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Noise vs Control: A Parable against Modelling the Future

By Geert Lovink and Ned Rossiter

“People find themselves seemingly unable to create the conditions for a radical bifurcation—not the disruptive ‘radical innovation’ of the kind claimed by those startup entrepreneurs who present themsevles as ‘new barbarians’, but, on the contrary, a bifurcation taking account of the radicality of this disruption from the perspective of a new public power, such that it could once again create an epoch.”

Bernard Stiegler

Over many years we’ve been looking at the emergence of “organized networks” as an alternative concept that could counter the social media platform a priori of gathering (and then exploiting) “weak links.” Organized networks invent new institutional forms whose dynamics, properties, and practices are internal to the operational logic of communication media and digital technologies. Their emergence is prompted, in part, by a wider social fatigue with and increasing distrust of traditional and modern institutions such as the church, political party, firm, and labour union, which maintain hierarchical modes of organization. While not without hierarchical tendencies (founders, technical architectures, centralized infrastructures, personality cults), organized networks tend to gravitate more strongly toward horizontal modes of communication, practice, and planning. Organized networks emerge in the shadow of platform geopolitics at a time of intense crisis (social, economic, environmental), when dominant institutions fail in their core task: decision-making. As experiments in collective practice conjoined with digital communication technologies, organized networks are testbeds for networked forms of governance that strives to address a world rapidly spiralling into a planetary abyss.

In this essay we’ll first survey the state of the arts concerning network theory and then focus on one specific dominant category in cybernetic governance, namely models.

* Shorter German version published in Timo Daum (ed.), Die unsichtbare Hand des Plans, Berlin: Dietz, in press 2020. PDF here.

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Organized Networks by Ned Rossiter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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