Improvising Out of Algorithmic Isolation

Michael Garfield
12 min readMar 25, 2021
“Drawing Hands” by M.C. Escher.

These miraculous machines!
Do we shape them
Or do they shape us?
Or reshape us from our decent, far designs?

But we are learning.
We are learning to build for the future
From the ground up.

Robert Flaherty, 1948

This was written for a forthcoming essay collection by Bennington College, but will be so heavily rewritten that my editor has



Michael Garfield

Here to help you navigate the accelerating weirdness! Biologist turned philosopher, host of #FutureFossils & #ComplexityPodcast, ex @sfiscience ex @longnow.