compiler,

productor, bakery: a (more or less material itself) machine for making material objects by atom-level assembly. Starting from late modernity, compilers drove the “postpostindustrial revolution” which ended the era of mass-manufacturing spam and dismantled much of the corporative global economy — taking down whole floors of the social order with it. ■    Once capable of self-reproduction, compilers “softwarized materiality” by shifting value — perception of whats worth paying for — from actual products to designs; manufacture was now largely a matter of time (compiling is fundamentally slow). A for-profit industry of copy-protected plans flourished at first but eventually lost to an open source model (better suited anyway to the asystemically additive materiality than to multiplicative software where it had been conceived); evolved by generations of volunteers, best public-domain designs universalized to subsume basic human needs. (Even in the manufacturing era, differently styled and branded products often relied on the same internal platform — open or at least reverse-engineerable so a device could be hacked regardless of the nameplate.) During sparsening, compilers atom-perfect, wear-resistant layerings ushered the “reliability revolution”: the build quality and longevity of everyday things rebounded as their variety plummeted; by now there are just a few common designs per a broadly defined need or concept.  ■    Early productors were much abused, their pattern poisoning not yet perceived a threat at the time; as Change progressed, however, compiler use started to decline. With gains in Crusoe self-sustenance, it is infrequent that a utilitarian object would need to be respawned, let alone designed from scratch; aside from ad-hoc arf sculptings and airbrush sketches, everyday human needs are served by old, continuously self-restoring implements — deceptively plain, fluidly morphed by decades of use (approaching “final fashion-proof forms” — “almost Platonic ideas”), amodally universal yet idiosyncratically personal. Still compiled and recycled in quantity are toys, art, and science — categories increasingly hard to separate; after the end of “global trade,” art is by far the largest class of things that change hands and travel across society in material form. Having lost its lifetime owner, an object eventually dissolves unless frozen and rethinged into a museum artifact.  ■    Whether our materiosphere is becoming less complex is arguable but the asystemity trend is not: a classic example is getting rid of systemic self-repair in favor of smart shaping and composition so a tool upkeeps itself just by being used. Even the compiler itself as a systemic contraption may be headed for extinction: a new class of designs self-compile from a minuscule material seed called ovum (so simple and so permissively defined, it can be filtered out from inorganic dust) and a stream of information — literally “a handwave and an incantation.” A related idea is macrocompilers: just as regular nanoscale compilers dont actually grab and pull atoms but arrange for them to crystallize out of thin air, a macro one forms attraction seats for larger chunks of matter; its something that rides atop natural processes, imperceptibly bends probabilities, performs strictly minimal actions — so, very eventually, “a castle builds itself” in the middle of the woods… quietly, inevitably, out of whats available there and then (compare Nature Minds) but per a precise architectural plan. Theoretically proven, macrocompilers may well turn out impractical (e.g. by being much slower than the already slow regular compilers) but theres an undeniable ethical appeal in their uncompromising adverbiality.

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