Bibliography on Planetary Computation
(needs further editing)
* The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty. Benjamin H. Bratton. MIT Press
"In The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, Benjamin H. Bratton proposes that 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. 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."
* A Portable Cosmos. Alexander Jones. Oxford University Press
"Jones, professor of the history of exact sciences in antiquity at NYU, exhaustively analyzes the famed Antikythera mechanism, a mysterious bronze astronomical device of ancient Greek origins that many modern commentators thought exceeded the technological capabilities of its time. After recounting how it was found in 1901, Jones discusses the investigations and initial theories about the mechanism’s nature and origins. With this foundation set, he delves into its historical context, addressing culture, religion, astronomy, technology, and more. These chapters, which make up the book’s bulk, provide a surprisingly vivid picture of Mediterranean and Mesopotamian cultures at the time of the mechanism’s likely creation, around 200 B.C.E., and dispel the myth that the mechanism was somehow ahead of its time by explaining the apparent reasons for its multiple functions, which include a zodiac scale, an Egyptian calendar scale, a Moon phase display, and means to track planetary motion. Moreover, Jones includes painstaking technical descriptions and diagrams of the materials, construction, and probable inner workings of the mechanism, making clear that the scientific knowledge and craftsmanship of the day was sufficient for its design and manufacture. Though Jones’s dense and straightforward prose makes this closer to a textbook than a popular science book, his comprehensive look at the Antikythera mechanism and its context will suit readers interested in the mechanism or the history of science in general."
* Zeros and Ones. Sadie Plant. 4th Estate
"A highly contentious, very readable and totally up-to-the-minute investigation of women's natural relationship with modern technology, an association which, Plant argues, will trigger a new sexual revolution. Zeros and Ones is an intelligent, provocative and accessible investigation of the intersection between women, feminism, machines and in particular, information technology. Arguing that the computer is rewriting the old conceptions of man and his world, it suggests that the telecoms revolution is also a sexual revolution which undermines the fundamental assumptions crucial to patriarchal culture. Historical, contemporary and future developments in telecommunications and in IT are interwoven with the past, present and future of feminism, women and sexual difference, and a wealth of connections, parallels and affinities between machines and women are uncovered as a result. Challenging the belief that man was ever in control of either his own agency, the planet, or his machines, this book argues it is seriously undermined by the new scientific paradigms emergent from theories of chaos, complexity and connectionism, all of which suggest that the old distinctions between man, woman, nature and technology need to be radically reassessed."
* Intelligence and Spirit. Reza Negarestani. MIT Press
"A critique of both classical humanism and dominant trends in posthumanism that formulates the ultimate form of intelligence as a theoretical and practical thought unfettered by the temporal order of things. In Intelligence and Spirit Reza Negarestani formulates the ultimate form of intelligence as a theoretical and practical thought unfettered by the temporal order of things, a real movement capable of overcoming any state of affairs that, from the perspective of the present, may appear to be the complete totality of history. Intelligence pierces through what seems to be the totality or the inevitable outcome of its history, be it the manifest portrait of the human or technocapitalism as the alleged pilot of history. Building on Hegel's account of Geist as a multiagent conception of mind and on Kant's transcendental psychology as a functional analysis of the conditions of possibility of mind, Negarestani provides a critique of both classical humanism and dominant trends in posthumanism. The assumptions of the former are exposed by way of a critique of the transcendental structure of experience as a tissue of subjective or psychological dogmas; the claims of the latter regarding the ubiquity of mind or the inevitable advent of an unconstrained superintelligence are challenged as no more than ideological fixations which do not stand the test of systematic scrutiny. This remarkable fusion of continental philosophy in the form of a renewal of the speculative ambitions of German Idealism and analytic philosophy in the form of extended thought-experiments and a philosophy of artificial languages opens up new perspectives on the meaning of human intelligence and explores the real potential of posthuman intelligence and what it means for us to live in its prehistory."
* Intelligence and Wisdom. Bing Song. Springer
"This book centers on rethinking foundational values in the era of frontier technologies by tapping into the wisdom of Chinese philosophical traditions. It tries to answer the following questions: How is the essence underpinning humans, nature, and machines changing in this age of frontier technologies? What is the appropriate ethical framework for regulating human–machine relationships? What human values should be embedded in or learnt by AI? Some interesting points emerged from the discussions. For example, the three dominant schools of Chinese thinking–Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism– invariably reflect non-anthropocentric perspectives and none of them places humanity in a supreme position in the universe. While many Chinese philosophers are not convinced by the prospect of machine intelligence exceeding that of humans, the strong influence of non-anthropocentrism in the Chinese thinking contributed to much less panic in China than in the West about the existential risks of AI. The thinking is that as human beings have always lived with other forms of existence, living with programs or other forms of “beings,” which may become more capable than humans, will not inevitably lead to a dystopia. Second, all three schools emphasize self-restraint, constant introspection, and the pursuit of sage-hood or enlightenment. These views therefore see the potential risks posed by frontier technologies as an opportunity for the humanity to engage in introspection on the lessons learned from our social and political history. It is long overdue that humanity shall rethink its foundational values to take into account a multi-being planetary outlook. This book consists of nine leading Chinese philosophers’ reflections on AI’s impact on human nature and the human society. This is a groundbreaking work, which has pioneered the in-depth intellectual exploration involving traditional Chinese philosophy and frontier technologies and has inspired multidisciplinary and across area studies on AI, philosophy, and ethical implications."
* Deep Learning for the Earth Sciences. Gustau Camps-Valls et al. Wiley
"Deep learning is a fundamental technique in modern Artificial Intelligence and is being applied to disciplines across the scientific spectrum; earth science is no exception. Yet, the link between deep learning and Earth sciences has only recently entered academic curricula and thus has not yet proliferated. Deep Learning for the Earth Sciences delivers a unique perspective and treatment of the concepts, skills, and practices necessary to quickly become familiar with the application of deep learning techniques to the Earth sciences. The book prepares readers to be ready to use the technologies and principles described in their own research."
* A Tenth of a Second. Jimena Canales. University of Chicago Press
"In the late fifteenth century, clocks acquired minute hands. A century later, second hands appeared. But it wasn’t until the 1850s that instruments could recognize a tenth of a second, and, once they did, the impact on modern science and society was profound. Revealing the history behind this infinitesimal interval, A Tenth of a Second sheds new light on modernity and illuminates the work of important thinkers of the last two centuries. Tracing debates about the nature of time, causality, and free will, as well as the introduction of modern technologies—telegraphy, photography, cinematography—Jimena Canales locates the reverberations of this “perceptual moment” throughout culture. Once scientists associated the tenth of a second with the speed of thought, they developed reaction time experiments with lasting implications for experimental psychology, physiology, and optics. Astronomers and physicists struggled to control the profound consequences of results that were a tenth of a second off. And references to the interval were part of a general inquiry into time, consciousness, and sensory experience that involved rethinking the contributions of Descartes and Kant."
* Logiciel. AA Cavia. &&&
Originating in a series of seminars held at The New Centre for Research & Practice, the book traces developments in cognitive neuroscience, philosophy of mind, logic, mathematics, and computer science, outlining a novel model of computation rooted in topology. Grounded in a spatial theory of types, the topological view marks a departure from received notions of continuity and computability, ushering in a perspectival shift with broad implications. Calling for a reappraisal of Turing orthodoxy—the image of a Universal Machine guided by axiomatic rules—AA Cavia proposes an inferential view of logic enacted by self-supervised agents. In a challenge to the classical account of automata, computation is cast as a theory that emerges from a diagnosis of contingency, leading to new positions on autonomy and automation, interaction and language, realizability and truth. This multidisciplinary text addresses many contemporary debates central to the philosophy of computation, from the simulation hypothesis to singularity, universal learning to the multiple realizability of mind, offering a radically open-ended view of the epistemological limits of AI. In treating computational reason as a distinct form of explanation, a catalytic agent bootstrapping its own logos, the author contributes key insights to a nascent philosophy of intelligence.
* The Climate of History in a Planetary Age. Dipesh Chakrabarty. University of Chicago Press
"For the past decade, historian Dipesh Chakrabarty has been one of the most influential scholars addressing the meaning of climate change. Climate change, he argues, upends long-standing ideas of history, modernity, and globalization. The burden of The Climate of History in a Planetary Age is to grapple with what this means and to confront humanities scholars with ideas they have been reluctant to reconsider—from the changed nature of human agency to a new acceptance of universals. Chakrabarty argues that we must see ourselves from two perspectives at once: the planetary and the global. This distinction is central to Chakrabarty’s work — the globe is a human-centric construction, while a planetary perspective intentionally decenters the human. Featuring wide-ranging excursions into historical and philosophical literatures, The Climate of History in a Planetary Age boldly considers how to frame the human condition in troubled times. As we open ourselves to the implications of the Anthropocene, few writers are as likely as Chakrabarty to shape our understanding of the best way forward."
* Materialist Phenomenology. Manuel Delanda. Bloomsbury
"Bringing together phenomenology and materialism, two perspectives seemingly at odds with each other, leading international theorist, Manuel DeLanda, has created an entirely new theory of visual perception. Engaging the scientific (biology, ecological psychology, neuroscience and robotics), the philosophical (idea of 'the embodied mind') and the mathematical (dynamic systems theory) to form a synthesis of how to see in the 21st century. A transdisciplinary and rigorous analysis of how vision shapes what matters."
* A Vast Machine. Paul N. Edwards. MIT Press,
"Global warming skeptics often fall back on the argument that the scientific case for global warming is all model predictions, nothing but simulation; they warn us that we need to wait for real data, “sound science.” In A Vast Machine, Paul Edwards has news for these skeptics: without models, there are no data. Today, no collection of signals or observations—even from satellites, which can “see” the whole planet with a single instrument—becomes global in time and space without passing through a series of data models. Everything we know about the world's climate we know through models. Edwards offers an engaging and innovative history of how scientists learned to understand the atmosphere—to measure it, trace its past, and model its future."
* Contingent Computation. Beatrice Fazi. Rowman & Littlefield,
"In Contingent Computation , M. Beatrice Fazi offers a new theoretical perspective through which we can engage philosophically with computing. The book proves that aesthetics is a viable mode of investigating contemporary computational systems. It does so by advancing an original conception of computational aesthetics that does not just concern art made by or with computers, but rather the modes of being and becoming of computational processes. Contingent Computation mobilises the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Alfred North Whitehead in order to address aesthetics as an ontological study of the generative potential of reality. Through a novel philosophical reading of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems and of Turing’s notion of incomputability, Fazi finds this potential at the formal heart of computational systems, and argues that computation is a process of determining indeterminacy. This indeterminacy, which is central to computational systems, does not contradict their functionality. Instead, it drives their very operation, albeit in a manner that might not always fit with the instrumental, representational and cognitivist purposes that we have assigned to computing."
* The Edge of All We Know. Peter Galison. Collapsar,
"What can black holes teach us about the boundaries of knowledge? These holes in spacetime are the darkest objects and the brightest—the simplest and the most complex. With unprecedented access, Black Holes | The Edge of All We Know follows two powerhouse collaborations. Stephen Hawking anchors one, striving to show that black holes do not annihilate the past. Another group, working in the world’s highest altitude observatories, creates an earth-sized telescope to capture the first-ever image of a black hole. Interwoven with other dimensions of exploring black holes, these stories bring us to the pinnacle of humanity’s quest to understand the universe."
* Code: From Information Theory to French Theory. Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan. Duke University Press,
"In Code Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan reconstructs how Progressive Era technocracy as well as crises of industrial democracy and colonialism shaped early accounts of cybernetics and digital media by theorists including Norbert Wiener, Warren Weaver, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roman Jakobson, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes, and Luce Irigaray. His analysis casts light on how media-practical research forged common epistemic cause in programs that stretched from 1930s interwar computing at MIT and eugenics to the proliferation of seminars and laboratories in 1960s Paris. This mobilization ushered forth new fields of study such as structural anthropology, family therapy, and literary semiology while forming enduring intellectual affinities between the humanities and informatics. With Code , Geoghegan offers a new history of French theory and the digital humanities as transcontinental and political endeavors linking interwar colonial ethnography in Dutch Bali to French sciences in the throes of Cold War-era decolonization and modernization."
* Signals and Boundaries. John H. Holland. MIT Press,
"Complex adaptive systems (cas), including ecosystems, governments, biological cells, and markets, are characterized by intricate hierarchical arrangements of boundaries and signals. In ecosystems, for example, niches act as semi-permeable boundaries, and smells and visual patterns serve as signals; governments have departmental hierarchies with memoranda acting as signals; and so it is with other cas. Despite a wealth of data and descriptions concerning different cas, there remain many unanswered questions about "steering" these systems. In Signals and Boundaries, John Holland argues that understanding the origin of the intricate signal/border hierarchies of these systems is the key to answering such questions. He develops an overarching framework for comparing and steering cas through the mechanisms that generate their signal/boundary hierarchies. Holland lays out a path for developing the framework that emphasizes agents, niches, theory, and mathematical models. He discusses, among other topics, theory construction; signal-processing agents; networks as representations of signal/boundary interaction; adaptation; recombination and reproduction; the use of tagged urn models (adapted from elementary probability theory) to represent boundary hierarchies; finitely generated systems as a way to tie the models examined into a single framework; the framework itself, illustrated by a simple finitely generated version of the development of a multi-celled organism; and Markov processes."
* Sign, Image, Symbol. Gyorgy Kepes. Open Library,
"Between 1965 and 1966, New York book publisher George Braziller published a six volume series under the title Vision + Value. The aim of the series, “…to stimulate the circulation of ideas, to find channels of communication that interconnect various disciplines and offer us a sense of structure in our 20th century world,” encouraged interdisciplinary cooperation and sought to bring together the day’s foremost artists, scientists and scholars. Each volume centred on a broad basic theme with the series itself speaking to the fundamental role of vision for human insight and expression. This volume centers on the use of sign, image and symbol in art and advertising."
* Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds. Ulrich Krohs et al. MIT Press,
"The notion of function is an integral part of thinking in both biology and technology; biological organisms and technical artifacts are both ascribed functionality. Yet the concept of function is notoriously obscure (with problematic issues regarding the normative and the descriptive nature of functions, for example) and demands philosophical clarification. So too the relationship between biological organisms and technical artifacts: although entities of one kind are often described in terms of the other—as in the machine analogy for biological organism or the evolutionary account of technological development—the parallels between the two break down at certain points. This volume takes on both issues and examines the relationship between organisms and artifacts from the perspective of functionality. Believing that the concept of function is the root of an accurate understanding of biological organisms, technical artifacts, and the relation between the two, the contributors take an integrative approach, offering philosophical analyses that embrace both biological and technical fields of function ascription. They aim at a better understanding not only of the concept of function but also of the similarities and differences between organisms and artifacts as they relate to functionality. Their ontological, epistemological, and phenomenological comparisons will clarify problems that are central to the philosophies of both biology and technology."
* Abductive Cognition. Lorenzo Magnani. Academia.edu,
"This volume explores abductive cognition, an important but, at least until the third quarter of the last century, neglected topic in cognition. The book aims at increasing knowledge about creative and expert inferences. The study of these high-levelmethods of abductive reasoning is situated at the crossroads of philosophy, logic, epistemology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, animal cognition and evolutionary theories; that is, at the heart of cognitive science. Philosophers of science in the twentieth century have traditionally distinguished between the inferential processes active in the logic of discovery and the ones active in the logic of justification. Most have concluded that no logic of creative processes exists and, moreover, that a rational model of discovery is impossible. In short, scientific creative inferences are irrational and there is no “reasoning” to hypotheses. On the other hand, some research in the area of artificial intelligence has shown that methods for discovery could be found that are computationally adequate for rediscovering – or discovering for the first time – empirical or theoretical laws and theorems."
* An Epistemology of Noise. Cecile Malaspina. Bloomsbury,
"What do we understand 'noise' to be? The term 'noise' no longer suggests only aesthetic judgement, as in acoustic or visual noise, and is now relevant to domains as varied as communication theory, physics and biology. This trans-disciplinary usage leads to confusion and complication, and reveals that the question of noise is a properly philosophical problem. Presenting an analysis of the rising interest in the notion of noise, this book investigates if there can be a coherent understanding of what it is, that can be effectively shared among the natural and human sciences, technology and the arts. Drawing the philosophical consequences of noise for the theory of knowledge, Malaspina undertakes a philosophical revaluation of Shannon and Weaver's theory of 'information entropy'; this forms the basis upon which to challenge the common idea that noise can be reduced to notions of error, disorder or disorganization. The wider consequences of this analysis relate the technological and scientific aspect of noise, with its cultural and psycho-social aspects. At the heart of Malaspina's argument is the contestation of the ground upon which we judge and distinguish noise from information and finally the exploration of its emancipatory potential."
* AI & Society. James Manyika et al. American Academy of Arts and Sciences,
"AI is transforming our relationships with technology and with others, our senses of self, as well as our approaches to health care, banking, democracy, and the courts. But while AI in its many forms has become ubiquitous and its benefits to society and the individual have grown, its impacts are varied. Concerns about its unintended effects and misuses have become paramount in conversations about the successful integration of AI in society. This volume explores the many facets of artificial intelligence: its technology, its potential futures, its effects on labor and the economy, its relationship with inequalities, its role in law and governance, its challenges to national security, and what it says about us as humans."
* Lumen Naturae. Mathilde Marcoli. MIT Press,
"This is a book about art—and a book about mathematics and physics. In Lumen Naturae (the title refers to a purely immanent, non-supernatural form of enlightenment), mathematical physicist Matilde Marcolli explores common themes in modern art and modern science—the concept of space, the notion of randomness, the shape of the cosmos, and other puzzles of the universe—while mapping convergences with the work of such artists as Paul Cezanne, Mark Rothko, Sol LeWitt, and Lee Krasner. Her account, focusing on questions she has investigated in her own scientific work, is illustrated by more than two hundred color images of artworks by modern and contemporary artists. Thus Marcolli finds in still life paintings broad and deep philosophical reflections on space and time, and connects notions of space in mathematics to works by Paul Klee, Salvador Dalí, and others. She considers the relation of entropy and art and how notions of entropy have been expressed by such artists as Hans Arp and Fernand Léger; and traces the evolution of randomness as a mode of artistic expression. She analyzes the relation between graphical illustration and scientific text, and offers her own watercolor-decorated mathematical notebooks. Throughout, she balances discussions of science with explorations of art, using one to inform the other. (She employs some formal notation, which can easily be skipped by general readers.) Marcolli is not simply explaining art to scientists and science to artists; she charts unexpected interdependencies that illuminate the universe."
* Reconstructing Reality. Margaret Morrison. Oxford University Press,
"Attempts to understand various aspects of the empirical world often rely on modelling processes that involve a reconstruction of systems under investigation. Typically the reconstruction uses mathematical frameworks like gauge theory and renormalization group methods, but more recently simulations also have become an indispensable tool for investigation. This book is a philosophical examination of techniques and assumptions related to modelling and simulation with the goal of showing how these abstract descriptions can contribute to our understanding of the physical world. Particular issues include the role of fictional models in science, how mathematical formalisms can yield physical information, and how we should approach the use of inconsistent models for specific types of systems. It also addresses the role of simulation, specifically the conditions under which simulation can be seen as a technique for measurement, replacing more traditional experimental approaches. Inherent worries about the legitimacy of simulation "knowledge" are also addressed, including an analysis of verification and validation and the role of simulation data in the search for the Higgs boson. In light of the significant role played by simulation in the Large Hadron Collider experiments, it is argued that the traditional distinction between simulation and experiment is no longer applicable in some contexts of modern science. Consequently, a re-evaluation of the way and extent to which simulation delivers empirical knowledge is required."
* The Restless Clock. Jessica Riskin. University of Chicago Press,
"Today, a scientific explanation is not meant to ascribe agency to natural phenomena: we would not say a rock falls because it seeks the center of the earth. Even for living things, in the natural sciences and often in the social sciences, the same is true. A modern botanist would not say that plants pursue sunlight. This has not always been the case, nor, perhaps, was it inevitable. Since the seventeenth century, many thinkers have made agency, in various forms, central to science.The Restless Clock examines the history of this principle, banning agency, in the life sciences. It also tells the story of dissenters embracing the opposite idea: that agency is essential to nature. The story begins with the automata of early modern Europe, as models for the new science of living things, and traces questions of science and agency through Descartes, Leibniz, Lamarck, and Darwin, among many others. Mechanist science, Jessica Riskin shows, had an associated theology: the argument from design, which found evidence for a designer in the mechanisms of nature. Rejecting such appeals to a supernatural God, the dissenters sought to naturalize agency rather than outsourcing it to a “divine engineer.” Their model cast living things not as passive but as active, self-making machines.The conflict between passive- and active-mechanist approaches maintains a subterranean life in current science, shaping debates in fields such as evolutionary biology, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence. This history promises not only to inform such debates, but also our sense of the possibilities for what it means to engage in science—and even what it means to be alive."
* The Horizons of Evolutionary Robotics. Patricia A. Vargas et al. MIT Press,
"Evolutionary robotics (ER) aims to apply evolutionary computation techniques to the design of both real and simulated autonomous robots. The Horizons of Evolutionary Robotics offers an authoritative overview of this rapidly developing field, presenting state-of-the-art research by leading scholars. The result is a lively, expansive survey that will be of interest to computer scientists, robotics engineers, neuroscientists, and philosophers. The contributors discuss incorporating principles from neuroscience into ER; dynamical analysis of evolved agents; constructing appropriate evolutionary pathways; spatial cognition; the coevolution of robot brains and bodies; group behavior; the evolution of communication; translating evolved behavior into design principles; the development of an evolutionary robotics–based methodology for shedding light on neural processes; an incremental approach to complex tasks; and the notion of “mindless intelligence”—complex processes from immune systems to social networks—as a way forward for artificial intelligence."
* Intelligence as a Planetary Scale Process. Adam Frank, David Grinspoon, and Sara Walker. Cambridge University Press,
"Conventionally, intelligence is seen as a property of individuals. However, it is also known to be a property of collectives. Here, we broaden the idea of intelligence as a collective property and extend it to the planetary scale. We consider the ways in which the appearance of technological intelligence may represent a kind of planetary scale transition, and thus might be seen not as something which happens on a planet but to a planet, much as some models propose the origin of life itself was a planetary phenomenon. Our approach follows the recognition among researchers that the correct scale to understand key aspects of life and its evolution is planetary, as opposed to the more traditional focus on individual species. We explore ways in which the concept may prove useful for three distinct domains: Earth Systems and Exoplanet studies; Anthropocene and Sustainability studies; and the study of Technosignatures and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). We argue that explorations of planetary intelligence, defined as the acquisition and application of collective knowledge operating at a planetary scale and integrated into the function of coupled planetary systems, can prove a useful framework for understanding possible paths of the long-term evolution of inhabited planets including future trajectories for life on Earth and predicting features of intelligentially steered planetary evolution on other worlds."
* Machine Decision Is Not Final. Benjamin H. Bratton, Anna Greenspan, and Bogna Konior. MIT Press,
"Today, visions of the contested future of AI veer between common planetary goals and a new Cold War, as culturally-specific models of intelligence, speculative traditions, and thought experiments come up against the emergence of novel forms of cognition that cannot be reduced to any historical cultural tradition. This uniquely positioned volume provides expert insight into this tension, using China as a touchstone for rethinking "artificiality" and "intelligence" as sites of difference in a way that is already present in the difficulty of precisely translating the Chinese term 人工智能. Tracking the history of Chinese AI from the pre-Cultural Revolution to the post-Deng Xiaoping eras right up to contemporary debates surrounding facial recognition, the writers in this collection draw on a mixture of speculative thought experiments and cutting-edge use cases to offer singular views on topics including AI and Chinese philosophy, AI ethics and policymaking, the development of computational models in early Chinese cybernetics, and the aesthetics of Sinofuturism. Spanning borders between different worlds, histories, futures, and foundational models, Machine Decision is Not Final is not only a timely reappraisal of the stakes of AI development, but a tool for constructing more global imaginaries for the future of AI."
* Vertical Atlas. Klaas Kuitenbrouwer et al. ArtEZ Press,
"Vertical Atlas brings together the insights of a diverse group of internationally renowned artists, scientists and technologists from different backgrounds and places. From an investigation into the lithium mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo to maps of the fiber-optic submarine cables in the Atlantic and the ride-hailing platforms of China. Vertical Atlas is not a classic atlas that depicts the world in a uniform manner and it is not a simple collection of traditional maps. This book is a tool that enables comparisons, connections and contradictions between different and diverse visions, realities and worlds – through newly commissioned diagrams, interviews, essays and works of art by leading experts from around the world."
* A Summer Beyond Your Reach. Xia Jia. Wyrm Publishing,
"This thought-provoking collection of 14 sci-fi shorts from Jia raises fascinating what-ifs while presenting snapshots of a futuristic China juxtaposed with its deeply embedded cultural heritage. In “Six Views of a Spring Festival,” translated by Ken Liu, the age-old tradition of arranged marriages is paired with technological advances that offer mini digital copies of candidates who simulate dates, family meetings, weddings, honeymoons, and even pregnancies to test-drive compatibility. “A Time Beyond Your Reach,” translated by Carmen Yiling Ya, shows how two very different lifestyles can connect by using time-warp technology. The necessity of love is questioned in “Duet of Love,” translated by Rebecca Kuang, in which scientists have found the mechanisms to switch on and off this neurobiological function. And human-interfaced robotics offer ways to care for the elderly and allow their continued contribution to society in “Tongtong’s Summer,” translated by Liu. Jia infuses these slice-of-life tales with much for readers to ponder. Science fiction fans with an appreciation of Chinese culture should snap this up."
* When We Cease to Understand the World. Benjamín Labatut. Pushkin Press,
"Fritz Haber, Alexander Grothendieck, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger—these are some of luminaries into whose troubled lives Benjamín Labatut thrusts the reader, showing us how they grappled with the most profound questions of existence. They have strokes of unparalleled genius, alienate friends and lovers, descend into isolation and insanity. Some of their discoveries reshape human life for the better; others pave the way to chaos and unimaginable suffering. The lines are never clear. At a breakneck pace and with a wealth of disturbing detail, Labatut uses the imaginative resources of fiction to tell the stories of the scientists and mathematicians who expanded our notions of the possible."
* Imaginary Magnitude. Stanisław Lem. Lem.pl,
"Imaginary Magnitude is really a companion piece, being a collection of introductions to books of the next century. Specifically, "Golem XIV” is one of Lem's most far-fetched intellectual adventures: for the purpose of this book Lem constructs the character of a supercomputer of the future that infinitely overshadows human intelligence. Golem, whose history we follow from its birth until his inexplicable departure from the human world, not only mercilessly criticizes humanity, claims of our culture and delusions about allegedly refining mechanisms of evolution, but also creates a breathtaking vision of further development of artificial intelligence – beyond our cosmos and cognition available within its limits."
* Planet City. Liam Young. Uro Publications,
"As a consequence of hundreds of years of colonisation, globalisation and never-ending economic extraction we have remade the world from the scale of the cell to the tectonic plate. But what if we radically reversed this planetary sprawl and retreated from our vast network of cities into one hyper-dense metropolis housing the entire population of the earth?Planet City is a film, VR experience and book set in an imaginary city for 10 billion people, the entire population of the earth, where we surrender the rest of the world to a global scaled wilderness and the return of stolen lands. The film follows a continuous festival procession dancing through the city on a 365 day loop. Each day it intersects with a different carnival, culture and celebration, changing the beat as it goes, endlessly cycling through new colors, costumes and cacophonies. Designed and directed by speculative architect Liam Young the film also features costumes developed in collaboration with Ane Crabtree, costume designer of Handmaid’s Tale and Westworld and an original score by acclaimed electronic producer Forest Swords with vocals by Tunisian signer songwriter Emel, known for her protest song Kelmti Horra which became an anthem for the Arab spring.Planet City is a speculative fiction grounded in statistical analysis, research and traditional knowledge. It is a collaborative work of multiple voices and cultures supported by an international team of acclaimed environmental scientists, theorists and advisors. This is a fiction shaped like a city. Planet City is simultaneously an extraordinary image of tomorrow and an urgent examination of the environmental questions facing us today."
* On Addressability, or What Even Is Computation? Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal. University of Chicago Press Journals
"This article argues against the conflation of digital and computational that ails contemporary critical discourse. Searching for a common logic among the three modes of computing (namely analog, digital, and quantum), it ends up finding an answer in the individuating backbone that runs through histories of postal, civic, and technological addresses. Borrowing the concept of addressability from computer science and adapting it to explain procedures of identificatory mapping at large, the article theorizes addressability as a cultural technique that can be traced back to the origins of the modern disciplinary state. In doing so, it not only posits addressability as one of the core operational logics for all computation and an alternative analytic to the digital but also suggests a longer arc of computation that considers the ubiquitous digitality as a mere subset of modern state apparatuses and their urban infrastructures. The article concludes by reflecting on this computational addressability and its relationship with ideological interpellation, proposing computation as a multiscalar assemblage of political techniken."
- Produced for the Antikythera research project on planetary computation.