Vincent Garton

Vincent Garton has written on a range of topics involving religion, technology, aesthetics, and in particular their conjunction in Chinese culture and politics. His writing has been published by Palladium Magazine and is forthcoming in Machine Decision is Not Final: China and the History and Future of Artificial Intelligence (Urbanomic). He currently works as a developer in social media technology.

  • Aeons without History/Thesis on the Meta-Cartel

    Aeons without History/Thesis on the Meta-Cartel

    Vincent Garton and Edmund Berger

    Taking the apparent stasis of industrial society as their starting point, a historian and a political economist investigate the occult forces that control history.

    If historians measure the passing of historical time by the explosive rhythm of progress and collapse, Vincent Garton's Aeons Without History is a handbook to its conditions of stasis and directionless suspense—the forgotten intervals of hopelessness in which empires rot and prophecies fail.

    The wreckage surveyed sprawls from the dawn of civilization to the triumph of the automatic world, from Uruk to Beijing. Out of the gloom, distant yet uncomfortably familiar, we glimpse entire eras in which time itself became directionless, seemingly reduced to ruin. But the edifice of antiquarianism soon begins to crumble, and beneath the surface lies something more immediate: a meta-historical conspiracy for our times.

    Edmund Berger's Thesis on the Metacartel begins from a similar premise: something has happened to history. The accelerative thrust of modernity has been throttled, obsolesced by molten flows of monetary mass governed and regulated by an invisible axiomatic system whose contrivances unfurl in the dark corners of offshore financial havens and in the halls of the world's central banks.

    Within this occult architecture, technocratic planners outline schemes for the centuries to come, acting in concert with countless spooks and hired agents who thrive in the secret anarchy of the world system. From New York to Basel, from the tropical islands of the Caribbean to the webs of interlaced development zones, the ligaments of this entity are traced and a series of theses concerning the nature of its operations is proposed. Rising up from the smog of non-history is the spectre of the Metacartel.

    An Urbanomic K-Pulp Switch: singular texts by two different authors in a classic pulp format.

    • Paperback $18.95


  • Machine Decision Is Not Final

    Machine Decision Is Not Final

    China and the History and Future of Artificial Intelligence

    Benjamin H. Bratton, Anna Greenspan, and Bogna Konior

    An interdisciplinary, cross-cultural collection that decenters familiar narratives to provide a fresh perspective on what artificial intelligence is today, and what it might become.

    Historians, media theorists, science-fiction writers, philosophers, and artists from China and elsewhere reexamine the nation's intense engagement with AI, moving beyond the clichés that still dominate contemporary debate.

    Today, visions of the contested future of AI veer between common planetary goals and a new Cold War, as culturally-specific models of intelligence, speculative traditions, and thought experiments come up against the emergence of novel forms of cognition that cannot be reduced to any historical cultural tradition.

    This uniquely positioned volume provides expert insight into this tension, using China as a touchstone for rethinking "artificiality" and "intelligence" as sites of difference in a way that is already present in the difficulty of precisely translating the Chinese term 人工智能. Tracking the history of Chinese AI from the pre-Cultural Revolution to the post-Deng Xiaoping eras right up to contemporary debates surrounding facial recognition, the writers in this collection draw on a mixture of speculative thought experiments and cutting-edge use cases to offer singular views on topics including AI and Chinese philosophy, AI ethics and policymaking, the development of computational models in early Chinese cybernetics, and the aesthetics of Sinofuturism.

    Spanning borders between different worlds, histories, futures, and foundational models, Machine Decision is Not Final is not only a timely reappraisal of the stakes of AI development, but a tool for constructing more global imaginaries for the future of AI.

    ContributorsBlaise Aguera y Arcas, Bo An, Benjamin Bratton, Shuang Frost, Vince Garton, Steve Goodman, Yvette Granata, Anna Greenspan, Amy Ireland, Xia Jia, Bogna Konior, Vincent Le, Lawrence Lek, Lukas Likavcan, Suzanne Livingston, Iris Long, Bingchun Meng, Reza Negarestani, Chen Quifan, Gabriele de Seta, Hongzhe Wang, Wang Xin, Mi You

    • Paperback $19.95