Benjamin Bratton Pens Planetary Sapience Manifesto

Picking up where The Stack (2016) left off, theorist Benjamin Bratton sketches a future of computation for Noema. Building on ideas from Marshall McLuhan and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, he articulates how “planetary sapience” pushes previous understandings of collective intelligence, computing power, and globalization into unsettling new territory—and takes stock of the implications. If The Stack articulated the end of sovereign nations driving a global agenda, this essay reads as a roadmap for life after Silicon Valley (and China’s tech stack). Looking beyond our current wasteful use of computing power—surveillance capitalism—Bratton imagines how and why we might use the sprawling computational infrastructure (the “smart exoskeleton”) we’ve built to enact planetary techno-solidarity.


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