“..the second difference between the algorithmic contingency and the contingency of laws of nature [:] It doesn’t mean that the algorithm itself is not perfect, but rather that the complexity it produces overwhelms the simplicity and clarity of algorithmic thinking” (Hui, 2015).
I would like to suggest that in creating these sometimes unpredictable self-regulating systems and algorithms, we humans surrender to chance. As a kind of paraphrase on Smith’s story about the boy reaching freedom by replacing himself in the automatic procedure, we now oblige to the new rules of simultaneity and complexity of the technological world and allow ourselves to be free by accepting the role of the user. In other words, we give up certain control over the whole process and its outcome. The attempt to sort out all the information as a merely a “conscious linkage” is also quite impossible, thus the only way to be “free” is to witness the asymmetry grow and react to it back. That is not to say that the paradox of transparency/opacity is solved; it is still very vivid as we are in the midst of a transition (“which role do human beings occupy in executions characterized by recursivity […] of machines?”).
In a way, this is the ultimate proof of homo-sapiens being challenged for the first time by a competent entity to the extent of having to find solutions for a contingent future of errors, gaps, failures but also of new ideas, possibilities and novel societal, political, physical, psychological realities. This is even an opportunity for us to questions our own structure as creatures having both a physical and mental existence (the latter sometimes referred to as the “soul”). Looping, spiralling, making mistakes and learning from them- these are all features of the human mind. There is no predisposition, or a fixed order of variants indicating or predicting a sole outcome. Therefore, dealing with these kinds of technologies might eventually allow us to dig in deeper into understanding out own nature.
The change in the concept of time and how it is perceived is also similar in a way to us embracing chance, losing control over the living/”living” things we created. Giving up the attempt to fully engineer the future draws our attention to a present that does not move, but is dilating, like a black recursive hole that bring us to another unknown dimension. Metaphorically speaking, as technology develops it is perceived more magical, godly and irrational, luring us to find comfort back in earlier notions of cyclical (recursive?), religious, mythic temporalities (hance the correspondence with chance). The 21st century time perception is a combination of the sacred and the secular. We have moved from a linear global world of governments and media to a time structure that is more ambiguous, impossible to perceive (as it is so fast and also beyond our reach, i.e. when computer calculates data in the speed of light). In result, the “[…] the metamorphoses are so rapid that their mutations almost escape capture” (Baudelaire, 1964); We slowly let go of the need to control, plan and predict every single step.
Moving to look at Art, it is known for its ability to pause reality and unfold hidden layers in our patterns of thought as spectators. With the use of the right context, the space and time embracing the art piece allow us to capture these aforementioned mutations, be conscious of them, move away from being transparent towards a more opaque subjective/collective identity. An example of a cultural movement that draws inspiration from this idea is “The Slow Movement”, criticizing the change in time scope and temporality by “going back to basics”. It would be extremely interesting to keep looking into how art responds to the non-linear, recursive features of new technologies as they are being embedded into artistic processes.