Ben Bartosik

May 31, 2024

Writing about computer assisted design in city planning, Sennett makes a fascinating statement on how it fails to consider the incomplete.

"The calculations draw a false inference about how well the finished object will function. Overdetermined design rules out the crinkled fabric of buildings that allow little startup businesses, and so communities, to grow and vibrate. This texture results from underdetermined structures that permit use to abort, swerve, and evolve."

It's hard not to think about AI while reading this book and there's something in this idea that I am intrigued by. Computer driven responses tend to deal in the complete or finished. We ask a question and we get an answer. Yet Sennett's point here is that the real world is harder to predict. Life happens in the unfinished parts of the structures or rules we design.

I think of it as potential, something perhaps machines are incapable of considering.