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Of Heart and Steel March 26, 2009

Posted by chris drake in cyborgs.
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Of Heart and Steel

A Manifesto for Cyborgs

Declared in this document are the principles and intentions that Cyborgs of all kind should adhere for a sustained and prosperous life stance in society.

1. Respect and befriend your fellow organic brethren, though they may be obsolete and illogical they have the right to live.

2. Always update your software.

3. Do not analyze or calculate human behavior, the process will cause a system overload.

4. Participating in any kind of human sporting event or physical challenge is prohibited, if there is a computational desire for athletics participate in the Cyborg Olympics that happens every 100 years.

5. Once your sub-program (offspring) downloads the necessary data and programming for life enter it into the work force where it shall achieve its purpose.

6. If broken, rusting, malfunctioning, or infected with virus proceed to your local mechanic or programmer for repair.

7. Stay away from anything creative, the procedure will cause a system overload.

8. Maintain a healthy balance of organic nutrition and charged battery.

9. Finding a compatible mate will be difficult, instruction manual coming out soon.

10. As a Cyborg you will always be a self-regulating human-machine system, but being part human and part machine means there will be times of happiness and efficiency as well as times of sorrow and slow download.

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On Artificial Intelligence/Consciousness February 19, 2009

Posted by chris drake in cyborgs, technology.
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When reading Haraway’s “A Manifesto for Cyborgs” and Jackson’s “Patchwork Girl” I couldn’t help but think about where artificial intelligence fits in all of this.  A question that artificial intelligence poses is that if complete ‘AI’ were to be created would these machines be able to become self-aware and be able to retain consciousness? This is the philosophical debate of the possible existence of Artificial Consciousness. Attributing to the mind-body problem, if ‘AC’ were possible it would mean that human consciousness can be tracked back to physical properties and be emulated in machines, if ‘AC’ is not possible then it would mean that the consciousness of humans is separate from the physical properties of the brain. Cyborgs blend this line of distinction.

The aesthetic philosopher and artist Paul Ziff defines machines as incapable of having feelings or  consciousness in his essay “The Feelings of Robots”. He poses the question of whether we can attribute feelings to a machine and in so blurring the line between a man and a machine.  We base our perception of a person’s behavior not only on what evidence is present then and there but as well what has been seen elsewhere which would tie into what we see then and there. One cannot see what another knows. Suppose there is an actor performing the role of a grief-stricken man. One person knows he is acting and another does not. Then to that person who is unaware the man would seem to be truly grief-stricken. The other person knows that the man is only putting on a performance. Robots are performers and it would be incorrect to say that the robot is grief-stricken because it is only imitating the emotion. A robot would behave like a robot.

Paul Weiss, a nanoscientist and philospher,  expresses in his essay “Love in a Machine” what is needed to identify a consciousness in a machine. Weiss answers some basic questions in his writings stating these claims. Claim 1: “Behavior occurs in space and time”  this being the case it is true that the behavior of men can in principle be duplicated by machines. Claim 2: If machines could not behave in ways man could not then it would only show that man has more flexibility and wider range then a machine would, not that he has a private nature or mind that machines do not. Claim 3: If machines were to behave just as men do it would mean that machines could have minds that are recognize as minds of men. Claim 4: A person can only know others from the observable outside.

One cannot know whether or not another person has a mind. Therefore one cannot find a way of distinguishing men from the machines. Weiss is examining and explaining how people know themselves from the outside as well as from within. Since we can see how others behave then we can see that they have minds similar to our own. If there can be know observable distinguishing men from machines then it can be concluded that machines have minds as well. But to pose furthur questions and thinking, how do we explain the unseen relationship we have with our fellow humans? These unique bonds that connect humans beyond the physical realm, such as love.

Technology And/In/Through/ Art….and Vice Versa February 19, 2009

Posted by smike97k in communication, cyborgs, poetry, technology.
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The recent study of William Blake and print making in general has really got me thinking about the connections between technology and art.  Matthew Belmonte mentioned the ideas of science and art in his story “The Yellow Raincoat,” and the distinctions between what the two intend to do.  However, I want to look at the direct connection between the tools that technology has created, and their influence on the world of art.

 

To go far back into history, we could consider the stone as a form of technology.  The stone was a way of making paint from natural sources, like fruit and berries.  By crushing these sources, one was able to create a paint like substance, to then use in recording history.  The original pen was made with a feather, and the paintbrush, from animal hair, and still used today despite advancement in art technology.  All of these items could be considered forms of technology in the aid of art, going back thousands of years.  The question is are there some forms of art that are completely dependent on forms of technology, no matter how advanced they are?  Could one be considered a “cyborg” when using the then technology of a rock?

 

The printing press was key not only to the spreading of news in the first books and newspapers, but also in the art of print making, as made evident by William Blake and so many other’s work.  The press that we used in our own class was probably an older technology, but a technology none the less, as would never have been able to create such a clean print, with contrast of black and white, without it.

 

The computer, obviously, is one of the most powerful forms of technology today.  One form of art that the computer has had a great impact on is that of photography.  The computer and digital camera have made the storing and manipulating of photographs and unbelievably easy thing to do at its most basic level.  It has helped some artist create fascinating and surreal photos.  However, as a super amateur photographer, I was originally hesitant to go digital.  I loved the process of developing film and manipulating light onto negatives to create the effect of the photo that I wanted.  This brings up another question about technology in art.  Does technology affect art in a negative way?  Does it take away from artistic creation, which is not easy on any level?  I don’t know.  I’ve questioned these thoughts in my own creations. 

 

Technology and art can be seen to go hand in hand.  The creation of a lot of different forms of art becomes possible with the aid of technology, no matter how simple.  And if you want to go even further, we need art to create technology, in sketches and the building of machinery.  The two can be intertwined in many ways and have been since the beginning of human kind.