Order the summer edition here

The political program is in the machines

Will the coming wars, crises and disasters be a design problem first and foremost?

Benjamin Bratton:
The Stack – On Software and Sovereignty
MIT Press, 2016

It is well known that the politics we know today are in "crisis", understood in that the confidence in the governance of parliamentary democracy and its political administrators is severely compromised, not least in the EU, where in the wake of the financial crisis 2008 experienced an ever-increasing fragmentation and political disintegration – threatening to shift with forced Grexit and voluntary Brexit. The Syrian left-wing failure of the Greek left wing towards the questionable agenda of the technocratic savings regime (carried on by the so-called Troika, a trinity of the EU, the ECB and the IMF) has been seen by many as symptomatic of the end of an era such as the winding down of modern European paradigm of politics. A tip of this thesis is found by left-wing intellectual couple Julien Coupat and Eric Hazan, who in the French newspaper Libération earlier this year interpreted Syriza's paralysis as an operative picture of "the death of politics".

It may appear to be a radical finding that politics as we know since the ancient police should have passed away at death, but it is probably not entirely wrong. At least, if the term "politics" keeps thinking of decision-making heads of state assembled in a Baroque parliament building at the center of power. If not the policy already er death, then it is at least dying, but kept alive artificially by a gigantic respiratory apparatus – a machinery so extensive, complex, and global that it seems at least anachronistic to imagine that it should be possible to locate a center. The high pinnacle of power has long been plunged into gravel, the aura of power that once surrounded political statesmen (and yes, political has, from the beginning to the end, been primarily for "men") seems to evaporate against fallen reality stars like Trump, if continued accelerating direction toward the White House – the symbolic stronghold of power – is only reinforced by the constant (and algorithmically mediated) reproduction of Trump -memes on social media.

Programming software today is far along the way of influencing political processes and exercising political sovereignty.

In the media theorist Benjamin Bratton's large and voluminous book The Stack – On Software and Sovereignty (2016) link the «crisis of politics» with the question of the functional relation of algorithms to power and sovereignty in our post-internet era, where the distinction between the virtual and the so-called «real» world no longer occurs. . .

Dear reader.
To continue reading, create a new free reader account with your email,
or logg inn if you have done it before. (click on forgotten password if you have not received it by email already).
Select if necessary Subscription (69kr)

avatar photos
Dominique Routhier
Routhier is a regular critic of Ny Tid.

You may also like