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Black Boxes

Taeyoon Choi
January 18, 2014

Black Boxes

work in progress presentation about abstraction, compression, integration and concretization.

Taeyoon Choi

January 18, 2014


  1. The terms "black box" and "white box" are convenient and

    figurative expressions of not very well determined usage. I shall understand by a black box a piece of apparatus, such as four-terminal networks with two input and two output terminals, which performs a definite operation on the present and past of the input potential, but for which we do not necessarily have any information of the structure by which this operation is performed. Nobert Wiener. Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948)
  2. “On the other hand, a white box will be similar

    network in which we have built in the relation between input and output potentials in accordance with a definite structural plan for securing a previously determined input-output relation.” Nobert Wiener. Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948)
  3. Lena is the name given to a standard test image

    which has been in use since 1973.
  4. Tool Instrument Tools (hammer) exert an action on the world,

    while instruments (microscope) refine perception. The tool requires an energy source, while the instruments must be integrate with a structure capable of decoding the information it provides. Tools and Instruments are extensions of human body; the body acts as a source of energy or decoder of information. With the appearance of technical individuals*, the human body loses pride of place. The Philosophy of Simondon: Between Technology and Individuation By Pascal Chabo
  5. * Technical individuals: tools previously wielded by people, were now

    conjoined with engines (Steam engine). Automatic looms, forging presses and etc were seen as rivals and workers destroyed them in popular uprising. Automatic loom designed by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801 Later interpretation of machine trashing by Luddites (1812) The Philosophy of Simondon: Between Technology and Individuation By Pascal Chabo
  6. There is poetics in the moment electricity meets binary logic,

    John Bardeen, William Shockley and Walter Brattain at Bell Labs, 1948.
  7. Is purely functional, anti-state machine possible? Machine that’s treats code

    as data and circuit as signal, and vice versa?* inspired by Kyle McDonald’s idea of Every Hopper
  8. Taeyoon Choi, Shift register made from D type flip flops

    (2013) How to make an open machine, while keeping integrity of modular computation?
  9. INPUT=OUTPUT “This module is a fully configurable, primitive binary computer

    that can be used for signal generation, memory and arithmetic purpose. It can be programmed by connecting exposed pins with jumper wires. It is a sketch for Noir interface, a hardware where input is output, the circuit is signal and data is program.” - 2013 Custom made circuit, NAND & HEX Inverter chip, electronics (2013) Video Link: https:/ /vimeo.com/83232557
  10. It is my thesis that the physical functioning of the

    living individual and the operation of some of the newer communication machines are precisely parallel in their analogous attempts to control entropy through feedback. Norbert Wiener (The Human Use of Human Beings) (1950)
  11. Both of them have sensory receptors as one stage in

    their cycle of operation: that is, in both of them there exists a special apparatus for collecting information from the outer world at low energy levels, and for making it available in the operation of the individual or of the machine. In both cases these external messages are not taken neat, but through the internal transforming powers of the apparatus, whether it be alive or dead. The information is then turned into a new form available for the further stages of performance. Norbert Wiener (The Human Use of Human Beings) (1950)
  12. There is no species of automata: there are simply technical

    objects; these possess a functional organization, and in them different degrees of automatism are realized. Gilbert Simondon. On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects (1958)
  13. It would not even be right to found a separate

    science for the study of regulatory and control mechanisms in automata built to be automata: technology ought to take as its subject the universality of technical objects. In this respect, the science of Cybernetics is found wanting; even though it has the boundless merit of being the first inductive study of technical objects and of being a study of the middle ground between the specialized sciences, it has particularized its field of investigation to too great an extent, for it is part of the study of a certain number of technical objects. Cybernetics at its starting point accepted a classification of technical objects that operates in terms of criteria of genus and species: the science of technology must not do so. Gilbert Simondon. On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects (1958)
  14. There is one element that threatens to make the work

    of Cybernetics to some degree useless as an interscientific study (though this is what Norbert Weiner defines as the goal of his research), the basic postulate that living beings and self-regulated technical objects are identical. The most that can be said about technical objects is that they tend towards concretization, whereas natural objects, as living beings, are concrete right from the beginning. There should be no confusing of a tendency towards concretization with a status of absolutely concrete existence. Though every technical object possesses to some degree aspects of residual abstraction, one cannot go to the extent of speaking of technical objects as if they were natural objects. Gilbert Simondon. On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects (1958)
  15. Technical objects must be studied in their evolution in order

    that the process of concretization as tendency can be abstracted therefrom. Still, the final product of the technical evolution does not have to be isolated so that it can be defined as entirely concrete; it is more concrete than what preceded it, but it is still artificial. Instead of considering one class of technical beings, automata, we should follow the lines of concretization throughout the temporal evolution of technical objects. This is the only approach that gives real signification, all mythology apart, to the bringing together of living being and technical object. Without the goal thought out and brought to realization by the living, physical causality alone could not produce a positive and effective concretization. Gilbert Simondon. On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects (1958)
  16. The essence of the concretization of a technical object is

    the organizing of functional sub-systems into the total functioning. Starting from this principle, we can understand precisely how the redistribution of functions is brought about in a network of different structures, in abstract as much as in concrete objects. Each structure fulfills a number of functions; but in the abstract technical object each structure fulfills only one essential and positive function that is integrated into the functioning of the whole, whereas in the concrete technical object all functions fulfilled by a particular structure are positive, essential, and integrated into the functioning of the whole. Those marginal consequences of functioning which in the abstract technical object are eliminated or attenuated by correctives, become evolutionary stages or positive aspects of the concrete object. The functioning scheme incorporates marginal aspects, and effects which were of no value or were prejudicial become links in the chain of functioning. Gilbert Simondon. On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects (1958)