No/humanness in the Immediate

We are becoming ever more impatient, and waiting which will always be part of any process [1], seems more like an inadequacy in the human code, there’s this old fixation with utility and efficiency which is slowly killing all that is organic within ourselves and surrounding us. From the days of industrialization, and the beginning of the engine era, our pace has constantly been stepping up affected by new technologies [1]. Being modern is being fast and productive, our wireless context allows and so many other times demands us to be in many different places at many different times, we are living the future, the same future that, as years ago, relies on the cultural obsession with immediateness and the well-developed infrastructure illiteracy.

Our cultural geography and temporality are ruled by capital systems, who, more than ever, are putting a value on time, we’ve come from having tangible benefits in reducing time on communication systems to making immediateness a final product itself. Another phenomenon is the overgrowing invisibility of infrastructures and with these a lack of understanding of who controls those services we rely so much on upon; by these means, we might live under the impression that investments to obtain better accessibility may be part of our nation’s interest in the common well and better social development but the reality is that nearly all, if not all, internet infrastructure belongs to private companies [2] and such investments have as final ends the creation of more need rather than providing solutions.



These private owners are in constant search of investors and expansion grounded on probabilities of data consumption [3], an interesting approach on this matter is to analyze the extent of services these private companies own and how they use user data for developing still unneeded infrastructure base on, the already capitalized, searches, screen time, and clicks, to name a few. It is no wonder that their main interest is to keep providing quick and borderless access to such services as they plan to expand and create more apps and services that will demand broader data access, creating an ever-accelerating cultural imaginary [4].

The idea of services beyond geography and borders may seem utopic but in practice, they come with rather problematic issues. The fact that most of these infrastructures rely on private entities who are not engaged in national matters such as, territory or natural resources affairs, or national privacy policies are some practical problems, but on a cultural imaginary scale, we have to understand the power we are giving to such entities, especially, in the social understanding of time and immediateness, and how these perceptions are being translated into other spheres such as education and culture.

As an effect, time is, more and more, being perceived as less useful on critical and investigating spaces because of the lack of practical utility [5] but especially because they are not at the same pace with the cultural imaginary pace that telecommunication infrastructures have created. While being obsessed with immediateness we are pushing ourselves towards a practical conception of reality, where our attention is shifting from being analytical and explorative to producing and consuming cyclicly at a fast speed. This phobia of waiting is affecting the way we understand information and also how it is being taught; nowadays education institutions rush students to get their degrees done quickly, courses cut studying hours by half, and there is a tendency for more self-studies. By assimilating the accelerating pace of infrastructures we are putting at risk capacities to generate ideas, instead of quickly searching for pre-solved answers.

Nowadays it is almost a revolutionary act not to follow what some app says and choose to be consciously slow on our way to our next meeting, or that inevitable metro trip, adding some non-efficient gap in our routine and it is even more revolutionary to go through one specific topic all over until words lack sense. We are expected to know things or search them immediately if not the case. Exploration and mistakes are permitted but there are limits and deadlines. Time is ticking constantly and on the other side of it, are the communication networks making it go even faster.

Knowledge isn’t immediate, isn’t invisible, these big entities are looking for blind and illiterate users, to keep on growing at an accelerated pace. We have to question what’s the limit of our unstable ethics and start visualizing the physicality and social effects of this unrestricted massive political private control before there’s only left generations of systematic consumers with no further soul or purpose.



[1] Invisible and Instantaneous: Geographies of Media Infrastructure from Pneumatic Tubes to Fiber Optics. Farman, J. 2018. Geospatial Memory, 2 (1), pp.134-154.

[2] Submarine Cable Map.

[3] “Fixed Flow: Undersea Cables as Media Infrastructure,” in Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures. Starosielski, N., Urbana, Chicago, And Springfield: University Of Illinois Press, 2015, 53-70.

[4] The Tech Giant’s Invisible Helpers. Ovide, S. 2020

[5] In defense of the useless. Ordine N. 2016.