This insistence that machines don’t care and won’t care about what we see, or about what seeing certain things does to us as organisms, is a deep—and I think deeply productive—problem for the New Aesthetic. There’s a yearning, a beseeching in our relation to machines, and I can’t help thinking we’ll find ourselves spurned, or cuckolded, or worse in the end. Learning to see through machines is not the same thing as learning to see as machines. Networks manifest an aloof, alien kind of omniscience—increasingly ubiquitous and radically, irredeemably insensible in crucial ways. This is off-the-charts otherness, a hyperotherness… and from some quarters there is a yearning, a gnostic peering after some event horizon, a dreamt-of ubiquity or singularity, beyond which machines and human consciousness interpenetrate, some Michelangelesque digital touch-point—all of which Sterling would say is just so much eschatology in the vein of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. We’re not in fact empathizing with machines; we’re empathizing with screens. And when you consider what’s really going on in the machine, the screen behavior is epiphenomenal.