Family Inchoate Paper_ Intro _ 10-04-2007

"What the body creates is as much of an expression of its DNA as the body itself."

- Ghost in the Shell– Innocence 2004

That human beings create images and make manifest language, to leave after themselves a trace and to communicate a condition over distance and time is perhaps indicative of an underlying evolutionary motive, which is that we humans, as both sapient creatures and social animals (enabled by media technologies,) will tend towards expressing through our behaviour a desire to be heard.

If this holds true, (that we want to be heard) I consider Family Inchoate as fiction whose import of basic research is to render a possible world. It is the creative product yielded by a process of abductive reasoning that looks towards a better window onto the ‘screen-frozen darkness’ of Internet sociality. Its fiction is intent on describing a set of autocatalytic technologies that may act as near term developmental targets. Were such technologies (some of which are currently in development) adapted for civil and social applications, they may act to further ‘extend’ our evolved capacities for spoken and gestural language beyond their current limits, but only insofar as such extensions reinforce the protean aims for which our communications capabilities were first adapted, which is arguably to effect the furtherance of our desire to be heard.

In the pursuit of pressing beyond such limits are such considerations as the difficulties that do exist in communicating certain emotions and experiences over computer networks. Within the other grid by which the old world is more overlain now than at any other moment, families of any of the fractal variagations of what a family may be defined as punch away at their terminals like sonambulants clawing for the exits from the brilliant RGB blankness of synthetic light. If by not seeing what is occluded in the view through this window pane leads to the misidentification of what is there as that which lights the way, then the fates of familial memory are typified as one continuous, uniformly declining phase transition in which ICT assists in mediating between diparate periods in life typified by co-located and dislocated forms of social interaction. It is an indictment of HCI that the expectancies we have formed of it are embodied in the screen frozen darkness that we have in turn by now become accustomed to. If what is now afforded by our networks constrains the scope of expectancy expressed by current users, whose encounters with these communications spaces negates the possibility of there eventually emerging something better, maybe something better is what needs to be made manifest, if not through the reification of such ideas as those expressed herein, then at least by seeding the imaginations of the current generation of designers, technologists and theorists working towards a more emotionally-resonant form of HCI. The range of communication potentials (what we are able to express) and the acuity of what is expressed (the degree to which our communications intentions are understood by a recipient) should be if anything assistive to our evolved capabilities, thusly enriching what could be facilitated through 'face to face' (co-located) interaction. Too many of our evolved capabilities are underutilized amid the inexorable pursuit of pressing onto new frontiers within the terminal’s flickering representation of informational reality. What we might have experienced within our families should provide the archetypal basis for moving forward, rather than taking the current affordances of HCI as the putative ‘cutting edge.’

The vastly ramified computer networks that a great deal of the contemporary social communication in the developed world are migrating towards are invested with the promise of new technologies that strike at the heart of what it is to be human. Were some of these technologies to evolve in tandem with Information and Communications Technology, (ICT) Family Inchoate suggests how affective HCI (Human-computer interaction that appeals to human emotional needs) may be accorded the same significance as contemporary culture does Kodak, in capturing and communicating to others our most significant moments.

The evolution of affective HCI through which means families are able to pass on recordings of significant moments removes the rendition of memory from the fixed materiality of photographic images, and implicates the rendition of extended familial memory in vastly ramified computer networks.

Even as this familial information loses one body (materiality, i.e. photos, visual and aural recordings) it gains another, as emerging mobile technologies portend an era of digital media haemorrhaging out of screenic and auditory interfaces into the world at large, imbuing spaces of human habitation with an unseen layer of familial 'trace.'

The places where families live their lives (geographical regions,
cites and neighbourhoods) would thereby be invested with ‘platial’ memory, and the habitats where our decendents live would be invested with digital provenance that testifies as faithfully to our having been alive as any media that came before.

Data (Internet Transfer Protocol, Radio, Print, Genomics, Proteomics, Human Languages, Mathematics, Machine Code) are the tools that I think about as being most important to and transformative of human culture, because they intersect and draw into correspondence consciousness and nature, essentially helping us to make sense of what's happening here, and maybe providing us with some insight if not into why we're alive, then at least into why it's important to accord living things, and not the effects they impart on recording and transmission media that comport their traces into digital facsimiles, a level of reverence that is both unconditional and unbounded.

Created January 2007, revised November 2007.

01 Introduction

Thinking of the ones that you were with from the beginning, where do they go?

Small until large, as you have also become. The increase in proximity– the size of the apart, grows exponentially even as you cease to grow large. The being-a-kid part, not apart and rolling over highways on a long-shot onwards into your future incarnation is explained away as an artifact of long-term ‘how did I get here’ memory, patterns of remnant affect human beings involuntarily capture but are prone to lose through certain domains of cultural conditioning. This primary loss cascades into the eventual loss of one’s ability to detect certain frequencies of ‘how did I get here’ as they signal their passing to you in the world beyond your too-perishable inner-world of perception. Retaining trace levels of these impressions in our nervous systems, where sensory organs once fielded electrical activity induced by the presence of photons and sound waves they are recalled as engrams– analogical transformations of energies once experienced as the body’s awareness of the warmth and noise in its midst. The ‘clay of grey matter’ is polished in the electromagnetic wind of stars and gaseous mediums through which the energies of human voices are propagated, waveforms long ago sent rebounding off the walls of empty canyons of sun-fazed granite coloured sky of Martian sunrise, into the unresponsive repose of a still landscape whose media were for most of time not recognized as such. What does not obtain in memory from these embodied experiences is accounted for in a certain irretrievable wavelength of the initial displacement, absorbed into the mildly radioactive radon-tinged haze of lost summers spent swimming in bottomless lakes whose names lay submerged within the bathyscaphes of memory. The times of being-a-kid where the imaginal moon that always seemed to follow alongside, rising as a sigil to the impending terrors that came with the closure of primordial dusk during epochs long since past– the times now gone that are a part of the quiddity of living things being described here, are but one symptom of an obtusely complicated condition that persists still, even as the hinterland fringe recedes under the glare of northern cities– the impressions on thinking and feeling that remain of the family. The family inchoate is rendered in what follows as an interactive medium whose main throughput is empathy, and is contingent on the amplification of a new class of simulation technologies where these patterns of thinking and feeling are represented in a multi-generational image-based medium. It is through the concept build-out of a family inchoate that it may be described how the ones that were there from the beginning– beings and instances of bodies and information respectively– may be coupled, for all of time under the massive psychic pressure that attends to our condition of being creatures that represent.

The light source powering the expenditure of energy of what is to follow falls partially onto the parallel world of recent neuroscience publications, an infill of grey literature shifting the construal ‘black box’ social animal we once considered ourselves as being onto a newly perspicacious ontology of what a human may be defined as, or, bearing resemblance to in certain respects. The insights offered by these relatively new fields are bounded by the causal constancy that cognition extends from a set of physiological bases. Mind, emotions and the nature of consciousness as the human inquisitor once sought to define them from within now effloresce under the invisible glare of fMRI, (functional magnetic resonance imaging) so that it is increasingly possible to define these axes of being from without in order to explain the mechanisms by which reality is mediated via perception, thus strengthening the staying power of these definitions as they are deemed empirical. The physiological constituents of thought and feeling occur increasingly as discrete descriptions of neurochemical transports across synapses fielding long-term potentiation– resulting in a better understanding of the how of memory, which still falls short of explaining the why of memory’s more particularized aspect of nostalgia. Mind and emotions, if defined as once-intractable phenomenological attributes of being, are things we are now able to detect and observe with instruments designed to apprehend the mind’s own electrochemical meteorology. From this enriched vantage we might find a more solid footing with which to raise such questions as ‘why do we love’, ‘why does touch elicit positive affect’ and of most direct concern to this inquiry, ‘why do we most remember the presence and impact of loved ones as recollections of bodily-possessed experiences that we accrue with time’s passing?’

This last question describes the space between memory and emotion that such kindred artists as Scotland’s Boards of Canada and Christ. may be said to operate within, their respective musical oeuvres navigating within memory as a bathyscaphe probes an ocean’s abyss, strumming nerve cells buried in the deepest fissures of the hippocampus, to conjure from the depths of what was believed forgotten an archetypal figure of security and awe at the vast and tenuous nature of being young and largely unintiated into the customs of adulthood. In contrast to the expediency with which childhood seems to dissipate, adulthood requires on our part an accruing of risk– accommodating the unknown variables, (i.e. where one will live, and what will I choose to do when grown) and remaining ever poised to commit resources to whatever one needs to in order that they may effect the (desired) final outcome, with or without one’s ever being able to consistently anticipate and act to mitigate the events in life that can and in all likelihood will eventually happen. This latter aspect is one that we tend towards coming to grasp with in its totality mainly with gaining age and accrued experience. The effect of this music is in part to coordinate the compass of the heart and mind to see back in time, to trace a return path to a place that was once as familiar as the perspiration and breath of one’s own mum and/or dad, siblings and kin.

As neither the sense of permanence and security that attends to the ideal of home, nor the cohesive co-located family can be allowed persist for very long due to the pressures exerted by our cultural condition of being an animal that transports itself into new opportunity spaces, (as we are the most part, social animals co-opted and secured through economies which demand mobility) their passing then becomes an awareness of the void which remains as one’s family units are transported into new living situations. Warm bodies whose vocal cords once thrummed with affection and other conveyances of want for belonging metastasize into an electronic reconstitution of the human voice, transmitted along a copper wire or propagated throughout satellite nets interposed along the many hours of distance separating bodies, whose mutuality provokes at once longing, along with a fading sense of belonging, now foregone, for those too-temporary others through whose absence we incur a kind of cumulative psychic injury. We count the days between calls to home, as our bodies age and the trace of what we had together metastasizes into information. Images and sounds of what a family was for a time fade with memory, all the while the recordings of the dying animals that we are, every second from the moment that we’re born remain frozen, records of but one instant of the inexorable momentum of life momentarily suspended in photochemical stasis. Affection and other conveyances of the want for belonging are what we hold onto, but only for their having been transformed, however fleetingly, into a record. A record, that we may for a time come to possess or withhold, but that we can never quite hold onto. Might we take pause to ask just what is the nature of our chosen means of capturing the ineluctable truth of what our families mean to us, if that truth, mediated by its very nature of being suspended in photochemistry for fear of its loss, is all too apt to fade along with the passing of our own biomolecular organization from this world?

If the responses to all of these questions divulge constants that can be translated into standards that human design activities might consider aspiring towards, or better, importing into creative practice, the means through which we might approach human computer interaction design (HCI) would have it that we utilize such participatory interactive hypermedia as simulation worlds in order to faithfully capture or represent the ineluctable truth of what we are, as it has been approached as such in Lynn Crosbie’s tender critique of digital photography. Crosbie’s analysis works through proof by contradiction, as if to say that the truth of what we are may be properly understood in terms of firstly proving what we are not. By Crosbie’s account, the putative nature of people’s lives is nothing like the images they capture in an effort to create and possess a physical record of an event. Technologies of recording are at present time limited to being no more than analogues of the physical impressions imparted upon the human central nervous system by forces present in nature. Records reconstruct the impressions that the physical world imparts upon perception in a way that is consistent with the epiphenomenological* nature of reality, (*the experience of being, only without the conscious apprehension of oneself as sapient) and in this way human beings have developed imaging technologies as a primary locus of the work that we perform with our collective intelligence. Ours is a species that has long implemented rituals and technologies of display as a means of not only learning about one another, but of representing and recording how our condition is shaped by the environment in which we live. If photography is an imaging technology, simulation marks an important departure of affective media from its anecedents because simulation is indigenous to computing, and being as computers are in their essence modelling tools, simulation game worlds convey through their related literature some portent of how the relationships we experience in the lifeworld may eventually be modelled and recorded in certain respects, via the hybridization of simulation and affective media. Recording technologies are at present only one of the means available to us by which we may be reminded of what it is to see, taste, touch, and smell the world at once remove. Our most memorable moments, ones for which verity is accorded through their instantiation in Kodak’s peculiar suspension of worldly time are consigned still to recorded impressions of what the body’s sensory faculty had perceived for a finite temporal continuum as warmth and noise in its midst, with certain physical attributes of the moment only coupled to the present via the photograph’s leaden matter, an image whose fine-grained modelling of photonic radiance begins and ends with the shutter’s action. For Crosbie, the pliant nature of digital photography is that which distinguishes it from its recording technology predecessors. Its vulnerability to modification and implicit compromise motivates the potential that some of us might opt to play dress-up with memory, calling into question the veracity of the account of an event as it is fixed in the still image that a camera produces for a purportedly total recollection. That the veracity of an event’s retelling might be confounded by excerpting human forms from digital images with the aim of redacting reality is often construed as being less problematic than a desirable affordance– that veracity itself may eventually occur to our record-fixated culture as being nothing more than an afterthought in the pursuit of capturing ineluctable truth– then it is likewise unlikely that this vulnerability will be taken by its practitioners as posing a disruptive contestation of the original intent of photography as a technology and art. Even as photography was once used as a tool to aid in the pursuit of capturing “ineluctable truth” as Crosbie intimates, it is seen now that the fallibility of human memory is no longer a motivating factor in its ongoing development. By Crosbie’s account, digital photography now enables an easy path towards airbrushing or altogether erasing events and replacing what is depicted with a more palatable supplement to memories one might otherwise wish forgotten.

If all media technologies may be seen to follow a similarly ambivalent arc conforming to the line of best fit between disparate nodes of benefit and harm, or in the case of digital photography, truth and falsity, are there additional heuristics* (*methods we might assess by experiencing them in practice before their efficacy is proven in theory) that might apply to the design of interactive media and simulation worlds in particular? In N. Katherine Hayles’ My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts she provides an overview of the cultural implications of simulation, revealing through an analysis of Karl Sim’s ‘Evolved Virtual Creatures’ interactive software how certain users, who upon encountering these processes of evolutionary simulation will project onto them explanatory narratives, investing their behaviours with a kind of anthropomorphically-grounded vitality– a line of best fit intercepting disparate nodes of computation and culturally-specific sense-making about what seems at first glance unfamiliar. As she goes on to explain in greater depth, people as interactants become subtly coupled with the phenomenon they perceive, and people will in turn tend towards making purchase of narratives consistent with their past experiences in order to make sense of the seeming aliveness of what are essentially cellular automata projected via flickering voltages, processes analogous to biotic organization, behaviour and evolution, mediated via the electromagnetic fluorescence of the CRT monitor. The virtual environment in which these creatures are seen to evolve is simulated via flickering voltages whose powering forward of binary executable code is a machine process essentially, fielding phenomena coterminous with attributes common to physically-bounded, biotic organisms; namely growth, competition, death and evolution. By some accounts theirs is a kind of living wrought exclusively in an electronic troposphere of anthropomorphic projection, where the stories we as humans make manifest to describe their evolution invests them with a more than a passing modicum of vivacity, and as such the circuit-bound reality in which they persist is accorded by some a veracity no less realistic than that which persists on our own side of the CRT monitor. Within the scope of what may be created or emerged from this particular field of interactive technology, might we imagine that there will emerge there facts that we might desire for people to know and more especially remember about us, and others that we want not to be known, that will propagate as the quiddity of human legacy there, adapting motile forms within the walled habitats for which our dying memories are but colonizers?

Upon first defining the extents of art and science that a more affective variant of human computer interaction might evolve towards, we might then introduce to it the alembic agent of human imagination, forming it into something we can put our hands on, and in turn propagating within tomorrow’s networks something analogous to the content of these experiences that have until now had the all too inevitable tendency to die alongside us. Our games might become like those suggested by Warren McCulloch, the better games played by a solid state society, whose vast machine intelligence having forcefully supplanted humankind’s control over all domains of nature, (a tendency which is owed to our nature as a species who in the words of McCulloch “is about the nastiest, most destructive of all the animals…”) [1] sets about reforming the game worlds of humankind as a surrogate media, to enable the creatures that represent to direct their messages forward and beyond the bodily-possessed timescales to which we are necessarily bound, because to again paraphrase McCulloch, every living thing must die. That we should have no recourse other than embracing the eventuality of our dying does not preclude the possiblity that there should remain of us something onto which one might in future understandably confer certain attributes of vitality. That we will most inevitably die doesn’t preclude the possiblity that some trace of what remains of us afterwards might set off on its own.

These media described here are those circulating between sapient creatures both circuit-bound and bodily-possessed; where emotions may be approached as an attribute of human experience that may be safely played with, heightening the resolution of apparatuses used in the capture, classification and depiction of our bodily-possessed experiences of being alive and possessing a place in the company of others to whom one was fortunate enough to belong.

If considered as a meta-history of media, certain specialties in the simulation genre also point to how motivating human needs have always evolved in parallel to our media– and how they will continue to evolve beyond the purposes for which they have principally been used up until now (i.e. to communicate a condition over distance and time.) Concealed within the building volumes of (the aforementioned) grey area literature are the compliment of neurological properties and physical characteristics that best describe palettes and toolsets at our current and future disposal as thinking, feeling beings to represent our responses to such questions as to whom and for what reasons we have loved. If affective media will in time belong and contribute to the outlay of cross-generational, ‘heirloom’ simulation worlds, we may consider these a form of broadcast that will be situated with increasing exclusivity in a solid state communications environment. The media that remind us of who we are, and that direct our attention towards the circumstances from whence we have progressed may find a natural habitat in a medium that places emphasis on the platial nature of memory. As with other forms of media such as photography, video and music, they may be just as effective in reminding us what is past, and in directing our attention to what is present. And there there may be born in time those who would listen for and foment a reply to the furtive efforts we make to discover in our own nature, pigments of affect that we’ve mixed into a pallette for rendering our future-bound deliveries. It would be a deeply affecting form of digital archaeology, were it that the renditions of those others with whom we choose to share the experience of love could be depicted via the simulation medium, whilst capturing some semblance of the substance of love (accepting risk, loyalty, divestment of self-importance.) From a hybrid media of the signals and forces produced by the human body, and the enaction within the world of the less and less uncanny “uncanny valley” [2] out into which its gaze is cast, might there emerge an intractably nuanced colour with which me might seek to depict the fire that we think of as being the archetypal social technology? Were it to emerge, we might liken the invention of such media to our discovering the conditions (relating to the intentionally humane use of media technology) that need to occur for us to represent the way that we are, for the content of the life of one human being– his or her hopes, deeds, and transgressions– exceeds the capacities of imaging technologies at present to explore and retain from the lifeworld domains many of the invaluable lessons that extend from our efforts to navigate the circumstances into which we’re born.

Life sciences make manifest our nature through such analogical constructs as organic synthetic chemistry– consciousness being the sentient clay whose effect on its reality and environment results from the cause of having and choosing between options, because the cause of you and me is that we are option selecting machines, “with brains that act as pattern detectors,” scanning the environment for reliable predictors of reward. [3] Is this rendition sufficiently resolved however, to capture all of the details? What does it matter how we choose to represent the way that we represent ourselves?

Lynn Crosbie, soaking this problem in a solution of her own finds no constant of truth or verisimilitude in the putative mutability of digital photography, stating in the Globe and Mail that photography was invented “as a means of capturing ineluctable truth” but adding that “in this truth resides our despair and faithful desire to live well because of the imminence of ends too complex to justify the means of heartless, ephemeral imagery.” [4] If however, the ongoing import of truth sought after by new areas of mathematics thought to have resolved empirical regularities in the formation of social networks rings true, [5] it at least occurs to some that shapes matter inasmuch as our ability to recognize that the patterns evinced in their various formulae will also capture some number of pixels of “ineluctable truth.” Networks bear geometries that are believed to describe the time-based complexion of web-based social networks, so even as one technology of representation is usurped by a more powerful, alterable version, another one arises whose export is an equation describing how two or more persons came to be affiliated, with the attending axes of love and affiliation sprouting from the progeny-object whose methods of application aren’t yet properly practiced or fully understood.

Long-term memory, enabled by a process known as long-term potentiation in which the molecule PKM Zeta alters certain facets of the structure of synaptic contacts, [6] is likely also why you remember how you got here, and if it is the case that you can, then it is also likely that your latest version is a consequence of having chosen wisely which option to pursue. These cast-offs of representation and recollection are deposited in the wake of an ever-receding, glacial crossing of continental time by a sapient creature whose faithful desire to live well transports his or her kindly influence forward onto kin he or she may never meet. Such transactions impart an effect upon the future by those whose timescales are bound to the present, the sliver of the earth’s natural life during which your own elapses in an infinitely hot instant, momentarily etched onto inert square-kilometre gridscapes that are the trans-Canada highways of temporal in-betweens. Like all things weathered by the gravitational continuum, our trace disappears with the run-off of all acts of human agency towards the bottom of a reservoir where the unknown and only what could-have-been circles around the drain. What better a thing to lose than the organic reservoir of warm-crush and neural signals hiding in the depths of embodiment, where memory and formerly expressed patterns of habiture fall away with the yellow ribbon in the rear-view? What more resonant a signal to generate than our bleating off walls that we can never see or touch, a signal whose reply to our sounding into the null void of what is forgotten with time yields a silence that grows unbearably vast with its passing?

Mental representations of the past, unless provided a reproductive assist in the form of photography and video recordings, describe for the mind a truncated version of how events actually transpire. Being that perception will often yield imperfect recall upon one’s attempt to recall what was perceived, it renders the limits of what memory will have access to– not the world as it was but the world in its apparent mental simulation– the seeming reality of worlds foregone. Recording media thus function as a frame in which experience is inscribed in forms more durable than organic memory, consequently supporting and improving one’s recall of mental representations of the past.

The unrequited departure of a time and space that leaves without saying goodbye is encoded in the condition of being human but the riptide of initiation rites drawing human beings out into the open water of technoculture is an inherently progressive form. The next place and device to be and to have are but one and the same contraption. From this arises the assignation of value to work that displaces the build-out of the desired self onto the duty of living for the future inhabitant of your life, an eventual and necessary but as yet insubstantial latency in which much of our adult lives are invested. Our place, our metaphor, our vessel and petal in the bloom of creation is a system of shelter cowering under an atmosphere to which its frail spine of tissue paper helical proteins and silicon copper microfiche is ever exposed. All of our forms of life succumb to exposure, crazing under the glare of the sunrays, subsonic noise and cosmic radiation, stimulating the decay of life and its attendant reflection in recorded indices attributed to our authorship– marking the long death knell of the patterns we have inscribed to mediate between the world and our mental representation of it. It is in this callous of symbols and transfer protocol that the operations of life are rewriting themselves through their reflections in emergent game worlds, the universe in miniature whose stars are more within in our grasp behind the screen than they ever were in the night with its vast pinholes of heaven’s light, tracing their ancient arc high above and beyond. It is within these worlds that the power to mediate between reality and memory might translate through means wholly comprehensible to us the nature of living, resulting in the ends of our nature being made accessible to us through systems of human creation. Emergent game worlds are signs that we might eventually use to represent the way that we represent ourselves, for their potential lay in comporting genuses, species, families and indicia within an open system of import and control, where we are free to add to them such things as we please and watch them grow in ways that we can only imagine ourselves growing.

If it is a particular kind of instrumental learning that enables us to persist and survive in this drifting high-speed single-occupancy tomb of being grown-up, then it is the effect of our hapless, vicious and autonomic ingenuity comporting what we learn into useful foci that it is suddenly plausible that the affordances and resources of this system could eventually be induced to record something more like how the experience of life is recollected in the perceptual illusion of its memory. Realizing in future a form of virtual kinship (Socialpedia) conterminous with its embodied antecedent is akin to transforming something like Google Earth into useful planetary-scale narcissism– a system of indicia that matters in a way that the closed pages of a book cannot.

Cracks have begun to appear in the caulking sealing the mind and heart into places apart from the systems of indicia that recruit and carry forward their intentions. During moments in which ‘together’ metastasizes into audio-visual reproductions of an electronic registration of physical presence, these life forms whose seeming nature in human eyes possesses but audio-visual substance are engaged in activities of reproduction whose progeny are evolving automata, burrowing channels in between the seeming dichotomy of bodies and information. These channels are also inchoate acts of bridging between the fathomless essence of presence and apart– bridging between the embodied self-as-presence modelled by cybernetics as a metaphor and model that makes ‘what I am’ accessible, and the unscalable seeming of a networked ‘apart’ between selves too bottomless, too large to quantize and too empty to calibrate the compass of the heart and mind to see through it a return path to home. The family inchoate is what might exist in between the self as a living through of “how we know the world,” [7] and an apart as an interstitial volume voiding the possibility of two beings becoming one by any means other than conception.

So the highways are and will remain a ride back to your kind, who themselves persist in some unknowable electromagnetic anecdote of bipedal form factor, an address to which no known quantity of footfalls will lead you. In such a place, the real family you had when you were a kid no longer metastasizes into information.

Place is dissolved into a bit-stream that lay between no mountain or sea as you or I would recognize them, where the way back to the ones you were with from the beginning is an experience persisting as random-accessed memory in an evolved network.

You still experience the awareness of them as a tightening of the chest, where the image of their warm bodies is lost to the low light of rooms where they no longer dwell, and so prompted you move onto a new place, where vast emptiness metastasizes into warm bodies.

Sources | Introduction Section:

[1] How We Became Post-Human: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics
N. Katherine Hayles, University of Chicago Press 1999. p. 283

[2] Kurzweil Sees a Future in Games
Article by Blaine Kyllo, The Globe and Mail. March 3, 2008

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080303.wgtkurzweil0...

The “Uncanny Valley” relates in part to Ray Kurzweil’s anticipatory analyses of the curvature of the arc modelling the anticipated progress Moore’s Law. Since the 1970’s there has occurred a billion-fold increase in computational power, and Kurzweil expects that there will occur a similar increase by the year 2020. Rather than there occurring a flattening out of this arc, Kurzweil predicts that there should be no inflection, and provided that there is none, the rate at which computer engineers may continue to pack transistors into microprocessors will continue to grow, accelerating towards an event Kurzweil has termed “the singularity.” The Uncanny Valley is the negative emotional response human beings have toward simulated humans. If the sophistication of microprocessing continues unabated, game designers will eventually have at their disposal hardware that is capable of fielding software of sufficient sophistication that it might assist in bridging this “Uncanny Valley,” and so users may as a result engage in interactive experiences wherein the verisimilitude of what is depicted via the visual and audio displays becomes indifferentiable from what may be experienced with another human being or animal in a real-world environment.

[3] ESOMAR, Congress 2005; Brain Branding: Brands on the Brain
Steven Quartz, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, California Institute of Technology;
Anette Asp, Project Manager, Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, California Institute of Technology;
ISBN 92 831 1384 5; p. 43

[4] Retouching Memory– and Bad Perms
Lynn Crosbie; April 7, 2007.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070407.FAMILYPIX07/TP...

[5] Meeting Strangers and Friends of Friends: How Random are Social Networks?
May 2004, Revised April 2006
Brian W. Rogers, Assistant Professor of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences,
Northwestern University; Matthew O. Jackson, Professor of Economics, Stanford University

Article source link: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_econ/2007/week10/index.html

[6] Memory machine
Reported on August 17, 2007. Brightsurf.com
The Weizmann Institute of Science has discovered a neurobiological basis for creation and maintenance of learning and memory through an experiment in which aversive learning in rats was disrupted by administering a substance that interferes with the functioning of PKM Zeta.
Professor Yadin Dudai, Head of the Weizmann Institute’s Neurobiology Department and his colleagues discovered recently that the process of storing long-term memories involves a molecular machine that must run constantly to keep memories going. They discovered that by jamming the machine it is possible to briefly erase long-term memories. Their findings have appeared in the journal Science, and may eventually yield future treatments for memory impairment.

http://www.brightsurf.com/news/headlines/32280/Memory_machine.html

[7] How We Became Post-Human: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics
N. Katherine Hayles, University of Chicago Press 1999. p. 99

In Hayles’ overview of Norbert Weiner, she explains that “For Weiner, analogy was communication, and communication was analogy. Objecting that cybernetics is “merely and analogy” was for him akin to saying that cybernetics is “merely about how we know the world.” ”

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