Member 163
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Claudia Gallardo (F)
Los Angeles, US
Immortal since Jun 2, 2007
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    The Homo Mechanicus
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    The Homo Mechanicus

    I have been working on a study about the interaction of humans and technology. I won't reveal much because if you have the time, I would like you to answer some questions, some of them would seem kind of obvious, cliche, naive, etc. Just please try to answer them in an open and honest manner. (There is no relation between the questions).

    1.- If your computer could do your work by itself, without you having any input on the work and no authorship. How would you feel? How do you think you would feel in the long term?

    2.-Imagine this scenario: You cannot leave your home and your computer/internet is the only way to communicate with others? How would you feel? (and yes, you have food)

    3.- Do you feel you have a special bond with your computer? Why?

    Thank u all.

    Thu, Mar 20, 2008  Permanent link

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    folkert     Thu, Mar 20, 2008  Permanent link
    1. I wouldn't consider it to be "my work" if the computer identified all tasks involved as necessary to be accomplished all by itself. Obviously the computer is a fancy tool for the builder-monkey that allows it to condense ideas into manifestations, like a hammer allows me to drive a nail all the way into a piece of wood. It would take me a long time to perform that same task without a hammer. The idea of getting the nail all the way in would be considered my work because it is the output of an idea that came from me. So if you consider "all my work" to be every task necessary to turn an idea into physical reality, I'd be more than happy for that to be the case. Then if you extrapolate this to where vast computer networks are turning the collective ideas of vast organizations of people into larger realities, it is starting to get really interesting.

    2. It would suck, but at least I get to be connected in some way. It would be better if things were more like goggling into a Stephenson-esque Metaverse and roam fully immersive datascapes of course.

    3. Nope, it is a gateway to all kinds of things that I have a "special bond" with. It would be silly to have a special bond with a hammer.
    michaelerule     Thu, Mar 20, 2008  Permanent link
    ( parasitic, redundant )
    ( suicidal )
    ( no, ... some day such things will be possible )
    sjef     Thu, Mar 20, 2008  Permanent link
    1. It can't, it's just a tool. Even if it could do what is currently termed as my job, whatever it would produce wouldn't be my work.
    2. Lame / lethargic / agitated. Have practically done this for several days while working on stuff. Fresh air, sunlight and movement are good.
    3. Well I try to take care of it, as it is my most important tool. I have it on me most of the time, and use it for most aspects of running my life and earning a living. Other than that, no.
    ParanoidMystic     Fri, Mar 21, 2008  Permanent link
    1.- Proud. Amazed. Ashamed, but briefly. And intensely curious. It would actually mean the end of what I considered "my work." Back when, I might have taken up tilling the ground or weaving garments with an eye for mastery. These days a machine does that and I don't think twice. Both poles are still open: human master garment makers and industrial processes. But... I make decisions about media. If computer intelligence can make those decisions in such a way as to be indistinguishable from my own? If a computer intelligence could not just make the garment based on a design it's fed, but come up with novel designs? Awesome.

    2.-Imagine this scenario: Information from our eyes is broken down and sent to a part of our brain which will never itself come into contact with light directly - it's literally trapped in a dark room forever. And yet it is here that the fullness of visual experience goes down. Current computers and the internet could never reach the level of data necessary to replace waking life, but the concept's not terribly far-fetched, or as wretched as it may seem (at least there would be communication, in fact probably to a greater degree than what we currently accept as normal). That said, I would really really miss going to diners, walks around the lake. And yoga classes.

    3.- My computer is like a brother. He has a name: Rest Never. In fact, all my electronics are named. I don't think it's silly to have a special bond with a hammer. Especially when the hammer is rapidly altering every facet of the landscape, inner and outer. A while ago in a journal I wrote: "I do not use my computer to make art. The computer and I dance — what is produced is an accretion of our sweat."

    IMHO, it's the height of arrogance to assume the monkey is the only form of consciousness. The mountains, the sea, far away stars, and yes even silicon all have wisdom and are participating in ways we have yet to comprehend.
    Wildcat     Fri, Mar 21, 2008  Permanent link

    “.- If your computer could do your work by itself, without you having any input on the work and no authorship. How would you feel? How do you think you would feel in the long term?”

    WC: No work I do I consider my own (notwithstanding work done for purposes of self grandiosity), in fact the computer that “could” do my work will practically mean that “he/she/it,yit?” is at least as intelligent as me, if not more so, since I have still to deal with the clutter of consciousness and self reflection which are amazing traits and benefits but mainly hinder a direct working result. I would have no problem whatsoever with a comp doing my work, as in the long run that would mean more freedom (more time for fluorescent objects gazing).
    (As an addendum we may ask why we do not ask the same questions concerning “my” hand? Isn’t it the case that in our daily reflections we consider “ourselves” to be somewhere here (wildcat points to my head, somewhere behind the/my eyes) and therefore the “hand” is as much an apparatus that comes to serve the “author” (my “mind”,” self” or otherwise) as the comp is?)

    “2.-Imagine this scenario: You cannot leave your home and your computer/internet is the only way to communicate with others? How would you feel? (and yes, you have food)”,

    WC: Yes well, tough one, this one and not enough data to compute (as for example the word “cannot” in the scenario description implies that it was a willful and intentional action on my part or a constraint put upon me by circumstances or life?) if the first no problems at all, if the latter, electrifying need to outwit the system and break free, enjoy the sun, run and swim, but if taken as a willful decision and intentional choice connecting to the rest of “the apparent universe of others” via the computer may even be a boon.

    3.- Do you feel you have a special bond with your computer? Why?

    WC: Bond? No. But a special relationship different than every and any other object oriented relationship, yes. The reason is simple really; my comp is the (second) main repository (after my own brain) of my thoughts ideas,memories and potentialities. So excluding for the moment a bio/nanotech memory enhancement, without my comp I am a lesser human. (Addendum; yes! Of course, my comp is an extension of me, how can I imagine not having a special bond with it?)

    Spaceweaver     Fri, Mar 21, 2008  Permanent link
    I would like to suggest a progressive version of the first question:

    Suppose your computer could do your work without input from you, and suppose this computer could be replicated indefinitely to fill a whole universe, all the replicants meticulously doing your work, only your work. Would you like to be a resident of such a universe? How would you feel about it in the long term?
    folkert     Fri, Mar 21, 2008  Permanent link
    ^ that sounds like my brain...iI'm not a resident, simply the host.
    ParanoidMystic     Fri, Mar 21, 2008  Permanent link
    This is starting to sound an awful lot like one of my all-time favorite books: Words Made Flesh by Ramsey Dukes.

    Let's suppose the computer could do "our work," by which I mean it could itself become creative. At a certain point in the process of creativity it would necessarily become self-aware. If we're still present, we would find ourselves confronted by our creations with the very same angsty questions any of us would ask a grey-bearded man in the sky if we ran into him.

    My hunch (and that's all it is) is that we would *not* be around to provide the answers. The realization of self-awareness on the part of our artifacts will correspond with a realization on the part of us the creators about the nature of the act of creativity itself, opening a space for movement along an axis as of yet unavailable to us.
    folkert     Fri, Mar 21, 2008  Permanent link
    ParanoidMystic, on that subject, peripherally related, check out
    Are We Enlightened Guardians, Or Are We Apes Designing Humans?
    HumanApparatus     Fri, Mar 21, 2008  Permanent link
    I was just reading that folkert!!
    folkert     Fri, Mar 21, 2008  Permanent link
    Nice. Looks like SC is doing its job keeping the synchronicity vortex active.