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Xenophily and Computational Denaturalization, Patricia Reed


Because these “average-objects” elude presentness, getting a foothold on them requires computational intervention; they require modelling and diagrammatic articulation to make them amenable to cognition. The type of collective-subject required to politicize these complex objects is therefore not just a call for maximal human solidarity, slicing through regimes of individualism and alienating subjectivity from selfhood, but also one that accommodates a non-human, computational constituency.

To insist on cognitive tractability is not to insinuate that these types of complex objects can be fully known, perfectly modelled, controlled or mastered; nor is it to say that knowing more about them directly equates with improved actions or strategies. Mechanical causality is long gone. Knowing for certain that we can never fully know or determine such objects, what they do render increasingly transparent is the necessity to mobilize this integral uncertainty. In an effort to combat the correlation of uncertainty with inaction (of suspending action while waiting for absolute certainty from the sciences that will never come), Wendy Hui Kyong Chun has stressed we should neither “celebrate nor condemn […] scientific models that are necessary to engage with the invisible, inexperienceable risks,” and instead treat these (always imperfect) computational models as “hypo-real tools, that is, as tools for hypothesis.”

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