Back in Feb, Shannon Mattern argued that A City Is Not a Computer. The essay, in part a reaction to Y Combinator’s move last year into urbanism, problematizes ‘smart cities’ and tech’s Californian Ideology.
To wit –
“Were he alive today, Mumford would reject the creeping notion that the city is simply the internet writ large. He would remind us that the processes of city-making are more complicated than writing parameters for rapid spatial optimization. He would inject history and happenstance. The city is not a computer. This seems an obvious truth, but it is being challenged now (again) by technologists (and political actors) who speak as if they could reduce urban planning to algorithms. 20“
Further, references to “nonsemantic information“, “the longue duré“, “geologic insight” and “urban epistemologies”.
“German robot maker Kuka AG, acquired last year by China’s Midea Group Co., estimates a typical industrial robot costs about 5 euros ($5.28) an hour. Manufacturers spend 50 euros an hour to employ someone in Germany and about 10 euros an hour in China.”
They go on to suggest that the emergence of consciousness itself may have a relatively simple physical explanation: our minds are the locations where matter has temporarily sorted itself into a sufficiently complex state on its way to maximally disorganized equilibrium. …Consciousness might arise when the largest amount of possible connections are achieved within a given set of restraints. In the harsh language of thermodynamics, “consciousness (like biochemistry) may represent thus an optimal channel for accessing sources of (free) energy.”…As the Internet becomes something approaching an infinitely interconnected library, there may come a time when the bits align themselves in such a way that they emerge as something we recognize as truth, beauty, and being.
“Platforms offer a kind of generic universality, open to human and non-human users. They generate user identities whether the users want them or not. They link actors, information, events across times and spaces, across scales and temporalities. They also have a distinctive political economy: they exist to the extent that they generate a platform surplus, where the value of the user information for the platform is greater than the cost of providing the platform to those users”