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Yuk Hui: What is a digital object?

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Yuk Hui: What is a digital object?

  1. 1. What is a digital object? Yuk Hui Goldsmiths University of London
  2. 2. Plan Part I: Objects Part II: Relations Remark I Part III: Mind Remark II
  3. 3. Part I: Objects
  4. 4. Digital Objects
  5. 5. Digital Milieu
  6. 6. Metadata Example of Friend of a Friend (FOAF) <foaf:Person> <foaf:name>Peter Parker</foaf:name> <foaf:gender>Male</foaf:gender> <foaf:title>Mr</foaf:title> <foaf:givenname>Peter</foaf:givenname> <foaf:family_name>Parker</foaf:family_name> <foaf:mbox_sha1sum>cf2f4bd069302febd8d7c26d803f63f a7f20bd82</foaf:mbox_sha1sum> <foaf:homepage rdf:resource=""/> <foaf:weblog rdf:resource=""/> </foaf:Person>
  7. 7. Metadata Metadata of a Flickr Photo • comments: 1 • dates: • dateuploaded: 8/19/07; 2:44:43 AM • lastupdate: 8/19/07; 2:44:43 AM • posted: 8/19/07; 2:44:43 AM • taken: 8/18/07; 10:44:43 PM • takengranularity: 0 • description: Sent from my iPhone • editability: • canaddmeta: 0 • cancomment: 0 • farm: 2 • geoperms: • iscontact: 0 • isfamily: 0 • isfriend: 0 • ispublic: 1 • id: 1166257196 • isfavorite: 0 • license: 5 • location: • accuracy: 15 • country: United States • county: Santa Clara • latitude: 37.444293 • locality: Palo Alto • longitude: -122.160591 • region: California • notes: • 72157601607070993:
  8. 8. Metadata • h: 20 • id: 72157601607070993 • title: Blue Chalk Cafe • w: 68 • x: 280 • y: 14 • originalformat: jpg • originalsecret: • location: USA • nsid: 22221172@N00 • realname: Dave Winer • username: scriptingnews • rotation: 0 • secret: • server: 1007 • tags: • barcampblock: • author: 22221172@N00 • id: 380915-1166257196-13743477 • machine_tag: 0 • raw: barcampblock • heatherharde: • author: 22221172@N00 • id: 380915-1166257196-2504570 • machine_tag: 0 • raw: Heather Harde • techcrunch: • author: 22221172@N00 • id: 380915-1166257196-3057 • machine_tag: 0 • raw: TechCrunch • title: Heather Harde, TechCrunch CEO • photopage: • visibility: • isfamily: 0 • isfriend: 0 • ispublic: 1
  9. 9. Object-Data Object Data Object (internet of things)
  10. 10. Digital Objects Information Object (embodiment) Perception Data (control) Immaterial relations Material Network (Materialization)
  11. 11. Ontologies “The curious thing about the ontological problem is its simplicity. It can be put in three Anglo-Saxon monosyllables: ‘What is there?’” W.V.O. Quine, On What There Is
  12. 12. Object and Appearance Proposition 1: The core question of object for metaphysicians since Aristotle is becoming the question of appearance
  13. 13. Aristotle’s Ontology Being Substance Accidents Quantity, Quality, Relation, Action, Passion, Time, Place, Disposition, Rainment Grammar: Subject – Predicate
  14. 14. Hylomorphism “in speaking here of matter I have in mind, say, the bronze of a statue, while by shape- form I mean the geometry of the object’s appearance and by the composite the statue itself as a whole entity” Aristotle, Metaphysics
  15. 15. Hume 1) since no one will “assert, that substance is either a colour, or sound, or a taste” 2) so the “idea of substance must therefore be derived from an impression of reflection, into our passions and emotions” 3) “none of which [passions and emotions] can possibly represent a substance” 4) “we have therefore no idea of substance, distinct from that of a collection of particular qualities, nor have we any other meaning when we talk or reason concerning it” David Hume, Treatise on Human Nature
  16. 16. Kant Noumena: unknowable (the-thing-in-itself) Phenomena: knowable perception understanding reason
  17. 17. Husserl “how are we to understand the fact that the ‘in itself’ of the objectivity can be thought of by us and moreover ‘apprehended’ in cognition and thus in the end yet become ‘subjective’” Husserl, quoted by Edo Pivčević Husserl and Phenomenology
  18. 18. Natural Objects The metaphysical investigation of object has been always centered on its “Eidos”
  19. 19. Technical Objects “is not made of matter and form only. It is made up of technical elements arranged from a certain system of usage and assembled into a stable structure by the manufacturing process” “There would be no exaggeration in saying that the quality of a simple needle expresses the degree of perfection of a nation’s industry” Gilbert Simondon On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects
  20. 20. Part II: Relations
  21. 21. Networks
  22. 22. Hylomorphism? An architectural rule which the SGML community embraced is the separation of form and content. It is an essential part of Web architecture, making possible the independence of device mentioned above, and greatly aiding the processing and analysis Tim Berners-Lee Web Architecture from 50,000 feet
  23. 23. Relations their [Peirce and Schröder] method suffers technically (whether philosophically or not I do not at present discuss) from the fact that they regard a relation essentially as a class of couples, thus requiring elaborate formulae of summation for dealing with single relations. This view is derived, I think, probably unconsciously, from a philosophical error: it has always been customary to suppose relational propositions less ultimate than class- propositions (or subject-predicate propositions, with which class-propositions are habitually confounded), and this has led to a desire to treat relations as a kind of classes Bertrand Russell The principle of Mathematics
  24. 24. Relational Calculus xRy x : referents y : relatum R : relata “we can now develop the whole of mathematics without further assumptions or indefinables” Bertrand Russell, The principle of Mathematics
  25. 25. Relational Database Edgar F. Codd, A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks, 1970 Tuple Relational Calculus a simple example: consider a company has the following information inside its relational database: EMPLOYEE (SSN, Name, Bdate, Address, Salary, DeptId), and the query of a TRC will be something like this: Find all employees whose salary is greater than 30.000 { t∣t EMPLOYEE t. Salary>30. 000}∈ ∧
  26. 26. Digital Objects - A digital object is defined by relations (not subject-predicate) - A digital object’s identity is defined by its being-in-the-milieu - All accidents become element of relations - Substance is not an engineering question
  27. 27. Remarks Remark 1: what we have been talking about are Discursive Relations, which we can actually identify with Hume’s philosophy of relations. Remark 2: there are other type of relations, which I call Existential Relations, Martin Heidegger is a philosopher of existential relations though he refused
  28. 28. Part III: Mind
  29. 29. Mind Tim Berners-Lee: Global Mind Turing: can machines think? intelligence simulation Can we think with machines? social computing
  30. 30. I think Rene Descartes: cogito ergo sum I think= substance “I think” to Kant is “not something represented, but the formal structure of representing as such, and this formal structure alone makes it possible for anything to have been represented.” Martin Heidegger, Being and Time
  31. 31. Kant’s Categories
  32. 32. Social Categories At the root of all our judgments there are a certain number of essential ideas which dominate all our intellectual life they are what philosophers since Aristotle have called the categories of understanding: ideas of time, space, class, number, cause, substance, personality, etc. They correspond to the most universal properties of things. They are like the solid frame, which encloses all thought… They are like the framework of the intelligence Durkheim, The Elementary Form of Religious Life, 1915:9
  33. 33. Thinking - Creation of digital objects through ontologies: a global schema - Digital objects as tertiary retention, which conditions I think (Bernard Stiegler) - Machine functions intrude into the flux of consciousness
  34. 34. Remark Remark 3. Clark and Chalmers’ Extended Mind: cognitive process is outside the skull. Remark 4. Digital Objects as tertiary protention