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Whose territory am I?

A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.
Alfred Korzybski, Science and Sanity, p. 58.

I know I’m tilting at windmills but I also think this needs to be reiterated.

We know that an increasing number of private and public organizations are modeling us. Online tracking, connected devices, ghost profiles, cohort analyses… We are incompletely defined, wrongly (in both senses of the word) mapped.

What we still have to understand and assimilate in Popular Culture is the usefulness and use of these maps by and for those who design them. Because in the same way that a path indicated on a map becomes more frequented, and therefore more clearly marked on the territory than a non-mapped path, the aberrations of our models become, due to the manipulations of our publication timelines and filtered bubbles, our own mental pathways.

Comment

  • karl
    Permalink to this comment

    karl

    This reminds me of a blog post I had written about this: “We, the robots”.

    We are defined by our experiences and encounters. Algorithms expose us to a certain type of content, hence we are modeled through these exposures. Following the directions on Google Maps is a convenience, but it is also an abandon of our will. It doesn’t create the same type of accidents. This is very different than following a track on a paper map for example and define our own trajectory, route with criteria we are not even conscious of in the first place. A forest color, a shade of mountains, the name of a village are sources of serendipity, with no bearing on algorithms made for optimizing. Optimizations lead to a common uniform “us”, the robots.

    Reply to karl