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ABSTRACT. This paper draws on authors’ recent works on cybernetics, complexity theory, quantum computing, Artificial Intelligence, deep learning, and algorithmic capitalism, and these ideas are brought together to develop a critical philosophy of the postdigital. Quantum computing is based on quantum mechanics and offers a radically different approach from classical computing based on classical mechanics. Cybernetics and complexity theory provide insight into systems that are too complex to predict their future. Artificial Intelligence and deep learning are promising the final stage of automation which is not compatible with the welfare state based on full employment. We have thus arrived into the age of algorithmic capitalism, and its current phase, “biologization of digital reason” is a distinct phenomenon that is at an early emergent form that springs from the application of digital reason to biology and the biologization of digital processes. Rejecting a fully mechanical universe, therefore, a critical pedagogy of the postdigital is closely related to Whitehead’s process philosophy, which is a form of speculative metaphysics that privileges the event and processes over and above substance. A critical philosophy of the postdigital is dialectically interrelated with the theories such as cybernetics and complexity theory, and also processes such as quantum computing, complexity science, and deep learning. These processes constitute the emerging techno-science global system, perpetuate (algorithmic) capitalism, and offer an opportunity for techno-social change.

Keywords: postdigital; critical philosophy; process philosophy; cybernetics; complexity theory; quantum computing; deep learning; algorithmic capitalism

How to cite: Peters, Michael A., and Tina Besley (2019). “Critical Philosophy of the Postdigital,” Review of Contemporary Philosophy 18: 64–79.

Received 10 September 2018 • Received in revised form 24 September 2018
Accepted 24 September 2018 • Available online 1 October 2018

doi:10.22381/RCP1820193

MICHAEL A. PETERS
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Beijing Normal University
(corresponding author)
TINA BESLEY
Beijing Normal University

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