Quotable (#69)

Benjamin Bratton (in conversation with Mike Pepi and Marvin Jordan):

I think the most common abuses of the concept “the digital” are those that start from an idea that computation and algorithmic reason are recent inventions and that their geologic profile amounts to spreading some artificial glassy film over the surfaces of analog nature. This is the basis of a still persistent ‘virtual is to physical as digital is to analog’ misconception. I would argue that humans discovered “computation” more than we invented it, and have as yet built only weak little appliances for harnessing it. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is no single definition of “the digital” that would untangle the popular confusion of computation-as-such with today’s computing technologies or computing culture.

BB’s final words (on this occasion) are also especially noteworthy:

The short answer is that art’s capacity to materialize abstraction (and literature’s, and cinema’s) should make it a core and indispensable sub-discipline of Geoengineering, which should itself be a core sub-discipline of Geopolitical Philosophy, which should itself be a core sub-discipline of a combined Synthetic Astrobiology and Computer Science.

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