitics of addressability.. already existing tech solutions to a too small address space are unlikely to be implemented any time soon.. there is hard power in soft addresses…  

10 to the 23 addresses per person.. roughly equal to the # of known stars.. grands of sand on earth..  how to grasp that granularity…

deep addressability – would also allow for addressability for relations between things..graph and set theory problems both at work.. things with mass.. things w/o mass… thing and processes both could have addresses…. the parliament of things and the internet of things are related…

the exhaustion exists somewhere between never and instantaneously.. internet of haeccities.. scales blur… solid scale is only a temporary state of resolution.. the specificity is what we call communication.. so this becomes a new literature.. not just describing things.. but creating lines of connection

1:03 – value judgments of emergence – how to do?

1:12 – best design is when we have to…emergency.. not when we can do whatever..   criteria of success – survival


1:15 – perhaps even systems of eminence vs representation…

i’m using Schmidt for my own purposes.. but that doesn’t mean i defend him..

1:17 – talking of the interwoven dance ness

1:19 – perry hall for ipad – to get at audio of augmented reality..

1:20 – subtitling logci – book by that title

1:22 – human as less in system.. [ecosystem ness]

1:25 – innovation – shows up distortion of others.. is it possible to evaluate in advance.. i’m unconvinced there’s a way we can truly evaluate in advance – any of our designs… so need to build in firewalls – delinking – so that if something goes wrong it doesn’t spread out to all others..

cure violence ness..

1:30 – interfaces.. diagram systems they describe.. manipulation of the image

sounds like Bret ness


transmediale 2014 afterglow keynote — The Black Stack

decentralized data – don’t get that with apps

32 min – future society where play would dominate – new babylon

39 min – could be the end of economics replaced by love – phasing out of work and its replacement of love

41 min – we are made for each other.. love becomes a society without the state

48 min – the black stack:

The Stack, in short, is that new nomos rendered now as vertically thickened political geography. In my analysis, there are six layers to this Stack: Earth, Cloud, City, Address, Interface, and User.

50 min – where should sovereignty reside but in what joins us..

less as citizen of polis, or homo economicus (?) but as user..

the whole quantified self movement is haunted by this

.. at any point.. he’s only the intersection.. of the streams

the geopolitics of the user right now – is inadequate


uProxy is a browser extension that lets users share alternative more secure routes to the Internet. It’s like a personalized VPN service that you set up for yourself and your friends. uProxy helps users protect each other from third parties who may try to watch, block, or redirect users’ Internet connections.

This project is an experiment in enabling people to provide each other with a more secure and private connection to the Internet. At the moment, it is under active development and we are interested in working with a limited number of testers to help develop the tool.

1:01 – digital bill of rights – limiting..

1:07 – perhaps creativity only by subtraction – because we’ve gotten too full

1:09 – the nightmare worse than that the machine wants to kill you – is that you are seen as irrelevant

1:19 – we need to build this infrastructure in order to save ourselves from building this infrastructure




oct 2014:

Will be giving plenary/keynote for BABEL group at UC Santa Barbara later this week.

Original Tweet:


2007 – Bruna Mori

Dérive is a compilation of cityscape poems and paintings documenting a destination-less movement, drifting along the urban ebbs and flows of New York City. Mori’s work explores the mythology and psychogeography of the city and both aligns with and diverges from situationist theory.


2015  – email interview on new book – the stack:

The point is not that Platforms are intrinsically better or more egalitarian, rather that their politics are not reducible to those of States and Markets and the terms of our participation requires a different geopolitical design imaginary. The sooner we take them seriously and stop trying to interpret them as quasi-States or quasi-Markets the sooner that design imaginary can mature.

systemic change


we need to protect the concept “platform” from conflation with unregulated markets,(from both the right and the left unfortunately)Original Tweet:

(1) platforms are a technical and institutional form that has features of both states and markets, centralized and decentralized…
(2) Platforms are neither good nor bad intrinsically: critical left scaremongering is as useless as libertarian market patriotism
(3) Platform politics that we’ll end up with will be based on losing battles that shouldn’t have been fought.
(4) critique of infrastructure is essential but has to rotate into infrastructure-scale design models (if it is serious, not just posturing)

(1) platforms are built out of protocols that enforce terms of organization.

(2) whether blockchain can scale into programmable platform is to be seen. platform as end, not starting point.

(3) blockchain has ways to go. Absolutist decentralization may be hinderance to platform scale adoption, not cause

2 sep ideas. 1. )Platforms are a tech *and*institutional form, cloud platforms r subgenre only. 2. ) Not neutral = useful


dis order


cure violence keri


networked individuaism graphic
very curious to know Benjamin’s take on ethereum (ie: my wondering about ethereum and www.. differences/similarities). so like Roger’s bit on reading.. i googled bb and eth and got this:
from 2015 convo 
humans discovered “computation” more than we invented it, and have as yet built only weak little appliances for harnessing it.
so – is ethereum a better appliance or a side appliance than/to http://www..? (or a distraction to wrtp ness)
is it helping to organize the web and our web ness.. or is the web enough .. deep addressed et al..?

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty By… out now

In The Stack, Benjamin Bratton proposes that these different genres of computation—smart grids, cloud platforms, mobile apps, smart cities, the Internet of Things, automation—can be seen not as so many species evolving on their own, but as forming a coherent whole: an accidental megastructure called The Stack that is both a computational apparatus and a new governing architecture. We are inside The Stack and it is inside of us.

In an account that is both theoretical and technical, drawing on political philosophy, architectural theory, and software studies, Bratton explores six layers of The Stack: Earth, Cloud, City,Address,Interface, User. Each is mapped on its own terms and understood as a component within the larger whole built from hard and soft systems intermingling—not only computational forms but also social, human, and physical forces. This model, informed by the logic of the multilayered structure of protocol “stacks,” in which network technologies operate within a modular and vertical order, offers a comprehensive image of our emerging infrastructure and a platform for its ongoing reinvention.

The Stack is an interdisciplinary design brief for a new geopolitics that works with and for planetary-scale computation. Interweaving the continental, urban, and perceptual scales, it shows how we can better build, dwell within, communicate with, and govern our worlds.

“In The Stack, Benjamin Bratton shows, with brilliant insight and imagination, what the world is coming to look like in an era of planetary-scale computing. He cuts through many received ideas about technology, globalization, and so forth and presents a fresh vision of the architecture of the world.”—McKenzie Wark , author of Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene

“This political geography of computation is a strange, marvelous text of great conceptual beauty. Benjamin Bratton’s The Stack breaks more new ground than a carpet bombing. The Stack itself may or may not exist, but it’s left everything that came before it in a state of rubble.” — Bruce Sterling


dna\ness and stacks and nowhere ness et al


april 2016 –


“Traffic is light today, and the internet seems almost unencumbered…” @bratton, from #DisputePlan: @SternbergPress

Original Tweet:

This text is an excerpt from Benjamin H. Bratton’s theory-fiction book Dispute Plan to Prevent Future Luxury Constitution,published recently by Sternberg Press.

In the hallway of the overhead stairway between the two, there is a non-reversing mirror that reflects all personal appearances so that its viewer sees oneself as truly seen by others, and not the lateral inversion presented by a normal mirror.


This gruesome installation of anti-Chinese propaganda is dutifully debunked by OMA to underscore their clients’ true sovereign claim, not only on the islands but the entire ecosystem in their midst as well


I outline figures, numbers, calculations, one on top of another, seeing if it adds up, even on its own terms. Beneath the water, above the water. The scheme is both brilliant and absurd.


This is what made it possible, over all these hundreds of years, to formulate something like a general theory of the formless and chaotic nature of the islands’ intricate and shallow political stakes. Every sensible line is not a straightforward statement, and there are leagues of senseless cacophonies, symbolic jumbles, misunderstandings, unadorned brutalities, and incredible violence; none of it and all of it is encrypted, and it is still right there without veil or explanation or justification. The light is formulated by the dead, who, one supposes, could be staying at the hotel at this very moment, viewing together the slums that will become a parking garage and then a slum again later this year. ….. Perhaps I am just old enough to deceive myself, but I think the whole lot is about to be burned alive without the archive enduring. It is utterly corruptible. The same ideas and images as before, just as I dreamed that its fingerprint-smudged surfaces can point to another absolute reversibility,working itself out through theaters of authority’s set pieces and stage sets, and through shadow puppetry in the twin chambers illuminated still by fruit, with all the rooms divided by elevators and stairways, the grinding hum they emit like the sound of people talking.


“Bomb” is instead presented as a symbol of the Frum political theology of irredentist cleansing, which in turn is how the Spratlys problem is framed by the movement for its widespread audience of sympathizers.

reading this day after 61 (19th) and watching 3 vols of human

and… thinking/learning about Girard (from theorizing web conf – same as i got dna ness).. wondering about mimec ness and reverse mirror ness.. and if a and a can overcome.. if we can get to a healthy enough us.. so as not to abuse.. corrupt.. war.. on each other.

there’s got to be a better way.. a nother way

ie: hosting life bits[io dance/hosting life bits (blockchain/stack ness: replace server farms – chip energy efficient –dna\nessps in the open (idiosyncratic jargondecision making/B redefined via self-talk as data]


(“Defense through obscurity, and obscurity through decentralization.”) OMA repeats, without typical irony, the apocryphal example of early to mid-1970s US internet, which linked points between California and Utah, and the SAGE air-bomber early-warning system architecture on which it was based, as a network topology that would provide massive redundancy if ever attacked. The story goes that if the Soviets were to bomb any one node, then the surviving nodes could handle the rerouted traffic.


It’s not a conspiracy; it’s a revelation of childhood abuse.


Incomprehensible math annotates the fractal soap bubble composition. I read that all flows—human and inhuman—have been simulated with Lagrangian and Eulerian equations to an unreasonable and absurd level of confidence and predictive granularity. Any and all of these design issues are largely initial state problems, and so this degree of simulated prediction and control cannot possibly be real.On the page, it is math as heraldry.


The artificial archipelago’s fuzzy topos is based on research in global internet packet routing by Dmitri Krioukov. His work models hyperbolic distances in packet routing across the earth’s surface and confounds commonsensical relationships between nodesin the tangled lattice of cyber-infrastructure and traditional national geography. Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is determined by a smart packet heading in what appears at first to be the opposite direction from its intended recipient. Legacy networks essentially required putting a kind of “map” of the entire internet address space into every router, such that each believes itself to be aware of the entire network at once.The address tables require constant updating, and, as a whole, each router is asked to perpetually overthink the optimum path of every packet entrusted to it. Krioukov devised an ingeniously simple method of giving a sense of direction to the lowly individual packet itself, such that even the simplest unit of information doesn’t need to know its ultimate career in advance of being sent, and no gateway needs to recalculate the itinerary of every message it shuttles.

using tech to facilitate whimsy/wild rather than to measure/validate transactions/people..

Packets move in the general direction of their destinations, however global or local that generality may be when they are far away or nearby to it. The result of these two modifications (hyperbolic versus Euclidean distances and building “greedy pathfinding” into individual packets) could realize perhaps an order of magnitude increase in global data throughput, should such ideas be fully and properly implemented.

huge. ginormously small.. huge.

esp if implemented with data that matters.. ie: self talk .. of 7 bill people.. as the day.

As it stands today, only a fraction of publicly accessible networks use these methods to their potential, though most large corporate infrastructures (including Google’s own internal networks) have been based, at least partially, on Krioukov’s methods for some time. I myself know next to nothing about it.


As the ethics of material and materialism, this grid is absorbed and reprocessed into what it had been all along, undernoticed, that is, an ambition less for the line than for the knot and its avoidance.


The stupidly methodical tasks of writing and of editing distract me from the present state of things and from how they are designed and governed for real.

on the need for beyond words ness

I am certain that everything I might try to communicate would quickly negate itself or turn its subject matter into a pun. I read the words on my page: “I know of places where young men prostrate themselves before old buildings and kiss their surfaces in an unsettling manner, but they do not know how to open a single door. Outbreaks, sarcastic heresies, peregrinations which inevitably degenerate into sophistry, have decimated the populations there. I try not to spend too much time writing about suicide bombing, more and more frequent with the years, because others have so jealously staked it out as their territory for interpretation.” Perhaps a postponed but inevitable exhaustion confuses me, but even if the human species is about to be extinguished, the project supposedly will endure: illuminated, solitary, geometrically infinite, perfectly motionless in its speed, equipped with precious volumes of useless inaccessible secrets.

makes me think of ie: what we’re doing with ie: blockchain (and countless other things prior to) .. making it last .. while killing/ignoring/blocking us..

The new international terminal at Soekarno Airport is quiet and sunny, an enclave of abstraction and the serene mobilities it promises. Like all enclaves, it is a version of utopia. Pre-boarding for departure is announced and we self-segregate according to our relationship to the mode of mobilization, ceremoniously repeating, in miniature, the procedures of the outside world to which we owe our presence.

Into a new blank document file, I have just written the word “impossible.” I have not pulled this adjective out of rhetorical habit, but looking back from some perspective on its ultimate demise, is it illogical to think that the world is itself impossible? Those who would advertise counterarguments about Being are also those who postulate that, for all the places close at hand, the corridors and stairways and axonometric hexagons cannot justify us even to ourselves because they are too faraway and too foreign and not of the here and now. Those who make such claims are much, much worse. And then what? Is it possible that the number of combinations of these systems has no limit, that a site condition has no ultimate ecological purchase? I hope to plot a solution to this some day. Instead to ask, is the Turing machine heavier than an airplane of immanence, neither unlimited nor cyclical? If a perpetual tourist were to cross it by ship in any and all directions, after centuries he would see that the same architectures were repeated in the same disorder (which, thus repeated, would be an order—perhaps the order?).My insomnia is soothed by this hope.

and/or.. the dis order – the entropy ness of us..

ie: have we seen us yet..? or have we only seen the reflection of a mirror as seen by others..? ie: science of people in schools.. and supposted to’s.. too much in the way of seeing/being us..


Supposedly utterly unrelated in purpose, but before, during, and after my interviews with them they all present themselves to me in the exact same way. They are opponents who have become one and the same through the friendship with their inverted, interwoven paranoias. I have witnessed them in the commitment of their purpose: they appear exhausted by their work, they recount, by way of endless footnotes within footnotes,

too much

renewed commitments to personal and collective purification, and to communities and insurrections to come that will, by way of their divine anonymous violence, resolve the constitutional contradictions of the ongoing stalemate of an unbuilt project that may hold the key.


“Can this not be Babel?” they ask optimistically, in not-so-many words. The Chinese issued damning orders on them, as did the mainstream Frum resistance. This sect, the last of them, disappeared—at least from my view. On occasion I have seen what I take to be their scribbled graffiti wasting away in the public comments sections of the project’s waning journalistic coverage. Despite their sense of doom and defeat, in many ways this is their true solution, at least to what is most important to them, which, in reality, has prevailed. Their composite Tower will be built, and with time, theirs will be that which is honored by decay.

perhaps a nother way – that honors – idiosyncratic jargon.. et al.. allowing perhaps.. for interpretation to approach the limit of zero..


oct 2014 – the stack we have and the stack to come

on the need to design for thinking in the way we want to think about thinking

a planetary system

on need to think totalitarian

13min -on accidental mega structure software hardware  stack

14 min – Carl Schmidt – nomos

vertical stacking interdependent

six layers (in book): earth cloud city  address interface user

focus on cloud and user (nomos to come – the black stack)

16 min- the black stack is to the stack what the shadow of future is to the form of present.. less anarchist stack or death metal stack or utterly opaque stack …than computational totality to come defined at this moment by what it is not.. by empty content fields of its framework and by its dire inevitability..

17 min – … not platform we have but platform we might have.. that might be.. defined productivity of its accidents.. by strategy that may appear at first as worst/evil.. but may be best way out.. less a possible future than an escape from the present..

21 min – cloud polis users – trade attention and microeconomic compliance in exchange for global infrastructural services… in exchange.. provides w identity and license to use infrastructure..

thought (before nsa et al) by many cloud was thought where state had no role to play

22 min – now opposite.. that cloud is the state.. and intrinsically totalitarian (i wouldn’t bet on that)

black state.. new forms of governmentality – arise through new capacity to tax flows… (ports/gates/property/clicks…..) not at all clear cloud will overwhelm state.. or state will continue to evolve into stack.. or…

23 min – between state, market and platform.. which is better served… to tax interfaces of everyday life and draw sovereignty thereby…  what would we mean by public if not that which is constituted by such interfaces.. where else should governance… and mediations live.. if not there…

24 min – but instead in immanent interfaces that cleave/bind us.. where should sovereignty preside but that which is inbetween us.. not from each of us individually but from what draws the world through us

cloud platforms are exactly that.. platforms.. not only tech architecture but institutional form

25 min – decent coordinating econ not through the super imposition of fixed plans but through interoperability of emergent actions.. platform.. a third form…

io dance/hosting life bits

26 min – platform as totality.. drawing interfaces of everyday life into one another max/min state start to look weirdly similar… from this.. our own subjective enrollment… less as citizens as polis not as homo-economicus w/in market.. but user as platform….work of geo poly theory is to develop proper history/typology/program for such platforms… not shorthand for id of cloud feudalism.. nor network politics of multitude.. but models for org of durable alter totalities that demand force of law..

27 min – useful paradox of users positions.. contradictory impulse directed simultaneously over individuation and ult pluralisation.. participating in transparency.. ie: quantified self… intensity/granularity convince user of individuated coherency… (x men reading of atlas shrug) as more data added… that quantifies interactions w outside world… health in gut.. environment conditions.. the quality of everything that is not him comes to overcode/overwhelm any notion of him as a self-contained agent… user confronted… he is only intersection of many streams..

29 min – geo politics of user we have now is inadequate…privacy/transparency… has real limits… geo politics of computation…self in front of others… resulting in pre paranoia of withdrawal… ie: secrets are lies – the circle

thinking girard…

31 min – ie: uproxy… connects people in bad internets to people in good internets.. arab spring… could be available to billion users in ie: china even if google not available in china…

33 min – on 10^23 addresses per person… abyssal quantity that could participate in vast realities… real/fictional…even addressable massless relations between things.. of which any could be a sub user in this internet of haecities…

35 min – speciation occurs in wild.. not just in lab... blend into common category of machine… everyday interactions playing the turing test over and there a person behind the machine and if so how much ..  in time i think/hope the answer will matter less… postulation of human/carbon-based life.. may seem like tasteless v racism…

36 min – position of user maps only very incompletely onto any one individual body… elab schyzo already takes hold.. paranoia/narcissm two functions of same mask.. pluralize identity.. defends against same demands .. is user anonymous because dissolved into vital machinic plurality.. or because public id threatens individual self mastery/accountability… two diff politics but use same masks .. same software suites… not unexpected.. but fragile/inadequate..

38 min – in construction of users… nothing to deduce but interaction between users… challenging state stack

tim b lee – digital bill of rights for users… limited solutions when discrete id of user is heterogenous and fluid.. is anything w ip address a user… a user anytime generating info

40 min – (grid graphic) – redefn of political subject itself in relation to real operations of user.. not based on homo economicus.. nor parlimentary liberalism.. nor on post structuralist linguistic reduction.. nor on will to secede into safety of individual privacy and withdrawal from coersion..  ..  instead defn focus on composing/elevating sights of governance.. from the immediate suturing interfacial material between subjects in stitches and traces and folds of interactions between bodies and things at a distance.. congealing into diff networks.. demanding very diff kinds of platform sovereignty.. ..

rev of everyday life ness

41 min – stack we have in black stack – contents .. also content of daily communications (nsa) ..inverse ponopticon effect.. know being watched but act as if you’re not.. emergence of stack platform doesn’t distinguish friend and enemy…

43 min – could imagine entirety of network communication for last decade.. an archive.. library of real… just as physical fact is almost a cult…  can it be destroyed.. is there a trashcan big enough for big delete… surely must be a backup somewhere… would we bury it even if we could and if so .. would we need warning signs around it

an illegible immortality…

45 min – black state could mean many things.. can’t erase.. future carved against the grain..  overwritten/determined.. to add more is so much ink into ocean.. instead of tabula rasa.. tabula plenus.. creation only by subtraction..

46 min – structural logic of stack.. allows for replacement.. ie: any one of 6 layers could be replace.. stack is designed to be remade.. but unlike replacing wire for fiber optics.. more difficult… today.. doing it by adding more… we should allow for more comprehensive displacements.. making way for genuinely post-human positions…

48 min – let go of demand that any ai must care deeply about humanity as subject/object of own knowing/desire.. real nightmare.. is one in which it sees you as irrelevant… (rather than enemy it wants to kill)

49 min – anthro sidal trauma.. shifts from design to role of supporting actor… the black stack may be black because can’t see our own reflection in it…


the stack


Benjamin H Bratton @bratton & Todd Gannon discuss #TheStack on the #SCIArcChannel up now

stack – both a model and a mega machine.. what happens when planetary scale computation .. both distorts/deforms..traditional west folian models of political geography/jurisdiction..produces new territories in own image.. the stack is the accidental mega structure…

interest in role of the accident.. what kinds of accidents are each of (6) layers producing… invention of new accident.. invention of new tech… how it might be recomposable..

ongoing conflict between google and china.. 2 diff models of how political geography might be organized.. the grinding of these two is where i see the future of sovereignty.. not in resolution but of the conflicts..

dissensus ness

4 min – not of states/borders going away… not that borders are disappearing they’re multiplying exponentially.. borders inside borders inside borders.. system nested inside of nested system.. some correspond.. some don’t know other exists..that condition of multiple totalities.. all interlocking.. claiming same space.. not an accumulation of strange exceptions.. but a new normal.. what does it mean to start from there…

ginorm small ness..

prejudice decreases as discrimination increases ness – borders at the individual.. the individual thumbprint.. et al..

5 min – nation states evolving into cloud platforms.. seen from snowden revelation.. the evolution of modern forms of sovereignty as well..

6 min – one of most unfortunate common sensical cliches of early years of planetary scale computation.. notion of correspondence between analog and physical and computation.. digital and virtual.. computation is just as physical as any other analog.. analog can be just as virtual.. even in sense of linking location at a distance.. it’s based on heavy kind of structure…

7 min – schmidt w nomos.. first logic for how earth might be subdivided politically… sovereignty is.. he who has capacity to draw line and determine when/where to make subdivisions… when borders exponentially multiplied.. not just about a flat plane.. when multiple geographies nested.. whether one line is governing inside or outside.. becomes the real seat of sovereignty.. whether line is keeping something in or out.. increasingly we automate those decisions… part of role of the agency of algos at level of city is to automate those gateways… one way in which software has taken a seat of sovereignty….

10 min – part of argument .. about the way stacks function.. is they are designed to be replaced... you can’t know in advance what some future tech may come about to solve these diff layers better…so system has to be designed w assumption that everything that might go in there now might be replaced… so esp when constructing a theory of totality.. this isn’t fixed… it isn’t a mega structure.. monolith for all time… everything that’s here is in process of being replaced w everything else.. .. … so future possibilities/accidents.. emergence built into machine in first place.. so what machine is doing is producing these futures..

11 min – clear call to develop/develop well is  … literally a matter of life/death..  job of design is to intervene in these w a bit more fearlessness...

we can .. we can’t not


via McKenzie:

@bratton is thinking geopolitics as a design problem.
@mitpress @strelkaschool @e_flux @PublicSeminar

Original Tweet:

Bratton: “We experience a crisis of ‘ongoingness’ that is both the cause and effect of our species’ inability to pay its ecological and financial debts.” (303)


They are hybrids not well suited to sociology or computer science. They support markets, but can or could enable non-market forms as well.


The stack *could have been the form for the global commons,but instead became an “an invasive machinic species. (35) “Sovereignty is not just made about infrastructural lines; it is made by infrastructural lines.” (35)

to *Mackenzie’s hacker manifesto


Address designates a place for things and enables relations between things; deep address designates also the relations, and then the relations among those relations.


The financialization of addressability may also be a kind of fetishism, mistaking the metadata about a relation for a relation.…. Hence, “not only is the totality of The Stack itself deeply unstable, it’s not clear that its abyssal scope of addressability and its platform for the proliferation of near-infinite signifiers within a mutable finite space are actually correspondent with the current version of Anthropocenic capitalism.” (213)

However, deep address has become an inhuman affair. Not only are most users not subjects, so too most of what is addressed may not even be objects. Deep address generates its own accidents. Maybe it is headed toward heat death, or maybe toward some third nature – deep address may outlive the stack. Bratton: “we have no idea how to govern in this context.” (213)


In the city layer absorbed into the stack, mobilization is prior to settlement, and the city is a platform for sorting users in transit. As Virilio noted some time ago, the airport is not only the interface but also the model of the overexposed city.


Here one might add that the oldest form of ruling class – the rentier class – has found a future not (or not just) in monopolizing that land which yields energy (from farms and mines) but also that which yields information – the city.


Cities are to be accessed via mobile phone, which afford parameters of access, improvisation, syncopation


The real design problem then is ..the redesign of the program that reorganizes the total apparatus of the built interior into which we are already thrown together.” (182)

a nother way – facil the chaos of right now ness..

Ironically, today’s pharaohs are building headquarters that simulate old forms, be it Google’s campus, Amazon’s downtown or Apple’s weird spaceship. They all deny their spatial doubles, whether its Foxconn where Apple’s phones are made or Amazon’s “logistics plantations.” (185) But it is hard to know *what a critical practice might be that can intervene now that cities are layers of stacks platforms, where each layer has its own architectural form. “Is Situationist cut-and-paste psychogeography reborn or smashed to bits by Minecraft?” (180) Bratton doesn’t say, but it at least nicely frame the kind of question one might now need to ask.

rev of everyday life + hosted-life-bits..


Despite their variety, to me these clouds are all shaped by the desires of what I call the vectorialist class, which is to extract what Bratton calls “platform surplus value.” (137) But perhaps they are built less on extracting rent or profit so much as asymmetries of information. They attempt in different ways to control the whole value chain through control of information


Maybe this is “algorithmic capitalism” – or maybe (as I argue) it’s not capitalism any more, but something worse. (81)


The answer may depend on how well we can collaborate with synthetic algorithmic intelligence to model the world differently…” (83)

host life bits.. a nother way


“Computation is training governance to see the world like it does and to be blind like it is.” (90)

of math and men ness..

we’ve got to stop measuring us/transactions..


*the stack lacks a bio-informational skin that might connect ecological observation to the questioning of resource management.Running the stack now puts more carbon into the atmosphere that the airline industry. If it as a state it would be the fifth largest energy suck on the planet.  “Even if all goes well, the emergent mega-infrastructure of The Stack is, as a whole, perhaps the hungriest thing in the world, and the consequences of its realization may destroy its own foundation.” (94)

i’d call that *self-talk as data

and if what i hear is right.. about server farms ness.. blockchain to host that data..


Hence the big question for Bratton becomes:  *“Can The Stack be built fast enough to save us from the costs of building The Stack?” (96)

perhaps only if we leap.. for (blank)’s sake

Can it host computational governance of ecologies? “Sensing begets sovereignty,” as I showed in Molecular Red in the case of weather and climate. (97) But could it result in new jurisdictions for action? Hence, “we must be honest in seeing that accommodating emergency is also how a perhaps illegitimate state of exception is stabilized and over time normalized.” (103)  Because so far “there is no one governance format for climates and electrons that the space for design is *open at all.” (104)

exactly.. we haven’t yet.. because we haven’t yet let go of partial.. we keep controlling and not believing.. that we could build fast enough to save us from costs.. actually to make cost ness irrelevant..


“The more difficult assignment for design is to compose relations within a framework that exceeds both the conventional appearance of forms and the provisional human context at hand, and so pursuing instead less the materialization of abstract ideas into real things than the redirection of real relations through a new diagram.” (210)

rev of everyday life


This is not a program of cybernetic closure, but rather of *“enabling the world to declare itself as data tectonics…. Can the ‘second planetary computer’ create worlds and images of worlds that take on the force of law (if not its formality) and effectively exclude worse alternatives?” (302) It might start with “a smearing of the planet’s surface with an **objective computational film that would construct a stream of information about the performance of our shared socio-natural spaces…” (301)

*self-talk as data

rather a ginorm/small amount of **subjective film.. as stream of info


for Bratton there is no local, only the global.

is that true..? how can that even be..? global is made up of local..

the design prospect is not to perfect or complete it, but to refashion it to endure its own accidents and support a range of experimentsin rebuilding: “the geo-design I would endorse doesn’t see dissensus as an exception.” (306)

dissensus ness


At least one novel observation here however is that the stack can have different governance forms at each level. The stack is not one infrastructure, but a laminating of relatively autonomous layers.

# of levels/govt = approaching limit of infinity/zero


Perhaps, as some Marxists once held, the capitalist ruling class (and then the vectoralist ruling class), perfected the forces of production that make them obsolete. Perhaps in the liminal space of the stack to come one can perceive technical-social forms that get past both the socialist and capitalist *pricing problems.

by making pricing (measuring transactions) irrelevant


Bratton: “We allow, to the pronounced consternation of both socialist and capitalist realists, that some polypaternal supercomputational descendant of Google Gosplan might provide a mechanism of projection, response, optimization, automation, not to mention valuation and accounting beholden neither to market idiocracy nor dim bureaucratic inertia, but to the appetite and expression of a curated algorithmic phyla and its motivated Users.” (333)

ah yes.. love


This might mean however an exit from a certain residual humanism: “the world may become an increasingly alien environment in which the *privileged position of everyday human intelligence is shifted off-center.” (338) perhaps it’s not relevant whether artificial cognition could pass a Turing test, and is more interesting when it doesn’t. ….“The Anthropocene should represent a shift in our worldview, one fatal to many of the **humanities’ internal monologues.” (353)

*ie’d in things like the seemingly non-turing/non-intelligent ness.. of idiosyncratic jargon.. which then however turns out to be our means to ps in the open ness..

unless we have **those wrong


Bratton: “Could this aggregate ‘city’ wrapping the planet serve as the condition, the grounded legitimate referent, form which another, more plasmic, universal suffrage can be derived and designed?” (10)

in the city.. as the day [aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]

a nother way


intro’d to the new normal here by Benjamin – with (Lev Manovich et al):


Moscow is freezing but sunny.. seminar for The New Normal program at Strelka starts Monday


New text in which I extend the Post-Anthropocene thesis to Anthropogeny/ Anthropolysis

sept 2016 – design, philosophy and ai – 1 hr


2 min – defns – cities: 1\ provisional settlement org’d around some form of agriculture/provision 2\ node on a horizon.. orientable people/things as they migrate and flow in it..

so we’re looking at city first as an encapsulating mega structure to hold things in place and second as thru put point that would accelerate the unique ness of things as they move thru the particular orientation of the city’s wayfinding interfaces

3 min – living and non-living.. working to re make the city in their own image

deep address ness – 10 ^23 addresses per person.. begs the question the level of the granularity by which something like a ubiquitous computing might actually operate.. far below and above the kind of mere anthropometric thing… not just things we’re used to seeing using the scale we’re used to

5 min – ai: a way that matter org’s itself into some form of durable complexity

a special form of that complexity being the city..

as ai becomes more sophisticated.. what does its its own design project become.. what should it be

hlb via idio jargon.. that io dance.. Benjamin.. that.. deeper than jordan’s (i’m guessing he’s keeping the measuring ness) blockchain

i see ai .. not as something that might happen in the future.. but as something we see all around us all the time (robotics, programmable matter, culinary materialism, tangible media, .. bringing these all back together)… it contributes to the formulation of our own designations

the spider embodiment ness

6 min – how to communicate w/those not embodied in world in same way

7 min – we try to see ai not in terms of how we think that we think.. that is this image of ourselves.. this virtual/artificial human cognition only.. but as something that .. as a way in which matter thinks/embodies another spot in a larger shared continuum of material intelligence.. of which our own accomplishments of (?) are one particular form/ie

and to situate these in somewhat of a common frame (user/interface/address/city/cloud/earth) we can project them someway across the stack.. proposes its own way of particular kind of design model.. for political geography tuned to eh question of *planetary scalecomputation


so where we locate the ai.. where the ai locates us.. is not all the same

8 min – it’s not about the way in which these techs would amplify/optimize these kinds of (?) relations to the world.. but the way in which they would crack open other forms/kinds of relationships

we would ask then.. after something like intelligence.. how is it that in this conjunction of computation.. the algo mechs.. and matter itself.. *computation becomes a kind of solvent of a particular form of algorithmic (decrees?) and in various kinds of matter


9 min – we take it for ie – that computation was discovered more than it was invented.. and that *the algo generative processes are intrinsic to the wider unfolding.. of that world.. and that today’s meager computational appliances are no where near as sophisticated and sufficient as those that proceed homo sapiens

*i wish.. i hope.. we can.. if we let go

that dissolution software in other words.. provides for a landscape of inorganic forms .. sort of distributed intelligence.. because it provides those things w the capacity for themselves for abstraction.. we see intelligence as a form of something that accomplishes abstraction.. computation that is intelligent.. and computation that is a kind of mech of abstraction.. how matter abstracts itself..

10 min – should account for two related but diff understandings 1\ would recognize intelligence and knowledge for that matter.. is always distributed among multiple positions/forms of life.. those similar/dissimilar to one another..

that no single neuro anatomical disposition has a privileged monopoly on how to think intelligently

what might qualify as gen intelligence is not duty bound to species/phylum in its capacities for abstraction..

11 min – we might say.. in terms of ability of any organism.. however primitive.. to map its own surroundings is this function of abstraction particularly in relationship to the basic terms of friend, food, or foe.. this is a kind of primordial abstraction from which we do not graduate so much as we learn to develop into something like a formal kind of reason in its local human variations

hlb trail – as the daybegin beingeudaimoniative surplus ness

figuring out what’s ongoing on around you.. this is ..the basic kind of mapping is the primordial form of abstraction..

and in this way.. the mapping function of abstraction is not done thru an early stage thru which things pass on their way to more complex forms of intelligence.. it’s rather general principle of that complexification

feeling about.. what’s out there.. looking/tasting/imagining patterns.. today’s ai or sometimes.. augmented by various techs and machine cognition’s sensation/vision that allow them to see/sense the world out there.. and to abstract forms of mechanically embodied intelligence deliberately programmed for them and emerging unexpectedly

12 min – so.. this sort of emergent particular form of a certain kind of distribution of the sensible..if you like.. shifting certain kinds of interest.. via merleau ponty if you like


rest of talk – suggested in 3 ways:

1\ a kind of thinking(first with turing/humanistic models) not only what counts as thinking but what counts as architecture.. recognizing ai when similar to our own


13 min –

2\ skin – epidermal media synthetic skin and the design convergence of natural sensation and machine sensing.. for animal skins like our own.. but also for urban skins/surfaces/interfaces.. implications of this for what we may want to call.. dwelling.. per se

3\ machine division – camouflage.. the inverse uncanny valley.. ai paranoia and *ampophenia

*the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data


so first.. to thinking such – turing…

alan turing

15 min – one notes a kind of sour ironic correspondence between asking ai to pass the test in order to quality as intelligent.. to pass as a human intelligence.. with turing’s own need to hide his own homosexuality to pass as a straight man

the demands of both bluffs are unnecessary and profoundly unfair.. and as for all passing.. the performance of success or failure reveals more about the audience then about the performer

sounds like james baldwin – who needs the term.. not me

in other .. situations.. policing the imitation game is a matter of life and death.. differentiating humans from replicans (from harrison ford film he names)

16 min – in this version replicans 1\ expire in a few years 2\ have diminished capacity for empathy… in this world.. turing test thresholds are weaponized

his dilemma (deckard – in film) and ours.. is that in order to enforce the gap between the human and the ai ..defined by empathy or lack thereof.. deckard must suppress the empathy that supposedly makes him uniquely human.. forcing him to quash his own identification with the replicans that supposedly cannot have empathy in return.. the principle differentiation requires this violation in order to maintain its own

17 min – far better i think to examine in terms of sort of thinking.. to examine how identification and the production.. the affect of empathy.. works from our side of the convo.. (this is paro.. the baby’s robot seal).. it’s clearly much easier to make a robot that a human believes which to have emotions and for which a human may in turn have emotion.. than it is to make a robot that *actually has those emotions.. the human may feel love/hate/comfort from the ai.. but he/she is reading cues.. not detecting feelings


18 min – what seems like empathy is really a one-way projection mistaken for recognition.. like the turing test itself… and not based on any mutual solidarity

will the wish to find the very existence of ai in relationships to its ability to mimic how humans think that humans think.. will this be looked back on as some weird form of species.. perhaps.. may also.. this legacy of older models of ai research.. sending research down disappointingly fruitless paths.. hoping to recreate human minds top down as the basic structure.. just doesn’t work

hubert dreyfus ness

as stewart russell and peter muir remind us in their essential ai textbook –

biomorphic imitation is not generally how you design complex technology

19 min – airplanes don’t fly like birds.. and we certainly don’t try to convince.. try to trick birds into thinking that airplanes are birds in order to test whether these planes really are flying machines.. so .. why do we do this for ai

today the vast majority serious core ai researchers do not focus on the turing test as anything like a central criterion of success other than hiai.. human intelligence ai interaction research as a criterion of success.. and yet in a general popular discourse about ai.. the tests or versions of the .. the anthroprocenturism thereof holds such.. still such conceptual importance.. like the animals who talk like teenagers in a disney movie (mice in cinderella) .. other minds are conceivable mostly by way of *puerile ventriloquism

*childish, silly, trivial

should ai arrive.. it will not be humanlike unless we insist that it pretend to be so

and if so.. diminishing us – by making us machine like

20 min – because one assumes the idea that intelligence could be both real and inhuman at the same time is somehow morally/psychologically intolerable.. instead of nurturing this bigotry we would do better to allow .. that in our universe.. thinking is a much more diverse.. even alien phenom that our own particular case..

thus the real philosophical issues lesson today will have less to do with humans teaching machines how to think than with *machines teaching humans a fuller/truer range of what thinking is.. and can be

*rather machines facilitating us getting back to indigenous ness.. listening deeper.. to all the ways.. getting us back to us.. uncage us from sophistication/civilization.. all the isms and labels and words.. et al..


in addition to the de mystification.. expansion of thinking in this way.. and the relocation of human sapiens w/in this expanded field.. the sensory media of synthetic intelligence may also contribute to a certain kind of undermining.. of certain forms of a durable (contiend?) sort of philosophical distinction between thinking and sensing..

21 min – i want to hone in on the ways in which that kind of cartographic abstraction.. mapping what’s already out there.. can in fact also be dermal.. related to skin.. how it occupies and agitates skin.. human/building/any skin and how this does so also for the purpose of mapping

extending something like a skin based… we recognized in the late 19th cent that cinema and photography allowed.. for it to be possible to compose.. to see.. the sorts of images we had never seen before.. ie: montage.. slow motion.. double exposure..  same goes for synthetic recorded sound for auditory senses.. our largest sensory organ.. our skin however.. obviously to date.. we have not developed nearly as diversed forms of sophisticated forms of artificial touch.. tactilitory feeling.. for skin-based media as we have for vision and hearing

22 min – clothing.. or at least one way that we have leap frogged genetic evolution to augment skin.. faster than evolving fur or blubber is to engineer scuba suits

so part of the practical research engaged with this in san diego.. is some exploratory research on how.. let’s say.. the presumed space of difference between natural selection on the one hand and machine sensing on the other is alighted by certain techs that operate in and on the skin.. and at the scale of our dermal and epidermal somatosensory system.. talking.. real/interwoven on the skin

23 min – artificial skins are also on one of the areas of more design research .. more generally.. long funded research into advance prosthetics.. currently.. one with virtual fingertips for sensation.. and other types of dermal surfaces that would enable a coportal (?) extensions to wear

in other labs.. epidermal augmented electronics that augment the living skin’s capacity for sensing internal/external symmetry.. next door to these.. lab cooks up inks that react to the presence of ambient trace elements of whatever particles they’re tuned to react with

24 min – so designing chemical sensitivity.. at/near the atomic level in this case.. and the registration of those as it transmits info in dermal/epidermal micro electronics at larger scales.. we can conceive of a real mediatization of sensing surfaces

together these techs suggest something like a skin-based micro stack.. biological/chemical/mechanical sensing/processing in various combos

as an emergent formulation of wearable computing.. it blends animal sensation with machine sensing into a kind of composite surficial media.. there’s platforms for haptic interfaces..  touch/motion interfaces.. in terms of interaction may be below or above normal perceptual scales and may involve autonomic/nervous reactions.. as much if not more than the relatively blunt gestures of hands/thumbs

25 min – today.. these dermal/epidermal media.. the ones we have.. the ones we anticipate make it possible to sense things about the external world otherwise .. that our skin would otherwise not be able to register.. particular matter..  or things about our internal state.. the ph balance in your sweat..

but the longer term and really more interesting design horizon for skin based media are ones that would allow bodies novel/unnatural forms of touch/sensation that we have perhaps never experienced before..pleasure and pain are on the menu but more besides..

innovations with vision/sounds.. but also molecular gastronomy and rebuilding of food from on up.. and if we include taste.. as a particularly nuanced form of touch.. which of course it is.. then what are today novel tastes are models for new sensations to come

26 min – the same holds true for the redesign of the surfaces of the city.. its skins.. urban interfaces are also sensory mechs.. sometimes they’re binary gateways that allow a prohibited mission into the domain.. other times there are reactive skins that sense threshold events by reacting to light/sound/touch/ambient-trace-elements.. and as we meander the city.. these interfaces are also our habitat.. we dwell w/in them.. but they are dwelling as well.. they sense us as their world.. we are their habitat as much as they are ours.. we are organisms living inside of them just as they are inside of us.. ubiquitous computing at/in the city’s skins/surfaces/interfaces we see as something like urbanism as nested parasitism..  or nested parasitism as urbanism

27 min – now.. from touching to seeing.. by shifting this line of inquiry up to this surface scale.. what we take to be the artificially mediated surface includes things that are analogous to skin.. but also those things today we would refer to colloquially as a kind of ‘machine vision’

vision has evolved independently many times in evolutionary history and arguably.. in the past 2 decades or so it has evolved again.. this time not for cuddle fish or rattle snakes.. but for network ccd sensors and for algorithmic armatures ..processing what is sensed into differentiating and motivated recognition and cognition

28 min – ‘visual sensors’ responding to light .. often but not always shaped like cameras.. are one kind of design surface capable of synthetic sensation and computational interpretation..  in the wider urban landscape.. they too co mingle with networks of other surficial sensors.. responding to.. motion/pressure/heat/ambient-air-qualities and so on..

and so again.. to the extent that it’s epistemologically in function & convenient.. we call these various machine vision/hearing/skin.. but of course any real correspondence to the mammalian sensory apparatus is merely allegorical

the ai city may be embodying itself.. but as i’ll say a few times.. not as we do..

as for the media techs that line the two.. vision/light.. we might say that when.. info is scarce.. then copying something is the work of the mechanical image.. however.. when info is abundant..  esp when it’s overabundant.. then seeing the original.. picking its pattern out of the background.. this is the work of machine vision..

29 min – for thinking animals.. seeing and making things is easy but make copies of things is hard.. but for machines.. making copies is a way of seeing.. and it’s much easier than thinking or perhaps is a kind of thinking

and in the varied history of the multiple.. independent evolutionary careers of vision.. various photo receptor cells found across the phyla .. may have evolved from many different kinds of chemo receptors.. most likely well advance of anything we might recognize as a fully fledged brain like info processing organ..further we could say that photosynthesis.. chemical response to light.. and so in the broadest sense.. it too could be considered a kind of vision w/o images..

30 min – w/in the animalian vision/image-making nexus.. the one we.. is primarily human.. it’s likely that from the beginning to the end of the holacy.. the total quantity of images humans have produced.. from cave walls to face time..  continues to increase exponentially.. now .. with tools in pockets.. the raw sum of total images in 2005.. some say 2008… may be more than all those produced up to that moment.. depends how you define/quantify and image.. but.. mechanical reproducibility is certainly.. images to proliferate far beyond the means of human craft

31 min – further.. today.. many images are made for no one.. but this does not mean that they are functionless.. they are made by/for machines that see the world differently than we do.. machines don’t have eyeballs or rods/cones/visual cortex.. but they do have sensors that detect light/motion/form/heat/color in other ways.. in such today in that the industrial scale processing of that data that has been gleaned by scanning the light spectrum someway.. from urban scale street surveillance to millimeter scale quality control along assembly lines reps a significant fraction of all of the work that the world does to image itself for the purpose of governing humans.. at the end of the day.. the machine at phylum (?) may take more selfies than selves do

32 min – however.. the function of representation at work here is probably rather different.. the ‘image’ may likely remain data.. it is never re rendered to look like a picture because there’s no need.. an algorithm programmed to discern a particular pattern or anomaly can ‘see’ it directly in the data itself .. it doesn’t necessarily need for that data to be projected.. as if for a mammal.. and then re seen and re interpreted back into code.. like any algorithmic scanning/sorting of any large data set.. the fact that the original source was/is ‘visual’ is not so critical..

so again.. like plants.. do machines also possess a kind of vision w/o images or at least a kind of image that suggest a very diff form of abstraction toward a very diff kind of corporal experience.. and abstraction that’s based on chemical informational pattern finding.. as that cartographic simulation of experience or as that experience itself

33 min – perhaps surprising to some.. perhaps not to others.. that the function of machinic images today and of their abstractions both animal and algorithmic.. is in many cases if not actually predominately.. to determine the veracity and originality of what those images supposedly rep ie: some of images on dollar bills are there for humans to differentiate the value of one token from another.. but far more are for machine vision counterfeit detection.. to verify that this is a real dollar.. the piece of paper is full of machines that happen to look like pictures.. it is an image as machine.. or a surveillance scan of a city.. may pick out one face/body from thousands .. looking for the one true target

34 min – elsewhere we insert tiny camera probes into great paintings to verify that they are originals.. as is often required by insurance cos backing purchases.. online captcha software shows us an image.. and then in a quick inversion of the turing test.. analyzes how the  human user interprets it to determine if they are in fact a real person

so we conclude perhaps .. that (?) assurances that mechanical reproduction would undermine the aura of the original is true when for ie we compare a painting w a postcard of a painting.. however.. machine images and images as machine are put to work to ensure oratic originals.. verified non fakes..true id.. unbroken versions.. normal targets.. certified real deals.. and so kind of a revolution is made back around.. as the image is more fully technologized.. as it becomes itself a machine in some cases.. bending means historical art from the pre mechanical original.. to mechanical copies incomplete w/o another curve leading now .. to what.. the machinic authentic

35 min – still.. if cities are always in their sum way about vision to some degree.. again bending the mean makes it appear as well.. we think of this in terms of how we see it.. which is fine.. we’re seeing each other thru it.. also fine.. we should also think of it in terms of how it sees on its own terms.. the machinic visual subject it puts forth..

is not something that possesses necessarily human like or human level perceptual and aesthetic capacities.. of discernment/connoisseurship.. but rather something that is interesting because it does not possess those things and yet can see us.. recognize/know us.. regardless.. and that’s weird enough

36 min – so there’s the question on the one hand of how the world looks as a screen and another .. more important i think.. is how we look as objects of perceptions from the position of the machines with which we co occupy that world..

see ourselves thru the eyes of this machinic other.. who does not and cannot have an affective sense of aesthetics.. is a kind of disenchantment.. we’re just stuff in the world for distributed machine cognition to look at and to make sense of.. our own sapients is real/unique.. but as we are things to observe that just happen to be sapient.. this doesn’t really matter to machinic vision..

this disenchantment i think is more than just like hearing the sound of the recorded sound of your voice on tape.. that can’t possibly be me..  it’s potentially the clearing away of a more closely guarded illusion

37 min – this uncomfortable recognition in the machines mirror.. is a kind of.. perhaps a reverse.. uncanny valley.. that is.. instead of being creeped out at how slightly inhuman the creature/image appears.. we’re creeped out at how unhuman we ourselves look thru the creatures eyes

now the politics of this are also a bit fraught in a way.. in writing a book.. as i’m doing about ai.. i found in some ways i didn’t expect it .. it in many ways fully impossible to separate the technology itself from this sometimes bizarre ideas that we have for it and about it.. because i’m fascinated by how technologies are not only anthropomorphized but how some are considered menacing and others amazing and some both at once..

there’s a way in which part of this is part of a genealogy that we might take at least thru.. the influencing machine.. the ways in which this apparatus just beyond our understanding come to take on a kind of psychiatric significance

38 min – whether the aliens are reading your thoughts thru radio waves and dental implants or google is reading your thoughts thru email.. the borderlands between schizophrenia and sensible vigilance.. delusion and deductions.. are disputed territory

perhaps it comes down to a level of discomfort.. not just with how some people see technologies but with how some people think technologies see them.. the occult artifacts of planetary scale computation are a cracked mirror.. and reflections seen there are given to a *metacean (?) and dualistic and sometimes even bipolar.. political psychiatric imaginary

*syllabic abbreviation of meteorology and (physical) oceanography

for ie.. deep dream

39 min – what you’re looking at (image – person on horse with animal head image on sleeve and dog head image on side of horse et al) last june happened to be on the front page of every newspaper was a project undertaken by google research where there’s some sort of feature recognition algorithm.. that will analyze large data sets.. that will look for particular things.. and how it is that your photo app knows.. which face you are .. if that’s a horse or dog .. they’re interested in a way.. how well .. what kind of feedback loops could this sort of provide.. what happens if it tries to see something that’s not there but you force it to see it or get it.. you ask it to see it so often it says well.. this is kind of what gets done.. in the simplest sort of explanation.. the process is kind of simplifying the edges function.. like you might have a photoshop where you sort of fill the image to make the edges.. everything.. a bit more what it is.. in relationship with things around it..

40 min – you then ask it to look for the thing that it’s looking for .. and then you do this again.. and then you do it again.. and then again.. and you feed this back thru this system over and over and over again..  and it starts to actually compress the image.. and start to find things that it’s looking for that aren’t actually there.. a kind of ai hallucination.. if you like

now.. there’s a bunch of websites.. you can upload and have it done.. the images i think are remarkable enough irrespective of their providence.. but once the viewer makes the partial (and it’s always partial) empathetic transference into the other mind of this feature recognition algo and its way of seeing something.. the effect in a way of trying on a new perception.. making sense of the world thru those eyes.. that’s the real payoff.. even if it’s an example.. of a kind of ai apophenia.. the false positive .. as a quirk

41 min – so what is apophenia – it is the psychological phenom of false pattern recognition.. where you see a pattern in something that’s not really there.. paratelia – see faces in things that aren’t really there.. and you see them whether you want to or not

42 min – it’s who we are and what we do.. this kind of pattern finding even the false pattern finding .. is intrinsic and necessary to our evolution and to our sapients.. we are who we are

47 min – moving back up then.. to machine ai sensing.. as a whole.. at the level of the whole city.. and in this redistribution of the re sensible.. again the ai city may be embodying itself .. but not as we do.. the co mingling of diverse sensors of light ..air.. and sound.. in chemistry.. draws up a landscape of sensing.. thinking little species.. partially embodied.. discretely one with another .. and partially co embodied.. with one another.. as their info inputs are aggregated/modeled and acted upon in various pluralities..

homo sapiens comes equipped with an extraordinary array of sensory faculties.. which may be augmented further by synthetic layers in various ratios.. ranging from the sensors in our trackers/phones.. to more intimate images in sound/sight.. situating ourselves in this expanded field.. again.. we are both sensors and sensed

48 min – on the one hand we are primary sapient actor of the drama.. supervising an orchestra of sensing techs .. each individually capable of functional processing and together of certain forms of aggregate emergent intelligence.. as ours for ie.. neurons..

on the other.. we’re not only the subject of the scenario we are also its subject matter.. that wider urban landscape of synthetic sensory systems is not only a platform thru which we extend and extrapolate our capacities for abstraction.. distributive cognition.. it’s capable of other sorts of abstraction on its own.. as part of its intelligence.. it looks at us and registers abstract actions about us.. and again.. not just ai in the city.. but nested ai co embodied as the city.. with very different sorts of organisms.. to population .. to genome.. to niche.. to signal morphologies at work..

49 min – and thus the work of abstraction .. for organism.. for design more generally..  is not only to deploy abstract forms but to set in motion mechs/programs that are capable of their own feats of abstraction.. and to calibrate how they abstract us in one another accordingly

in short.. we should imagine an ai urbanism.. a bit and turn (?) sort of like (?).. a stroll into the field populated by intermingling but mutually oblivious little life worlds..

or in terms of deleuze’s parable of the tick.. the laying in wait for some threshold event to come its way.. at which point it’s triggers programmed response leaping out into its own little void

many of our urban sensors and their limited forms of ai work similarly and with similar mobility

50 min – more versatile synthetic intelligence occupy more complex (?).. some are predators/prey.. in motion/flowering/pollinating.. and as we stroll along them we may be registered by them or we may be ignored.. we may be a primary cause of concern.. we may be a passing interference in an evolutionary dynamic in which we are neither the protagonist nor target

and this is.. in a way.. as we might expect.. actually not so surprising.. as we know .. the shifts from top down to bottom up ai.. particularly in robotics they have been marked by shifts with emphasis from intelligence as a formal syntax to one of a specific embodied relation to specific worlds and models

heuristic knowledge of habitats.. as seen as inseparable from how an ai manipulates a situated problem space .. and so in robotics.. the pairing of synthetic sensing.. vision for ie.. w algorithmic reasoning.. allows for simple artificial species to perform intelligently because they have what amounts to functionally and embodied perceptual location in the world.. they can think because they can see

51 min – now.. the implications of all of this for politics .. geopolitics.. and all the rest of us as i say are fraught/tangled/profound and banal in various measures.. extends from the biochemistry of climates and ecosystem to the rhetorical conventions of citizenship and sovereignty.. it’s messy ai .. what we’re talking about.. not a kind of clean/pure ai

and so i’ll conclude with a few admonitions toward a general interdisciplinary design for ai and for what we might call.. the post anthropocene

52 min – it is at best a paradoxical accomplishment to survive a mass extinction event.. the modern human species has the dubious distinction of not only observing/measuring mass distinction while it is happening.. but also doing so with the understanding that it is one pre of the pre eminent agents of that event

it does so with the ambivalent comfort that one way or another.. it too is unlikely to survive the bloody edge of the anthropocene in tact

as so much departs.. what arrives..

simultaneously with the collapse of biodiversity.. we also see.. at least the strong potential for.. and explosion of new ‘species’ taking form thru robotics/synthetic-bio/ai.. we can’t see the latter as replacements for the former.. and yet.. there they are

53 min – recall for ie.. that the first earthlings in space were not humans and that a very low % of all earthlings in space have been human.. human bio is needy/fragile.. it is poorly suited to space travel.. largely because we have to bring an entire ecosystem with us.. from oxygen to radiation filters.. to the microdial biome in our intestines that help us digest food

as currently configured humans.. we cannot really leave earth.. because we have to bring a miniature earth with us when we go.. this is not true in the same way for other species which have survived comparatively easy in space.. such as metaloid robotics and perhaps also someday.. some kinds of synthetic biology

and so perhaps.. like the small mammals that took over after the cretaceous paleocene extinction.. they’re just better suited to the very different punctuated equilibrium to come

they may enjoy successes that we cannot.. leaving us behind and stranded in place

54 min – so what then comes after an anthroposcenic extinction

the only thing we can know about the post anthroposcene is that it’s an era in which humans would no longer be the dominate geologic actor

perhaps a new earthling species .. may prove to be more fit in the next evolutionary steps than humans are.. so for us to ‘survive’ we may have to become more like them and less like what we are now..

or just more like us.. natural us.. and less like we are now (scie of people – not us)

in the longer view.. humans role.. enabling intermediary between early primates.. as yet to emerge phyla.. that blend organic and inorganic flesh and thinking

this is the point of convergence between robust ai and the deep ecologies..  voluntary extinction.. instead of disappearing however.. you may survive by perforating the boundaries between animal/vegetable/mineral.. as our design problem/solution

55 min – so what the stages of the death of the user.. a certain kind of death for a certain kind of humanism.. and the eclipse of a certain sort of resolute humanism.. it does so because it brings with it also the multiplication/proliferation of other forms of non-human/inhuman/exohuman agency etc.. including.. these sensors/algos/robots/nanorhythms/landscape-scale.. any combo with which we may enter into a kind of relationship as a composite subject

the complexities and contradictions of those sovereignties in relationship to those composites are never the level with those quasi intelligence (?) actors.. as i say.. were to dismember certain conventional distinctions between subject and tool .. occupant and city.. and so forth.. intros a certain kind of redistribution of a certain kind of agnostic universal suffrage.. by which white kinds of matter can enter into that position and take on that throne.. claiming a strongly.. and different kind of strong materials perspective territory

56 min – but we anticipate w/o a doubt that as this works itself out.. as that disenchantment unfolds.. that we will anticipate all manner of pushback against this demystified/demonized mathematics.. not only distaste for certain forms of quantification.. preference for romantic verse for ie.. but a bulwark on behalf of what amounts to a pre copernican and deeply reactionary humanistic sensualism (?).. even in humanist fundamentalism

i push back as i say perhaps this is irrational

there are .. affinities with certain techs however fictitious or bizarre those affinities may be… they are thought to embody the essence of a kind of creationist worker.. one of these is food.. and its forms of techs personal mastery such as car.. (story of driverless car taking us to cars as munition)

59 min – all of this is not w/o real risk .. we anticipate that this distribution of perception and co embodiment acquired by sensing ai at the urban scale would.. if we are tempted/persistent.. shift and expand what we take to be in ethics of shelter and of encounter/negotiation and even immunity.. and in this the modern era form of urban anime (?) may pail in comparison to the challenges in predator/pray camouflage .. dissimulation and relationship implied by the emergence of various alien minds at urban scale

negotiating our way to a livable post anthropocene necessitates.. however.. i still argue.. a fidelity to emergence not to emergency..

because copernican traumas abolish the false centrality and specialness of human thought and species being.. our priceless accomplishments

1:00 – in the advent of robust ai.. could provide for similar disenchantments.. one that should enable a more reality based understanding of ourselves/our-situation.. and a fuller and more complex/nuanced understanding of what intelligence/thinking is and is not.. from there we can hopefully remake our world w greater confidence that our models are good approximations of what’s out there.. always a helpful thing

an additional harm of the alternative to that is in perpetuating a relationship to technology that has brought us to the presence of a 6th great extinction

arguably (i would make the argument) that the anthropocene itself is due less to tech run amok than to the humanist legacy that understands the world as have been given for our needs .. and created in or image..

1:01 – we still see this everywhere.. our computing culture can be confused and is so along these same line..

we vacillate between thinking tech is a transparent extension of our desires on the one hand.. and then thinking of it as an unstoppable and linear historical force on the other.. for the first agency is magically ours alone.. and for the second.. agency is all in the code.. the gross inflation of the formers nearly inverted back into that other.. and this is why we can’t have nice things..

1:02 – well known thought leader in world of design recently noted (he’ll remain nameless): it’s time to invent a world where machines are subservient to the needs/wishes of humanity

if you think so.. google decap pig heads.. it’s time to move on.. this pretentious folklore is too extensive..

and so..put differently.. please to make tech serve humans/human needs/desires.. appear utterly misguided and suicidal..

staring up on the abyss of man’s extinction.. we hear the drearily comic refrain.. verily explicit or latent.. that id’s ‘modern tech’ as the main culprit in the conclusion that the most fundamental solution is to de technologize the planet and to re humanize ourselves.. one presupposing the other in various measures.. this is among the worst possible plans both philosophically and practically

1:03 – first .. it’s tragically deaf to the priceless copernican trauma of the anthropogenican precipice.. that our status as a dominate geologic actor is fleeting and so in order to survive.. we’re going to have to become something that is not necessarily recognizably human and second.. it

props up a psychotic misrepresentation of what humans and humanism actually are..

science of people ness vs human nature ness – begging for eagle and condor ness

we are the brain eating apes of weaponized hydrogen atoms.. who organize our societies according to bronze-age poetry on human sacrifice.. ritual purification..

among the last projects to support is re humanization in any sense of a direct return to historical norms..

a nother wayshort/bit

i think the other species would agree

1:04 – but lastly.. what of desire then.. how do we map this sort of technicological material over competency as a theory of subjectivity against the tropes.. or with the tropes of eros and sanitos.. it’s tricky..

hlb.. that io dance.. let’s try that.. for (blank)’s sake

floyd barely had darwin to work with let alone genetics and genomics.. and so those terms should probably be read a little bit like one reads the greeks.. organic or inorganic.. that is .. whether something is alive or not alive.. is sort of the minor issue .. something having or not having a carbon molecule.. this is what we might think of something organic.. any melting back into the inorganic.. the platotonic/planotonic (?) impulse.. overcome/overwhelmed/absorbed by matter itself may be a way of encountering and even desiring death perhaps.. but it’s also in other ways .. a very every day kind of occurrence 

it’s not a sad destiny to be interwoven in (?) matter and other diagrams for that dissolution of possible but anatomic and economic

1:05 – the human body and this earthly landscape of matter are only the *default settings.. they’re not destiny..

*and default that we have set/perpetuated.. et al

chemistry may drive the most radical forms of the philosophical imaginary to come

short/bitdeep prob: restore human nature.. (bio)..simple mech: via ginorm/small scale sci.. (chem) system: in physical space.. (phys)

a culinary materialism as (the world ?) puts it.. yes.. rubbing the *clinamen raw

*Clinamen (/klaɪˈneɪmən/; plural clinamina, derived from clīnāre, to incline) is the Latin name Lucretius gave to the unpredictable swerve of atoms, in order to defend the atomistic doctrine of Epicurus.

and so.. here among the algorithms that winding evolutionary vision returns to the primordial function of scanning the landscapes for food/friend/foe.. and learning to think in relationship to that manner

some alternatives.. some of them i think.. that do this in a way.. i think make the inevitable.. whether we want it to or not.. geo engineering project.. that really actually constitutes the eco geo politics.. for at least the 20th cent into something that is either a\ disqualified a priori as a metaphysical atrocity or something that will simply sort itself automatically by the invisible hand of moore’s law

1:06 – the former is animated in various guises by that kind of mystical primitivism.. that is to me.. a theological expression of a mode of global dwelling that sees.. the world is here for us.. based on a fetishization of human experience that takes priority over the materiality of the emergent intelligence.. again.. it is this humanistic exceptionalism that is the exact recipe for our anthropocenic predicament and the accomplishment of a viable post anthropocene necessitates its refusal..

in this fetishization of experience of experience as an authentic interiority for one.. or the psychotic proposition that somehow the self is a stable physical entity that can be expanded exponentially by various forms of computation w/o exploding into some fractal plurality.. as for the singularity people..

both of these make that geo engineering project much more difficult than what it is and make it harder to recognize it for what it should be

1:07 – some of it is more like .. molecular gastronomy at landscape scale.. a resorted and restored ecology designed to taste itself in new forms of richly spiced and imaginatively sauced mutual ingestion

last word.. less i’m misunderstood to recommend too much of today’s computational cultrid as model for the ai design that i’m sketching.. i’ll end by misquoting a sentence from *adornos minima moralia by substituting the word smart cities for his original topic of escapist cinema


it is not because they turn their back on washed-out existence and that (smart cities) escape-films are so repugnant, but because they do not do so energetically enough, because they are themselves just as washed-out, because the satisfactions they fake coincide with the ignominy of reality, of denial. the dreams have no dream.


The greater scandal than that advertising- based social platforms automate bad/ intuitive uses of the wrong data, is that they occupy the place of other platforms that would allow for the good/non-inuitive application of *more important data.

Original Tweet:

*ie: self-talk as data

But…what if the lesson of FB/CA is not that social media isn’t reflecting the will and desires of people enough, but far too much, reflecting it in all its naked superstitious avarice?

Original Tweet:

well.. of our intoxicated selves.. so.. like pain (red flag) .. signaling we need a cure..

convo/thread started earlier ..

(1/2) Am obviously interested/sympathetic to discussions on making FB-scale platforms more “public” (but which publics?), “Give Us Back Our Data” is far too blunt. Data are not like berries, already there to pick. Data also created in act of modeling it. What data do “we” want?

Original Tweet:

An interesting question about the public demand for control of “our data” is where ownership begins and ends. Is “our data” more like the raw material platforms are deriving into more complex things, or are we demanding control over derived metrics too?

Original Tweet:

@traviskorte Yes because from a certain perspective it’s all derived metrics.

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(2/2) EUstyle GDPR in US may do a lot (China a different story) but we need different models for “public” than corporate vs state vs local co-op on blockchain. We need models that enforce planetary-scale systemic ideals esp. when they contradict individual preferences.

Original Tweet:

ie: 2 convos as infra.. for the day

and earlier still

@malaise69_dares @bognamk There’s a planetary information infrastructure. I call it the third nature, @bratton calls it the stack. Its a novel geopolitical reality as well as political economic reality.

Original Tweet:

@malaise69_dares @bognamk @bratton So you can boycott Facebook if you like. Valid tactic. But you’re still resonant as an address in the stack, a point in third nature, on dozens of other information infrastructures. Most of which you have no control over at all.

Original Tweet:

@malaise69_dares @bognamk @bratton I’m in favor of autonomous information memory and community projects, but there’s limits to what one can do with an artisanal approach to the politics of design. The other short-term fight is over standards and regulation of the existing ones.

Original Tweet:

and from another convo/thread

@jason_pontin Standards are systems that make decisions; that what platforms are/do

Original Tweet:


Benjamin H. Bratton (@bratton) tweeted at 5:21 AM – 1 Sep 2018 :
Wonderful video of my talk at “Inhumanism Rising” at Trust space in Berlin on Aug 30 (

notes from 1 hr video – starts at 3 min

4 min – this unease might be rooted less in what a new tech does than in what it reveals about what was there all along.. ie: microscopes don’t cause microbes..t

5 min – these kinds of unrequested de mystifications are disturbing.. esp when they demote us from some place of presumed privilege..t

last week we (the new normal) had an event in moscow called.. we have always been post human .. the direct suggestion from this.. many of the apparently revolutionary promises of what are called 4th industrial revolution tech .. robotics, ai, synthetic bio, et al.. reorg personal and planetary econs in diff ways.. they do new things.. but their deeper implications is what they reveal that’s always been there.. and so the real challenge is how they demand a recalibration of our understanding of the world and our place w/in it based on what they reveal that has always been true..t

problem deep enough

6 min – 1 thing.. is that humans are among many species.. and cities are actual ecologies

7 min – humanity and tech have always been interwoven.. intelligence always emerges from matter.. bio is always mutable.. machines are already everywhere

so the work is to revise the history.. so more tech literate

in schmitian terms.. the political is not just about an exclusion of us and them.. so first schmitian decision.. is what is inside or outside the polity itself

us & them ness

8 min – the implications for design are profound.. but habits are hard to change..

let’s try this.. something serious.. something deep enough for all of us.. [ie: a nother way

hlb that io dance]..

because (mufleh humanity law): we have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity – Luma Mufleh

and.. because (rowson mechanical law): the language of fixing is not helpful here.. because it’s not a mechanical problem.. – Jonathan Rowson

centuries of human centered design has brought humane considerations in some ways for sure.. but in many ways design is still not nearly humane enough..and in many way.. in name of amplifying these.. we’ve made a desert..t

(mufleh humanity law): we have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity – Luma Mufleh

(rowson mechanical law): the language of fixing is not helpful here.. because it’s not a mechanical problem.. – Jonathan Rowson

9 min – a copernican shift in the philosophy of design is needed.. t.. one that begins w the sometimes unsettling implications of 21st cent circumstances/techs

design so that 7bn people are design/redesigning


10 min – i think one of the revelations of our techs is that tech has never been under our control (because that’s not what tech is).. and the affirmation of its indifference isn’t factored.. where we should start..t

so.. have it do something we can’t control.. and that begs indifference.. ie: listen to & facil 7bn voices.. everyday

as it could be

11 min – ie: 1\ the singulatarian discourse and 2\ primitivism..  which i’ve argued are based on a distinction that it is less severe than it may first appear

12 min – human body transformed by these mechanical extensions.. and essentially.. the single core/essence.. remains unchanged.. but this is never how it goes.. planetary economies must reflect.. not that unchanged human essence.. but the reformed weird figure of our species and self that is revealed/demanded

13 min – the stalin house in moscow.. how to reconcile this comparative luxury of the apts to the state of the rest of the econ .. (explained to me): the inhabitance of this particular building imagine themselves the literal model.. avant-garde.. of a new society.. carving a life of the early prototypes of what would soon be available later to everyone..  so as such it’s their duty.. not a privilege.. a duty to model the most advanced/luxurious/ambitious way of life possible.. because this achievement will then later be reflected in the lives that others will later enjoy.. they had to (do this) because if they were aesthetic now .. they would be condemning everyone else to aestheticism later .. and what right did they have to do that.. their luxury was not really for themselves.. it was a sacrifice on behalf of not eat that gold is to literally take food out of other people’s mouths

14 min – there is a similar ethos in aspects of the transhumanist and singularity movement..but i think it’s quite obvious that the transformation of the human bio tech never .. at the individual level.. is not really the point.. the individual is not a stand in for the whole..  in many ways.. the whole is barely a stand in for the whole

15 min – but it does raise.. an imaginary of autonomy vs one of interdependence

so.. back to relationship of politics and tech

17 min – part of the question.. not just how new tech bring abstractions.. but how abstractions become techs

19 min – on a higher level.. consider the abstraction of darwin (individualism, romanticism, nature, mutualism, .. )

20 min – all of this to say.. that tech does determine.. but its determination in and of itself is indeterminant

now to peter thiel


38 min – this complexity that’s making people crazy..

39 min – i’m not convinced that time is accelerating as ever before..  much more in lat 19th cent than anything we’re experiencing now

40 min – to this point of autonomy

41 min – nick land.. organization is suppression – this bubbling anarchy of world should be let free w/o slave morality.. only another reason among many to agree w nick .. from this fetisization of autonomy

42 min – classic psychiatry models the question of conspiracy theory in a certain way.. suggests patient has strong belief in need/importance of their personal autonomy in the world.. plus an overwhelming sense of powerlessness.. the end result is the conclusion that there are larger forces at work outside their view/control that need to be mapped/understood.. the therapeutic response is usually to instill w/in this person a sense of control.. not actual control.. i would argue that to restore the illusion of control in this way.. as a way of trying to suspend the abyss of the complexity is actually a quite dangerous measure

43 min – i think we have far too much for an illusory sense of control w/in populous politics which is part of why we have *voted for sovereigns who promise us (stuff).. the question of **interdependence is far more important.. t

*part of why we still assume voting is something we should be doing

**thurman interconnectedness law.. ie: perhaps we should see ai as augmenting interconnectedness

44 min – reducing everything to this master metaphor (of surveillance) is becoming a handicap.. i think calling it all surveillance is symptomatic of this means of autonomy as means and end of itself as a way to escape the unwanted supervision of the oedipus step father

45 min – once this is all framed as surveillance then thinking stops.. and that’s the problem..t

gershenfeld something else law

46 min – the occult (another symptom of this question of autonomy).. provides the affect of agency..  and now we observe in the distance.. jung, jordan peterson, john michael greer craming into the same clown car

47 min – it’s not really surprising that given this stage of generalized anxiety.. if you believe it to be so.. that a loss of fragile sense of autonomy at the scope of complexity revealed by planetary computation.. that we would see an interest in the occult as an imaginary.. but i think in a schematic sense .. it would be improper to see it all as one thing.. there’s at least two very diff directions for this

1\ (which i think is much more interesting and adaptable for us) an occult that sees the universe as a dark bottomless indifferent void tumbling toward inevitable heat death absolutely unaware/unconcerned with our feeble goings on.. this occult.. tied to horror.. obviously.. is a rupturing forth of this void.. a clearing away at the attempts at a resolve rational capture of the whole of the world.. in a simple model that primates are capable of thinking.. our neural hardware is not nearly capable of running the software of out thoughts.. and we hint at what lies beneath.. languages smashed in the first moment.. it’s form of numinous wonder is then the awe of abyssal smallness.. the din of inhuman signaling and signs all around us is teasingly inaccessible, insects of flowers are chattering.. but about how they will soon eat you

this version of the occult is radically de subjective.. it’s aligned w the point where mathematics can describe how the synaptic links in your brain start to sever themselves at the moment of death

48 min –

2\ (speaking of that clown car) an occult that serves as an interface to a universe that is fantastically meaningful and orderly beneath the humdrum buzz of every day chaotic appearances.. it’s a gateway to a language articulating underlying secret meaning and meaningfulness of the big narrative.. it elevates apophenia (tendency to perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things) to a performative ethics.. it locates you or me as the protagonist center of a heroes journey to hidden synchronisities.. it congratulates the confusion of inner mental life w exterior circumstances.. symbols that are more real than real.. its source of numinous wonder is the whispering voice that tells you the world was made for you to speak it forth

this version is radically subjective.. it’s aligned w the casting of spells by king cnut at the oncoming waves.. and the moments just before he realizes that they won’t work

50 min – some of the things we’ll be working on this year in moscow..

51 min – some of the things we’re adding to the menu this year..

1\ algorithmic governance  ..past/future states that are modeling this – hemispherical stacks

2\ inverse uncanny valley .. diff way of thinking about this response to the weirdness.. trying to get out of trap discourse is in ie: if it is creepy then it’s unwanted/unsolicited.. then it is an aggressive imposition.. then form of violence.. then to be resisted… if it is creepy.. then it is to resisted..

uncanny valley refers to this feeling of unease that people feel when confronted w something human like but not quite human enough.. that is.. the future is fine so long as it is futuristic.. deferred/fictional/contingent.. once it gets too close.. things get weird

55 min

what we call the inverse uncanny valley is seeing yourself from the alien perspective.. not looking at something strange but seeing ourselves from the eyes of something outside.. not as we imagine/recognize ourselves to be.. but in a way as we are

56 min – at what point does designing to accommodate the wants/needs of real humans .. deeply ethical.. t

only if the people are first alive/awake/themselves .. so design begs detox embed (ie:/self-talk as data)

and at what point is illusory self image ultimately catastrophic..t

if we don’t set people free (to be alive/awake/themselves) first

is it real/human or not.. is it a simulation/image/mixture..

[slide: outing ai]

i think going forward.. many of the moments of such anxiety will come from people trying to figure out if the thing they’re interacting w is a human or pretending to be human..t

we’ve been doing that for years.. ie: most people are other peopleblack science of people/whales.. we should be more concerned about that.. makes all data illegit

57 min – these everyday turing tests become increasingly part of our lives.. but like most turing tests.. it’s actually based on a false dichotomy.. .the other is never simply human or not.. but always a mixture and that’s always the way it’s been.. it’s also why for ie.. us military refuses to call drones unmanned vehicles.. because there is a pilot and in fact a whole support team that just happen to be 1000 miles away on the ground.. but together they are a tech that is both human and machine at once..  this is the base line.. not the exception

let’s go for ai as augmenting interconnectedness

3\ human exclusion zones (hez).. bringing automated factory logic into the city (because in the factory human and machine are kept separate) .. not a differentiation between city and country.. it’s all city.. just w diff stratifications.. of exclusion and inclusion


at the sprawling edge where food and energy come from.. backstage mega interiors look more like geo engineering in a petri dish than agriculture.. inside cities in driverless vehicles on what we used to call streets.. will be designed by liability (insurance).. and the liabilities of mingling humans and avs will probably prove too great


on larger scale.. involuntary parks (via fukushima.. chernobyl).. even larger scale.. setting half the earth’s surface aside for rewilding/repair

rewilding ness (george monbiot)

1:10 – actively absorbing the fact that we have always been post human is how to prevent earth from turning into mars

1:11 – the design vision is ultimately for a cosmopolitanism of a generalized reason that is not parochially western but literally/physically planetary in origin/scope and to compose and give it to emergence.. if so.. its native habitat is the mega city.. and that’s where we come in

a people experiment via cure ios city..  in the city.. as the day.. not yet tried


Benjamin H. Bratton (@bratton) tweeted at 3:10 PM on Fri, Feb 01, 2019:
Humans too often make the mistake of thinking that making things more “human” will them better. It’s gross self-flattery. Vulgar Humanism —especially its fundamentalist strains—was/is key driver of the cultures that brought you the ‘Anthropocene.’

hoping defining human diff esp with ‘human’.. because what world needs most is the energy of 7bn alive people.. alive people way diff than self flattering vulgar fundamentalist ness..


new normalfb share led to mark and constant‘s new babylon

then this:

@shannonmattern from a recent a talk I gave: “…. actual ‘communities’ always aren’t so great in the first place, esp. as idealized models of much larger social forms. Communities can lovely but also be petty, small, and normalizing. Autonomy’s struggles with anonymity are just as important.”

Original Tweet:

community lines/labels as violence – mark and constant‘s new babylon


from benjamin on climate

Benjamin H. Bratton (@bratton) tweeted at 8:59 AM on Sat, Sep 21, 2019:
Below are the “official” proposals linked from Climate Strike homepage. One assumes < 1% of attendees care what organizers think, but given that Thunberg spoke well to congress about need to ‘follow the science’ some fail that measure by a wide margin.

Benjamin H. Bratton (@bratton) tweeted at 9:16 AM on Sat, Sep 21, 2019:
No carbon price, no nuclear, no negative emissions technologies, no carbon capture, no economics, no scientific agriculture, no use of existing geological carbon chains, etc. Oh well, collapse it is.


chumbo (@chumboproduct) tweeted at 9:54 AM on Sun, Dec 22, 2019:
Benjamin Bratton: Evening Lecture – “There Never Was a Horizon…”

1 hr – june 2019

3 min – (reading from virilio) virilio’s modernity is logistical.. it doesn’t directly deal w war but with everything that makes it possible.. logistics is the prep for war.. modernity is a world emotion expressed in translations of strategic space into logistical time and back again.. it is a history of cities, trading circuits.. of a political landscape governed by competing techs of surveillance, mobilization, fortification, and their interdependent administrations.. it begins, for virilio, as an archeology of naval routes.. architectural themes become computational.. enable a modern govt based on abstracted calc based on omnidirectional spaces/surfaces.. for virilio.. they.. the accidents – invention of any new tech is also invention of new kind of accident – ie: car of car crash.. accident not so accidental after all

Paul Virilio (French: [viʁiljo]; 4 January 1932 – 10 September 2018) was a French cultural theorist, urbanist, and aesthetic philosopher. He is best known for his writings about technology as it has developed in relation to speed and power, with diverse references to architecture, the arts, the city and the military.

According to two geographers, Virilio was a “historian of warfare, technology and photography, a philosopher of architecture, military strategy and cinema, and a politically engaged provocative commentator on history, terrorism, mass media and human-machine relations.

 7 min – arrival of any political constitution is accompanied often by some corresponding foundational violence.. a constitutional violence.. and this is no less true of planetary scale computation and the jurisdictions emerging in its interfacial networks

9 min – ‘despite virilio’s obsession w tech.. he actually hates it w a passion’

10 min – possible relationship between political and tech.. politics always produced in/by tech.. so separation is a bit of a fiction.. what’s interesting is how the boundary of each is always put into question

12 min – before decision of exception is what is in/out of polity in first place (schmitian) – so political is not just exclusion of us/them.. human/animal.. but political/oikos etc.. buttresses never hold.. virilio always started w an understanding of this

14 min – politics in expression is war.. and/or tech is wars and politics after effects

topic: figure of the horizon..

15 min – virilio mentions the word horizon often.. in one way: allegory for natural order distorted by mediating techs of abstraction.. horizon is the victim..

16 min – argument we will make.. is that this de naturalization of the horizon is not a distorting of a natural order but rather the revealing that this apparent intuitive order was a synthetic condition.. that part of the accidents of the tech’s abstraction is a disenchantment of the natural order of the horizon.. that all horizons are false horizons in this regard..

17 min – even while anxieties about new techs are expressed often in accounts of its (potential) pernicious effects .. this unease may actually be rooted not in what new tech actually does but rather in what it reveals of what was there and true all along.. that we would rather not know ie: microscopes do not cause microbes.. but once we know they’re there we never see surfaces in the same way again.. and these unrequested de mystifications are disturbing.. esp when they in some way demote us from our place of presumed privilege/centrality or intuitive natural stability.. t

bratton new techs law

ie: the contemp art of anxiety is concerned perhaps about the disturbance of certain kinds of human shaped subjects more than others

18 min – the horizon is an illusion of our intuition.. an artifact of a particular perceptual position.. it feels like a grounding orientation and has been used as one.. but if it is .. that is because it is always vanishing..

19 min – the focus for virilio is not so much the political but rather the perceptual/temporal.. and it is this temporal order.. guaranteed by the spacial order of the grounded horizon is that which speed.. the real enemy in the virilian cosmology.. speed deranges/annihilates this spatial/temporal/natural order

but in this question about speed.. is this acceleration the view of someone standing still watching the world churn by so fast.. or of someone who is actually accelerating just to keep up or in relation to the perceived ground as it swings by

20 min – what scandalized virilio the most is this loss of the world intuitive corporeal (physical) appearances.. the world in its apparentness.. sky is not blue/up.. so a flatearth take.. but flatness not the only point.. the ordering of perception is managed/supervised ultimately by the conception of a proper arrangement of scales.. sometimes called proportion .. which is and aesthetic feat as much as a math one

21 min – 1977 – film  – powers of 10.. demo’d tunneling trip thru universe.. trip to 10^24 meters.. nested complexity..  scale variance required.. each regularly irregular.. film begins at strange place.. park in chicago.. suggested that nested scales could be anywhere – your hand – we are the measure.. the horizon is for him..

25 min – variance shifts.. cannot map easily.. emergents leap frog.. along inhuman rhythms/tempos that cannot be captured by sync zoom

27 min – powers of 10 is egocentric aspiring beyond that.. by making world into text by offering fixed narrative of scale

28 min – which brings me of course to carl schmit.. super problematic character as they say.. notions form schmidt we’ll make use of in relation to virilio is the notion of nomos – abstract logic by which world might be subdivided.. and the fundamental inscriptions made in the ground.. and geo political order that proceeds from this.. exclusive insides/outsides..

29 min – reading from schmit – are you keeping something out are you being kept in

30 min – particular model of nomos schmit recommends is one of primacy/ground.. land is subdivided.. not the sea/air.. but land.. order is a loop topology..

32 min – to shcmidt – importance of grounded subdivisions vs promiscuous open space of ocean is what was the fundamental tension.. land vs sea model.. grounded ness vs math abstraction.. so many echoes in way virilio deals w same question

33 min – where we find ourselves (i would suggest) is not so much once of a disappearance of borders but rather an exponential multiplication of lines.. segmentation upon segmentation.. simultaneous occupation by multiple competing nomic orders..  which produces also a multiplication of exceptions.. which now have become more normal than exceptional.. a normal strategy of building the gaps into the system in this way

35 min – loops give way to multiple totalities.. not one final..

36 min – the struggle of this.. of authentic land vs inauthentic sea.. ground vs abstraction.. et al..

42 min – ‘the floor is the surface that contains the entire .. house – the ground that contains life’

43 min – the logic of ground..

50 min – disability as relative – all dependent – umbilical chord et al

54 min – on running turing tests all day.. everyday.. and how things aren’t ever that binary – ie: human or not

56 min – on planetary ness


1\ planetary should not be perceived as an opposition to plurality.. esp as later term now grounded in the local et al  .. as look back.. binding.. universal history.. by the difficult coordination of a common planetary interior.. not that planetary scale computation brought the disappearance of the outside .. it helped reveal that there never was an outside to begin with

2\ (?) tech move out of realm of war into everyday life..

3\ tech not just distorting a natural order it is the revelation of underlying condition

4\ just as tech invention creates new kind of accident.. opposite equally true.. accident created new kind of tech..



Benjamin H. Bratton (@bratton) tweeted at 9:30 AM on Sat, Jan 25, 2020:
Excerpt from The Terraforming, Benjamin H. Bratton. Strelka Press

Its standard models are construed not only by available media technology, but also by arbitrating mythologies of where the power of decision should properly sit, divine or secular, human or not.

what if human being ness is not about decision ness.. (ie: more about curiosity over decision making).. perhaps we need to let go of the finite set of choices of decision ness.. no matter how free and ginormous/small we think we are letting those choices be.. perhaps we no longer need to just approach the limit of infinity.. perhaps we let go enough to just swim in it (infinity/uncertainty/entropy/et-al)




via michel fb share (via brent cooper) – 18 lessons from quarantine – from april 2020:

what are realistic alternatives that forgo large-scale mobilization and enforcement? Is it even possible that fundamental shifts to our climate crisis are defended only through deliberative consensus? Even if so, how would it do so without subsequent enforcement at the same scale as the problem?

gershenfeld something else law as alt to enforcement

The global contagion and the varied responses by different societies have exposed ideologies and traditions as ineffective, fraudulent, and suicidal. What is required is less a new narrative or a new art than acceptance of how the rapid intrusion of an indifferent reality can make symbolic resistance futile..t

both ways.. ie: also realization we can reset/leap

humanity needs a leap/reset.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity ..  simultaneous fittingness.. everyone in sync..

The pre-existing conditions now exposed clarify the need for a geopolitics based not on self-undermining prisoner’s dilemma tactics in the face of common risks, but on a deliberate plan for the coordination of the planet we occupy and make and re-make over again. .. t.. Otherwise, this moment really will be a permanent emergency.

ie: cure ios city

imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people


Open Call for contributions
Original Tweet:

possible futures are not simply a symmetrical inversion of the status quo.

we need something legit different.. ie: cure ios city

imagine if we

The question emerges then, not only what that universal infrastructure would be, but also who or what might provide it: state, post-state, private, post-private institutions, etc.

ie: 2 conversations .. as infra

Are these hemispherical stacks the basis of what comes next or the odd exhaustion of what came before?

same song ness

For general sapience to find its way, it must be able to govern its own functions. For governance to function, it must be planetary and for it to be planetary it must be immanent in whatever constitutes the planet.

huge statement.. even though he may not be saying what i’m thinking when i read it.. ie: undisturbed ecosystem only works if it’s all of us.. org’d around something already in all of us.. that deep