[-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
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
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.
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