This book demonstrates how and why vitalism—the idea that life cannot be explained by the principles of mechanism—matters now. Vitalism resists closure and reductionism in the life sciences while simultaneously addressing the object of life itself. The aim of this collection is to consider the questions that vitalism makes it possible to ask: questions about the role and status of life across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities and questions about contingency, indeterminacy, relationality and change. All have special importance now, as the concepts of complexity, artificial life and artificial intelligence, information theory, and cybernetics become increasingly significant in more and more fields of activity.

The Performativity of Code: Software and Cultures of Circulation

The performativity of code: Software and cultures of circulation
AdrianMackenzie

Introduction

In a recent novel, Distraction, Bruce Sterling (1998) describes a future scenario in which information networks have turned bad. By 2044, China has flooded the world's computer networks with pirated copies of commercial software. The US economy, long supported by monopolistic intellectual property arrangements, has consequently collapsed. A populous underclass of unemployed technicians, programmers and engineers, calling themselves Moderators, roam through splintered urban and rural zones in bands, harvesting and recycling technological junk and waste products, extracting energy, discarded components and materials and converting them into tools, energy and materials for their own use. At the centre of post-consumer nomadic Moderator life stands an important infrastructural component: the ...

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