Google, ubicomp & the sacred numisphere

Wayne pointed out this video on Google [a sci-fi scenario not utterly unlikely entitled EPIC -- wherein each user generates auto-aggregating newsfeeds so the entire world receives personalised -- and ultimately purely fictional -- "news" -- ] . Abe got in on the action in private email convo & spatted this, iterating some of his concerns in which Google becomes a uber-corp, a capitalist infrastructure on steriods.

I mentioned Anne's retrieval from the archives of this critique by Agustin A. Araya of UbiComp & I wrote: "Interesting for me isn't really the corporate angle, but the pervasive thought-pattern (I hesitate to call 'ideology') that everyone-making-their-own-media = good. This is already everywhere."

Wayne isn't sure about this -- after all this is what he does, he points out. And this here -- me recounting our linkages -- is what we have done, yes ?

What the sci-fi of EPIC draws attention to that bears the most consideration, in my mind, is not Google's impending capitalist control as a corporation structured on the infosphere. Rather it is the consequences of not its ability to bend reality but to develop the systems wherein the individual is able to thwart reality by subsuming it to consumer desire.

News as an item of purchase, tailored for immediate gratification, already exists: it's called television.

Yet print has always been characterized as the balance; thus the work of critics in deconstructing the truth of the text & position of the author, for example. What EPIC makes clear though is the losing battle the truth of print might be fighting in a way in which post-structural theories of author-death never intended: the complete vortex of mutual structures of communicability through the overproduction of information isolation. Tailored nothingness. Individualised nihilism. The ethic is almost medieaval: with all information pre-chartered for your desires (from algorithms, say, currently in place on Amazon), I never have to choose (or think) again.

Just like the ol' problem of free choice under an all-seeing God: how to choose when the great programmer has it all predetermined? Which OS determined the moment of your birth? What is your expiry date? And how & when are personalities decided as stereotypical patterns ? (Well, biotech genetic engineering, of course -- before we begin, one began.) All chance for potential rupture is removed (or re-encoded, as Debord predicted in terms of the Spectacle's capacities for re-appropriation).

The proliferation of multiple narratives in quantity has little to do with their accuracy, nor their quality. A million TV channels has not brought democracy to the United States, nor has the blogosphere upset the balance of autotheocratic power, etc. At the same time, on the same channel, the remaining potential for rupture & change is only through the very multiplication of tactics these tools enable. Yet with each multiplication comes the division of perspectives (a continuous cornering, boxing, impossibility of generating links due to overload of tangents). The theses drive Baudrillard, Virilio, & Hardt and Negri -- but aptly are to be traced to Heidegger & Nietzsche : tekhne is that which enframes and yet is the key to poesis -- in its clutches (and not a retreat through some throwback time-machine Luddism) is the only prospect of the future, a-venir, becoming -- through impossibility, potential .

In Peter Lamborn Wilson's response to the (original) Tactical Media Manifesto, he writes of Capital as a "Strange Attractor of the numisphere, where the numinous and the numismatic are one and eternal" (142).

This obscure & provocative statement might be considered somewhat of a key to thinking the digital as an epochal tag for programmatic thinking, the division of organic processes (forces, momentums) into complex numericals (binaries). It's not quite equivalent to the way in which Derrida articulates (after Heidegger) the "epoch of metaphysics" -- but perhaps it swipes a close tie to Bergson's division between the construction of space as a byproduct of temporality (to serve various purposes of utility, efficiency, etc.). That is, of the quantifiable as distinct from, yet derivative of, the qualitative (a distinction that is constantly re-addressed in Deleuze & deconstructed in Derrida -- the latter in relation to Hegel's limited & general economies for instance).

That is, the overdetermining principle of the numisphere has now defined the construction of quality: we believe, much to our smug assurance, that more blogs, more "information," more of self-production of endless "interpretation," more words, is constructive of a space (hence UbiComp: the penultimate embedding of numerical infrastructures in surrounding space). Science is the opening paradigm: measurement & number are the truth of (the) matter. The temporality for pause, delay, deferral, aporia, the temporality of quality, the temporality not in numerosity but intensity of the multiplicity, are trounced from the paradigm of UbiComp and the assumed good of the proliferation of opinion. It is not about time but about the time & time again.

The blade fell a million times during the French Revolution : over again & again, death was dealt with the swift cut of the blade, and the blood was clotted with the millions more pamphlets that littered the streets.

[ a sustained piece entitled "Reconstruction & Rhythm Science" to be published forthcoming (hopefully this summer 2005) in monthly installments at EBR will (briefly) address this digital tendency -- it forms the core of the dissertation under construction -- tV]

Cites --

Wilson, Peter Lamborn. "Response to The Tactical Media Manifesto" (1997) in Anarchitexts: Voices From the Global Digital Resistance, Ed. Joanne Richardson. Brooklyn: Autonomedia, 2003.

posted. Mon - May 23, 2005 @ 03:29 PM           |