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<nettime> The Planet-Laboratory
Ewen Chardronnet on Sat, 9 Jun 2007 18:59:52 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The Planet-Laboratory

Another text from the "Laboratory Planet" journal. By Michel 

The Planet-Laboratory
The general reconstruction of the world
by Michel Tibon-Cornillot

1. The interminable ending of industrial societies

What is more commonplace than to wish or expect an end to industrial
societies! They are hated by billions of people, who have lost or
are losing their culture, because they know they are summoned to
participate in them on unequal terms; others dream about being part
of them, even at the risk of their lives, and are prepared to travel
thousands of kilometres to do so. As for the inhabitants of industrial
societies, for many the belief in progress is uncertain, at least in
a country like France, where scepticism and pessimism have long gone
hand in hand. (1)

But the expectation of an end to industrial societies has quite a
special character: it seems interminable. Would it not be better to
speak of the /interminable/ ending of industrial societies? Of course,
no one can forget the ravages that accompanied their creation and
development in the history of European countries and the processes
taking them from industry and world wars to colonial genocides and
social conflict, as well as to the contemporary dissemination of this
?model? through globalisation, at the price of considerable suffering
and terrible wars. But we also need to remember the many failures
of opposition movements, whether Anarcho-Marxist or conservative.
The solidity of industrial societies, which have been able to offer
effective resistance to highly diverse opposition movements, is also
an unavoidable fact.

The end of such a social structure is to be desired and is perhaps
even necessary, but appears impossible, because if there is a lesson
to be learned from centuries of revolt, whether of workers, peasants
or native peoples, Bolsheviks, Bolivarians or Zapatistas, it is their
crushing defeat. In short, the end is desired but seems impossible to
achieve. (2)

The other aspect of the /interminable/ concerns its two
temporal-intemporal frameworks. The first takes place in time since
it points towards an end, but this ending is paradoxical: it is
an interminable ending, the endlessly intolerable, an idea that
immediately evokes the torments of the damned. The desired and
expected ending does not occur and its place is taken either by the
repetition of interminable decadence or by the lived experience of a
final, interminably present traumatism. The first framework in fact
exists in a temporal context but according to a temporality that is
without result and without finality, and which, above all, never stops
and never dies. The second temporal framework of the /interminable/
partakes of other dimensions that are, this time, sub-temporal, and
which in other times and places, were associated with demons and
djinns, and in the context of industrial societies, concern machines,
money and automatons.

Both aspects of the /interminable/ are closely linked, as all of us
can clearly see, as we simultaneously live through the first signs
of planetary exhaustion under the pressure of contemporary technical
systems, whose ?essence resides in enframing (/Gestell/)? (3), and
the upsurge of new, arrogant and terrible Western wars fought out
to control the ?standing reserves?(/Bestand/) (4), i.e. the earth
enframed and provoked as a pure source of industrial energy reserves.

As we confront these rather frightening facts, only ?the endurance of
thought? can allow us to find a way into the heart of the ?terminal?
process of industrial societies; but we should not be led astray by
taking it in too wide a context. I will therefore restrict myself
here to presenting a few performances linked to the logico-mathematic
automatons that we call computers and their networking. Around
the explicit project of general digitalisation, which represents
the ultimate horizon of these ?machines?, we will examine the new
configuration arising in the immense ?panopticon? project as well as
the first ?ubiquitous? developments.

However, the panopticon cannot exist without the active and continual
modification/transformation of the world. Wherever rationality is
lacking in the real world, it needs to be introduced by all available
means. /Rebuilding the World/: this is one of the favourite themes of
the Washington neocons (5) who are behind current American policies in
the Middle-East (6). The term chosen by these strategists is doubly
appropriate, since it both summarises the imperial, neo-Hegelian
project and because its side-effects are so deadly.

2 . General digitalisation or the ?virtual? reduplication of the ?real

On the internet of objects and organisms: the realisation of the
universal ? panopticon?.

Biometrics is a highly sensitive indicator of powerful processes
at work in industrial societies, processes linked to ?general
digitalisation?, a kind of general mobilisation of figures. This
extraordinary project aims to attribute to everything that exists,
to all objects and organisms, to the entire planet and everything it
contains, ?mathematic? signs and structures. The project is not new
and its application to the human body is a dream that has already
been partly realised in the modern armed forces, in the health sector
and the police service, whether in anthropometry, social security,
the census or classification of army recruits. But biometrics reveals
other essential and totally new aspects, i.e. its correlations with
networks of motorised, logico-mathematic automatons: computers.

If we look at the conventional definition of biometrics, we can
describe it as ?all the processes that consist in giving a digital
imprint to a person?s physical characteristics (iris or retina,
voice, fingerprints, hand or facial shapes). The aim of a biometric
system is to authenticate and identify individuals. Unlike other
techniques with the same aims, but which allow what people own (a
card, badge, etc) or what they know (password, etc) to be measured
or checked, biometric techniques enable what we are to be measured
and recognised.? (7) Biometrics involves two kinds of controls: the
physical and behavioural control of the individual. (8)

The most important term in this definition is /digital imprint/;
it helps us distinguish older anthropometrics from contemporary
biometrics, the existence of which is based on the fundamental
matrix, the immense legion of 850 million computers; (9) biometrics
thus follows digitalised parent systems (electronic surveillance
systems, telecommunications, health, etc.), that is, all the systems
and/or networks that can be digitalised and interconnected with other
dossiers and files inside computers and computer systems. In a mere
two years, there will be a billion computers, an impressive figure if
one considers that the network has been set up within the last thirty

These networks and interconnections between computers constitute the
internet as we know it today, mainly disseminating and processing
signs, texts, sounds and pictures. The internet also supplies the
context within which classic biometrics has evolved, at the crossroads
of present-day performances based on an increase in digitalisation
in each of these domains. (10) This then is the first level of
digitalisation, in which the majority of socio-economic players
in industrial societies must take part, both actively in their
professional environments, invaded by the use of computers, and in
a deeper and more passive way by accepting more or less freely ever
tighter and more efficient controls by digital machines that have been
given the task of keeping watch on them.

Among the new possibilities, contemporary biometrics has been
developed alongside the digitalisation of pictures, of photographs
of faces and/or parts of the body, such as the palm of the hand,
fingerprints, irises, etc. The association of these digital visual
data with texts describing the identity and biography of individuals
constitutes nominal open files, of which the data is cumulative and,
above all, whose dissemination can be more or less restricted or
sometimes even generalised. These different developments allow for
the drawing up of lists and records that are the equivalent, albeit
in a more flexible and powerful form, of the information-gathering
undertaken by various modern police forces in the pre-I.T. era.
These police agencies, which have of course been modernised in the
meantime, now face competition from economic, religious and political
players who establish ?listings? using the same methods and machines.
The fulfilment of the old panoptic dream is in fact more like a
thousand-faceted prism, since it includes several points of entry,
private and/or public, disciplinary and/or (especially) preventive,
ubiquitous and intemporal.

Such are the current achievements of the /internet of signs, sounds
and pictures/, the development of which has provoked upheaval in
pre-existing sectors such as public and private security, health and
the media and has led to the creation of new centres of activity, such
as I.T. training, software, research and computer-editing development,
training in image and digital sound, etc.

Towards the digitalisation of all objects and organisms in the ?real

Yet the power and dynamism of such performances do not exhaust the
imaginative possibilities of general digitalisation, which is in
essence unlimited. The undertaking is driven by a tension towards
infinite digitalisation which, through the use of increasingly
powerful automatons, has the task of digitalising the totality of
objects in the world. That is why the project of an /internet of
objects and living organisms/ has been established little by little,
thanks to the fulfilment of a number of vital conditions.

Although the issue at hand is to visualise digitalised information
on computers, this information does not in fact have the same status
as the aural, textual or visual by-products of these motorised
logico-mathematic automatons. In the new kinds of internet networks,
the primary aim is to /collect and locate all the objects and living
organisms existing in the ?real? world/ and to attribute to each of
them, on the one hand, a specific identification address and, on the
other, to enable them to carry labels in the world of things and
beings, such as the RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) microchip.
Most everyday objects that carry barcodes are being replaced by these
contactless chips that can be read from a distance by digital sensors
connected to their interconnected matrixes, computers. Permanent
updating of these labels and the tracking of their whereabouts are
enabled by attributing to each object or living organism one of those
well-known ID addresses that now identify each computer within the
present-day system and by enabling them, via digital technology, to be
used in GPS (Global Positioning System) systems.

Many applications for these increasingly miniaturised microprocessors
already exist, whether it is in the field of health, banking or the
military context, to name only these sectors. We might note that
in Australia, all banking staff are automatically implanted with
microchips and that the same is true of military personnel. If we try
to put a figure on the microchip market, it is reckoned that in 2008,
sales in the identification of medicine, baggage, animals, books,
tickets, etc. will amount to 6.8 billion RFID labels. (11)

Towards a ?planetary? and ubiquitous code

These microprocessors are being implemented before our eyes and their
almost miraculous multiplication is invading all areas of society.
But the description of developments in terms of their usefulness,
whether in economic, commercial or health terms, does not do justice
to the totality of the project. In fact, inanimate objects and
living organisms marked in this way can only enter into the dance of
the internet of objects and organisms if an ID address (12) can be
attributed to each individual within these innumerable legions. It
is at the price of this convergence between the ?real? destiny of
each object, of each organism, and the computerised trace of each of
them in the interconnected computer system that the manifestation of
digitalising power is located; it is also in this context that the
concept of ubiquity can be interpreted, the status whereby a trace
of the ?real? object is found simultaneously on several computer
screens. How can every object and being on the Earth be digitalised
and their developments tracked? The scope of this project, driven by
its reference to divine infinity, as shown in the work of Leibniz,
involves creating codes that can really do the job that is asked of
them, if the project is to be successful, and to attribute an ID
address to each object, to each stone on the ground and each sheep in
the field.

Certain Japanese companies, using a joint research centre ? the
?Ubiquitous ID Centre? ? have developed technology enabling them to
obtain ?a unique identification code, which, when applied to ?real
world objects,? makes them easy to read on a computer.? This ucode
could replace many different codes that are applied to objects,
whether they are Japanese or European inscription codes of objects or
existing standardisations. Each individual object can be inscribed
with an ID address since the capacities of this new code are gigantic.
The basic 128-bit code can be extended to 256, 384 or 512 bits. If
we only consider the 128-bit figure, 34x1037 codes (34 followed by
37 zeros) can be attributed to it, that is, a billion labels can be
attributed to objects and/or living organisms every day for over a
billion years. (13)

All the above is summed up in the definition of the main aims of the
Ubiquitous ID Center: "The goal of the Ubiquitous ID Center is to
establish and spread the infrastructure technologies for automatically
recognizing ?things,? thus allowing for the creation of ubiquitous
computing environments.? (14) The first essential aspect of the
internet of objects and living organisms involves an attempt to set
up a full-size panopticon, like that described by Michel Foucault in
Discipline and Punish. (15)

The other essential aspect evoked in this definition is to allow for
the creation of ubiquitous computing environments. This time the aim
is to bring to the traditional, heavy, in short, rather stupid, real
world, new, radically digitalisable objects that can be added more and
more successfully to the general panopticon that is being created.
Here a new element appears which can help bring out another essential
link in the general digitalisation project: the reconstruction of the
?real world?. The "panopticon" can only be set up in the social fields
that have previously been ?rationalised, formatted?, and which are
ready to receive the good news of the progress of digitalisation. This
is the point we must now examine.

3. The general reconstruction of the world

Laboratories as the building sites of a new world.

The founders of modern science ? Galileo, Marin Mersenne, Descartes,
Pascal, Gassendi ? considered that mathematics was not only the
fundamental language of knowledge, but also constituted the very
structure of the ?real?. This fundamental status attributed to
mathematics implies both the certainty of its demonstrations and the
fact that it constitutes the substratum of ?Nature?, of the ?real?.
By examining ourselves, each of us, according to Galileo, ?can
rediscover the use of our understanding and recall the foundations of
our knowledge of reality, the alphabet or elements of language ? of
mathematic language ? spoken by the nature that God created?. (16)

But the founding fathers never limited themselves to this bare fact or
to making sweeping affirmations. Galileo, for example, who was one of
the most active, and who had the most practical spirit, was convinced
he possessed the mathematical key to the real but was not satisfied
with a theoretical reconstruction of the world. He also wanted to
account for the sensible world, the physical world, to account for
the complexity of its movements, for the incredible diversity of its

The aim was to find the mathematical essence of nature beyond the
chaos of impressions, the clash between things, ?the confusion of
phenomena?. Such was the new programme that the search for truth
should follow. But this in fact was where the difficulties began, as
Galileo?s enemies had foreseen. That is why Galileo has Simplicio,
the character in the Dialogues who represents his Aristotelian
adversaries, say that ?these mathematical subtleties do very well
in the abstract, but they do not work out when applied to sensible
and physical matters.? (17) Terrestrial matter never materialises in
precise geometric forms. In the real world, there are no straight
lines, no planes, no triangles and no spheres, so we cannot apply the
laws of geometry to the physical world. If in spite of everything
we keep faith with the founding hypothesis that gave a central
position to mathematics, we can maintain the principle according to
which the real is, in the final analysis, mathematic, and admit that
physical beings resemble geometric beings approximately. But we come
up against another insoluble difficulty to the extent that, having
no means to measure the gap between geometric and real figures, we
cannot consequently claim to have access to true knowledge of the
real. Galileo, alias Simplicio, takes up the profound criticism
Aristotelians made against a mathematical approach to the physical
world: it is impossible, with the help of precise, rigid, simplifying
mathematical reasoning to do justice to the multiple, imprecise,
changeable reality of the physical world.

To escape from this vicious circle, Galileo invented a solution that
was to play a prominent role in the development of modern science.
He criticizes equally those who think it is enough endlessly to
affirm the eminent role of mathematics, and those who deny it this
pre-eminence. Rejecting its purely abstract character, Galileo
disclosed the reality of mathematics to all by embodying it in
phenomena that had it as their basis: experiments. This is the deepest
meaning of experimentation, the origin of laboratories.

For Galileo, mathematics precedes experimentation but does not replace
it, since experimentation is where it is embodied. The language and
method used do not come from the experiment but are its precondition:
they constitute it. But in a deeper sense, experimentation is in fact
based on a ?metaphysical? change in our view of the world. It is not
only constructed using the theory but is also required to reveal the
accuracy of the conceptions that inspired its design. Experimental
activity introduces a new presence into the sensible world, objects
and movements whose being is not only rational but also perceptible,

The threshold Galileo crossed in devising his famous inclined plane
experiment is a striking revelation of the entry of the first objects,
both concrete and intelligible, of the first rational and real
phenomena, into a truly real, but still confused, world. This is how
Galileo describes it: ?In a wooden beam or rafter about twelve braccia
long, half a braccio wide, and three inches thick, a channel was
rabbeted in along the narrowest dimension, a little over an inch wide
and made very straight; so that this would be clean and smooth, there
was glued within it a piece of vellum, as much smoothed and cleaned
as possible. In this there was made to descend a very hard bronze
ball, well rounded and polished... As I said, the ball was allowed to
descend along the said groove, and we noted (in the manner I shall
presently tell you) the time that it consumed in running all the way,
repeating the same process many times, in order to be quite sure as to
the amount of time?This operation being precisely established, we made
the same ball descend only one-quarter the length of this channel, and
the time of its descent being measured, this was found to be precisely
one-half the other? the times of descent for diverse inclinations
maintained among themselves accurately that ratio that we shall find
later assigned and demonstrated by our Author.? (18)

The experiment is designed to embody a demonstration, a law, that
of the fall on inclined planes. The first invention consists
in substituting for the study of bodies in freefall ? almost
impossible to measure ? their fall on an inclined plane. Moreover,
the fundamental conditions of the experiment are organised according
to the requirements of theoretical measurement. The elements of the
experiment ? sphere, plane, measurement of the angles and the duration
? must be conjured out of nothing and, to this end, its artisans are
obliged to invent them following the geometric models the elements
are meant to embody. Lastly, the way the falls are organised, the
scale of the distances travelled and the measurement of the angles
between the horizontal and inclined planes determine the experiment?s
arrangement. The experimental structure thus created and organised
on Galileo?s desk can, at a price, confirm the accuracy of laws of
which the mathematical expression had been established beforehand:
?By experiments repeated a full hundred times, the spaces were
always found to be to one another as the squares of the times. And
this [held] for all inclinations of the plane.? (19) / The part of
the table on which the whole apparatus of carefully polished planes
was placed, where the unnaturally round spheres were rolled, is the
forerunner of the laboratory/. It is in the reserved space of the
laboratory that experiments would be organised and instruments used
that embody concretised theories; where, in short, a collection of
objects and events reconstructed according to the principles of
mathematic intelligibility would be progressively substituted for the
world of conspicuous, confused, elusive, everyday experience.

 >From enclosed spaces to space-worlds: ?rebuilding the world?

Into a chaotic world Galileo introduces a new line of intelligible
phenomena and beings, presenting the first creations transparent to
mathematic intelligibility in the sensible world. He inaugurated a
new phase of history in which a new world, reconstructed from the
debris of the old, was constituted and developed. He thus opened
up a vast workshop in the West, where men would pass from small,
carefully sealed off laboratories to other rational spaces, such as
the factory, in which rationalised labour and machines would reduce
and transform raw materials on a large scale and disseminate technical
objects all over the world. And this process, in ever wider and closer
concentric circles, would in turn form new reconstructed, artificial,
increasingly rational nature. This first constructed experiment,
founding the space reserved to laboratories, set in motion a complex
synergic movement in which scientific realisations would leave the
laboratory and be transferred to industry, which, in turn, would
spread the results in the social life of mankind. From this process a
new world ? our own ? would gradually emerge and be put in place.

The formation of scientific reason includes both the speculative
aspect already mentioned ? the setting up of new approaches, the
stress laid on quantification ? and a practical aspect, which is
revealed by experimentation and which regularly gives rise to
many misunderstandings. Experimentation is not above all about
verification but is rather the institution, the construction of a
new reality. Through the predominant place taken by experimentation
and laboratories, from experiment to experiment, from laboratory
to laboratory, the existence of this other aspect of modern reason
appears, its militant and activist side. Galileo did not merely
affirm the homogeneity of mathematics and nature: by devising the
first constructed experiments, he found a way to check this central
affirmation using rational instruments and experiments to produce,
in turn, new, intelligible phenomena. He was the first to try and
substitute for the world of sensible experience another world. As
it developed, this new world became more complex but was to remain
necessarily permeable to the work of reason. In the process it had
to shed the least trace of irrationality. This was the price to pay
for the birth and growth of this new constructed world to embody the
initial hypothesis and remove it from the realm of pious wishes.

Militant reason is the active face of reason, inextricably linked
to its speculative aspect, creating a world that is less and less
opaque to its ideal of transparency. In this context, modern observing
reason can take part in the construction of the endless building site
in which another meaningful world takes shape, a world gradually
embodying an autonomous order through scientific experimentation
and the network of laboratories and factories. Let us take the idea
further: is it not here a question of substituting for the original,
given world another that is permeable to the work of mathematization?
The rationality at work in modern sciences would thus have two
aspects, a speculative and theoretical aspect and an activist and
militant aspect, the objective of which is to reconstruct nature and
make it perfectly transparent, translucent in the eyes of speculative

4. Remembering living worlds

Crossing high mountains: making modifications of the ?real world?

It would be highly presumptuous to affirm that thanks to an act of
will, necessarily subjective, it could be possible to go back to the
poetic sources of living. One of the sources of Western power in its
modern guise in fact consists in embodying, embedding its ?collective
imaginary structures? (20) within a sort of real world that must
be endlessly reconstructed. The anthropocentrism of the Jewish and
Christian monotheisms, the human-divine kinship they affirm, are
deeply embedded in this process; more, they are in all probability at
the origin of the reconstructive agitation tending to refound a world
that is increasingly ?spiritual?. The blindness of their faith alone
allows us to grasp why Jewish and Christian believers inevitably fail
to recognise the deadly ravages of their actions.

The real world must be reconstructed? and it is, using bulldozers,
bombs, factories, tractors and pesticides. But it is also
reconstructed with mathematics and modern science, and lastly with
machines, robots and computers. The issue is not only to conceive the
world rationally but also to reconstruct it so that it will become ?
rational. But the rational evolution of a reconstructed world tends to
converge, between thought and action, and to be organised unilaterally
as the only world possible. When ways of life take root that are based
on industrial labour, collective transport and rigid timetables, on
rational habitats, then the only true world that each of us must live
in is organised forever ? because no other worlds exist any longer.
Is it really necessary to recall that the deepest sources of tyranny
do not reside in the all too visible existence of coercion but in the
accepted and internalised forgetting of other worlds, of those that
have been engulfed but also those that are nonetheless still possible.

The autonomy of automatons ? the animation of Simulacras

The two approaches I have outlined here, digitalisation and general
reconstruction, clearly converge towards the attribution of a divine
position. The control of space and time seems definitively acquired
and the whole planet is submitted to the ?diktats? of the human race.
We ought also to give an account of the activity of automatons,
machines and cyborgs, which have played and are still playing a major
role in attempts to remodel the earth and mankind. In the animation
of increasingly autonomous and competent ?inanimate? structures,
ever more varied and numerous, we can see one of the hallmarks of
industrial societies. It is thanks to the omnipresence and the power
of these entities that such societies maintain their existence, spread
across the surface of the globe, defeat the revolts continually
stirred up against their functioning and finally find a relevant model
of social survival, beyond temporal manifestations.

An account of the animation of inanimate structures cannot be reduced
to a rational description of the internal mechanical and electronic
structures of automatons and machines. That is the task of engineers.
Nor can we merely describe the psychosocial effects of automatons
and the impact their introduction has on individuals? lives. We must
take the phenomenological reduction further and ask why it has been
necessary to introduce targeted animation into inert structures, why
this procedure works, what ?ontological? status is given to them and
who are the creators of these animated but non-living entities.

We have sketched out a handful of orientations for a considerable task
ahead, one from which we have already drawn certain conclusions over
the past decades. A more detailed presentation would be out of place
in the present context. (21)

Michel Tibon-Cornillot

1) Unlike, it is true, many idiots from northern and eastern Europe and 
elsewhere, Anglo-Americans, Dutch, Scandinavians, Poles, etc., who still 
believe in ?progress? and the ?civilizing mission? of the West.
2) We will leave aside the study of the sources of these revolts, the 
poverty of the analyses put forward, whether they concern ?the 
exploitation of man by man?, a ?reactive? concept that can only lead to 
the repetition of the worst flaws of ?capitalism? and ?feminism? and 
ending up with praise for Condolezza Rice or with such secularism/racism 
that leads to teenage Muslims being pursued at the school gates.
3) See M. Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other 
Essays, trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper and Row, 1977).
4) See M. Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other 
Essays, trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper and Row, 1977).
5) Neocons, abbreviation of neo-conservative.
6) A favourite theme is ?Rebuilding the Middle-East?, an undertaking 
that is not without its difficulties, but as Mrs Condolezza Rice said in 
speaking of Lebanon, it is just a question of birth-pangs.
7) Cyrille Louis, La France entre dans l?ère biométrique, Figaro, 12/06/03.
8) Frédéric Mascre, La biometrie comme méthode d'authentification : 
enjeux et risques (Biometrics as Method of Authentification: the Stakes 
and the Risks), Echanges, 01/05/2003. The characteristics collected 
"must be universal (existing in all individuals), unique (allowing for 
the differentiation of one individual from another), permanent (enabling 
evolution over time), recordable (collecting individuals? 
characteristics with their agreement) and measurable (enabling future 
9) This is the number of computers used in the world in 2004 according 
to Computer Industry Almanach (CIA), an American market research 
consultancy in the IT sector. The figure should pass the symbolic one 
billion mark in 2007.
10) Daniel Poulin, Un point de vue nord-américain sur Internet et ses 
enjeux (An American viewpoint on the Internet and its stakes), April 
1996, on the site 
In this text, the author gives a highly dense summary of the movement 
that has led to the setting up of standard contents on the present-day 
internet: ?Highly diverse informational worlds have thus been united on 
the digital terrain of the computer. The consequences of this 
digitalisation are considerable. One of the first is that from now on 
the PC will no longer be limited to figures and words. If it is powerful 
enough, it can reproduce music with a very high fidelity, display 
videos, allow for the organisation of videoconferences or phone 
conversations. The development in speed and capacity of PCs, notably 
their capacity to manipulate sound and pictures, has placed these 
machines at the heart of the phenomenon of media convergence.?
11) The text is available in French at the following address: 
C:\winword\Biometrics06\RFID, IMPLANTS Le meilleur des mondes (Page 1) - 
PC INpact.htm
12) On today?s internet, computers can be linked using the IP protocol 
(Internet Protocol) which uses digital addresses called IP addresses. IP 
addresses are generally 32-bit addresses, usually written as four whole 
numbers. Two parts of the IP address are distinguished: a part of the 
numbers on the left designates the network and is called the ID of the 
network (NetID). The figures on the right designate the computers of 
this network and are called the Host-ID.
13) This text, presented by the Ubiquitous ID Center, can be found at 
the following address: http://www.uidcenter.org/english/uid.html:
Unique identification for all objects
The most fundamental element for ubiquitous ID technology is the unique 
ubiquitous identification code (ucode) assigned to real-world objects in 
a format easily read by computers. This enables computers to 
automatically recognize real-world objects for processing guided by an 
awareness of the context.
There are currently many different code systems applied to objects at 
work in the distribution sector and other fields. For example, JAN 
codes, EAN codes, and UPC codes are used in barcodes, while ISBN codes 
are used for books and other publications. (The abbreviations stand for 
Japanese Article Number, European Article Number, Universal Product 
Code, and International Standard Bibliographic Number, respectively.) 
These codes are assigned to types of products, so the ISBN assigned to a 
book ?Botchan? cannot be used to distinguish individual books within 
this category. In contrast, the ucode system is fundamentally a means of 
identification for individual objects. This system provides a way to 
identify each book ?Botchan? stacked flat in a bookstore or each bottle 
of wine in a liquor store with individual ucodes. The unique codes 
assigned to each object can be especially significant for items such as 
food or medicine with distinctive characteristics and expiration dates. 
It can also be used as the basis for information services.
ucode: 128 bits long
As a code, the ucode is 128 bits long and can be extended as needed in 
128-bit units to 256, 384, or 512 bits. With 128-bit numbers, 
340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 codes can be assigned.
14) The full Ubiquitous ID Center text can be found at the URL mentioned 
above: "The goal of the Ubiquitous ID Center is to establish and spread 
the infrastructure technologies for automatically recognizing "things," 
thus allowing for the creation of ubiquitous computing environments. 
This has been a long standing goal of the TRON Project since it was 
officially launched in 1984, and Ubiquitous IDs (uIDs) are essential 
components for realizing them. These infrastructure technologies include 
not just the specifications of chips for radio frequency identification 
and/or contact/non-contact smart cards, but also those for reader 
devices plus a 128-bit identification numbering scheme, the numbers for 
which will be allotted by the Ubiquitous ID Center. Validation testing 
of the electronic IDs is scheduled to begin in April, the Ubiquitous ID 
Center said."
15) M. Foucault ? Discipline and Punish; on the panopticon, see chapter 
3. .
16) A. Koyré - Etudes Galileonnes - Hermann, Paris, 1966 - p. 286
17) Galileo Galilei - Dialogo sopra i due massini sistemi del mondo, 
Ptolemaico e Copernico - Dialogo - Ibid - p. 423
18) Galileo Galilei ? Two new sciences, tranl. Stillman Drake (Madison: 
University of Wisconsin Press, 1974), pp. 169-70.
19) Galileo Galilei ? Two new sciences, tranl. Stillman Drake (Madison: 
University of Wisconsin Press, 1974), pp. 169-70.
20) This concept was first expressed in the work of Hegel and 
particularly in his philosophy of history within which each culture, 
each people is attributed a specific Volksgeist, the spirit of a people. 
This concept has been taken up many times; the idea of imaginary 
collective structures appears to correspond fairly well to the theme of 
the Hegelian Volksgeist.
21) For readers interested in these issues, we recommend the following 
texts: La radicalisation du fétichisme", in Rue Descartes, n°28, Revue 
du Collège International de Philosophie, Paris, June 2000, and above 
all, our doctoral thesis, published in 1991, and entitled Des automates 
aux chimères. Enquête sur la mécanisation du vivant.

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