The Philosophy of Software: Code and Mediation in the Digital Age

The Philosophy of Software: Code and Mediation in the Digital Age

David M. Berry

Language: English

Pages: 213


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This book is a critical introduction to code and software that develops an understanding of its social and philosophical implications in the digital age. Written specifically for people interested in the subject from a non-technical background, the book provides a lively and interesting analysis of these new media forms.

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artefacts, screen image effects may be produced due to the limitations of the particular resolution chosen for the original conversion. This is a classic problem in health sciences, for example, where the doctor must quickly determine whether the shadow on a patient scan represents a medical issue or merely a computational artefact introduced by the process. That is not to say matter too is not also the subject of feverish research activity into making it ‘computable’. For example, researchers at

modelling structures that follow the logic of the program through a series of liner processes with decision gates, where a yes or no answer is expected, to guide the software to a certain resolution or output. In the VoteBox system and documentation a lot of time is spent on a kind of voter ethnography where an idealised user, the ‘voter’, is given a great deal of attention. The analyses try to think about the way in which this user will operate the system, the kind of actions they might take and

interacting with it. This is a common experience with everyday digital technology to the extent that the constant revolution in interfaces is something that we have learned to accept, even if it is extremely frustrating, as we want the latest mobile phone, with all the perceived advantages of the latest technology. Further, when leaving Facebook due to the closed nature of the technology it is very difficult to extract your contacts, in effect meaning that Facebook attempts to hold onto your

more people participate and subscribe to the services, the difficulties in negotiating a large and complex information resource becomes acute. The network effects combined with the vast amount of information flowing through the network are difficult for the user to understand. Twitter therefore acts to facilitate a form of social communication by rapidly distributing information and knowledge across different streams. Real-Time Streams 165 Indeed, Twitter is made up of streams of data that

for understanding, in the broadest possible sense, how ‘one know one’s way around’ in a world that is increasingly reliant on computational equipment, but more maps are needed. Computationality tends towards an understanding of the world which, whilst incredibly powerful and potentially emancipatory, cannot but limit the possibilities of thought to those laid within the code and software which runs on the tracks of silicon that thread their way around technical devices (sub-criticality).

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