Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Everything Is a Virus

I contemplated the furniture ad banner at the top of the news site I visit again and again and again day after day. A mindless, unhuman mechanism—an algorithm—had placed it there in response to my browsing history. My behavior. My interactions.

There’s been some complaining about the glib use of “viral” in technology and marketing. How dare we? Viruses kill people. But we don’t use the term enough. It describes a kind of near-life, desirous to grow, expand, consume. It’s water running down a mountain or data surging through cables. It’s populations of people, of trees, of birds. It’s everything.