Dreamful Computing – A very short provocation

Dreamful computing is inquiring ways to store, transmit and process data for working on seemingly unsolvable societal problems, such as the distribution of wealth, the occurrence of injustice, income and wealth inequality, or even climate change in terms of a manageable transition process from neoliberalism/capitalism to more preferable conditions. Dreamful computing works and operates not towards some sort of final solution, but at the same time aims not merely to problematize existing forms of computation. Instead, it offers productive ways to go sideways. This implies knowing about existing forms of computer modeling as developed and applied in computational economics, environmental modeling, computational sociology, etc. but even more to be critical about the one-sided knowledge and insufficient solutions they produce. Dreamful computing, therefore, wants to tackle the impossible and utopian. It surely is a variant of otherwise practices with-in computing focusing on fields and applications of computation, which are following neither profit-oriented nor innovation-driven research agendas.

            Dreamful computing is related to socialist computing, in terms of its interest in issues and problems of economical inequality or it is related to feminist computing in terms of its aims to empower women and abolish inequalities based on gender. Embodied into hardware and software, into planetary infrastructures on all levels and scales of the stack, it operates, controls, and calculates not to optimize, predict nor accelerate for the powerful, but it wants to serve the unprivileged. Dreamful computing is dreamful since it believes, that computation as such is not inherently injustice or biased, or extractive, but the practices, frameworks, and institutional and infrastructural around computation are mostly so. Therefore dreamful computing is also related to practices of commoning as it is pursued by small communities for example formed by post-growth-oriented housing cooperatives.

            Dreamy computing is a strong partner, but not quite the same since dreamful computing is interested in organic, more-than-silicon-based (eco)-systems, which “perform” computation such as the mycelium, slime molds, etc. These are forms of computing, which seem to be driven by a sort of organic fever, subconscious, animistic agencies. Still, dreamful computing needs to be implemented as an open not closed system to avoid paranoid artifacts as we could see in Google’s DeepDream. Or in the words of Deleuze-Guattari, it needs to operate like a body-without-organs, like a rhizome, like a system of channels, knots, links, etc. or algorithms, data, and protocols, where imposed structures and hierarchical organizations are used, performed, and applied, but only to get relaxed, dismantled and dissipated again. Congestion from unreasonable amounts of wealth, energy, data, or information is not wanted. To be dreamy is allowed, but not forever and certainly with respect and responsibility. Dreamful computing, therefore, is ethical and community-oriented even beyond its borders. As such conceptualizing dreamful computing is itself a dreamful endeavor.

            Dreamful computing is ever-changing, never satisfied with a solution. Still, it is not desperate nor bitter or cynical, it is more hopeful and playful. The dreams dreamful computing enables to dream are shared by more-than-one-human. Ideally, dreamful computing has to offer something to all beings even to all kinds of matter.  Let us start to dream more about dreamful computing!