Bitwise: The Logic of the Digital

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

This paper explores the ontology of the digital. Specifically I argue that digital technologies, digital aesthetics, and digital culture express characteristics of the binary code. The binary code, which defines the digital, balances between ideal and real; tied always to some material substrate, the binary code nevertheless operates according to a logic of perfectly specified 0s and 1s. And it tends to bring this idealized perfection into the real, dividing up the world into neat, discrete categories, offering predefined choices with predictable outcomes, and shaping not only the materials of the machine but also the bodies and habits of users according to this binary logic. The binary code is an apotheosis of abstraction, but it is an operative abstraction, which becomes effective even while retaining its pure formality. Brief examples will elaborate this overarching argument, considering the digital’s ontological relationships to temporality, space, material, virtuality, uniqueness, identity, determinism, and language.

(Source: Author's abstract for ELO_AI).

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Audun Andreassen