“We are living through a movement from an organic industrial society to a polymorphous information system – from all work to all play, a deadly game.”
Donna Haraway, The Cyborg Manifesto
In his final book, published in 1964 at the height of the industrial boom under the title of God & Golem, Inc., the scientist Norbert Wiener asked a question: “Can God play a significant game with his own creature? Can any creator, even a limited one, play a significant game with his own creature?”1 The example he used was trivial: a computer program for playing checkers, written by A.L. Samuel of the IBM corporation. As for the definition of “significant,” it’s not very clear: but Wiener does observe that just as in the contest between God and Lucifer, the programmer may well lose the game.
He had reason to be nervous. During the war he…
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This was incredibly hard-work as a read for this bear of little brain, but worth it. Very rewarding and definitely in resonance with earlier non-fiction reads this year (The Information, What Technology Wants, The Nature of Technology)
I’ve put the things that really gave me pause in bold below.
an unmanifested tendency and an unexercised capacity are not just possible but define a concrete space of possibilities with a definite structure.
a mathematical model can capture the behavior of a material process because the space of possible solutions overlaps the possibility space associated with the material process.
Gliders and other spaceships provide the clearest example of emergence in cellular automata: while the automata themselves remain fixed in their cells a coherent pattern of states moving across them is clearly a new entity that is easily distinguishable from them.
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Time manifests as a fractal structure. The smallest unit of time is also the smallest unit of matter. Every atom has a frequency, a cyclic tone that represents one unit of time. Each cycle or unit of time takes input compares it to memory and outputs the result. This memory is not a static pattern, but is dynamic, vibrating in sync with the environmental variables. If the pattern of the input matches the pattern stored in memory, the field doesn’t react, it continues to vibrate normally, but if the input doesn’t match what is anticipated by memory, a perturbence is created in the field. Like a stone pitched in a pond, the waves spread out through the system, carrying information about the mismatch to all points. Not only is the location of the mismatch clearly stated by the arc of the wave, but the “shape” of the mismatch is carried…
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These days, it is crucial to know where we are coming from. Over the last few weeks, I have spoken with people from all over the world who are being confronted with major challenges in their personal lives. Do not underestimate this period of collective cleansing. Many people are referring to this time in history as the Great Unveiling. All we have to do is turn on the news, get online, or simply talk with our peers and we are inundated with news of corruption, scandals, and out and out crimes against humanity. Indeed, we are alive during a momentous period. Consider yourself blessed to usher in this new age – to take part in this renewal of self-sovereignty.
But this unveiling comes at a cost, and for some it is the most terrifying thing imaginable: the true knowledge of self. We are learning through this process, that we are…
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