Why Tanglegence

The concept is still in its early days, although the word has already circulated within European tech-savvy élites. Tanglegence is a contraction of (en)tangled and convergence: a first definition is the “entangled” convergence of cloud, mobile, social, big data, IoT, blockchain, and so forth, that is, of paradigms and technologies whose intertwining is not deterministic (let alone linear) and leads to mini-singularities with unexpected effects. In short, a complexity with the capability of generating either value or chaos as a function of our readiness to conceive it, to manipulate it, to implement adequate governance.

A governance which will be entrusted with the difficult task of maintaining a balance between centralisation (of large platforms, for example) and decentralisation, which does not mean just blockchain and edge computing systems, but markets as well. Paradigms and practices of software development also show a very strong centripetal tendency, inasmuch as forking and branching are de facto its basic “syntactic” elements: a “motion” which however finds its synthesis in the dual operation, that of merging.

We find ourselves immersed in an increasingly intertwined world, an ecosystem which has (at last…) dispossessed man from the centre to give equal dignity to “thingy” agents: machines, automata, device networks, decentralized autonomous structures. The code is not only eating the world, as Marc Andreessen put it, but is forging the world in its image and likeness. And the metaphor of a “stack” of overlapping layers (namely, Earth, Cloud, City, Address, Interface, User) proposed in 2016 by Benjamin H. Brattonn in his The Stack. On Software and Sovereignty has fallen into inadequacy. In reality, the layers contaminate each other, flourish in fractal contours, exhibit non-linear feedback.

The crisis triggered by the global pandemic, after all, is not only the black swan no one was expecting: it is an unprecedented disruption caused by a few Kilobytes of genetic information in an information ecosystem which conservative estimates give in the magnitude of tens of Zettabyte (which is to say, 10¹⁹ times bigger). The infosphere we live in turns out to be unstable and far from immune (no pun intended) to the butterfly effect.

First published on Tanglegence Engineering Blog
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