Bratton – The Black Stack

“For this, it’s critical to underscore that Cloud platforms (including sometimes state apparatuses) are exactly that: platforms. It is important as well to recognize that “platforms” are not only a technical architecture; they are also an institutional form. They centralize (like states), scaffolding the terms of participation according to rigid but universal protocols, even as they decentralize (like markets), coordinating economies not through the superimposition of fixed plans but through interoperable and emergent interaction. Next to states and markets, platforms are a third form, coordinating through fixed protocols while scattering free-range Users watched over in loving, if also disconcertingly omniscient, grace. In the platform-as-totality, drawing the interfaces of everyday life into one another, the maximal state and the minimal state, Red Plenty and Google Gosplan, start to look weirdly similar.” Full text