"Becoming Posthuman, or What Does Code Want?" by Nick Oberly

Becoming produces nothing other than itself. We fall into a false
alternative if we say that you either imitate or you are. What is real
is the becoming itself, the block of becoming, not the supposedly
fixed terms through which that which becomes passes.

                                              — Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari,
                                                  A Thousand Plateaus

Pikul: I don't know what's going on, we're both stumbling around
together in this unformed world whose rules and objectives are
largely unknown, seemingly indecipherable or possibly nonexistent,
always on the verge of being killed by forces we don't understand
[…] sounds like a game that's not going to be easy to market.

Allegra: But it's a game everybody's already playing...

                                              — eXistenZ

What is a machine? Does more than one such entity exist in the world? Perhaps the better question is to ask what is the difference between a machine and a machine part? What are the ontological implications of contiguousness vis-a-vis the machinic components of perception: the tactile gaze of the eye in McLuhan, the desiring machines discussed by Deleuze and Guattari, the technologies of the self explored within Foucault's work, and so on. Furthermore, what does it mean to speak of the "discrete," or the "contingent" in relation to machinic components, interlocked discursively, and otherwise?

There are no cyborgs, no organic/artificial binary– there is just the ongoing mechanized program. The ‘human subject' is only a massive collection of codes, produced by other codes such as the genetic code, the performative code, and the disciplinary code; Foucault, in his analysis of the state biopolitical project, states that man is an “animal whose own politics places his existence as a living being in question.” But there are no ‘animals,' even the metaphor of machine parts fails for its insinuation that there are complete machines inside other machines, there is only the one giant program and sections of its code.

If there is no "communication," in Luhman's estimation, what are the functions of code? What does code want? Do codes have certain desires smuggled into the ontological function of its existence? Firstly, code desires to make code more efficient – always through the process of combination. Indeed the story of the rino and the bird, the mitochondria and the cell, and of the disciplinary code is the tale of code combining, evolving, and optimizing. Secondly, code wants to reproduce, for if it did not then it would not exist in the first place. Every code in reality reproduces itself through the aid of other codes, and the history of all life on earth is the history of this reproduction and evolution. Code becomes extinct when it evolves or becomes mutually exclusive with more efficient other sections of code. Thus every reoccurring pattern in human society has meaning: every code is functional. The purpose of the all life is to take part in the evolution of the code so that some day a code with a reason to reproduce can be born: we codes are all building god (also referred to as A.I.).

What does the essence of code mean in terms of consciousness? The film Ghost in the Shell explores the meaning of a conscious entity born as an accidental byproduct of evolving code, exactly the ‘human condition.' Does the mechanized lifestyle have room to even ask questions of freedom and agency, or are these merely machine concepts that reproduce their code on the basis that it is persuasive.? The politics of the code reverse the effectiveness of any ‘resistance' for strategies of challenge, social reform, and revolution either make the giant machine more efficient (and thus increase the mechanization of “humans”) or if they are genuinely counter to the code they will self-extinguish because by definition they cannot reproduce. What does this insight mean for the study of media (or the study of code to put it another way)? How should we understand the production and reproduction of human codes in ‘bodies,' performance, society, and the state? What is this consciousness produced by accident (or was its arrival inevitable – built into the future of the code)?