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On the Existence of Digital Objects$
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Yuk Hui

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780816698905

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816698905.001.0001

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Outline of an Investigation on Digital Objects

Outline of an Investigation on Digital Objects

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Outline of an Investigation on Digital Objects
Source:
On the Existence of Digital Objects
Author(s):

Bernard Stiegler

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816698905.003.0001

HUMANS HAVE ALWAYS LIVED in a hybrid environment surrounded by artificial and natural objects. The artificial and the natural are not two separate realms, nor are artificial objects simply instruments with which to conquer the natural; instead, they constitute a dynamic system that conditions human experience and existence. And precisely because the artificial is constantly developing toward greater concretization, it demands constant reflection on its singular historical condition. The milieu in which we live has also changed. Videotapes have been replaced by YouTube videos, and dinner invitations are no longer issued through letters, less and less by telephone calls and e-mails, but more often by Facebook event invitations. These objects are basically data, sharable and controllable; they can be made visible or invisible through the configuration of the system. This book proposes to conduct an investigation of these digital objects. The reader may already have different ideas of what a digital object is, for example, a bug, a virus, a hardware component, a gadget, a piece of code, a bunch of binary numbers. To allow for a more focused investigation, I will limit the scope of this book to data. By digital objects, I mean objects that take shape on a screen or hide in the back end of a computer program, composed of data and metadata regulated by structures or schemas. ...

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