Talk: The Planetary Bet
Conference: Scaling Media
Date: Day 2 – 9:45
Location: E-Werk Kesselsaal, Weimar
Volatility—extremes of high and low, temporal scales between the geological and digital, varying thresholds of toxicity, safety, poverty—these are the differentials that in contemporary societies are the very mediums for financial speculation and ubiquitous computing. This talk will examine how concepts of resilience from ecology, ideas of urban management and design cybernetics (the rise of “responsive” or “smart” ecologies), and algorithmic investment strategies from finance merged to produce a contemporary mode of disaster speculation that I label "the planetary bet”. This assemblage is grounded on playing with differentials and thresholds—highs and lows of time, space, and toxicity—to turn life itself into a speculative experiment for ubiquitous computing that finds itself incarnated in our “smart” cities and infrastructures.
My argument is that what differentiates this condition from earlier histories of capital, urbanism, or habitat is not the question of technology, but rather the particular form of spatial and temporal containment and speculation engendered by the historical merger of cybernetics and ecology.