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Into the Universe of Technical Images$
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Vilém Flusser

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816670208

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816670208.001.0001

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To Touch

To Touch

(p.23) To Touch
Into the Universe of Technical Images

Vilém Flusser

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter discusses the use of instruments called “keys” to grasp the mass of particles that are neither visible nor graspable nor comprehensible. There are two types of keys: the “productive” key, which sends messages, and the “reproductive” key, which receives messages. The first type is an instrument for making the private public, the other an instrument for making public matters private. Often the keys are not isolated buttons but make up keyboards, offering a selection. By observing how images are synthesized on a computer screen by pressing keys, we can recognize the miracle of mechanical button pressing as well: it is the miracle of calculation followed by computation, the miracles to which technical images owe their existence. This chapter also considers the difference between human and artificial intelligence, between information that is produced intentionally and automatically, as well as the status of human freedom with respect to writing with a typewriter.

Keywords:   keys, productive key, messages, reproductive key, keyboards, technical images, human intelligence, artificial intelligence, human freedom, typewriter

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