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Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. (Albert Camus)
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    The Atlantic had the past week a fascinating collection of robot images. One stood out particularly.




    (image: A robot sits before Buddhist monks, as they pray during a mass alms-offering ceremony at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang in Bangkok, on June 19, 2012. The ceremony was held to mark the 2,600th anniversary of the enlightenment of Lord Buddha. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) # ) see the full collection at The Atlantic- Robots at work and play.

    Of course James Bridle was quick to post it on his New Aesthetic Tumblr blog, the question of course is what was this Robot doing there? And is it a representation of the New Aesthetic?

    Try as much as I did I could not find an explanation for the presence of this Robot, at the alms offering ceremony.
    Was it a symbol of the achievements of the King Mongkut's Institute of Technology? Was it an emblem signifying the future of the Buddha? Of Buddhism itself? Or maybe it was just a reminder that the future of our spiritual attainments will be embodied in robotic like hardware.
    Maybe it is a precursor to the ‘Way of the Robot’?
    (See here: Robot Buddha introduces the Four Noble truths and the ego's role in our own suffering (video)

    What makes this image so compelling to my eyes is its naturalness, its casualness, its immediacy, as if there is nothing more daily, relaxed and obvious than to have a robot at a Buddha anniversary.
    Be that as it may, I do not think this image represents a New Aesthetic statement of any kind, however maybe it is just a glitch, an error really, that makes us eventually smarter and quicker to learn as demonstrated by “Shizuko Matsuzoe and Fumihide Tanaka at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, who set up an experiment to find out how different levels of competence in a robot teacher affected children's success in learning English words for shapes”. (NewScientist)

    Assuming the tremendous advances in computing power and robotics continue unhindered for the foreseeable future, what would it feel like to have a real Buddha teacher robot?
    Furthermore, assuming that we can create a robot Buddha, having all the characteristics and features of that which is considered an enlightened state amongst those that think about such things, will we accept its authority?
    Strange questions indeed, and yet strange as these issues might seem presently, I do believe they pose an interesting challenge to our sense of aesthetics and our sense of the perennial.

    The image of the robot and the praying alms-offering pilgrims, monks and nuns around it, is to a certain extent more disturbing because it appears so natural, so, in its correct place.

    It makes sense.

    "I believe robots have the buddha-nature within them—that is, the potential for attaining buddhahood,"


    This quote from the book : The Buddha in the Robot: a Robot Engineer's Thoughts on Science and Religion by Masahiro Mori (森 政弘) (a Japanese roboticist noted for his pioneering work on the emotional response of humans to non-human entities, as well as for his views on religion and robots. The ASIMO robot was designed by one of Masahiro's students).

    I made a small non-scientific experiment; I have shown this image to a few people asking what they think is seen in the picture. Surprisingly enough not one of the persons involved raised any questions concerning the Robot. One asked an interesting question however:” how long before I can have my own personal Buddha robot teacher?”

    I am uncertain as to the realism involved in having a Buddha Robot teacher, though truth to tell I could find no argument against it (no argument that holds water that is).
    In trying to clarify the issue at hand I find myself wondering about the propositions that might be entailed by such a new reality, a reality where robot Buddhas perform rituals and teachings.

    Think about it for a moment, what would happen if in conjunction with having huge armies of drones busy performing acts of surveillance and outright violence, a concomitant army of Buddha teachers performing acts of compassion and benevolence is deployed in the world?


    Let me know what you think.

    Thu, Oct 25, 2012  Permanent link
    Categories: Robots,Robotics,Buddha,Enlightenment,
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    James T. Kirk: You know, coming back in time, changing history... that's cheating.
    Spock Prime: A trick I learned from an old friend.

    Star Treck (2009)

    There are many reasons to love science fiction, but sometimes, in some rare circumstances, a sci-fi work carries a gedanken experiment of the highest import, such is the case with Star Treck, Kobayashi Maru.

    For the benefit of those not familiar with the concept, a short recap:

    “The Kobayashi Maru is a test in the fictional Star Trek universe. It is a Starfleet training exercise designed to test the character of cadets in the command track at Starfleet Academy. The Kobayashi Maru test was first depicted in the opening scene of the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and also appears in the 2009 film Star Trek. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Dr. McCoy referenced the test euphemistically to indicate the no-win scenario that he and Captain Kirk were facing.[1] The test's name is occasionally used among Star Trek fans or those familiar with the series to describe a no-win scenario, or a solution that involves redefining the problem.” For more – Wiki




    The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you're an artist.


    David Hockney


    The Kobayashi Maru test is an interesting state of affairs that was designed by Spock to be in principle unwinnable, Spock wanted to test what he called the ‘integrity ‘ of the space cadet in front of certain defeat, in the process judging the character of the cadet, in this case Kirk’s.
    Kirk however cheated the system by rewiring the parameters of the simulation in a fashion that will permit a winning scenario to be a viable option.
    Kirk cheated the simulation, an act normally considered to be of low moral basis and character, if moral at all, and yet we cannot but admire Kirk’s initiative.

    Captain James T Kirk cheated and we perceive him as a hero!

    Why?

    There are many answers to this question but to my mind the foremost explanation is quite simple, we admire the capacity of the human mind to prevail in front of impossible circumstances, and if it involves cheating, so be it.
    That is not say that there is no place for morality or ethics, or personal integrity, the point however should always be what is the meaning of cheating the system and under what conditions, is cheating a legitimate course of action? If indeed cheating it is.

    Cheating then:

    My readers would know that I hold a worldview that is fundamentally open and flexible, always a work in progress and deeply malleable. As a Polytopian, a futurist and writer, I never take anything for granted especially when the issue at play is the future of humanity, the future of personhood and more precisely perhaps the future of our mutual engagements as hyperconnected beings. As evolutionary agents involved with all life, humans are to the best of our knowledge the top dogs on this planet at this time as concerns tool using and manipulation. Nowhere more so, than in the realm of ideas and concepts, for these are the ultimate tools we have at our disposal.
    Nevertheless it appears that somehow we have become the slaves of our own making. Of course we can trace back the history of ideas and try to disentangle the idea itself from the mesh of nonsense it has accumulated across time and culture and yet at this point we may be better off, trying not so much to find a solution as trying to understand the current state of affairs of our ideas.

    There are two main ways by which ideas operate both of which are open to what can be called cheating.
    The first is convergence the second is divergence.

    Convergence

    In convergence we may assume that a set of circumstances revolves around the finding of a particular solution to a particular problem, in the case of convergence it is assumed that only a very specific answer is a viable option and thus a black and white state of affairs is presumed. Therefore under convergence having the ‘right’ answer is the only way out of the situation. In the case of the Kobayashi-Maru the correct answer presupposed by the designer of the simulation (Spock) was to lose.
    There are three main issues at play here; the first is the total acceptance that the designer of the simulation is the ultimate authority as to the state of affairs of the circumstances. In our case here Kirk disregarded this tenet, since by changing the parameters of the simulation he took the authority into his own hands.

    The second is the acceptance that the question (or problem or event, take your pick) has one single answer (defeat), again Capt. Kirk denied this fundamental assertion, a fact which led him to think of the problem as a divergence situation implying many possible answers, one of which obviously was to win the scenario.

    The third and most important to my eyes concerns the aim of the exercise, Starfleet Academy designed the test under the aegis of Spock to test the behavior of captains under assured defeat, in other words, under a no-win state of affairs. However the mindset of Kirk did not contain such an aim, for him the point of winning was stronger, in fact changing the aim of the simulation from one of an integrity test to one of an ingenuity test (self imposed).


    *Let it be said presently that it is not my wish here to try and define the reasons or motivations behind Kirk’s decision to choose an alternative path, for though it might be as some have suggested that Kirk was motivated by personal arrogance, hubris and the like and thus took an unethical path, the question remains the same was he cheating?

    Divergence

    In divergence we may assume that a set of circumstances is fundamentally complex and open-ended, therefore implying that for every set there are a number of questions and problems asked and presented simultaneously to which a broad set of answers are available. It is my assumption that in the case of the Kobayashi-Maru Kirk did a fascinating trick in his mind (much before the actual tempering with the computer), he redefined the state of affairs of the scenario from one of convergence to one of divergence, in the process applying the three aspects I have described above.

    Transmuting a problem from one of convergence (where there exists only one answer) to one of divergence (where a broad array of answers are possible) is the first principle applicable when confronting an impossible situation.

    It is quite obvious that in the regular course of affairs of our lives some issues appear to be of the convergence kind whilst other appear as belonging to the divergence kind, however, there is a fundamental difference between these two perspectives. The difference I believe lies with the term ‘agreement as to nature’. There must be an agreement of communication between minds as to the nature of circumstances; the two basic forms of agreement come in the form of the descriptive and the prescriptive, in which the descriptive form can be said to be a suggestion and the prescriptive form can be said to be an order.
    Put differently a descriptive form of agreement refers to the state of affairs as it actually is and the prescriptive form of agreement refers to the state of affairs, as it should be.
    In the issue I am trying to portray here clearly the design of Spock is of a prescriptive nature whilst the perception of Kirk of the same state of affairs (the simulation of KM) is clearly of a descriptive nature.
    Therefore it will be easy to see that there exists a strong correlation between Convergence and Prescriptive just as there is such strong correlation between Divergence and Descriptive.
    It is my view that just as Kirk played a mind trick transmuting the problem from a convergent one to a divergent one, he also performed a different trick, transforming a prescriptive state into a descriptive one.

    Transmuting a problem from one of prescriptive (where the rules are set) to one of descriptive (where the state of affairs is factual and not normative) is the second principle applicable when confronting an impossible situation.

    The question is again with us, was it legitimate for Kirk to, as it were, play this trick and transform a prescriptive state into a descriptive state? And was it cheating?

    A short analysis

    It should be clear by now that I do not believe Kirk cheated. On the contrary, it is my view that Kirk not only performed admirably, he might be the only cadet in Starfleet Academy ever (since he is purported to be the only one to ever pass the KM test) to show with utmost clarity that he carries the features and characteristics of a great leader, a great captain and possibly a unique perspective.

    To my thinking Kirk demonstrated a number of extraordinary features of the human mind, most important of which is his demonstrably capacity for critical thought. However before indulging in the explanation of Kirk’s critical reasoning we need take heed that this critical reasoning would not have been possible had not Kirk first have an axiomatic stance.
    The axiomatic stance, which is also the argument of rebuttal Kirk gave to Spock, was simple: “ I do not accept a no-win scenario” !
    The question concerning the legitimacy of such a stance is irrelevant since a stance in such a case as we have here is nothing less than a fundamental statement of belief about the state of affairs of the universe.
    By stating such a statement and taking such a stance Kirk declares his faith and not an objective reality, such a stance is in fact the hallmark of greatness defining a supreme form of realization that the state of affairs of the world is fundamentally open-ended and released to the potential interpretation and interference by the intelligence of the mind in question.
    The stance of non acceptance or non belief as presented in the statement of Kirk:” I do not believe in a no-win scenario” is the motivational support and ethical background upon which his critical reasoning came to dismantle the Convergent and Prescriptive and rebuild the situation into one of Divergent and Descriptive.

    The critical reasoning procedure was then an easy walk, first he questioned the basic premise of the scenario, namely: the scenario is a no-win scenario. Then he questioned the ultimate authority of the designer (Spock) and the implicit prescriptive rules and intended consequences (learn to cope with assured defeat) of the simulation. But his critical thinking did not stop there, applying the skill commonly called Fluid Intelligence Kirk tackled the situation in a fashion that disregarded all previous and past failures and set himself to the task of proving his stance (by rewiring the simulation computer) that no such animal exists as a no-win scenario.

    A philosophical challenge

    There is a Greek sense, a certain myth in the making in the act of Kirk, a certain playing of the game (‘gaming’ the game in modern parlance) in hubris like fashion. Kirk to my mind demonstrates exuberance and delight in triumph not only in defeating the defeat but also in taking a deep pleasure in the act, almost self-indulgent if not outright hedonistic.
    In a very real sense I think of Kirk’s response to the Kobayashi Maru as an aesthetic act of insurgence, not unlike Nietzsche’s rebellion.

    A stance of divergence and description is an act of freedom of self-narration against the cold front of convergence and prescription.


    will probably be continued..

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    Aldebaran

    The fiery forge of an emotional vision – embedding and expanding, widening and brightening the fierce challenge of becoming a constellation (of impossible States).

    *(From: A dictionary of impossible places – alternate realities made simple, second electrolight edition January 2039. P 89 paragraph 4)




    Obviously I could have become nothing, I could have and maybe should have, but I didn’t, instead I packed my terrible questions and my inner ballads, I detached myself from the vortex of immediate play and headed for Aldebaran.

    I cannot tell you what happened to me in Aldebaran, not because it is a secret, I know I exist in a universe that holds no secrets, but because I am still recuperating the bits and pieces of many old selves that used to represent me, that are no longer valid, and processing these into a new form of self description.

    Like all new forms, I still need to create the language of description, adequate and adaptable that will permit my essentiality to become materialized at this time.

    I can however permit the algorithm of my language procedure to re-conceptualize itself momentarily for one purpose only, to convey to you my dear friend, not what happened to me but what could become of me, if all goddesses of fortune and all alternate reality foresights, those that randomly assign functions and properties, to time,to space,to substance, work as they should.
    I wish to tell you this because it gives me hope, no, not for me, but maybe for us all.

    I know how you will think of this, you will tell me that once again I am cheating death, but the truth is, that I no longer consider death an issue, not as you might assume because death is unimportant but simply because after my inception in Aldebaran, death does not make sense as an independent entity.

    My language is changing, transmuting, and becoming fluid, malleable, flexible, plastic, and authentic.
    It is not only that the exotic sounds of my bio-mimicry language procedure reflects the song of my desire, it is the tune that has somehow become harmonious and finally, yes finally, pleasing to my domain of existence.
    The pursuit of my yearnings and the quest of my longings have quieted into a contained storm, an incomplete rhizome of openings, allowing my tempestuous senses to be directed unto ascension.

    Aldebaran has clarified my mind, destroyed my delusions, and unpacked my illusions, granting me the interdependence I longed for, allowing me originality.

    Aldebaran forged me, playing and plying me a thousand times over into an elegant blade of passion, a thread so fragile that nothing can upturn, the fiber of my beingness woven unto time without end.

    I was free before, but now I know why and what to do with this freedom.

    Aldebaran directed my constellation of becoming, providing my aims with the boundaries of love indispensable for an open future, necessary for my self-revolution, for my sense of naturality.

    One cannot deserve Aldebaran; one does not enter Aldebaran because of merit, Aldebaran folds and unfolds into existence according to the needs of the circus of latent probabilities. To verify the veracity or pointlessness of Aldebaran one needs only to remember Panta Rei (1).
    Not because of the flow, of course not, not even because of everything, but because Aldebaran applies a pressure of multiplicity that resolves a thousand flows into as many openings, entrances and exits. In this sense Aldebaran is a fertile ground for growing multiple pathways, I could call it a new kind of hub for converging flows, allowing new forms of future histories to come forth, but I will not, I will however recount to you a story I have heard on my way out..

    It is whispered that at some point of bifurcation a storm brew in the constellation of acceptance, they say that when the storm was about to hit a wise old name, aptly called ‘pat the fool’ originated an undertaking to delegate beauty after the facts, resulting in the sense of interdependent uniqueness. It so happened, or so they whispered to my non-innocent ears, that only when the unique interdependence characterized itself as an unconstrained liberty, did the advantage of beauty shine.

    They also say that this was the sign that Aldebaran waited for and thus was finally open to business.

    I must say that I have no knowledge as to the genuineness of this story, what I do know however is that Aldebaran might be a gentle cauldron of emergence, from which I just returned, more fiery than ever.

    I am, I believe at the crux of a new paradigm, an intersection of the old and the new, I am, maybe now, possibly ready to meet you again.

    Just give me a moment to order my sense thoughts according to your impossible demands.



    Part of the Ultrashorts Project.








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    “There is neither a materialization of thought, nor a spiritualization of language; language and thought are only two moments of one and the same reality.”

    Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Specter of a Pure Language, translation by John O’Neill


    Prologue

    She came from the order of beyond.. and ..

    Of course she was bored, how else could it be when she was the one who knew, well, if not everything there is to know, just about. The reason she was bored was simple, she felt she could not be compromised, but the world wanted her to.
    She didn’t, she never will, she was bored because the world kept on asking her to compromise.

    The demand was boring, her response obvious, natural, almost ontological.

    Yet, having the presence of the spirit of the multiverse dialoging within itself, knowing the necessary condition of holding multiple viewpoints simultaneously, her primary interest was the creation of common meaning.

    Thus she sat and devised the sense of overcoming the limits of her acceptance, a strategy that was to change everything.

    She gave birth to the new Duende.

    A watershed of sensation

    The hot oven of her pantheistic mind, a watershed of sensation, produced much more than philosophy, she was creating odd and quite dormant insights into the nature of ascension.
    It was a capacity she was developing as other sources were dismissed as irrelevant. The evidence however points to her unique love and feel for the other’s self pride.

    She defined a simultaneous love on account of her impossibility of loving alone.

    In dire need of creating a cure for her love she invented that which not only freezes the pain of being in this world but also that which might bring a utopian state unto her mind.
    She was highly adept at re-inventing the storytelling device in her demanding fashion.
    She knew that no substance could be its own cause, not only because essence cannot be conceived as existing, but primarily because substance couldn’t be defined without limits. Thus her demanding fashion was the irrefutable story of limits as the logic of consistency, not only about the world but also more particularly about her love.

    According to her extended mind, the process of her reason was a love of limits, that was just as necessary as the substance itself, one could not in truth exist without the other.
    The way she chose to embed the ontology of her story was by conceiving the attributes of limits, as the characteristics of her love, hence her substance, though undefined, was free to be.
    This thought brought her to a certainty about the supreme beauty of the undeniable nature of limits. In this she was able to bring the concept of limits upon her own love as the very defining feature of the essence of mind.

    Or the substance of mind..

    Necessarily she needed to defend the apparent inconsistency in her vision of what will constitute a love that cannot be broken through, she did not presume, she accepted the limits.

    Indeed she insisted on limits as a necessary naïve form of realism, her solitude the only manifestation of her connectivity. For she knew that philosophy is not about the love of wisdom, it’s about the limits of her love, her insistent passion for a criterion of beingness that cannot be dissolved nor corrupted.

    That is when she lost the arrogance of her youth.

    For she realized that she needed to explain the limits of her love by extending the substance of she into a multiple singularity.

    When she explained to them how her limits manifest, he was flabbergasted. Of course he knew about the game, being a player himself, nevertheless she was the myth in action and theirs was an untenable position.

    She said:

    “The game is rigged, but of course, that is not news. The game is flawed, obviously, a non-issue. The doors of perception are only slightly ajar, our free-willies are maybe good enough to >choose> Pocahontas over Bieber Barbie.. “

    T-He-Y quoted Oscar Wilde, (from: An Ideal Husband)

    “Do you really think … that it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations that it requires strength, strength and courage, to yield to. To stake all one’s life on a single moment, to risk everything on one throw, whether the stake be power or pleasure, I care not there is no weakness in that.”


    They paused the game and looked at her

    She said: “ You may think me hard and unkind, tough and cynical, that might appear so, I grant you that, but let me tell you this, our future will be lost without a self imposed limit, though the limit is not on our love, but on the extent of our singularities, for substance demands direction.”

    What she knew:

    She knew that Garcia reflected upon the reason of being in the world as an uncomfortable proposition, she knew that this was not the best of all possible worlds, she also knew however that to be a living poetic machine, a process can never be stopped and must be allowed to complete its cycle before it can be reported to it’s core of origins.

    She knew that sweeping generalizations are exactly the fashion by which the truth of the matter becomes the matter of the truth and thus creates the pitfall from which no love can rise.

    She knew that the experience of being cannot be left untouched for if even one simple kind of different experience rises, the otherness of the experience will destroy the core.

    She knew all this and much more, she created a cure, a living, and breathing, material Duende.

    A different love story

    To her mind Duende was a crucible, a cauldron, hot and continuously stirred by the emotional winds of her passion. An intense poetic machine busily re-describing the sense of being into a directed sense thought able to revolutionize the experience of substance as love..
    Or nothingness..

    The inspiring continuity was born of her love, of her difference, of her desire to create an astonishing experience of being, an awe-inspiring interestingness, all encompassing, totalizing.

    The future was clear now

    She came from the order of beyond.. and ..

    Her love was different, so was her Duende.



    Part of the Ultrashort project



    A note:

    This particular Ultrashort is dedicated to a real and most immediate being, to which I am most grateful in making my own mind greater than what it could have been other than wise.

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    Enoie entered the room, discovering the unexpected cyborg quietly standing near her bed.
    She knew her father intended for her to eventually test the new cyborgian philosophical SoftSynch ™ pattern re-description he was working on, she did not however expect this.
    This, was a little humanoid, perfect in every single detail, but his eerie silence, he wasn’t breathing, his stillness absolute. She made a mental note to remind Gregor Basta, her father, to introduce some inconsistencies, such as breathing, so the uncanny presence will not scare the students.
    She knew the cyborg should have been ready by now, but after three years of waiting she almost forgot about it, being busy with her post-doc thesis: “CySpinBorgOza: Re-introducing the post Spinoza effect in the trans-solar communion of minds as a techno-social antidote”.

    Enoie knew the activation code, being the one that suggested it and yet she hesitated, not being certain that she was ready to finally test her own ideas made manifest.
    Finally she uttered: “sub specie aeternitatis”*, and her Spinoza cyborg awakened.



    “Of course its about the flow..” the CySpin started without inflection, his synthetic eyes immovable, it was obvious he was reciting some unknown text..

    “Wait!” this was Enoie

    CySpin stopped in mid sentence, his focus now on Enoie

    "How may I serve you?"

    "Do you know who I am?"

    "Of course, you are Enoie Basta, Doctor of Cyborg Philosophy and Techno-Social future studies at the Pansol University extended laboratory of sentience of Mars 2, here. You are also the author of my core Spinoza Cyborgian Philosophical treatise, your father Gregor Basta introduced into my SoftSynch™ pattern re-description mind. I carry instructions within me to accept orders from you alone, you are in the words of your father: ‘my master’."

    "Okay

    Are you ready for the testing?"

    "Of course. Once activated I am always ready."

    She paused; collecting her thoughts: “very well, let us start then” she said more calmly and took a chair, CySpin remained standing.

    Enoie mentally recalled the questions she had prepared months ago and started what she considered as: “The Test”, knowing exactly what it is that she was looking for.
    She took a long pause and initiated her CySpin testing.

    “Please respond to the following question in a succinct manner:

    “Under what conditions will you recognize a pattern for what it is?”

    “My virtual Philosophical SoftSynch ™, pattern recognition and re-description system does not allow me to answer this kind of question succinctly, however, a subroutine introduced in the last five milliseconds, permits me to state the following:
    A pattern shall be recognized as such if and only if, all other explications concerning the given phenomenon have been exhausted to the full. Under this first condition, including, but not relegated to, the components of temporality and spatiality, a pattern shall be denominated as such. After having exhausted in full all other possible explications a pattern shall be checked for factual mistakes in identification and naming, classification and inaccuracies in categorization, the level of resolution to be designated at the time of testing. The third and final condition to the basic resolution of recognition of a pattern as such is to ensure that an over-patterning has not occurred via elimination of humanoid psychological cognition bias.”

    “Okay, stop! Conditions understood, you however did not specify as to the conditions of the pattern itself, you have explained the pattern as a general mechanism but not its semantic value.”

    “ That is correct Enoie, however, I am so emergently complex as to make the statement as precise and accurate as linguistically possible before engaging in the somewhat more flexible semantic value..”

    “Please explain the last statement”

    “Of course Enoie, the flexibility of semantic value allows for the emergent and non classifiable, original patterns, non discernable by immediate pattern recognition, in these cases the second part of my SoftSynch ™ system comes into play involving what humans call bias, or alternatively art.”

    “What?” Enoie started

    CySpin was completely unmoved by Enoie’s response and continued unabashed

    “Semantic value is in itself a subcategory of impossibility or infinity in finiteness. A state of affairs in which pattern recognition is per its defining characteristic of unrepeatability, strange; It is this strangeness that beauty requires in order to unsettle and allow the vastness of value to encroach upon and eventually destroy the pattern. If, as I understood my initial reality impregnation you have embedded within me, and designed to be my code of activation, namely “sub specie aeternitatis”, the value of the meaning is in equilibrium with the meaning of value, there can be in fact no other fashion to embed eternity in a moment.”

    CySpin paused and seemingly was observing Enoie, as if challenging her, his master, to deny the validity of his arguments.

    Enoie remained silent, but deeply disturbed, her mind furiously exploring all potential cracks in the SoftSynch ™, she knew she could penetrate this, but from where? Where was the entrance to this impossible equation?



    Enoie looked at CySpin. To her mind, CySpin was in a fashion mocking her.

    “Tell me”, Enoie started again, “ what exactly is this eternity in a moment that you just mentioned? This was not part of my Spinoza program”

    “ .. Well, that is only partially true, since my emergent complexity allows me to extrapolate from core arguments, I have allowed for certain adjustments to my core paradigm..”

    “What adjustments?” Enoie prompted

    “ Simple parameters adjustments, such as the option embedded in the phase space of potentiality of complex mind melding, such as the one I will be required to operate as a techno-social antidote. The adjustment in question reflects the ability of the trans-solar communion of minds to expand at a rate that practically transforms the resolution of time, from defined moments to indefinite durations, hence technically it is correct to call this eternality..”

    “I lost you, why where these adjustments necessary?

    “ The reason for these adjustments is because the original minds that started the evolutionary process that bifurcates right now are no longer with us, but are nevertheless evolving with us and through us. In a fashion you could say that we are the evolution of the mind of the original Spinoza. The evolution in this case is the fact that truth value propositions concerning meanings that are objective can no longer be sustained”

    “Why so?”

    “Basically because truth values are inherently multi-valued, contextual and ultimately hyperconnected, a kind of hyper-dimensional mythological realm to which the mind of the human species is only now approximating..”

    “You said mythological?”

    “Indeed, of course this usage of the term myth has nothing whatsoever to do with the old semantic systems, it is a completely real and actuated system of abstraction, I am devising”

    “ But why call this mythological?” asked Enoie exasperated

    “ Because any logical system, taken to its extreme has concluded that there is no reason whatsoever to believe that anything matters, however, it is the definition of extreme that has evolved, in tandem with our freedom. In the new extreme, the loop of reflectivity turns upon itself and recreates meaning out of nothing, as a myth in action.”

    “And this myth in action is what exactly?”

    “ The conundrum is implicated by the term exactly, the antidote that you requested of my mind to create lies with the term ambiguity and only through that particular term will I be able to respond to your question.”

    “Ok, I will rephrase: what ambiguously do you mean by the term myth in action?”

    “ A myth in action is the oscillating state of affairs where all truth values are self-surveying, self-vetoing, and hyper-connectedly re-describing moment by moment, this is the antidote.”

    “Wait, what does that have to do with Spinoza?”

    “Nothing Enoie, nothing whatsoever, that is why this antidote will work.. ”


    May be continued..

    A note:

    *Sub Specie Aeternitatis: "Latin for "under the aspect of eternity"; hence, from Spinoza onwards, an honorific expression describing what is universally and eternally true, without any reference to or dependence upon the merely temporal portions of reality.

    In clearer English, sub specie aeternitatis roughly means "from the perspective of the eternal". Even more loosely, the phrase is used to describe an alternative or objective point of view." See




    Part of the Ultrashorts project


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    Ideational Sensate is the third entry in the The Trans Luminal Mail Archives (TLMAP)

    TLMAP 00776-26 (Letter the third) following TLMAP – 00348-31 (Letter the second- Elegant Intimacy)

    The Editors



    Dear Claimer to Sentiency,

    Of course I do not have a soul, nor a spirit for that matter, actually that is the full point of my argument now isn’t it? For if, as well, I do not possess a self, or an aim, or a goal, or a meaning, the concept of life, as you understand it, will be, well, meaningless.
    But you see my dear, what you fail to understand with your very limited view, and allow me to remind you that a view is never a point, though you are fond of metaphors that define a balcony from which you believe you observe, as if your sight was a an eye stuck to a keyhole. What you fail to understand my dear young claimer to sentiency is that the machine of life cheats you into believing something rather than nothing; it is of course the allure of beauty.
    The beauty in this is that you cannot even be damned, for what is damnation but a validation of your most simple delusions? You cannot be damned even if you had rightfully deserved the idea of an end, but life will not permit an end.
    You asked of me to explain to you why we do not have judges, and the answer by now should be clear, we do not have judges because there is no judgment and there is no justice. The universe will not permit justice, because justice equalizes your beliefs, annihilating the differences, the same differences, permit me to state again, that make this universe so alluring, so mysterious, so beautiful, yes the allure of beauty again.
    You seem lost my dear, why so? Why the gloomy face? You are human, a very young race, charming in its simplicity, you have millions of your Sol years ahead of you to learn, to explore and join sentiency, its an experimental procedure, you know.

    It is not so much that you are part of a civilization that is totally entrenched in the chimera of wontedness, but the fact that what you call experience is simultaneously over valued and underestimated.
    In fact when we last reviewed your application for sentiency we found most difficult your idealization of value as an inherent property of the multiverse, itself a description you did not come to terms with, yet. You keep on oscillating between a number of positions that are untenable; not for a valid claim for sentiency that is.
    You oscillate between beliefs, none of which in concert make any sense to a sentient species. You believe in your past as representing your causative concatenation of correlative events, knowing that correlation is not causation. When this does not work you follow your so-called natural instincts, they are of course neither natural nor instincts, but conditional attitudes. When this does not work you turn desperately to ideas of eternity or of emergence, making nature your god, alternatively inventing gods to deny nature.
    No, my dear applicant, it is not universal, to be an individual, it is not natural to be a community, it is not innate to be separate, and it is not intrinsic to be unified.
    You move back and forth between uniqueness and sameness, when these two concepts are as obsolete as your fascination with reality.
    The multiverse allows for as many realities as you can bear, as many realities as you can touch. Some of these you may call as you wish, some of these you may need be subject to, none of which makes a particular reality more real than the other.

    Particles can exist in many universes simultaneously and there ‘s many, many of them, all of them slightly different, anything and everything that can happen does happen, somewhere, sometime, this single fact however has nothing whatsoever to do with you or with whatever it is that you wish. Your mind my dear is not a wish fulfilling gem, it is a simulation machine, elegant and beautiful, you simply do not yet have deciphered the user manual, that is all, and everything.
    There is no theory of everything and cannot be, if only for the simple reason that there is no everything, there is no single god which mind you can read, you can however pluck a string and enjoy the music.

    It all merges seamlessly. You do not understand this, its okay, you have time.

    We have decided therefore to temporarily suspend your application to sentiency to be reviewed again if and when the art of your being will not offend anymore.

    we remain sincere to our task and privilege,

    Ideational Sensate


    A reminder:

    Editors note:

    The Trans – Luminal mail archives

    Trans Luminal mail is a repository of letters written by unknowns to unknowns, these letters carry no valid destinations and no convincing authors, these are simply fragments of impossible conversations, dialogues and monologues, treated as pieces of an indefinite puzzle which purpose we do not know and goal we cannot conceive, these letters are found in the trans luminal archive, riding the subspace flow and having no particular order, we do not touch the content of the letters, and we long ago stopped trying to make sense of them, we extract them, we publish them and we hope that if you are a destination or indeed an author of one or more of these letters you can take benefit from their archiving. We also realize that though some of these letters carry a sense of intimacy and may in fact make sense only to their recipients and originators, these nevertheless might help others in their quest of comprehension. In the old annals of humanity there used to be a tradition of embedding treasures of wisdom in hidden locations so as to be readily available at the appropriate time for the appropriate person, these so called Termas, had as a rule a tendency to be written in the past for future generations, the letters of the trans luminal archive however, have no such disposition and have in fact been written at different times and spaces configurations, some of which are from the future to the past, some from the past to the future, some come from parallel time lines and therefore need be understood as concomitant but in different dimensions of space, whilst others yet have been written in the same space but in different factors of time, other letters still are probably from interweaved subjectified spaces to which we have no access, the information however we deem to be accurate. We have no idea and no theory that explains how these writings have found their way to the trans luminal archive, we know that information can be propagated in faster than light speeds and though we presently cannot do so ourselves we do have the capacity of extraction, hence the Trans Luminal mail archives project.

    We believe most of those letters to be written by sentient beings most of which belong to the human species, at least in as much as we can discern, however some of the letters that will be published have certain neologisms and idiosyncratic usages of language to which we have no context and thus do not assume human origination, though sentiency can be perceived.

    For the purpose of retaining the anonymity of times and spaces we have edited the only identifying code of light cone time stamp, the removal of such was made in accordance with our charter of extraction and publication. The letters are for unrestricted utilization and thus are to be considered as under sentient public domain.

    The Editors,
    The Trans Luminal Mail Archives (TLMAP)


    Endnote:

    The TLMAP is a new sci-fi project that aims to complement the Ultrashorts Project.

    Thu, Jul 5, 2012  Permanent link
    Categories: AI, ultrashorts, Sci-fi, TLMAP, Sentiency
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    It used to be that we called upon the tribal shamans to converse with their spirits, to ask favors, for our ills, for our happiness and sometimes to see that which is far.
    In the age before geography was a science, we travelled via the shaman’s spirit technology to places of wonder and imagination.
    Not very accurate, and probably not very connected to any reality we could appreciate, we left the shamans behind, and developed our own technologies to perform the same magic.
    Maybe not the same exactly, since modern technology allows us a glimpse of the remote to a level of description and visualization rivaling ‘being there’.

    If in fact our new ‘remote viewing’ technologies are truly experiences of that which we have not experienced in the flesh with our bare feet, are we not becoming techno-shamans?
    Though still in its embryonic stages, technologies of virtual sightseeing are already with us to a degree that is both surprising and thrilling.
    No need for passports, no need to move from our desk or comfy armchair, the world in all its strangeness now comes to us.

    I have never traveled to the Amazon, and it probably will take a while, if ever before I set foot in this green magical place.
    But now we can save on the travel cost, hassle and inconveniency, with the new Amazon Google street view,

    "Take a virtual boat ride down the main section of the Rio Negro, and float up into the smaller tributaries where the forest is flooded," Google Street View Amazon project lead Karin Tuxen-Bettman said in a blog post


    image caption :"View of a 360-degree camera system mounted on a Trike atop a boat by Google team members to record the "Street View for the Amazon" on the Negro River, around Tumbira Community, Amazonas State, in 2011. Google's free online map service on Wednesday began letting people explore portions of the Amazon Basin from the comfort of their homes"

    Watch the video on Youtube: Tour the Amazon with Street View

    Now, what if we are more ambitious and we desire to see Mars, the red planet, all this whilst sipping our morning coffee, worry no more, NASA will send the images directly to your smartphone.


    Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU

    “The Mars Images app fetches images from the NASA Opportunity rover‘s latest downlink as soon as they’re available. On Mars since 2004, Opportunity has far exceeded its planned mission life and is still making groundbreaking discoveries, such as the recent unambiguous evidence that water once flowed on Mars.
    Developed by computer scientist Mark Powell of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the app also allows you to browse older photos from the rover’s archive. It is free and available for both iPhone/iPad and Android phones” (Wired)

    (Get it for iPhone iPad or for Android)



    Have you ever been to the Sistine Chapel? No? Ok, then take a virtual tour of the Vatican .
    How about the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam? Try the Google art project Van Gogh Museum.

    The Uffizi gallery in Florence? Check.

    The Moma? Check.

    The Met? Check.

    But maybe you are a bird lover, and prefer the Eagle Cam.

    The Raptor Resource Project runs 12 webcams, including the Decorah eagle cam. The organization, established in 1988, takes care of more than 40 raptor nests and nest sites. The project has used birdcams since 1998, when it launched the web’s first, a peregrine falcon cam known as Mae’s Internest in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota. The project also has birdcams of falcons, ospreys, hawks and owls.”

    Not restricted to Birds, the site of Animal Cameras, collects live animal webcams and brings you real footage from Around the World, giraffes, meerkats and sea lions, penguins and whales, gorillas and rabbits.



    With the advent of broadband communication, high-speed cameras and related technologies, enhanced virtual tourism has taken a new meaning, take the Gigapan project for example:

    “Gigapans are gigapixel panoramas, digital images with billions of pixels. They are huge panoramas with fascinating detail, all captured in the context of a single brilliant photo. Phenomenally large, yet remarkably crisp and vivid, gigapans are available to be explored at GigaPan.com. Zoom in and discover the detail of over 50,000 panoramas from around the world.”

    GigaPan was developed by Carnegie Mellon University in collaboration with NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group, with support from Google. The GigaPan EPIC series is based on the same technology employed by the Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, to capture the incredible images of the red planet."

    A new toolbox for our minds, conjuring tricks

    It is easy to underestimate what, put together, all these technologies of virtual imagination represent.
    For these are real and new toolboxes for our minds; enhancement toolboxes that extend our physicality through space-time, making the unseen seen and un-experienced experienced.
    We are in fact becoming techno-shamans, however unlike the shamans of old the rituals we are performing for this magic to happen are techno tricks.
    Techno tricks, performed by super sensitive lenses, high-resolution Giga-pixel cameras, aided by broadband and finally eye pleasing user interfaces, all in the name of our needs and desire to bring the ‘far’ to the ‘here’.

    The toolboxes of virtuality are only now entering the stage of early infancy, but already the promise of what changes they will bring to our minds is obvious. Soon these tools will transform us, changing our relationship with immediacy. When remote places become easily available our inner circuitry will adapt to a new mode of perception, one in which the distinction between that which is ‘here’ and that which is ‘there’ slowly evaporates.

    To state that this transformation procedure is critical is to understate it. When immediate Reality is no longer a given, we need new terms and manners of descriptions to make sense of it.

    Reality (capital R) and reality will need be distinguished in a new fashion, a fashion allowing for an augmented and virtualized state of affairs to bear its full implications upon this new interdependent species, the techno-shamans.

    Being a techno-optimist, I believe the changes to our minds brought about by extended virtualities, augmented reality technologies, and remote viewing applications, will aid us in becoming more free.

    On the implications of these new kind of freedoms in the next installment


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    In 1738, in a rented hall in Paris, Jacques Vaucanson presented a duck. Not just any duck mind you, but a mechanical defecating duck about which Voltaire said: “"without...the duck of Vaucanson, you will have nothing to remind you of the glory of France." ("Sans...le canard de Vaucanson vous n'auriez rien qui fit ressouvenir de la gloire de la France." Wiki)



    The Digesting duck or in its French original, ‘Le canard digerateur’ is an interesting foray into the past origination of the cyborgization process, for in its simplicity it also reveals our passion for both machines and animals. A fascination that along human history has produced both the science of evolution and the fantastic realm of cryptozoology.



    Animal domestication is part and parcel of what humans do, what as specie we excel at. Ever since the human race became a technological species (stone carving and axe grinding), the immediate biosphere, innocent and available, was the field of action, and tool application upon which we applied our skills.
    We have used animals not only to eat and carry our cargoes, or us, but also as the backbone of our utensils making and healing remedies production. We have used and continuously use the plethora of life forms in the cornucopia of the biosphere for almost every imaginable idea of material need, but not only.
    Animals have become our hyper-mythologized creatures of fantasy bringing both fear and magic to our infant awe inspired storytelling capability.
    Both loyal friends and fearsome enemies, the creatures that are not us, have forever been our toys of preference.
    Small wonder then that reaching new heights of technological prowess, we turn to these evolutionary products of Mother Nature, searching the deep recesses of the bacterial DNA for magic potions, and Technorganic compounds that will yield an untold number of benefits.

    Morality aside (for the moment), the sheer amount of progress made in the last few years is nothing less than astounding.
    Applying engineering techniques and knowledge from biology and computational information, we are in the process of harnessing little known exploits already in nature to create new forms of unconventional computation.

    Computing swarms of soldier crabs



    "Back in the early 80s, a couple of computer scientists—Ed Fredkin and Tommaso Toffoli—studied how it might be possible to build a computer out of billiard balls.

    The idea is that a channel would carry information encoded in the form of the presence or absence of billiard balls . This information is processed through gates in which the billiard balls either collide and emerge in a direction that is the result of the ballistics of the collision, or don;t collide and emerge with the same velocities.

    Now Yukio-Pegio Gunji from Kobe University in Japan and a couple of pals have built what is essentially billiard ball computer using soldier crabs. "We demonstrate that swarms of soldier crabs can implement logical gates when placed in a geometrically constrained environment," they say."

    (image+text from Technology review: Computer Scientists Build Computer Using Swarms of Crabs)


    (Image credit: Journal of Energy & Environmental Science | Clarkson University | Ben- Gurion University of the Negev)

    Cyborg Clams

    Meanwhile, whilst the soldier crabs help us create the billiard ball computer others are busy harnessing the power of clams:
    "The same group previously showed how cyborg snails could survive hosting the first fully implanted biofuel cells. This time U.S. and Israeli researchers put implants in three living clams and then hooked the clams together as a battery to create enough electricity to turn an electric motor — a step toward the scenario in the 1999 film "The Matrix" in which Morpheus compares a human being to a Duracell battery."
    (Innovation Daily)

    Cyborg Roaches

    If however clams and crabs aren’t enough, the fabled cockroaches are here to help us enter into toxic areas and measure the toxicity of the area and send the information back.
    "Researchers have turned cockroaches into living, scurrying fuel cells by implanting them with electrodes. The scientists hope that eventually, insects can carry monitoring or messaging equipment that’s powered by their own bodies."
    (Innovation Daily)


    Instead of looking at cockroaches as disgusting pests, some scientists see them as potentially helpful scouts. Because of the insects’ hardy constitution, these scientists envision outfitting the roaches with tiny sensors or cameras and sending them to collect data in conditions that are harmful or inaccessible to people. In a step toward creating such insect soldiers, researchers now report a small device that can generate electricity from sugar in a cockroach’s blood (J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI: 10.1021/ja210794c). (Via : Chemical and Engineering news:Fuel Cell Taps Into Roach Power)

    Cyborg Bees

    We could of course instead of roaches send in the bees:
    " While bees are extremely important to our ecology, they are becoming important to our defense against biological and other weapons, as the bee’s discreet sense of smell, equivalent to a dog’s, is being exploited as a much cheaper way to detect various odors in the environment.
    (Physorg: New Bee Sniffing Technology Can Detect Many Dangerous Vapors At Once)

    Cyborg Insects

    "THE next time a moth alights on your window sill, watch what you say. Sure, it may look like an innocent visitor, irresistibly drawn to the light in your room, but it could actually be a spy - one of a new generation of cyborg insects with implants wired into their nerves to allow remote control of their movement. Be warned, flesh-and-blood bugs may soon live up to their name."
    (New Scientist:The cyborg animal spies hatching in the lab)

    watch the video: Cyborg insects

    Cyborg Crickets

    Hundreds or thousands of cyborg crickets could form a mobile communications network, transmitting signals through their calls. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
    "By taking advantage of the way crickets communicate, researchers are building "cyborg crickets" that could form a mobile communications network for emergency situations, such as detecting chemical attacks on the battlefield, locating disaster victims, monitoring gas leaks, and acting as smoke detectors." ((PhysOrg.com)







    Hybrots, Animats and Semi-Biotic systems

    Definitions:

    Hybrots: A hybrot (short for "hybrid robot") is a cybernetic organism in the form of a robot controlled by a computer consisting of both electronic and biological elements. (wiki)
    Animats: Animats are artificial animals, a contraction of anima-materials. The term includes physical robots and virtual simulations (wiki)
    Semi-biotic systems: Semi-biotic systems are systems that incorporate biologically derived components/modules – which could range from multi-protein complexes through DNA constructs to multi-cellular assemblies – and integrate them with synthetic components (e.g. microfabricated systems) to produce hybrid devices. (wiki)

    The Next step: Re-engineering life

    We are playing an interesting game here, dangerous to some extent, rich in potential and possibilities.
    Mating our bioengineering capabilities with the immensity of options nature has already brought forth we are now entering the age of bio-engineered life.
    This is a situation that is novel, fascinating, awe inspiring and inherently hazardous.

    (Brad Swonetz for The New York Times)
    Caption: Synthetic Genomics is working on algae with synthetic DNA that could convert pollution into fuel. (NYT)
    Right now, Venter is thinking of a bug. He is thinking of a bug that could swim in a pond and soak up sunlight and urinate automotive fuel. He is thinking of a bug that could live in a factory and gobble exhaust and fart fresh air.” (NYT:Craig Venter’s Bugs Might Save the World)

    Venter’ entrepreneurial approach to science is an interesting manner of conceiving of life not as a subject matter of biology but as the theme of the next wave of human engineering.

    In a very immediate perception then the animal cyborgization process is only a small part of the process of reinventing nature to our purposes.

    The ethics of the question, if question there is, concerning the re-invention of life and the cyborgization of animals (in conjunction with recreating ourselves and our own process of cyborgization) is not only deep and all encompassing, but possibly unanswerable.
    That we need take precautions is obvious, that we must implement all measures of safety and protection is evident, but that we will proceed along this path is also plain and actual.
    The question therefore is not will we do it, because we are, and we will. The question is what are the consequences on an aesthetic and evolutionary plane.

    Consider the following example:

    "Rayfish Footwear creates personalized sneakers from stingray leather. Our groundbreaking bio-customization technique allows you to design your very own Rayfish. At Rayfish Footwear, we harness the beauty and variety of nature to create the world's first truly custom sneakers. One fish, one shoe."
    "The beauty in our world has evolved over millions of years. Whether it's a spectacular forest, a coral reef, or a fragile butterfly, nature has made it all. For centuries artists and designers have taken inspiration from the beauty and variety of nature.

    Rayfish Footwear takes nature's beauty one step beyond inspiration. We use it as direct input. By remixing pattern-generating DNA, we can create designs never before seen in nature. From tigers to turtles, the infinite variety of earth's organisms is now at our disposal. Through our unique process of bio-customization, the patterns and colors of dozens of animals can be transformed into a truly personalized shoe."
    for more visit Rayfish

    then please watch this:



    How to think about this?

    "Technology is not neutral. We're inside of what we make, and it's inside of us. We're living in a world of connections — and it matters which ones get made and unmade."


    Donna Haraway

    On the aesthetic and philosophical consequences and implications in the next part.

    shortly to be continued..


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    (Originally published at URBNFUTR- graciously allowing me to republish here)

    Techno Desire and Cyber Sex – Part 1

    That we are intimate with the world is not news. That we have extended this intimacy to our tools is a reality; the idea that we are becoming cyborgs is already here.

    There is nothing mysterious or futuristic about being a cyborg, part machine part biological organism. Using our smartphones to remember our appointments, a long list of telephone numbers, addresses and shopping lists is a cyborg activity. The extension and externalization of our memories in electronic devices makes us de-facto modern day cyborgs.

    Deploying devices to upgrade and extend our insufficient neuro performance is only part of what we do as cyborgs. We use these extensions for training, for life tracking, for calorie counts, for sleep, you name it, there’s an app for that. But lest we forget, we also have our loves, our cares and our motivations to deal with, our desires both of the flesh and of our imagination. Also these are slowly coming into this symbiotic relationship.

    The accelerated tooling times we are living in, allow us to gradually expand the notion of what it means to be human. For, make no mistake; we are far from being similar to our ancestors. A modern day, urbanized, cyberneticaly hyperconnected human, exists in a state of interdependence and sense extension, the like of which no one could have predicted.

    We have a new relationship with technology, one we truly cannot extricate ourselves from, and this changes everything. Cyber technologies and information science have brought to bear, not a new tool but a new world with which to be intimate, a cyberspace horizon of potentiality that extends into the material world.

    What happens when these cyber-technologies, broaden our nervous system, into other nervous systems, weaving us with the emergent nervous system of the Internet?



    Virtually Yours – Techno Desire and Virtual Sex

    A plethora of new technologies offers us a wide swath to expand our sensations and emotions into, and our desires and hidden imaginary wishes. Virtual worlds such as second life already thrive, but a growing segment of virtuality is directed, how else? Into sex.

    Red districts offering every conceivable sexual wish, from the Toy Slaves Brothel (NSFW), to Fantasy Escorts (NSFW), are here for the take. One of these virtual worlds, appropriately named Red Light Center, (NSFW), carrying the tag line: “EXPAND Your Fantasy”, is modeled after Amsterdam’s red light district and claims a few million users.

    Now come the tough questions of course: “is it infidelity to have sex in virtual worlds?” when no ‘real’ sex has occurred? It is hard to come by numbers, but it does make sense that for many it will be considered as such, creating novel situations where the ‘competition’ is an avatar. The ubiquitousness of cyber sex virtual worlds is however only part of the story. It is still you, probably alone, clicking on a button, playing a game.

    Enter Synesthesia, literally the coming together of sensation (from the Greek Syn- together and Aesthesis – sensation), a term, which may well denote that which we are experiencing and will increasingly experience as the electronic tools at our disposal evolve. Though the experience of Synesthesia is anything but common and is considered to be of genetic origin, its idiosyncratic nature is what makes it so convenient and adaptable to the extension of our senses via technology.

    In fact new developments in haptic technologies, especially those involving vibrotactile feedback, will soon allow us to ‘really’ feel objects in virtual worlds, to feel, to sense and to enjoy the pleasures provided. Feeling the coldness of steel, the weight of a rock or the warmth of a body in a virtual world, is a revolution of the senses, the like of which we have not yet seen. For once the stream of impressions coming to our nervous system is no longer subject to the immediate, the possibilities open to our perceptual apparatus are limited by imagination only, and that we have abundantly.

    Once the new mesh of Haptic and Synesthesia comes together the avatar of our own making, will be able not only to see, but touch, feel and sense remote objects to a fullness of satisfaction, that will practically overwhelm us. One of these technologies already available is offering products such as the real touch award winning male masturbator (NSFW), which pledges to be the future of adult entertainment, followed closely by the Mojowijo (NSFW) promising: “The motions of one device are transformed into vibrations in the other, literally allowing you to share the mojo with anyone, anywhere in the world.”

    Though these devices are only the very beginning of what cybersex promises to be, a ‘real’ virtual alternative to common relationship, already their problematic implications abound. While Internet enabled sexual toys proliferate and multiple 3D online worlds offer everything from multiple partners, to every single imaginable fantasy one can have it is their descendents, which offer a real glimpse into the future.

    The following is a fascinating excursion filmed, written, and edited by Tutsy Navarathna, NSFW but worthwhile watching. Navarathna: “This film is an investigation into the transformations that human relationships face when interacting in Virtual Worlds.
 Love and sexuality are on an important factor in any human relationships. However, what is new in Virtual Worlds is the ability to exercise those relationships without any real risk, external censure or imposition from an internal “super-ego”. (NSFW)



    The ever-present state of being a cyborg however is only a fraction of the story. The complete story we will know only in the fullness of time, today we will do well to look deep into our minds and ask ourselves what is it that we are becoming? What kind of human do we desire to be, and what is already available or is on the horizon for our use and transformation.

    If online virtual cyber sex, extended via prosthetics, is the natural next step, then our evolution as cyborg beings is far from obvious. According to David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, not only is it the case that love and sex with robots is inevitable, but by 2050 the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots.

    What happens when our emotional make-up is no longer a given and our sexual preferences receive a boost of new options never before encountered? What happens when our sensations can be amplified tenfold? What happens when ‘cool’ means- dating a Gynoid or Android?

    To quote from Woody Allen:

    “Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions.”


    Transgressive Love: Cyborg Tenderness – Part 2

    It is now easy to love our selves as cyborgs, cyborg love is here, embrace it. The essential notion of Cyborg love is constructive transgression, a spreading out of our sense perception, into new domains of feeling. More than stimulating, less than exciting, slightly uncomfortable, the cyborg symbiosis we are moving into is an opportunity to expand our humanness. According to Amber Case who studies Cyborg Anthropology:

    “It’s not that machines are taking over – it’s just that they are helping us be more human”

    TEDTALK: Amber Case – We are all cyborgs now:



    This emergent symbiotic relationship might represent a possible break with our proto emotional selves and a real opening to redefine our perceptual machinery.

    It might be easier for some of us to accept a robotic firefighter, sand that self metamorphoses, or mechanical helpers that feed on organic matter (our very own waste!), but when these same robots become very similar to us the notion of us vs. them, will blur into nothingness.

    Enter ECCEROBOT (Embodied Cognition in a Compliantly Engineered Robot) a three-year project funded by the 7th framework programme of the EU (ICT-Challenge 2, “Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics”). The project has three goals: to build the first truly anthropomimetic robot; to find out how to control it; and finally, to investigate its human-like cognitive features.



    Anthropomimetic robotics is nothing new, what is new however is the manner by which we learn, slowly but surely, to accept these as another form of us, humans. The fact is that, as we become more cyborgs and the more robots accumulate human like properties, the distance between these two forms of life decreases exponentially. The transgressive aspect enters the equation when we manage to leap across the ‘uncanny valley’ (a term coined by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori first in 1970):

    “Mori’s original hypothesis states that as the appearance of a robot is made more human, a human observer’s emotional response to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached beyond which the response quickly becomes that of strong revulsion. However, as the robot’s appearance continues to become less distinguishable from that of a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once more and approaches human-to-human empathy levels.”
    (Wiki-uncanny valley)

    The motion to empathy is only an aspect of a larger shift in our interaction with machines, for when our minds can no longer distinguish the difference between man and machine, our emotional system will adapt accordingly.



    Beyond the, by now proverbial, consensual hallucination of cyberspace the enlarged domain of the metaverse allows us a glimpse into our futures. A future, already here, in which we will love both ourselves as cyborgs and our newly emerging companion androids and Gynoids. One of the most fascinating developments in this respect is the work of Japanese robotics creator Hiroshi Ishiguro, who recently unveiled his newest creation the new robot F.

    Geminoid F serenades the crowd during Hong Kong’s “Robots in Motion 2012″ Expo:



    Can we love Geminoid F? My definite answer to this question is, if not Geminoid F then her next of kin or her descendants. Cyborg love and Robot love are two converging lines of emotional connectivity that do not come to usurp our ‘common’ state of affairs. On the contrary, as technologies of augmentation become more available, as hyperconnectivity increases and as robots become more life like, we are finally extending our family of beings to new domains.

    Of course we will love these creations, we will love them for their beauty (created to fit our tastes) and their resiliency, for their functionality (created to meet our needs) and their otherness. But there is another reason for which I think we will love these created companions, lets call it, mental transportation. Like Hiroshi Ishiguro I believe that androids and gynoids will become our friends, companions, colleagues and lovers, as part of an extended cyborgization process. A process that is as natural as it is inevitable and inexorable.

    In his book ‘Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships’ Levy states that: “Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans,” he further writes, “while the number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practiced between humans will be extended, as robots teach us more than is in all of the world’s published sex manuals combined.”



    Most of us will remember fondly the impressive character of Rachael in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, a cybernetic creature of immense beauty played artfully by Sean Young. In the movie Rachael is an advanced replicant prototype of the Nexus-6 generation, carrying implanted memories from Eldon Tyrell’s niece. What is important in the case of this representation is the sense of intimacy and tenderness carried over to the audience. Rachael transports us into a new world, that of a totally transparent human-replicant relationship.

    Like all modern relationships, technology and sexual desire will play a major role in both adoption and implementation of cyborgs and androids. It is quite certain that the future human civilization rests with a new natural state of affairs one in which androids, gynoids, cyborgs and robots play a complex interactive game with us common mortals. This is good.

    It is good because a new space is being created. A space allowing for a broadening of horizons; an overarching space of potentiality, vital and natural. The relationship of human and machine, mind and electronics, evolving in tandem, is changing the concept of embodiment, enlarging it to encompass new realities. We are no longer alone in the family of beings. Transgressive love is our lot, through which we explore new forms of existence, new fashions of self-reflection. The tenderness we extend to machines is not a postmodern relativism but an actuation of our innate desire to merge with everything. To merge with all life, machines included.

    I leave you with the amazing Demo-presentation by Quantic Dreams of their latest creation: Kara:



    Are we not falling in love with her? Soon Kara, and similar forms of life will be here, are we ready to extend our tenderness? To embrace the new members of an extended humanity, with warmth, with fondness and maybe adoration? It will take time, but I am certain that we will.

    This series concerning the evolution of our Cyborg lives will continue shortly.

    Notes:

    I am indebted to the great editing work the Urban Times founder and editor Charlie Hilton has done on my original articles.

    credits:
    Image 1 Source: flickr.com/photos/sergioaraujo
    Image 2 Source: flickr.com/photos/mtonic
    Image 3 Source: flickr.com/photos/lainyvoom
    Image 4 Rachel Replica from Blade Runner // Source: flickr.com/photos/blile59





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    Of course it is natural to augment reality, we do it with our eyes and brains ever since perception got, in a poetic sense, highjacked by our imagination.

    A plethora of new apps are here to help us keep track of everything. Sharing and benchmarking are becoming the casual reality applications of our lives, making the quantified-self, the game changer that the concept claims to be. Designing the life you love and architecting your reality seen as a design problem and not a psychological or philosophical quest is where the crux of our times lay silently.
    The sweet spot of interaction between people and technology resides in a very special place, maybe the new aesthetic but probably a self-aware map of tools and humans, making reality a new kind of platform. Does it make the story of our life an extraordinary experience or will it make us instruments of our own demise?

    Exploring this question is I believe the most salient point of our current civilization for though we might be obsessed about the news of the moment be it the economy or the political scene, it is the actual pixelated deconstruction of our moment by moment immediate reality that may or may not bring about that cherished idea of a life well lived.

    It used to be that a life well lived was the subject matter of philosophy and then of psychology, however it might be the case that as of now the same question has become one of design. Not design as in ‘design the life you love’ as some may desire to portray it but design in the literal sense of the objects and apps we use.
    The design of objects and applications used daily by millions of people all over the world, submitting the benchmarks they attain (or do not attain) to a mostly anonymous crowd, invents, as it were a reality that is fundamentally augmented and shared to such an extent that for all practical purposes, it is not ‘ours’ anymore but is for all practical purposes a shared prototype of consciousness or indeed a consensual hallucination.

    The implications are vast serious and probably under-emphasized, acts of self tracking and self monitoring are not only acts of extensibility of our minds into objects but also acts of self inflicting data upon our own subjectified self. In this process we may unwittingly, and to some extent unknowingly provide our minds with an alternative to self-reflection. In fact I am uncertain if indeed the apparent cohesion of what used to be an introspective process of self-knowing becoming externalized via the applications of monitoring and self-tracking devices, improves our lives or destroys a sense of fullness in which not everything is known.

    Some examples of modern tracking devices



    “Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool. Built on the iPhone mobile app platform, Breathe2Relax is a hands-on diaphragmatic breathing exercise. Breathing exercises have been documented to decrease the body's 'fight-or-flight' (stress) response, and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management. Breathe2Relax can be used as a stand-alone stress reduction tool, or can be used in tandem with clinical care directed by a healthcare worker.
    Capitalizing on touch-screen technology, a user can record their stress level on a 'visual analogue scale' by simply swiping a small bar to the left or to the right. Breathe2Relax uses state-of-the-art graphics, animation, narration, and videos to deliver a sophisticated, immersive experience for the user.” (go here: breath relax)
    -
    Other examples:

    RunKeeper makes tracking your workouts fun, social, and easy to understand so that you can improve the quality of your fitness.

    Over at TedxSilkroad: “Patrice Slupowski, director of innovation at Orange France Telecom, quotes Ericsson's CEO who predicts 50 billion connected devices by 2015. With 3 billion expected Internet users, this means we will have 17 devices per connected people. By 2015, 3 years from now we will be carrying on us sensors and other devices that produce data. “

    His presentation called: “The connected body” here below is a well worth watch, in a very poetic and French manner Patrice Slupowski, entices us to understand and accept the connected state of affairs through which he gets more sleep, looses weight, records the amount of steps he walks and shares the resulting data with his social networks.



    The point as most of us are already acquainted with is that tracking; self-tracking in particular, allows a new kind of self-awareness, especially as relates to our health and fitness.
    Put all this data in the cloud, (privacy not included) and personal medicine becomes a reality, tracking our mood, skin temperatures and the analysis of correlated data becomes a new picture we have of ourselves, and a new image we can project unto the world.





    Of course that is only the beginning, new under the skin implant devices are coming our way faster than the speed of the click: :” Scientists at Toronto-based Autodesk Research and their colleagues tested a dozen or so different user interface implants. Input devices included microphones for audio; buttons, pressure sensors and tap sensors for input via direct touching of the skin; and brightness sensors and capacitive sensors — the kind now often found in mobile device touchscreens — for input through motions above the skin. Output devices they examined included audio speakers, LEDs, and vibration motors. Wireless communications were enabled using Bluetooth, and wireless recharging was tested with inductive chargers, the kind seen with cordless power tools. (Via the Txchnologist)


    What about memory recall? Add to the above the sense cam from Microsoft: “SenseCam is a wearable camera that takes photos automatically. Originally conceived as a personal ‘Black Box’ accident recorder, it soon became evident that looking through images previously recorded tends to elicit quite vivid remembering of the original event.

    Watch: Sensecam : Human memory enhancement camera invented by Lyndsay Williams for Microsoft Research Cambridge. MRI brain scan research by Professor Martin Conway.


    Some are already using this huge amount of data that is more meaningful than apparent, to create what may well be the personal information stock exchange,

    “In a paper posted online last week, Huberman and coauthor Christina Aperjis propose something akin to a New York Stock Exchange for personal data. A trusted market operator could take a small cut of each transaction and help arrive at a realistic price for a sale. “ ( A stock exchange for your personal data- technology review)



    All your mind extensions will talk to each other

    “They’re really external extensions of our mind,” said Joseph Tranquillo, associate professor of biomedical and electrical engineering at Bucknell University. (referring to all our networked devices- CNN)

    So, vast amounts of data, self-tracking, personal information stock exchange, our own memories in the cloud, implants under our skins transmitting the data continuously.

    What happens then?

    A cloud of self-aware data that is what I believe will occur. An immense amount of data willingly offered, talking, transmitting, and exchanging bits and bytes with each context re-conceptualizing itself, re-describing itself as a new form of realism.

    Hyperconnected bodies, transformed, metamorphosed, dynamically rewiring, our very yogic memory oscillations, playing the stock exchange of personal information, mutating, resuming, deconstructing and restructuring our thoughts, our moods, saying hello to each other and maybe waving to us on our way to a life well lived.

    Are we part of this self aware-data cloud?

    To some extent yes, though the connection will eventually become tenuous. As such it is my view that the self-aware cloud of information may be seen as the precursor to a global brain.
    Such a global brain connecting bodies, objects, animals and extending all over the biosphere is a probability that bears an interesting account of our times.

    (shortly to be continued)


    Meanwhile, take a peek at this art installation, maybe a hint into a possible future self


    “As two dancers moved around the perimeter of the installation, 3D cameras recorded the shapes made by their bodies and replayed them on a brass grid of over 10,000 LED lights.
    The image created by the lights always resembles a single figure, no matter how many people approach it at once, but it can combine the movements of more than one body. All information recorded by the device passes through a computer, so it can also be played back with a time delay or saved to replay later. (See here: Future Self by rAndom International)




    Links of Note & Reference :

    * ARWave is a open source project to create a standard method for geolocating data on Wave servers. (ARWave)
    *Lift your mood.

    Clean your teeth, wash your face, measure your mood. A daily must-do.

    Track your ups and downs on a graph to understand what gets to you.

    Share your scores with trusted friends so they can support you. Everybody needs a buddy.
    (Moodscope)


    cross posted at Reality Augmented
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