“So we have now artificial absolute time for the first time ever in human history. And this therefore is scrambling these narratives it’s scrambling our sense of pre and post, what is the actual set of successions in the most concrete sense …”
Nick Land on Blockchain Revolution
With total crypto-currency market cap pushing $200Bn, no one can doubt the power of decentralised and autonomous – financial systems and their future effects on our society.
The proliferation of cryptocurrencies reflects the variety of ideas and visions of possible futures that are being developed and seriously worked on in this space. While the mainstream attention invariably focuses on investor returns, the underlying technology, blockchain, has garnered grandiose claims of its own. This market of vying futures becomes an interesting standpoint for looking at contemporary and near future technologies and their effects on collective and individual knowledge.
Behind this lies a piece of software that takes a philosophical point and extrapolates it into an absurd gesture. Starting from Daniel Dennett’s ‘Post-intelligent Design’ and Chris Anderson’s ‘End of Theory’, the idea that genetic algorithms and neural networks fed on big data sets will supplant the need for human theory-knowledge, machine learning and computer vision are used to recognise traces of Linear A, a lost proto-Greek alphabet, in cryptocurrency market data. While nonsensical to a trader, a computer scientist or a linguist this reduction of different spheres of knowledge to raw pattern matching makes sense to the machine at the end of theory.