Archive for April 7, 2011
Does anyone know how to get rid of spam refferers?
Angkrit Ajchariyasophon via chang mai now at bcc
From an art show at bkk art house in the bangkok cultural center.
What’s disturbing about mechanical intelligence isn’t its capabilities, rather its what an a.i. free from the pinnings of emotion could do, machinic intelligence can operate in ways different from human and be so valuable to be taken as a spouse. Singularities need to be part of a human ethnic group. The cellphone, the nanosuit, these are already important parts of the social group, the nanosuit assimilates with the soldier, the phone with our social lives.
In Gibson the singularity learns from the web. It even composes dub. Machinic learning represents an alternative interpretation of human ethnicity, human communication goes in, otherness comes out. The problem of producing an intelligence over the human becomes where will such an intelligence learn from. If all ethnicity is writen at the human speed what will it look like in a blur?
Knowledge is, beyond biology, how we construct much of the social around us. Race, for instance, in America has much more to do with class and less to do with skin color, if these intelligences construct their ethnicities from us, will they need someone to hate too? Will they break into social groups? Should we expect machine intelligence with preppies and freaks?
But I think the bigger problem with the singularity, and the one that’s always bugging me is: can human thought be reduced to logic and mathematical reasoning? Do you really want o be an emulation of human intelligence running inside a machine intelligence that produces being in a different manor? By what means can we check that math’s swallowing of language is accurate? And after being swallowed, how will language change?
Let’s take for a moment James Gleick’s findings in The Information, literacy changed the way language worked. Pre-literature people think differently than post-literate people. Post-literates are better at abstractions, they think more like the machine they invented Platonism etc. The change from reality to living inside an abstraction creates multiple paradoxes, lest not forget that our singularity thing will need to somehow house the paradox of thought swallowing thought, as if that philosopher’s mirror: math could hold the brittle seductions of language inside itself. Additionally, as the linked white horse dialogue shows, words contain multiple contradictions in their usage, only resolvable because of a shared visual reality. I’m rambling and this has been sitting in edits for a week, so I’ll go ahead and publish, but this needs a little polish, I just don’t have the time.
No one had invited him. When the Reverend first figured out that it might be a good idea to sponsor a local deathmatch team he had posters printed up, “Holy Warriors” he wrote and then one Spartan bathed in the light with the Church behind. Join our fight every Sunday with a service from Junior Reverend Jessie Hillcock, the poster said on the bottom. The posters made it around, the Church became something of a hit, a regular 5 – 6 disciplies showed up every week, and then one day out of the spawn points came Pepper… He always came early and ran around looking at things, as if somehow the ground would tell him where to leave med boxes, the team had never impolitely kicked him off the team, but somehow he never left. The message had been somehow relayed, that Pepper was here to stay.
They had been in training with Pepper for two week when they noticed a bunch of new gamer tags coming onto the map. Jessie got ready to welcome them and Pepper began to spread out med boxes and mumble something into the microphone. They heard laughter of their headsets and the heavy, bass, thrawl of some metal dirge she half remembered, but seemed to be playing slower and more menancing. Their heavily modded suits came around the corner, whooping and howlering, “you see, there it is.” Twenty custom armoured demons began to laugh in the courtyard. SkeletorPenis would woop them all. She still had that video on her phone. Sometimes she went through it, copied his peeks around corners, there was a consistency to his play that she liked. The way he so instantly came to appraisals and was surprisingly watchful, she saw him pick off two of their warriors who had taken out LORDSOUL, it was as if judgement was given legs and then proceeded to jetpack into a delima of decessions. SkeletorPenis learned her favorite spots in seconds, he had ArmourJesus pegged in minutes flat, he could calculate the exact moment BigBaby would lose his line of sight, she watched him weave through halls grab a grenade launcher and then jet pack to the ceiling before a bewildered BigBaby tried to aim his gun, thud, one more grenade frag for the kill. By the third respawn, the Church had been pegged with grafitti tags, one featured a horned demon with an enlarged penis pentrating a girl, another featured Jesus on his knees sucking a man’s cock in a bathroom, others simply pegged giant worms and dimensional gates all bearing doom. She simply stopped playing for a second to observe the grafitti and through it she heard the slowed down spectral haunt of the singer’s voice, like anger dropping down to the speed of shit. Pepper kept playing, he shotgunned intruders and was heard cursing, as they pinned him in a corner with axes, his ammo depeleted his medic just kept slowly recharging, the boys laughed as they sliced his spartan only to watch it slowly grow back.
She found herself googling their information later. She managed to track one down to a local high school down the street from her. The others came from as far as Norway, Australia, and England. They came together on a metal forum called THE WIZARD. The Wizard was always spelled in caps and featured a Wizard reaching skyward as a dragon dropped a guitar into his hands. Jess, on the other end, didn’t quite buy the whole Pepper working for the Satanist thing, but she kept spamming him with profile pics from THE WIZARD until they settled on one, a small, slightly effemiate boy from Pasadeana who bore little relation to what she thought of Pepper, but it was a start. She found facebook profiles for them, SkeletorPenis was in a band that apparently came through town on occassion, she made a note of their upcoming performances. SkeletorPenis aka Eric Lerner was a tallish college age man with raven hair down to this ankles and an assortment of metal rings and bands around his fingers. He appeared to have created The Wizard to keep tabs with various bands he was working with or around at anytime. She found his band’s website and the videos. There was something captivating about him, the conviction of his tattooes, the way he played, he was in fact something of the virtuso in the band, his guitar built layers of noise upon the frame of the singer’s shouts. She kept panning through the videos until something caught her in a frame, a little bit of purple behind the counter at a gig in Tulsa. She slowed it down, she crawled at second intervals, thumbing the video’s slide bar up in her phone’s screen until she could center in on a single second. The same wizard Miguel had shown her earlier was eerily present in the film, just to the back, and slightly behind the bar. She starred the video and then in the comments wrote #THE_WIZARD 3:47 BEHIND COUNTER BARELY VISIBLE. She went back to Jess and mentioned the wizard, but he was oblivious, “Someone is just inserting him in there,” he mentioned and that’s when Miguel popped up in chat. “Did you tag that?,” he said, “Yup that was me,” she said, “Holy fuck dude! Do you know what this means? We might have a location. I’m getting someone in Tulsa to go by this place.” “The address is on the band’s website,” she said Jess popped up, “I found MISSPISSYDEATHSTENCH,” he said. “Her gamer tags lists her first name and a group of bands she’s in. She’s on facebook. She lives nearby.” With this she sat up with a start, “Where does she live?,” Jessica asked, “near our school, I think she goes to school with LORDSOUL,” Jess continued, “I got company. Armourer out.” She sat back in her bed, two of them lived near them, she had IP addresses for them, she could track them.
Ignorant was I that the singularity is more than just human consciousness in machines in fact its the moment that machine intelligence tips out of the nice normal line called linearity and begins to reproduce along the ragged edges of nonlinearity. Its when we have to take machines as an ethnicity, as a culture, and not as tools and extensions of ourselves. If science fiction is anything to go by, we’ll be wearing them as suits.
My adolescence was marked by the film Ghost in a Shell. We snuck down to the ol’ art film house theater thing and listened to a hyper active hipster charm us while popping popcorn. The film hit right at that point where the teenage brain is open to wonder and full of immense existential loneliness and suicidal despair. Houston was a hot house of alienated locations and the peculiar silence of the film took me in as did the bosom young woman that filled the screen. It’s story though was one of human intelligence escaping the meat bag existence of the everyday by merging with a virtual construct. In those days the idea of escaping middle school’s hellish haunts for the world on the other end of a PC screen would have been a dream come true. I dreamed in Dark Forces, lived in Full Throttle, the idea of any of these computer entities reaching out to me, was relief, after all their escapism was one of the few ways of avoiding the pain of adolescence.
In the game Crysis 2, pictured above, we have a slightly different vision of cybernetics since Ghost in the Shell appeared. Despite the fact that nano-materials can make a man jump 3 meters, or dissipate (similar to Ghost actually), Crysis doesn’t allow electronics to obtrude into the body itself. The suits are just like skins the soldiers wear over their body, some type of jack appears to make a link with them. In Ghost in the Shell cybernetics have made their way into the body, they protrude from eye sockets, levitate fingers, and turn skin into invisibility, flesh has been liberated and bodies can take on alternative forms.
Outside of the body are other minds. In the case of ghost in the shell the author has performed a clever conceit: he thought out the desires of an artificial intelligence and found an unusual one. By the time we reach Crysis the idea of consciousnesses melding together or the fusion of man and machine has become second nature. Crysis does manage, by using the ghost in the nanosuit’s shell to produce a main character with out you actually playing as one, which is an impressive trick in a game, but the geist of the idea has already been used, its become cyberpunk folklore. What happens when one hacker gives another hacker the brain chip from a dead hacker? Prepared to get haunted!
Prophet haunts the old suit. His voice weaves in and out of the system’s various warnings. But more than anything Prophet is an entity, the real hero, the person who should be fighting this war, it just happens he’s dead. A cinematic protagonist haunts the video game Crysis 2, the actual character we play as, Alcatraz, has little to no back story. In this folktale of the singularity the self is software and is so diminutive as to be stored easily in the memory of armor.
I love this idea of back ups. Rows of purchasable selves at the supermarket, upgrade to Angelina Jolie, download Johnny Depp via steam, the self in the singularity is a plastic fluid, it runs through walls, through wires, is stuffed in spare ram caches, and distributes itself on numerous servers, the self is not a commodity in Ghost in the Shell or Crysis 2. Although I would like to hear a story about a hacker that manages to reproduce via amazon. The self supersedes the market, never ends up on amazon or your local app market, it’s always mercurial and pours through technology like a ghost. We don’t want to be captured in the machine. Technology is capable of storing selves and producing artificial ones equal to humanity, but a self necessitates a certain autonomy, one that your amazon identity upgrade lacks.
Dog is nothing more than an example of logos as subservient. He is obedient to his human masters. It is only that little bit of other, his affection for Alex, his post-natural senses, that suggest dog’s ascent to a higher level of consciousness. Part of what makes him spectacular is the way Valve plays with the idea of dog as other, he never quite becomes comprehensible to us, but his affection makes him reliable. It’s just that dog is actually autonomous however he’s emotional. Dog’s emotions leash him to Alex and Gordon, hence his non-human intelligence can run free. Unlike the suit in Crysis which envelopes the wearer and transforms him, Dog is not a creepy singularity, or even one with a ghost to spare, he’s actually quite cute and adorable, but rather clever too. His autonomy makes him seem like something above the market, we don’t get the feeling that dog is purchasable, rather he’s evolved from a symbiotic love with Alex. Life can not come from capital in other words, even the a.i. that hunts down Kusanagi was a result of government programs and not corporations. The artificial selves that run down Gibson’s transmission lines are outside corporate control.
The singularity is a mytheme of the self, a modern day way of throwing our desires before the market that engulfs us. The self is always romantic, out of control, impassioned, even illogical. Dog runs ahead of our understanding, Crysis sucks up our understanding and reproduces it, Kusanagi melds with technological selves. At heart this passing down of identity suggests that the singularity is in reality a massive advance in ethnicity. Machines become part of endogamy Alcatraz and Prophet are engaged in a weird three some with their nanosuit, Kusanagi virtually marries an A.I., Gibson’s internet selves eventually find bodies, everyone transcends the human by marrying a machine.
But the emergence into endogamy means that machines have to learn affection and then that affection has to be enough to be trusted, but what happens to a machine that loves humans? Does it wither away its days wishing for flesh? Does it become like dog, lower because it loves so? Will machines love us so much they will beg to be subserveint?