Materializing informatics. From data processing to molecular engineering

2019-10-23 17:41:32

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责任者: Clark, N. 单位: Dept. of Sociology, Auckland Univ., New Zealand 来源出处: Information Communication Society(Inf. Commun. Soc. (UK)),Spring 1998,1(1):70-90 摘要: Nanotechnology or molecular engineering is a hypothetical regime of technics based on the precision manipulation of atoms to form workable devices or useful structures. Its proponents suggest that “nano” could extend the manipulability of digital information-processing to the material realm, raising the possibility that the-information revolution” is only part of a far more encompassing set of techno-cultural transformations. Historical evidence of translation between systems of signification and modes of material transformation suggests that this prospect deserves serious consideration. Although the imperative of nanotech tends to be presented as one of extending control and design, it is argued that the self-replicating and possibly self-directing nature of “intelligent” nanomachines raises the possibility of runaway dispersals. In this sense, nanotech may turn out to have more in common with autonomous digital entities-such as intelligent software agents, artificial life organisms or computer viruses-than with conventional data processing. It is suggested that the rise of autonomous, self-argumenting or “autopoietic” machine systems-both digital and materialized-has radical implications for received notions of agency, perception and subjectivity in general. It also raises important questions about the desirability of democratizing access to the forthcoming technologies. The possibility of unregulated “molecular hacking” has frightening implications, but so too does the prospect of the monopolization of nanotech developments by powerful social forces 关键词: information technology;nanotechnology;socio-economic effects;molecular engineering;data processing;nanotechnology;digital information-processing;information revolution;techno-cultural transformations;intelligent nanomachines;intelligent software agents;artificial life;computer viruses;autopoietic machine systems;molecular hacking;self-replication