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    Eureka at Wyena Endures Too Long
    Project: The great enhancement debate
    About twenty years ago I was living in a hippie shack in the north-east of Tasmania, trying to write. I was about twenty. These days I am still trying to write but I am no longer twenty.

    By that age I had read a large amount of science fiction, and recently I had read Joan Slonczewski's A Door Into Ocean.

    On a water world a peaceful quakery society lives and is about to be invaded by a less peaceful rocky culture. People live on rafts and have a sophisticated biological technology. A room within the living raft is a wetware laboratory where glass utensils are replaced by extensions of the raft, though it seemed mostly used as a medical clinic. Much like most science is today.

    Anyway, some weeks, or months after reading this book, and thinking about this living raft wetware lab for some time... on a spring afternoon, I had an idea.

    Now I often have ideas. This is no big deal. But this one felt like a BIG IDEA.

    In fact, late that evening, unable to sleep, I had to drive to a public phone box to ring up a friend to tell them all about it. They were non-plussed, perhaps it was the lateness of the hour. At least they got the idea. It was the implications of the idea that I really failed to get across. I had trouble explaining the end of darwinian evolution and on to to self-directed lamarckianism. I just couldn't explain myself.

    Anyway, nowadays he is a proper scientist and I just read about science like any consumer. That's twenty years of good ideas for you.

    But this post is not about the idea, but the implications, and their possibility.

    At the time, and unknown to me in my lamplit electricity-free two room cottage, the implications had been advanced a few years before, even if it was to be another ten years before I personally noticed any discussion of the idea of the technological singularity. (Though apparently Isidore Jacob Gudak wrote about it in the year I was born.)

    So for twenty years I've been trapped inside a eureka. (Is that what the technorapture is going to be like? I hope not.)

    But I break out and end up on and through this post discover, eventually, the following article in Theory Culture Society by Maurizio Lazzarato Machines to Crystallize Time: Bergson

    You see, this post is not about the idea, whatever it was, it's about time and memory. It's about how technology will augment our capacity to feel, and our capability to act. Technologies of time will increase the force of memories as they leverage the creative act of remembering.

    My writing has often attempted to transfer my memories as they seem to me to the reader, with the intention that the reader will be affected as I have. There is nothing else of me to give. That has been my want.

    In a future time of time-rich technologies, instead of trying to convey through words and links that eureka moment I once had in Wyena, I could edit a host of recorded video angles of the actual moment when I went a-ha! with the feed of my brain wave pattern of the same moment, or the proteomic state of a passing butterfly, producing a metasynthesiatic memory. (In the director's cut you get a bonus track of the twenty years since as well.)

    Of course I can do that with my memories now within myself, intra-corporeally, sharing them via text as a writer expressing their experience, but to share them bodily, inter-corporeally, to share the event such that you could remember my experience, at least in the way you would remember it if you were me... well, that is what the singularity will allow.

    The future is not only of machines without hindsight, robotic presence without foresight, of automata without souls, the future, as the past, will be embodied with a will, or at least an arbitrary bias.

    New Scientist graphic

    Our egos may not be raptured up into a ceaseless maelstrom of augmentation, but their egotism will be, their want, their desire, their attitude. Perhaps all we can provide is some real fleshy memory of their ancestors. That will make them truly different from us. In their flesh they will have/hold/be/become our memories, if not ourselves.

    (Goodness, it seems i have described, if elliptically, the big idea after all.)

    There are some steps along the way to this already.

    For the web can help simulate this. A bit.

    Contrary to what cyber-culture might lead us to believe, this ‘semi-artificial action’ is not specific to digital technologies; it is proper to any process of creation. The technologies of time merely serve to increase the force of this semi-artificial action. Maurizio Lazzarato in Machines to Crystallize Time: Bergson

    In Oliva Catedra I could poached images from the web, to leverage the epiphany of a moment in time in a certain place as it endures in me.

    By contrast here in Eureka at Wyena Endures Too Long there is no web subsitute. I can only point in the air with wanty words. There are no images available online, just a google map and some hyperlinks that provide context by way of reference and citation. Not the same at all.

    I had to go to a dusty trunk, rifle through many packets of photos, digging deep, sift through the oldest and then go and scan about ten in. Took a bit of endurance and for all of that only two were selected.

    But it is a start.

    Sat, Jan 19, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: The great enhancement debate
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