No, if we’re lucky

Ecological platforms

Salvatore Iaconesi
2 min readJan 11, 2021

Trump banned from social media. Sci-hub banned from social media. Two very different things.

Many roads lie ahead, now.

As a result of the things I research and make, I don’t think that these technical/administrative solutions are going anywhere.

As we know from systems and language theories, no formal code will ever be able to exactly overlap reality: no map, no data, no archive will ever be able to match reality, formally and with the many exclusions, conceptual holes, space for interpretations, power games that each map, data, archive or other type of formal code introduces. Gödel, Derrida’s Mal d’Archive, Korzybski, Bateson, Foucault and many others: with their definitions formal systems define their incompleteness, their relationship with psychology and domain, and, in the end, their tragedy.

Each one of these technical/administrative solutions will fail. Then, of course, we will be able to find a better code, so that we can go on a little further, and so on.

There is another possibility: to use different, ecological models, as in ecology, the science of relationships.

All this situation is caused by the fact that the current data + computation industry is an extractive industry, and by the implications of this fact.

Implications such as the ways business models are created, or their consequences in terms of how interfaces are designed, or which behaviours are actively favoured and stimulated, up to the psychological and relational implications of these behaviours, individually and at large scales.

Or the way in which education is designed, and research and innovation grants are written and assigned, which make it actually difficult and next to impossible to think and imagine something that is not extractive, but ecological.

Instead, the data + computation industry could be an industry of ecology (of relationships, expressions, representations, knowledge, information) and, thus, generative, instead of extractive.

We’re in this situation.

Once, asbestos could be used, now it cannot.

Once, ius primae noctis was something normal, now it’s not.

Once, slavery was accepted, now it isn’t.

Now, you can have a company like Facebook, Google or Amazon: if we do the right things and we have a little luck, soon, it won’t be possible anymore.

[NOTE: at HER: She Loves Data, we’re going exactly in this direction. You can read here a preliminary publication about this transformation. Leave a note here or a comment in the publication.]