Social Machines

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"We speak of social media, but rarely of social machines. On the Network, the machine is virtualized and hidden in the cloud. For a machine to operate at full efficiency, each of its cogs must do its part reliably and be able to repeat its performance exactly each time it is called upon. Generally some form of operant conditioning (game mechanics) will need to be employed as a form of crowd control. Through a combination of choice architecture and tightly-defined metadata (link, click, like, share, retweet, comment, rate, follow, check-in), the behavior of individuals interacting within networked media channels can be scrapped for input into the machine. This kind of metadata is often confused with the idea of making human behavior intelligible to machines (machine readable). In reality, it is a replacement of human behavior with machine behavior— the algorithm requires an unambiguous signal (obsessive compulsive behavior).

The constraints of a media are vastly different than those of a machine. Social media doesn’t require a pre-defined set of actions." (

More Information

  1. Computing Regime
  2. Architecture of Control
  3. Protocollary Power