The Ontology of Digital Data #bigdata #digitaldata #code

[…] The Ontology of Digital Data. Digital data is formless, plastic and leveling. Stored as binary bits, it has no form as  such. As Justin Clemens and I have written (2010), ‘Data is data. Data is absolutely not  a phenomenological thing. It cannot be experienced as such, like Aristotelian prime  matter. Unlike Aristotelian prime matter, however, we can manipulate data with ease.’ The  fundamentally plastic nature of digital data is what allows us to manipulate it, but until  we do manipulate it – until we modulate it into some kind of display register – any set of  digital data is indistinguishable from any other set of digital data, until modulated into a display register, and this is the leveling nature of digital data. All information is reduced to  an indistinguishable set of binary bits. To illustrate this, consider a digital image, such as  may have been taken by a digital camera of a material scene. Once this visual information  is stored as digital data, it can then be opened in, for example, a sound editing program and played as sound. It could equally be used as input to determine a height-map in a realtime  3D environment. The point is that once it is stored as digital data, it loses any determining  connection with its semantic source. Therefore, as I said above, parameters must be  rigorously established that govern how any given digital data is de- and re-modulated. The  notion of protocols or standardised processes that abound in the contemporary technical  sphere (such as govern the internet, image compression, audio reproduction and so on) are expressions of this codification of parameters – both sides of a modulation exchange agree to adhere to a set of parameters in order that the intended result is achieved. Naturally, once protocols are required, questions of intentionality, ideology and cultural convention arise. […] (from “Affect and the Medium of Digital Data”, by Adam Nash, The FibreCulture Journal, 2012)

 Schermata 07-2456502 alle 22.07.48

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Cosimo Accoto

Research Affiliate at MIT | Author "Il Mondo Ex Machina" (Egea) | Philosopher-in-Residence | Business Innovation Advisor |

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