Monday, November 9, 2009
It seems to me in reading Terranova's book that we have a certain preoccupation with replication. Why is it that we continually try to imitate the global in a micro scale? Furthermore, what happens when we continually replicate the macro in the micro? Does this challenge Terranova's concept of the internet as an intrinsically bottom-up system, decentralized and with the infinite possibility of expansion? She highlights the CA machine as an example of a machine that is able to self-replicate, and by running thousands of replications, one is able to better determine what programs are better able to compute. Chris Langton discovers that the best bet for computation lies between high random and highly ordered CAs, and that behaviour is affective across the entire grid, and not just within the local. The parallels Terranova draws here to the structure of the internet are clear: society functions somewhere between order and chaos, and the local is always affected by the global. Furthermore, Terranova posits that society functions in a manner similar to these CA replications, with both possessing an indeterminateness and unpredictability; unlike other computer programs, the results of CAs are not known before. Terranova goes one step further and examines the relation of the internet and non-virtual society, showing how this new communicative technology compresses time and space like no other medium has been able to before. Replication is constituent of this system and ensure its continuity However, what happens when we attempt to replicate the macro-system itself, when we create networks in imitation of existing networks? Is the outcome affected? Is this (attempt at) self-awareness accounted for in existing models?