Digitisation is a political act (rough)

Getting into a discussion about how to avoid the lazy polarities of language when thinking about technology:

“Digital/Analogue” no no no

“Virtual/Real” Bleurgh

“Synthetic/Organic” :s

All of these binaries are useless for any practical and truthful understanding of technology. Not only do they fail to create a mental model that can help us think about how technology exists as a concept of interaction, they are also polarities that are propagated by people who intend to use them to benefit from our fears. If technology is understood as a force outside of our perceived body, then it can be feared as invasive to that body. With fear comes mitigation in the form of forced representation, a helpful soul in the form of a company or individual practiced in the art of speaking to that technology. A form of extortion or a protection racket.

This, in turn, leads to control over development. Companies clear the agenda of individuals and small groups to develop the products they deem worthy; of value to them). Private technological ownership, as with all forms of ownership, is about failure and education within direct means. The end user finds their own use through trial and error, often at the frustration of the developed user, who seeks to benefit financially, but also may want to just develop new ideas (i.e. the progressive: the progress of wealth and/or the progress of technology). It becomes important that the end user – the low unit of disfunctionality constituting a celebrated idea of existence; idiots like your or me – is discouraged from defining the technology from their own sensations of desire or need. This process of mystification started a long time ago and has crippled dialogue for most people.

Analyse the flaws in living under a bridge, storing chickens in your car, or using your desktop as a soup warmer. There are flaws, but their relationship with litigation is overweighted within them. More relevantly here, is why technology should exist as a polar opposite to the lived experience. What currently happens in virtual reality happens in reality. More specifically, the misnamed virtual experience, renegotiates reality using the same stimulus and receptors as reality. This is not mind-blowing in any way, and follows any theory of epistemology, but it is amazing how much of this we forget within contemporary cultural experiences. As technologies increase their association with the physicality of existence, we will need a better language to understand the experience, one that doesn’t rely on prefixes and suffixes. It will be the language we have already, our temporal and spiritual navigation of knowledge.

Digitisation is a political act

When we digitise something, it is tempting to think of it as a process of taking an object from one realm into another. We could basically say that we took a set of agreed parameters from that object (colour, size, weight, texture) and translated them into data a system can use to create a function. But the key part of that process is the agreement. This is the political decisions made that dictate the form and context of those parameters. They are fed from the developer of the function, and all parts of the process are within one flow of language.

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