Linearity and Recursivity / Week 4 / 27-10-2020

Linearity and Recursivity, or “difference without separability

What is aliveness? The amount of energy or the amount of information?

Linear automation: input = output

Descartes’ humanity test
Discourse on Method of Reality Conducting Reason (1637)
“At this point I had dwelt on this issue to show that if there were such machines having the organs and outward shape of a monkey or any other irrational animal, we would have no means of knowing that they were not of exactly the same nature as these animals, whereas, if any such machines resembled us in body and imitated our actions insofar as this was practically possible, we should still have two very certain means of recognizing that they were not, for all that, real human beings.* The first is that they would never be able to use words or other signs by composing them as we do to declare our thoughts to others […]
And the second means is that, although such machines might do many things as well or even better than any of us, they would inevit- ably fail to do some others, by which we would discover that they did not act consciously, but only because their organs were disposed in a certain way. For, whereas reason is a uni- versal instrument which can operate in all sorts of situations, their organs have to have a particular disposition for each par- ticular action, from which it follows that it is practically impossible for there to be enough different organs in a machine to cause it to act in all of life’s occurrences in the same way that our reason causes us to act.”

Yuk Hui, “The Time of Execution” (2018)
Execution is always teleological because to execute means to carry out something which is already anticipated before the action (…) The intuitive and simplest form of execution is linear, driven by pre-defined procedures.

The concept of feedback in cybernetics introduced a new temporal structure, one that was no longer based on a linear form but rather was more like that of a spiral. In this schema, the path towards the telos is no longer linear but rather one of a constant self- regulatory process, which Simondon himself described as “an active adaptation to a spontaneous finality” (2009, 18)