On #Accelerate (#2a)

Assume — at least provisionally — that Accelerationism is serious. While abstracted from physics, the concept of acceleration is not reduced to mere rhetoric (or metaphor), even if it is no longer applied to changes in the velocity of objects in space. It refers strictly to change of the first derivative (or higher) in a measurable quantity across time, formally compliant with the differential calculus. The rate of acceleration — or system performance — can be estimated in principle, even if practical considerations complicate this task. In other words, the object of accelerationist attention (and promotion) has demonstrable reality.

The intellectual history of industrial capitalism advances two streams of (quantitative) information, both of great apparent relevance. On its technical side, it produces an apparatus of rigorous measurement directed to the behavior of complex physical systems, or machines — temperature differences, free energy, thermodynamic efficiency, entropy dissipation, complexity, information, and (emergently) intelligence. On its commercial side it establishes institutions of accountancy and econometrics, denominated in currency units, and applied to economic production, income, taxes, trade flows, credit, asset values, and increasingly exotic financial instruments. While an argument could be made that the confluence of these two streams is implicit within — and even essential to — the nature (or culture) of capitalism, with intelligence-price discovery as its immanent epistemological directive, no such results are readily or publicly available. There might even be reasons for suspecting that the raw question how much is intelligence worth? cannot be overtly articulated within any imaginable social order. It is, in any case, a distraction at this stage.

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