Passage #101: 8 June 2011
A Bike Odyssey
It has been said that we are living in the age of the algorithm. Vast portions of our daily lives consist of interacting with abstractions whose effect (and often whose outright purpose) is to redirect our activities to serve interests other than our own - to increase page views, revenues and stock prices; to provide provide personal information and behavioral data. Under these conditions, it is hard not to adopt a certain kind of technological gnosticism, attributing malevolent motives to such devices, now elevated to positions of such great power. But they are, after all, machines - objects of our own collective (if not individual) creation.
This strange inversion of power between creator and creation becomes clearest when the machine finally does give up the ghost. The computer goes insane; you are set adrift. What the algorithm once made simple may become difficult, yes, but perhaps now, freed of its constraints, you may set out to rediscover a truer self.