Wildcat     Mon, Apr 16, 2012  Permanent link
Fascinating article Chris, thanks for posting this.
Few points and questions if you mind:

1. Halcyon nostalgia? When? Where? Wouldn’t you agree that despite all the dangers you are pointing at, all within the range of the plausible and the possible, we are still to a very large extent on a positive streak? That it is an uphill battle is no doubt quite the truism, that it may fall into the abyss of non-restraint is a no-brainer, given the nature of the human, and yet, we have somehow managed to avoid (until now that is) total collapse. In this sense I think the Halcyon days are ahead of us and not in our past. On the same token, our technoculture is truly in its embryonic stages, we MIGHT be totally subjectified and manipulated with deep implants, we MAY however be also the masters of our destiny, using these lethal toys for the enhancement of the magic that is life.

2. Your last paragraph mentions an interesting kind of twist on the subject of faith, isn’t that which you are pointing at a kind of panpsychism? Like you I do not self describe as a singularitarian (at least not in the hard sense of the term), however I do not exclude the realism of integrated minds extending their consciousness in a slow and partially, almost inebriated, manner into the universe of matter, which might account for a continuous singularity, extended across times and spaces, where these demons of AI (as you call them) are harnessed, slowly but surely.

3. I have faith yes, but of a different kind, I have faith that the full spectrum of consciousness in the universe is yet to be awakened, to a different kind of being to which presently we have only hints and possible clues, hence I’ll hold a moment before despair enters the equation.

4. Some of us allow for a certain kind or mild, if you prefer, form of oscillating futures that are not yet born and may be prone to suggestions of a more gentler nature, there is where I see our real task, to whisper sweet suggestions to these futures, enticing them to come forth. And be generous towards our kind, that gave them birth, but holds no attachments to their outcomes.
chris arkenberg     Tue, Apr 17, 2012  Permanent link
1. I do take some poetic liberties as a writer. ;) Likewise, I write from a perspective, a mood, an intuition that is itself transient and a product of my moment. And I've been indulging the poetic more in my writing of late. Your mileage may vary. I am, at heart, an optimist with a bit of a dystopic streak tempered by pragmatism.

2. Agreed. I'm fascinated by the way that mind is working its way into machine, and what that may mean for our self conception. How will our gods behave as we drag them into virtuality, transhumanity, artificial intelligence? Regarding "demons of AI", again I take a certain poetic license to be evocative & provocative. But then, I also hold to that Discordian maxim that "convictions cause convicts".

3. I think you read too much despair into my words. My writing has always been about wordplay first & foremost, emotion second, intuition third, followed by fact/opinion/analysis. I do not suggest that all is despairing. Indeed, in this piece I've tried to pair my words here in symbolic paradox: "wicked gift", "cursed blessing". I do not really believe in binary propositions but, rather, enjoy the contradiction and deeper truth within paradox. But yes, I too indulge a bit of your faith in universal consciousness...

4. To me the future is a field of probability ever in flux but never of fixed outcome. It is something to be nudged & nourished, a cultivated network of signals unfolding across innumerable points "undergoing the formality of actually occurring", to crib from McKenna cribbing from Whitehead. All good futurism is an activist pursuit, IMHO. Indeed, we have an obligation to "whisper sweet suggestions", as you so eloquently put it, to encourage the unfolding to be one of beauty and love & light, if you will. I'm not so sure, however, about being unattached to their outcomes. If I must live within the results, then I will never truly be unattached, short of barricading myself inside a Zen monastery.
sonicport+techfolder     Tue, Apr 17, 2012  Permanent link
"Syncronicity injections seem to come up like a hive of spots when I am stressed and tired.

Eventfulness is like mindfulness.

Meditation is necessary to reduce the event to a level we can cope with, otherwise the future-hunters have designed a home for our past soul.

The individual should have the liberty to design the future home for their soul."

BIG BROTHER's voice in THX 1138

"Blessings of the state, blessings of the masses. ... Work hard, increase production, prevent accidents, and be happy."

Pro-liberty and anti-liberty quotes
CoCreatr     Tue, Jul 24, 2012  Permanent link
Yes, designs made by humans are fallible and given enough resources, everything can be hacked.

While I admire and accept the potential of technology to improve lives and profitability, while reducing environmental impacts, some of the gains I prefer to live without. Take the smart grid, for example. Promoted for years, largely a reality in Japan's industry, now offered as a necessary investment for household use to help stabilize the power grid while a growing proportion of decentralized and variable renewable energy supply threatens to destabilize the system.

Unintended (?) consequence of the current solutions foisted upon consumers: the current crop of smart meters share energy usage patterns with utilties. Being hackable, I see the risk for data leakage making criminal activity much easier if the uninvited underworld can trace our living patterns.

One of the early smart grid proponents, Ken Wacks, wrote in 2007:

Local intelligence obviates the need to gather such consumer data.

Source: Homes & Buildings