while it’s a bit lengthy – there’s some good stuff in What is Information? The Flow of Bits and the Control of Chaos [italics added for emphasis] that could give the budding armchair philosopher cocktail conversationalist grist for the naval-gazing mixers’ mill [or something like that]:
“Information science operates with a binary logic of reflection which results in multiple paths, but these paths are always circumscribed by laws of combination (Deleuze, & Guattari, 1987). In this manner the fragmented space and time of information flows is reordered and directed toward specific objectives. But the objectives of information processing within the capitalist dynamic are not end points– they are aimed at an accumulation of knowledge that is always an impetus for further accumulation, for multiplying the flow, opening out into every horizon. But this flow is at the same time stored up in a central memory which traces the exact paths of this flow, connecting geographic spaces and matching up the temporal
locations of dispersed market centers. This central memory system functions through command trees, centered systems and hierarchical structures that attempt to fix possible pathways of the network and thus to limit the possible variations immanent in the network. The definitions of information formulated within information science and information economics derive from and serve this modeling of the system. As we have seen, information defined as nonsemantic discrete bits flowing across space and then directed and stored substantiates information as the object of control. Thus, the enemy of the information scientists and economists is heterogeneity, disorganization, noise, chaos. They want an uninterrupted flow, but at the same time a destruction of the unnecessary. This encloses or territorializes information; it becomes a part of capitalism’s mapping of space and time. But what we have found is that information’s function is precisely to disorganize, interrupt, to remain itself and at the same time to disperse. Information may, in fact, be a keyword connecting the phenomenon we have examined, but not as an element, nor as a content, but as a heterogeneous remapping of space and time. If the information
society is to be our society, let it be disorganized. ”
while you wouldn’t know it, because the .bookshelf box is so horribly out of date, this reminds me of How We Became Posthuman : Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics which has been sitting on my real bookshelf begging, nay, pleading for me to stop neglecting it:
“In this age of DNA computers and artificial intelligence, information is becoming disembodied even as the “bodies” that once carried it vanish into virtuality. While some marvel at these changes, envisioning consciousness downloaded into a computer or humans “beamed” Star Trek-style, others view them with horror, seeing monsters brooding in the machines. In How We Became Posthuman, N. Katherine Hayles separates hype from fact, investigating the fate of embodiment in an information age.
Hayles relates three interwoven stories: how information lost its body, that is, how it came to be conceptualized as an entity separate from the material forms that carry it; the cultural and technological construction of the cyborg; and the dismantling of the liberal humanist “subject” in cybernetic discourse, along with the emergence of the “posthuman.”
Ranging widely across the history of technology, cultural studies, and literary criticism, Hayles shows what had to be erased, forgotten, and elided to conceive of information as a disembodied entity.”