Spaces of decision in the cybernetic age

Colloquium | September 18 | 3:30-5 p.m. | 575 McCone Hall

 David Bates, Department of Rhetoric, University of California Berkeley

 Department of Geography

How can we conceptualize decision in the automatic age? When human brains are understood as largely unconscious systems where the "will" is merely an illusion, and computer algorithms make decisions and predict our futures, can we think politics -- or what Carl Schmitt called "the political" -- in any coherent way? In this talk, I will track some historical entanglements, where decision is reimagined across the boundaries of technology, biology, and human organizations. Key to this discourse is the challenge of cybernetics: what is decision in a dynamic adaptive information system? Where can it be located in complex organizations without obvious centers of authority?