Alan Sondheim on 21 Sep 2000 16:18:07 -0000

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Re: <nettime> The Age of Spiritual Machines (Review)

First, of course I agree with you, and I see human-machine symbiosis, pro-
sthese, cooperation, and interpenetration as at least one likely future
direction. The idea of 'replacement' is problematic, and to some extent
reminds me of a linear-social Darwinism, in which, for example, the Brit-
ish 'replaced' the Tasmanians in 19th-century Tasmania. The politics of
this are unnerving.

In terms of computer intelligence, one of the defining moments I think is
Winograd's early 1970s work on "microworlds." Although his position has
changed and deepend, much can be drawn from that - that in order for in-
telligence to be nurtured (this is true of animals as well), an environ-
ment is necessary; the organism and environment are mutually coherent,
mutually inhabited. (Was it Kurt Goldstein, and the book, "The Organism,"
that developed the phenomenology here?)

The Turing test, for example, including Searle's modifications - this
occurs in a _clean room_ reminiscent, not only of the modernist art
gallery, but also of cleansed and sterile environments - as if the human
and the machine will bring their intelligence into a space of verifica-
tions. One might think otherwise, about "worlding" in general, and the
(far) future of machine development in relation to it. I'm not speaking of
robotics (which have, still, an oddly 19th-century aura about them), but
of a deeper immersion of processing, absorbing, testing, intelligences. In
the very long run, this is the direction I think of the _machinic_ -
decades off.

yours, Alan

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