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digital cartographers, narrative realization. image workers & pixel [re]searchers. emographers. memetic mappers. space cadets. polytopians.
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    Polytopia - Our Mind Habitat in the Infoverse
    Project: Polytopia
    I had the pleasure to meet several other polytopians in the flesh recently at the TransVision 2010 conference in Milan. It was both an excuse to get together after working for so long on the net, as well as a chance to suss out current ideas, attitude, approaches and thought happening in the transhumanist community.

    Although we were not initially going to present, after the first day we felt that the Polytopia Project fills a void of sorts...a ground of engagement for all the ideas, initiatives, visions, predictions and prophecies that were spoken about there - a common ground of mutual respect.

    We created a map, over the next two days, and gardened it until we felt comfortable with a distilled presentation of some of the fundamentals of what we agreed a polytopia(s) to be.

    This map can be seen as continually evolving - as the conversation continues to grow around these concepts we will be modifying and adding in more layers to the map, including multiple aesthetic representations of the content.

    The presentation below is the same content as the map above. Best viewed in fullscreen.

    Polytopia - Our Mind Habitat in the Infoverse

    Content: wildcat, spaceweaver, starwalker and notthisbody
    Mapping: notthisbody

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    giulio     Sun, Oct 31, 2010  Permanent link
    Thanks for posting this, and thanks for inviting me to join this community. I am very curious about the reactions of polytopians to transhumanist thought.
    Venessa     Mon, Nov 1, 2010  Permanent link
    wildcat asked me to take a look at this map & prezi and provide some feedback. i've laid it out below in the order each of the phrases appear in the prezi. my comments are in parentheses. overall, i find the language unnecessarily jargony and abstract, to the point where many of the phrases feel meaningless, and in some cases non-sensical. if this information is to gain traction and be built upon, it needs to have a much greater level of clarity.

    my challenge would be - can you summarize what is trying to be conveyed here in a few simple sentences that a child could understand?

    - v

    "Polytopia: Our Mind Habitat in the Infoverse" - (shows greek/latin breakdown of terminology. ok, got it.)
    "A Ground for Engagement" - (does this mean an online interactive space? a platform? a meeting hall? a coffeeshop? a mindset? any/all of the above?)
    "Plurality of open ended narratives" - (many conversations?)
    "manifesting multiple inclinations" - (conversations intended to satisfy various objectives and solve particular problems?)
    "aesthetic interfaces" - (design that appeals to the senses?)
    "eliminating the barriers between mediums and dimensions" - (what mediums? what dimensions? this doesn't make sense to me.)
    "Diversity" - (vague.)
    "ecosystem" - (vague. do you mean to say, inviting many different perspectives and points of view?)
    "sentient entities, not necessarily human" - (define sentience. are we talking about advanced AI at some point in the future?)
    "bypass the biological interfaces from a prior evolutionary phase" - (and replace them with what? what are we talking about here? and why is this categorized under "Diversity"?)
    "intersubjective differenciation" - (as far as i know, 'differenciation' is not a word, so it may be helpful to provide a definition. is this supposed to mean 'the ability to combine ideas to form new concepts?)
    "Accessibility" - (got it.)
    "dissolving time/space differences" - (people interacting across geographic boundaries and time zones?)
    "a distributed value system for sentient interaction" - (many ways to interpret this. a points/rating system? a recommendation service? what's a distributed value system? why categorized under "Accessibility"?)
    "multiple entry and exit points (rhizomatic)" - (ability for people to engage with ideas/conversations at various levels of complexity or expertise in subject area? multiple entry/exit points to what?)
    "Openness" - (got it.)
    "to bifurcation" - (should bifurcation be listed under "Openness" or under some something more specific, like "Adaptability" or even "Malleability"? i tend to associate the word Openness with Transparency.)
    "in knowledge and perspectives" - (this sounds more like "Receptiveness" than "Openness")
    "open resources for critical decision making" - (this sounds more like "Accessibility" than "Openness", unless "Openness" is now meant to refer to "Open Source")
    "open evolution of interfaces" - (this seems to refer to "Open Source", in which case, does this mean 'ability to update sourcecode or open API to third party developers?)
    "an emergent collaborative marketplace" - (by calling it a marketplace, do you mean that goods and services are exchanged here? or do you mean discussion forum? earlier it was called "A Ground for Engagement", which was equally vague. either way, this feels somewhat redundant.)
    "Multiplicity" - (be more specific. does this mean the acknowledgment that there are multiple perspectives to any given topic or problem?)
    "simultaneous flows" - (need to understand what is meant by "Multiplicity" before this makes sense to me. what comes to mind is an RSS reader)
    "multidimensionality" - (again, what are we talking about? what comes to mind is spiral dynamics and theories of evolutionary development.  or  is this saying we evaluate/integrate information in terms of its relation to self - family - tribe - nation - humanity?)
    "Individual/Collective Continuum" - (refer to above comments.... similar to spiral dynamics?)
    "beyond the one and the many" - (?)
    "change via ambientation" - (as far as i know, 'ambientation' is not a word, so it may be helpful to provide a definition.)
    "individuality as a variable" - (as a variable to/for what?)
    "Combined Interactive Intelligence" - (Collective Intelligence?)
    "cross-fertilization" - (ability for people to exchange ideas and form new ones? is this what was meant earlier by "intersubjective differenciation"? redundant?)
    "mind mutuality" - (ability for people to find like-minded individuals who share similar interests, visions, or goals?)
    "concurrent agendas" - (ability for people to find like-minded individuals who share similar interests, visions, or goals? how is 'concurrent agendas' different from 'mind mutuality')
    "reciprocal enhancement" - (people sharing information for mutual benefit?)
    "co-emergent interest" - (ability for people to find like-minded individuals who share similar interests, visions, or goals? it seems like the same thing has been stated three times, just different words.)
    "fluid affinity replaces nucleic identity" - (emphasis of personal identity becomes defined by people's associations and relationships moreso than individual achievement or performance?

    starwalker     Mon, Nov 1, 2010  Permanent link
    Venessa hi

    First of all I think we should tune in concerning at which level the description is happening.
    At the moment in the initial enfoldment the description represented in the map relates to a “conceptual” backbone that might allow a mind to think and accommodate a better ‘perception of’ and ‘interaction with’ plurality and diversity.
    A thought emerged in terms of a future that seems to be moving towards extreme diversity.

    So though your comments are very right when asking about specific forms of implementation, the description explored out through the map is not happening at this level, at least not yet. It is an attempt at thinking from a different perspective, while correlating the many clusters of concepts that emerged in the writings and poly-logues of polytopia. It is the first time we look at it in this fashion and assess if and how it is a valuable way to aggregate and extract information from the archive of the last two years, and possibly make it a many-hands endeavor, for ideally each one will be able to curate in one’s most prominent points.

    Undeniably we’ll need to accompany it soon enough with some writings opening the narrative through the clusters of concepts, and their definitions, believe it best to enter the specific of your questions there.
    Venessa     Mon, Nov 1, 2010  Permanent link
    hi starwalker

    i wasn't asking for specific forms of implementation at all. i was suggesting greater clarity in the language, and also challenging some of the categorizations and redundancies in the map.

    part of the beauty of a well conceived mindmap is that you don't have to restate the same thing over and over in different places, you simply arrow back to where it was said before. i pointed out several places where it seemed the same concept was restated with different words (i.e. cross-fertilization, mind mutuality, concurrent agendas). i don't think it enhances the map to bulk it like that..... it's like feature bloat with software.

    i think the "conceptual backbone" would be strengthened, not diminished, by removing redundancy, increasing clarity of language, and reexamining the category/cluster titles.

    - v
    notthisbody     Mon, Nov 1, 2010  Permanent link
    hi venessa,

    This is GEN008 VAR001 (generation 8 variation 1) of the presentation. this process of communication of these concepts is inherently open-ended, to variations, translations & mutations...and thanks for joining us already on this effort :-).

    in regards to your point about being redundant, yes, i agree that there is overlap. Overlap, not repetition, as each of these phrases fills in a different facet of imparting the overall concept. Having been part of the conversations that went into the formation of this map, i witnessed firsthand the caution that went into constructing these concepts with language. important to note that this presentation was also crafted for the context in which it was given.

    Everyone has different aesthetics that are the interfaces of our understanding. What I'm hearing here is an effort from you to translate this aesthetic representation into one that suits you more, and perhaps suits many others more as well, when we meet it in our own contexts, as part of our personal/collective narratives. i'm very much looking forward to the process of evolving & releasing this map into some other 'wilds' :-)

    a question, perhaps a challenge: can you see with/through/past the aesthetic and lingual representation above into what is being attempted to be communicated?

    Spaceweaver     Mon, Nov 1, 2010  Permanent link
    Thank you Venessa for the comprehensive reading and feedback. Here are a few reflections, I would like to share:

    1. The map is part of the Polytopia project and it needs to be read as such. Many of the concepts, though admittedly not all of them, are discussed in various posts of the project, especially Wildcat's.

    2. I disagree with the value of 'making it simple enough for a child to understand'. Simplicity might be critical in domains where the so called 'memetic value' drives the economy of the domain. In many domains, however, simplification simply doesn't work. I think Polytopia is one such domain. Additionally, I personally feel that simplification is grossly overrated and became lately the banner of lazy minds who can hardly digest anything but regurgitated stuff (web culture seems to encourage and justify that). I do not like to see this growing group setting the standard for what passes as an acceptable description or articulation of a thought process. (waited a long time for the opportunity to say just that :-) )

    3. It is fascinating to see how once this complex of ideas is exposed to a reductive approach it seems to fall apart and 'lose its soul' in a manner of speaking. Indeed you point at quite a few places that are missing in clarity, but in the case of Polytopia some of the clarity emerges from the whole and cannot be found in the parts once examined separately.

    4. Ambiguity carries merit ! It is our initial idea to create a complex of ideas which is holistic, irreducible and ambiguous. The merit of an initial ambiguity in the meeting of minds is that it allows a progressive determination within a shared mental/emotional space. Moreover, if determination is emergent it is also reversible and can be returned into a more ambiguous state in order to incorporate more minds, situations, changes etc.Too much determination at the beginning of a meeting necessarily leads to opposing perspectives that need somehow to be reconciled afterward. Reconciliation of initial positions is a standard approach. Instead, we think ambiguity may be a more fertile setup for an emerging consensus which is not based on initial consolidated determinations. There is more space and more substance in ambiguity. Regretfully most of us were educated (or conditioned) to see it in a negative light and avoid it. Of course, there is a thin line between this kind of intended ambiguity and non-clarity. Your feedback certainly helps to refine this distinction.

    Having said that, I do have to offer some specific clarifications. Hope to get to them later...
    Wildcat     Mon, Nov 1, 2010  Permanent link
    Thank you, Venessa, for the thorough analysis and critique of the polytopia presentation above.

    I will try and respond accordingly.

    To your first challenge:

    V: “..can you summarize what is trying to be conveyed here in a few simple sentences that a child could understand? “

    This is indeed a very challenging demand but let us assume for didactic purposes that we deal with a very precocious child that knows her ways, ins and outs in and on the mind mutuality called the net.

    So here is a first iteration

    “The map and the prezi presentation of the Polytopia was created for the purpose of conveying in an info graphic manner the main idea of the Polytopia, namely that : the philosophy of hyperconnectivity yields an array of opportunities, potentials and access points for the evolution of human cooperation, collaboration and the overall progress of human civilization.”

    Second iteration:

    Polytopia is an experimental philosophical ground for the development of a coherent discourse and polylogues concerning the future of Mind, the future of our species and the future of our civilization. The Map and the Prezi presentation are both works in progress meant to convey a wide canvas upon which the foundation of such a multidimensional conversation or polylogues may take place in an intersubjective collaborative fashion.

    Third iteration:

    As all children know the spirit of inquiry is the building block of penetration into the mystery that is life, that is nature, that is the world. Lifting a stone and exploring the underlying surprises that it may yield is the very first act of every intelligent being curious about the structures that make this world what it is. Eventually we may rush with our new discovery to a friend and tell with excitement that which we have uncovered, a new fact or a new facet of the ‘world’.
    Polytopia as such is an idea to be lifted and explored into the light of day, but it is a mystery to be unveiled by many, collaborating and enlarging the possible paths of actuation, mutually reinforcing our simultaneous discoveries.
    For the purpose of enlarging our common inquiries into the future of humanity the polytopia team has developed a map of sorts, a roadmap to clarify the multiple possible paths in front of us.

    More iterations to come, and please add your own, the more iterations, the more generative the map, the more creativity involved

    As a general note I will say that I agree with some of your points (especially as concerns redundancy and clarity), however and I am happy to see and say that I think you have got most of them right, which of course just proves the point that the articulation was accurate enough to engender such understandings.

    Now on to specifics:

    V: “"A Ground for Engagement" - (does this mean an online interactive space? a platform? a meeting hall? a coffeeshop? a mindset? any/all of the above?)”

    W: yes all of the above (well maybe not the coffeshop or meeting hall in meatspace though in principle I see no reason why it could not be that as well), but deeper yet, a ground for engagement is a conceptual manner of description implying a field of human interaction in the mind via the language of thought. The main points of a ground for engagement which are elaborated in the prezi are:

    Accessibility and Plasticity, of concepts and of language
    An inherent allowance for the different and the diverse (other than me)

    This of course goes to the next step

    V:” "Plurality of open ended narratives" - (many conversations?)”

    W: this is an interesting issue that we need elaborate, open ended narratives implies a few points which may not be clear here in the map, primarily that we desire the narrative we co-create (only part of which is implied in many conversations) to be uncertain as to its result or defined solution (hence open ended), we desire the story we tell as individuals and as a group to be open to as many facets of consequences and implications as possible.

    V: "mind mutuality" - (ability for people to find like-minded individuals who share similar interests, visions, or goals?)

    W: “ no, mind mutuality is a high level meta description (from which other descriptions are to be unveiled and exposed) reflecting primarily the existential reality of hyperconnectivity. As a term it implies that we do not exist independently but are inherently dependent on the minds of others, primarily for the purpose of reflectivity. Mind mutuality can be seen as a statement of both intent and self-description. As in:” we are a mind mutuality”.

    Not a final note, since more will come.

    Though I agree with the difficulty many of the expressions used are creating to the non - initiated (most if not all of these terms can be found explained and described in depth in the plethora of posts under the polytopia project- one does need to read them though) I need also say that from a certain point of view of language, given that the system is broken, we need re-invent it, part of the re-invention is also new naming and new terminologies which are new and in fact must be so, if we are to re-describe the reality we live in. It logically follows that if the terms are new, much misunderstandings and misconceptions will occur, these are in a way inevitable consequences of trying to create a new version of conceptual reality that is not based on common assumption and thus common language.
    I believe the polytopia as a work in progress demands a wide input and variety both of views and critique, of the concept , its terminologies and clarity of purpose and direction.
    In this I thank you much for letting your voice be heard I wish more minds and humans in general will apply their cognitive skills to the task so that together we may eventually create a more concise and more accurate representation for the reality we desire to attain.

    (stay tuned, more to come)
    Venessa     Mon, Nov 1, 2010  Permanent link
    @notthisbody "a question, perhaps a challenge: can you see with/through/past the aesthetic and lingual representation above into what is being attempted to be communicated?"

    sure. that is what i was attempting to communicate back in the text i put in parentheses.

    having just gotten back from amsterdam and presenting the future of money video at the sibos conference, i have a fresh perspective on the importance of being able to communicate in some fashion of a "common" language, or at least to provide a type of rosetta stone for translation.

    most of what i said went right over the bankers' heads, and i keep thinking about what could have been said differently or more clearly so more of it would have gotten through. it's just frustrating.

    i merely want to share that insight with you. i understand this is still a young document/framework... and while it circulates within a very small circle of individuals who speak a certain jargon, it functions well. but when it is time to share it more widely, and invite other voices to join and to build upon these concepts, it may require some linguistic bridges to be built.

    - v
    Venessa     Mon, Nov 1, 2010  Permanent link

    perhaps i misspoke in calling for "simplicity"..... let it be complex, but not complicated.

    i would not have wasted my time commenting in order to criticize, but to critique. i think the polytopia concept is elegant, and want to see this evolve in accordance.

    looking forward to the next iteration.

    - v
    Xarene     Tue, Nov 2, 2010  Permanent link
    The list of 'keywords' in the presentation are very inspiring and exciting (for those following Polytopia and the theories and philosophies it relates to and expands upon). The presentation could have used those keywords as a framework for designing the prezi. What is interesting in prezi is the navigation and many layers of zooming and panning and tilting, which without getting over-dramatic, can play with many of the ideas in the presentation itself—multi-dimensionality, fluid affinity, rhizomatic, simulataneous flows, etc...

    Is there a transcript to your presentation?

    Venessa: (as far as i know, 'ambientation' is not a word, so it may be helpful to provide a definition.)—funny. I'm not sure I want it to be a word... it's the kind of word that could end up here though:

    giulio     Tue, Nov 2, 2010  Permanent link
    Re "making it simple enough for a child to understand"

    While agreeing with those who say that some things just cannot be made too simple, I think simplicity and immediateness have value.

    The problem is not whether the reader is able to understand, but whether the reader has enough time and attention to dedicate to understanding a point. The Internet is not a university classroom, but a bazaar with hundreds of meme stalls competing for our attention at any given time.
    Venessa     Tue, Nov 2, 2010  Permanent link

    yes, let us assume that i am that very precocious child. :p

    thank you for the three iterations.... i can see it as a 3D visualization in my mind's eye... unfolding a new mythology for the meaning of self and reality. pretty.

    to your other points, thank you, i understand.
    Wildcat     Tue, Nov 2, 2010  Permanent link

    concerning the term Ambientation:

    Ambientation a definition:

    Ambientation: (Noun)

    1. The process by which an ambient intelligence is made active –

    Ex of usage: The Ambientation of Space collective engenders an increase in creative and innovative ideas.

    2. The manifested (and perceived) atmosphere of a given infocology, the complex dynamic ecology of information in action.

    Ex of usage: The Ambientation of social networks increases or decreases in direct proportion to the level of intersubjective trust.

    Ex of usage 2: Hyperconnectivity is a fundamental necessity if Ambientation has to have a real value.

    General: Ambientation is a term that can be applied to all situations or state of affairs where a particular (or essential) part of the description need involve the positive feedback between an ecology of informational nature and the users of the same infocology (such as social networks or indeed any forum, meeting place, debate room and so on)
    The particular application of this term in the case of Polytopia implies basically that an infocology has the characteristic of reflecting back upon the actual users in a manner that may yield a change and or variation in their attitude and possible on the behavior and or correlated mind state.

    a note:

    To fully encompass the meaning implied by the term Ambientation we need see the roots of the term. I have finally managed to find out why I was certain the term is legit when in fact it is not defined in any of the mainstream English dictionaries, or the English version of Wikipedia.
    The reason is that Ambientation has been used mainly in the game departments, especially as refers to the storyline in high fantasy oriented games. In Italian the term is mainly used in literature to refer to the time and place of a particular storyline, the equivalent of which in English may be understood as ‘setting’. (see Ambientazione (in Italian).

    I think that this only a start for a possible larger definition paradigm of the word that may eventually penetrate the fortress of legitimacy in dictionaries of the garden variety.

    Hope this helps and sorry Xárene but I had to.. :-)
    klaitner     Fri, Feb 25, 2011  Permanent link
    Administrative note: currently clicking on the map (image) to get the larger version throws an error. Would like to look at it full size. thx /kdl