Cosimo Accoto

From the City-State to the City-Stack

A digital phylosopher, cultural innovator and affiliated researcher at MIT, Cosimo Accoto explains why we are facing not only a paradigm shift but, actually, a new form civilization

The relationship between philosophy and the city is ancient. We could actually say symbiotic. The philosophical thought of the origins in the West was born within the Greek city-states. Thus the polis is the place where philosophy at its beginnings flourishes and is practiced to the highest degree. At the same time, the city is also the brainchild of technology, of its capacity to create and shape the world.

The city is designed, planned, built, maintained, prospered and destroyed with the engineering deployed by the various civilizations throughout their history. However, contemporary urbanism no longer materializes in the old city-state but rather in an emerging city-stack. In other words, a stratified and codified city, sensorized and programmable, algorithmic and protocological.

Let's ask ourselves, then, what happens to philosophical thought in the encounter with the new city-stack? What new urban philosophy evokes this new "terraforming" here on Earth? How to think of this new way of being (inhabited) on our planet?

With the pervasiveness of digital technologies we are moving from the society of the archive to the society of the oracle, based on anticipating the needs of citizens and consumers. We no longer work on real time but on near time, the near future. This is not a technological innovation but a change of civilization

Opening image © Mirko Cecchi

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