Sunday Book-Thought 102

Programming languages have eroded the monopoly of ordinary language and grown into a new hierarchy of their own. This postmodern Tower of Babel reaches from simple operation codes whose linguistic extension is still a hardware configuration, passing through an assembler whose extension is this very opcode, up to high-level programming languages whose extension is that very assembler. In consequence, far-reaching chains of self-similarities in the sense defined by fractal theory organize the software as well as the hardware of every writing. What remains a problem is only recognizing these layers which, like modern media technologies in general, have been explicitly contrived to evade perception. We simply do not know what our writing does.
Friedrich A. Kittler, ‘There Is No Software’, in Literature, Media, Information Systems, ed by John Johnston (Amsterdam: G&B Arts International, 1997), pp. 147-155 (p. 148).

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