Category Archives: post-humanity

on wearables and beyond

wearables_oldskool

and with wearables, virtual reality, augmented reality, holographic technologies we become even more immersed as human beings into the strange cyberSurreal otherSpace — a betweenSpace in our spectrum of new and ever-expanding realities — that exist between: the natural world we were born into; the artificial worlds we create; and the evolving technological realm of an alternative set of subconscious realities that our inventions open up to us ( both in realSpace + time as well as in cyberSurrealSpace + time )

for the machines — we become the wetware accompaniment to the technoHumanic symphonies developed through both our extensions and their extensions — whether purposefully created and developed or perhaps even unintentionally built mechanisms to escape our natural environmental context

at first these inventions allowed humankind to survive the elements — to brave and rise above the threats, the harsh realities of Nature

in fact, even the belief systems we invent, such as language, religion, mathematics, psychology and Science, to some degree, act as other tools to help us dominate the unexplainable phenomena of the universe that feel stacked up against us

these become methods for our survival at first

through measurement, logic, reason, discovery, explanation and blind faith — we get to reframe our existence toward an imagined superiority and rulership over everything we experience in life

but now the evolution of these tools into unexplored areas within — areas that reside within the subconscious, invented realities of our belief systems and our technological augmentations beyond the powers of Nature — these have become addictive forces that unfortunately begin to rule over our humanity

at this point, we are no longer able stop our continuing urge to technologically advance and ‘evolve’ ourselves

its become an addiction — an addiction that gets the full financial and emotional support from our official governments and corporations — after all, vast economic promise depends on the  hot streaming ever-inventive production and output of ‘the new’

but we no longer need to invent new tools for survival — at least not those of us born into the privilege and supposed leisure that The First World offers up to humanity

our escape from Nature and the feeling of sovereignty we fabricate through our tools, inventions and technologies now seem to only encourage a disconnectedness from our larger contexts within the world and within a greater holistic and collective sense of our humanity

the otherSpace we create tends to consume us

we subconsciously travel in our ethereal, cerebral thinking so very far away from those aspects of our social animal selves

we are distracted from, perhaps, a bigger purpose

how can we better channel our energies to best serve this bigger purpose?

i am not advocating for a suppression of our inventions through Science and technology

i’m just hoping we can leverage them — and the passion and energies that go into these sorts of development efforts — to optimize the larger, collective human experience of people all around the world

products like the Apple Watch distract us from working towards the greater good that we could potentially provide to our brethren world citizens

products like the Apple Watch feel superfluous, unnecessary and more for the benefit of companies, surface economies and governments than for the majority of actual people

frivolity

derivative

and ultimately unimportant in comparison the grander potential of what we can all be offering the world at this point in time

some definitions to consider

ocean

i look back lately — at my previous research and active design work at Dynamic Media Institute

i am re-opening my book — my design thesis book, that is — to once again take a look inside my veryOwn openContainer, and my intention to continue my investigative research into laughter, cyberSurrealism and the human experience swells and motivates me with a newfound retrospective clarity that i just frankly wasn’t ready to tackle back then

as i delve deeper into the investigation — an investigation that brings me to new areas of dangerous confrontation and heightened, intense self-awareness — i ready myself and my future audience of readers and participants with these 3 crucial definitions stolen from — or, uhm — cited from the Wikipdedia as core concepts for your consideration — important terms of reference regarding the underlying purpose and nature of my work

 

awareness
Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of something. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human’s or an animal’s perception andcognitive reaction to a condition or event.
Read more about Awareness on the Wikipedia

consciousness
Consciousness is the quality or state of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.[1][2] It has been defined as: sentience,awarenesssubjectivity, the ability to experience or to feelwakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind.[3] Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is.[4] As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: “Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.”[5]
Read more about Consciousness on the Wikipedia

mindfulness
Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”,[1]which can be trained by meditational practices[1] derived from Buddhist anapanasati.[2]

The term “mindfulness” is derived from the Pali-term sati,[3] “mindfulness”, which is an essential element of Buddhist practice, including vipassanasatipaṭṭhāna and anapanasati.

Mindfulness practice is being employed in psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorderanxiety, and in the prevention of relapse in depression and drug addiction.[4] It has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions.
Read more about Mindfulness on the Wikipedia

 

All preceding definitions from this blogPost came from the infamous Wikipedia out there on the webz. Go check it out { as if you’ve never heard of it, right? } and don’t forget to occasionally donate a bit to keep the project funded and smoothly movin’ along — we all learn soOOoOoo much from our little Wikipedia that could now, don’t we?

 

wikipedia1

 

a return to Turing ::..

Pilot-Ace1

i just took a look back at my very first post to this blog, and there are some rather interesting aspects to it that seem to hit right at the core of what i’m most concerned about as a transitional

looks like i wrote it at the very beginning of my graduate research and work through Dynamic Media Institute @ Massachusetts College of Art — it must’ve been one of the first weeks of class and we were looking at The Turing Test as part of our weekly readings and in-class discussions

Wikipedia describes Alan Mathison Turing as:

a British mathematician, logiciancryptanalyst, philosopher, computer scientist, mathematical biologist, and marathon and ultra distance runner

and as one of the founding fathers of computer science he seemed to be a natural-born philosopher, intrigued with not only the vast power and potentials our computing machines would afford to all of humanity, but also, interestingly enough, really beautifully aware of the intrinsic ethical matters embedded directly in the extra-human capabilities of these wonderous new machines

alan turing

With his test, Turing asks us:

Can we create a machine with interaction capabilities that would trick us into thinking it is, in fact, human?

And a means to see if it were, in fact, possible to trick us, Alan set up a little trick through simulation — a psychological experiment, if you will, whereby he simulated a conversational machine vis-à-vis a bit of theatric and nearly-prankish Allen Funtery

i’m not going to get into providing a full description of the actual Turing Test here in this blogPost, feel free to read some surface material about the test on Wikipedia — for me, the most important challenge i would like to present is the fundamental modernday irrelevance of The Turing Test

i’ve conducted a LOT of experiments over the years that implemented technology and even, more often than not, simulated technologies that i am simply not expert enough to program at this point in my coding abilities, and i can confidently report that the truth of the matter is that people are rather easy to trick — and they are not at all fascinated by what it might mean to be human anymore, which is a bit unfortunate and disappointing — but, instead, they are fascinated, almost mesmerized, by what we can accomplish with our technologies and they are willing to believe that even the most absurdly superhuman, unprogrammable interactions and intelligences can actually be designed, developed and embedded in the digital-machine experiences we create

now these are very vast and general oversimplified conclusions derived from some rather silly, gallery-based prototypes and experiments i’ve set up over the course of my curatorial career while working through DMI — but i’ve seen the dynamics between some very smart people and some very dumb prototypes and i seemed to always come away surprised, delighted and simultaneously disappointed in how easy it was to simulate and trick a gallerygoing audience into believing what they experienced was actually a computer application built on database, algorithm, interface, interaction, sensors and, ultimately, the magic of human ingenuity through programming

at this point i suggest we take a look at the flip-paradigm of The Turing Test, following the good example presented in this quote from a very famous, if not infamous, psychologist:

“The real problem is not whether machines think
but whether men do.”
B.F. Skinner

Hey, keep your hands off my chicken!

i don’t think we should care about tricking each other so much anymore — like i said, i think that’s rather easy to do most of the time — the biggest, best example of how easy it is to trick and even fully-influence people can be witnessed on a daily basis by simply turning on a television or listening to the radio and then witnessing how much personal opinion is shaped, formed and twisted by these outdated, mass media propaganda machines — even the internet, with all of its freer access to a broader set of information and opinions, tends to still feel a bit of information steering from the topics that come up on the first screen prior to driving the second screen in the modern American living room

i do not think that the original measures for the success of The Turing Trick still apply in this day and age — a recent report from The LA Times claims that a computer program actually did pass The Turing Test:

For the first time, a computer program has officially passed the Turing Test, which measures a machine’s ability to think for itself 

of course, the headline for this article indicates a bit of a trick behind the trick itself, right? the Times article, entitled, ‘Bot passes Turing Test; judges think it’s a 13-year-old boy,’ seems to vastly reduce the age of dialogic return in the simulated conversation to re-contextualize the ‘human’ aspect of the interaction — and so, at least from my perspective, the simulation need not feel as sophisticated and human as we once thought machine intelligence should be — in fact, the human age of the computer-conversant is now a teen that probably misspells words, if even using words in the English language at all, right? LOL … aight, TTYL ;]

but reducing the intelligence of the machine simulation of a human, this modern twist on The Turing Test seems to have increased the key performance indicator measures of success for the test itself

this raises some rather important and interesting questions

first off — what are we actually trying to test here? are we testing people? machines? our ability to program machines? our ability to trick people and their perceptions and beliefs about our intelligent machines?

second off — if we actually achieve the goals of the test — that is, if we can trick a person into thinking an interactive experience with a machine feels human { whatever that is } — what does that actually prove? how does that benefit actual people? or is that simply an implicit goal of computer scientists? to somehow trick people?

third off — isn’t it counterproductive to humanity and to human intelligence to have one of the ongoing side-project goals of computer science be based on a trick? as our machine intelligence supposedly grows, expands and extends on an exponential basis according to Moore’s Law, does it not somehow continue to sabotage and weaken actual, wetware, human intelligence?

 

UniversalTuringMachine7-4Rules_900

oscillate wirelessly

Man Wrapped in Wires

a rainyday vision from America

rainyDay_street

it was a typical New England crawling rainyday commute this morning

i live up on the North Shore — not on Cape Ann or anything cool like that, but over in Boxford on that side-smirk curl of 95N that bends its sarcastic way up to Newburyport and eventually into New Hampshire — and it almost seems inevitable at this point that my commute, no matter what the weather now, is going to be an hour or more to just get 30 miles south of where i live into Burlington

in the rain though, as anyone living in Massachusetts hates to admit but fully knows, the snail-pace stop-n-go of the aqua-commuter nightmare seems to slow to this echochamber timestillness that can only really be humanly dealt with through pure zen meditation mindtricks among other pleasant distractions

needless to say, i despise being caught in traffic — but — at the tender age of 44 i’m finally learning how to cope

today, for instance, there’s this little area on the commute down where 95 and 128 meet to create this wonderful bottleneck of confusion — this is where the grand slowdown typically starts in a big way and this is where my mind takes me high above the Google Earth view of what i’m actually experiencing as the bug inside my metal trap on the highway

today is a special day, though

its Thursday

i love Thursdays, don’t you?

time seemed rather frozen and so i decided to get out for a while, you know? and stretch my legs a bit and maybe wander around between the cars

the natural coolness of the air and the raindrops on the skin of my head between my thinning hair felt really refreshing and i felt more alive than i normally do and, strangely enough, more free than when i’m traveling at 80 to 90 mph on an open stretch of highway on what feel like better days to drive

i guess embracing my stuckness now made me appreciate the moment in a new way

i could move around in the moment, across the 4 lanes of people all cozily tucked into their cars, and get an entirely different perspective on the wild collective, transpersonal simultaneity of our everyday post-humanic experience as a loosely-connected living organism

i guess that i essentially see people and other animals as no better-differentiated in the grand taxonomy of life and death than the virus

but we’re such an invigorating virus, are we not? we’re just fucking electric

motors humming; radios blasting with morning shows and music and djs talking to callers and little snippets of the news beaming in from gawd knows where; some commuters on their mobile devices, talking with loved ones or checking their work calendar to then text or email in their up-to-the-minute status of potential lateness as if the world wouldn’t move on without their invaluable, important input into the universe; normally i’m in my car sing-screaming with some Tenacious D, partially working out the angry energy of feeling so fucking stuck in my car and utterly helpless and partially anticipating the frustrations of the day to come at Corporation X { you fill in the blank as its a fairly unremarkable and familiar unfortunate universal experience of disempowerment, awkward team fumbling, animal kingdom domination psychopolitics and the like that all boils down to the futility of theatre and bullshit and ennui and trying as hard as you can to keep sane like some sort of Cuckoo’s Nest clown McMurphy trying so hard, oh so hard, to just keep my lip zipped and take my daily dose }

but the sensation and feeling of the rain between the cars and the slowness of the cars around me feels so good, oh so good

my normal frustrations almost feel like they’ve stayed somehow in my car parked on the side of the road with the 4-way flashers blinking like sin and evil and hardship

at this point i realize i’m actually walking through the 4 lanes of creeping traffic in search of something

i’m not exactly sure what it is, but its something like poetry or humanity or the very heartbeat soul of humanity Herself

but its so hard to hear it

that is, if its even here at all anymore

shells-sea

coming to theatre near you — The Nigerian Frequency

‘in a world where people and machines live in perfect harmony side by side, and where virtual ‘friendles’ help guide us through our experiences in the world to help optimize the quality of our human life … one man faces an extraordinary challenge … ‘

postcard_NF

but seriously folks — just dropping you this friendly blogPost about a movie made by some dear friends of mine out in the remote nether regions of Chelmsford, Massachusetts

over the last year Matt and Zachary Scott, Pat Snow, and Christopher Borden diligently squeezed in bursts of productive writing and fieldwork filming with an extensive and complicated cast of virtual and real actors to bring you a tale filled with dark humor commentary about our dystopian near-future humanity as effected by cryptically-dysfunctional and subversive social media technologies 

written and directed by Matt ScottThe Nigerian Frequency explores the psychoSocial tension that could actually foretell the unfortunate post-humanic fate for our future-state humanity

read this official press release to get the official low down on The Nigerian Frequency

see the official Nigerian Frequency film trailer up on Vimeo

The Nigerian Frequency will premier at 7pm out at The Somerville Theatre as the official kick-off feature-length film for The 39th Boston Sci-Fi Film Festivalgo to this Eventbrite link to get tickets to The Nigerian Frequency or head on over to this Eventbrite page to get more info and ticket packages for more lengthy fun at The Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival

after the premier of The Nigerian Frequency, the writer and director Matt Scott and a small, select portion of the production team and crew will linger for an official question and answer panel to reflect on the themes of the film and the processes of making The Nigerian Frequency, so please come on out and join in on the intellectually absurdist science fiction fun on February 7th

we hope to see you there

1526126_10152245734003534_910288218_n

stay thirsty, my friends

1474561_774394172578069_1590889438_n