Global Algorithm 1.0: The Global Algorithm
Arthur and Marilouise Kroker
nanotechnology . artificial life . softpeople . webmasters . virtual
class . mimetic flesh . Java.Perl . C Shell . surplus class . the will to
virtuality . techno-culture . unabomber . the road ahead . retro-techno . simnet
. worldchat . intranet . Oracle . Intel . Infinity . molecular engineering .
recombinant genes . cyberspace . wiredskin . code warriors . digital flesh .
cyberboy . geekheads . alien-issue . wetware/software/hardware . glint chip eye
. wwwself . bitnetted . fractal bodies . viral memes . flash memory . digital
ears . diamond nano-eyes
The end of the 20th century witnesses the triumph of the virtual class
and the reconfiguration of society and culture by what we call the Global
Algorithm. The techno-optimism of early 90s liberal futurism is dumped into the
trash, and the world bunkers down for a lean and mean period as technoculture is
consolidated around the politics of so-called rationalization and Spencerian
Two classes emerge: the virtual class that expresses in existent
material form the historical interests of pan-capitalism, and the surplus class,
the remainder, what is left when a fully technological society is realized. What
is gained and what is lost by being digital? Who do we see when we look in the
digital mirror: Future-Fallout or Net-Utopia? Digital ears and diamond eyes and
Java nerves or real blood and guts? What is the relationship between being
digital and issues of race, class, and gender?
The epochal dreams of digital reality are not so far away from the
deserts of North Africa in the fourth century, that moment when St. Augustine
triumphantly severed flesh from spirit, beginning the search for our successor
species, first in the torture chambers of absolutist religion, then in the war
zones of absolutist ideology, and finally in the futurist algorithms of
absolutist technotopia. But we remember Camus: the union of absolute justice and
absolute reason equals murder in the name of freedom. The question remains: is
digital reality the final act of species murder, the (human) blood sacrifice
necessary to inaugurate the reign of the post-human? But that would be a
question of myth, and mythical thought, most of all, is denied by the feverish
and calculated positivism of the new codes.
Over the next few weeks, CTHEORY will publish a series of articles
dealing with the theme of the global algorithm. Diverse theoretical voices from
San Francisco, Paris, Cologne, London, Amsterdam, Munich, Los Angeles, Chicago,
San Diego, Montreal, Berlin, Tokyo, and New York will explore new digital
futures as well as the intimations of deprival associated with the triumph and
distress of wireless flesh.
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