[-empyre-] Re: a-life intimacy / transpecies relations..

Are we scared of the possibilities of a-life and emergence and
rationalising it to distance ourselves from it..? or are we embracing it,
can we humans cope with not being the centre and/or pinnacle of life in the
thanks for your thoughts so far


This is really an interesting question which I repeat myself continuously without to be able to reach a stable answer.

Especially in the installations, I try to use these two components of the human reaction in front of a-life entities: attraction and fear.

The attraction seems connected especially to a sort of self-identification with anything is living: -the life is continuously search for the life-. Furthermore the evolution selects that organisms which are naturally inclined to the reproduction: - born to re-create life -. In this sense, anything seems living immediately activates a process of empathy, attraction and protection.

On the other hand, the same primitive instinct, tell us to evaluate the potential of danger in the "alien". Is it dangerous for us ? is it a predator ? The answer is quite simple with known living beings but what about unknown creatures ?. In some sense this emotional situation recalls the unknown creatures populating our infancy or our ancestral dreams.

We cannot avoid these two instinctive reactions. But after a while our mind try to activate simulations for the future of this kind of creatures. Unlikely or Likely (?) we are full of catastrophic collective imaginary about wars between the human beings and aggressive robots. I could estimate about 99 % of movies/books on this topic are catastrophic. So before all, we should free our mind from this collective ancestral panic. With a free mental space we could take into account some different aspects.

The idea that humans can "download" direct intelligence in a creature seems an utopia. A social evolutionary process is generally necessary to develop creatures with an intelligence able to constructively interrelate with humans. An evolutionary process it means a long process of co-evolution between human societies and robot societies. Necessarily they should live very close to us (at the extreme, they could life inside our bodies). In any case there is a very important factor to take into account: they live in our physical space, so this process is so long (centuries ?) that we will have time to co-evolve in a pacific way.

By my point of view, this is not the real focus of the problem: the world of the intelligent robots is very far us. This is something emerging from our dreams but our reality is completely different. We have connected millions of computers and created the digital dimension. In the idea of Jack Monod ("Le hazard et la necessitè"), the appearance of a new media should corresponds to a new evolutionary jump. This jump will be the explosion of the digital life on the net (ten-twenty years ?).

The digital life will be not confined in the net but it will be present everywhere in our home, office, car, dresses. Furthermore you should take into account that digital life can re-built an evolution similar to the humans in few computing months with impressively huge populations. So this my first conclusion: digital life is the real focus of the next alien intelligence.

With digital life, we loss any possible reference. They don't have a body, they travel quickly from an extreme to the other of our planet. We cannot see, we are not sure they really exist.
There is a great confusion about these common ideas.

I appreciated a lot the text wrote from ken. I am fascinated by the poetic mixing of organic and robotic parts in Autopoiesis. Here I report a sentence of this text.

Since we exist in physical space and do not question our state of "being
alive," it seemed logical that, in order for the works to have the aura of
"being alive," they needed to exist in physical space.

The concept ken expresses for a artwork, normally is widely accepted by the community as a "condition for life". I would like launch new two questions for the list discussion:

-        Have digital entities a body ?
-        Is the body-mind distinction so critical as a condition for life ?

I prefer does not give a general answer. I would speak about my experience.
In my installations there are "digital entities". They have sensors in the "physical" human environment. They produce visual and acoustical actions that invade the "physical" world.
They are "physically" located in the computer. Their action is a complex organization of the dynamics of changes between 0 and 1 in the memory cells. Similar to the consistence of my body that activates a complex signal dynamics in my neuronal synapses. We have completely different bodies and media, but similarities in the evolving mechanisms. What I do, is to build "inter-media interfaces" which embody both physical and digital dimension (I call it "hybrid ecosystems" in Human-Artificial Ecosystems: Searching for a Language, www.plancton.com/papers/evolang.pdf ) and "languages" to communicate and manifest our reciprocal presence.

So my second conclusion is that to find (prepare) a new relation between humans and intelligent (future) digital entities we have to reconsider these possibilities and destroy the last residuals of the mind-body dualism. We have to forget the idea that sw is the mind and hw is the body. This is an inheritance of the computational theory of the mind that we cannot solve in this simple black-white approach. More complex answers and languages are necessary to prepare the interrelation, like new inter-media interfaces, better comprehension of the difference between the conscious human mind and the unconscious digital mind, new inter-languages. At this moment all these concepts are still in embrional and emotional germination. Art could play the role of the ice breaker in the exploration of human/digital mind, society and intereelations.


This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.