Alan N. Shapiro, Visiting Professor in Transdisciplinary Design, Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, Germany

Blog and project archive about transdisciplinary design, media theory and creative coding

The New Computer Science

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I post here a link to an audio recording I made during “Alan N. Shapiro & Alexis Clancy on Tour: New Computer Science” a talk about visionary computer science and about what kind of mathematics and attitude is needed for being part of a new shift in computing.

alan-alexisThe talk was part in german (Alan N. Shapiro), part in english (Alexis Clancy). It was more or less a controversial talk about the future of computing. And about overcoming its mechanical, too deterministic concepts of thought about its processing = the algorithms. Very manifesto-like I would say, but the good thing is that Shapiro & Clancy take it really serious and we should too.

The basic statement by Alan N. Shapiro is that computing analyzed from a philosophical viewpoint is still at the level of Descartes, Bacon and Babbage: Mechanical automation. But as we know – since the 17th century – new philosophy made possible also some new alternative ways of thinking. So he wants to include Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Baudrillard and many others into the science of computing. For example he thinks that ,,holistic biology” could form a model also for computing. An other idea is to include new mathematics (after Chruch and Turing) by for example P.D. Ouspensky or Alexis Clancy. Shapiro & Clancy basically want to overcome the current order of knowledge by becoming philosophers and artists instead of staying ignorant techies and reductionists.

I really like the idea of trying to get a more generalistic attitude towards computing. Like in the old days of medieval europe, where at the first universities in Paris, Oxford and Cambrigde the students needed to learn first Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, Music and Grammars, Rhetorics and Dialectics and then they could select either Theology, Law or Medicine. Philosophers nowadays should learn from computing and programmers. And vice versa, enginneers and mathematicians should learn from philosophy! Alan N. Shapiro is in this sense a kind of opposite to my (techie) attempts to learn about the physico-materialistic effects of media and the archelogical cold view on media assemblages.

The talk was held in

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