Review of Recursivity and Contingency in American Book Review

Bruce Clarke’s review of Cathrine Malabou’s Morphing Intelligence and Recursivity and Contingency is now available: https://bit.ly/3aW4mTg

“What, then, is cybernetics? It would seem, a monster with many heads. In Recursivity and Contingency, Yuk Hui notes that cybernetics is “not really a discipline but rather a movement with enormous richness and heterogeneity of ideas.” Hui codifies the diversity of cybernetics in two mirror images capturing how its concept has been split into opposing personae: “One is reductionist: it reduces organisms to feedback systems, which are imitations.” This is the image of cybernetics reflected in machine systems that imitate the organic performances of the human mind, the perceptions and senses of the animal nervous system, or other physiological capacities and regularities, by reduction to routines of calculation and prediction. “The other is nonreductionist … beyond any form of technological determinism; it is open to contingency without only reducing it to calculation.”