The Abstraction of Benjamin Bratton

Software, Sovereignty, and Designer Sociology

Intellectual Design

Processes and Productions of Abstraction

The Stack

  • Cloud; corporate global internet and infrastructure (a la Google, Amazon, Facebook), remapping sovereignty in the process
  • City; lived experience of daily life, smart grids, endless surveillance, and monitorized consumption
  • Address; identification, location, control, governance, full spectrum mapping
  • Interface; coupling users and computers, ideological and politicized interface , AI/ VR/ AR
  • User; customers, contributors, participants, human and non — human

The Stack on Crack

Upgrading Our Mental Software Stack

credit: Archie’s Press

Designer Sociology

‘Designer sociology’ plays on the fact that Bratton has a design background but also is meant as a counterpoint to the concept of designer babies (cf. Designer babies: an ethical horror waiting to happen?). Rather than try to design the ultimate human, we should design the ultimate society for all humans. Rather than practice eugenics, we should practice eudaemonics and design a social system that is conducive to human flourishing and happiness. Our systems’ resources are disproportionately focused on the wrong things, perennially attending to the symptoms and not the root problems. Bratton smashes this point home in a 2011 interview:

OSI model; “open systems interconnection”

Concluding Remarks, or a Remarkable Conclusion(?)



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Brent Cooper

Political sociologist by training, mystic by nature, rebel by choice. Executive Director of The Abs-Tract Organization. #pointbeing #abstract