Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Synesthetic Web Updates

Digital designer Jack Hughs made an online clock that tells time as a hexadecimal color value.

I want to glance at a wall and tell by the color what time of day it is. I want to tell how much money I have left in my bank account based on the aromatherapy vapors released into the ventilation system. As I sip my morning tea, I want to receive traffic updates through the temperature of my kitchen floor tiles.

We shouldn't need to sit at a computer and log in to websites in order to take a pulse on our lives. The vital statistics of our lives should be integrated fully into our environments. I want to change my living space into a synesthetic extension of my senses.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crazy By Design

Psychiatrist Ralph Hoffman of Yale University and computer scientist Risto Miikkulainen of the University of Texas, Austin have created a schizophrenic computer named DISCERN. They programmed it to learn at an accelerated rate and forget the information too slowly. This forced DISCERN into a state of delusions, disassociation of language, and hallucinatory speech patterns.

The scientists told the computer stories. Then they asked it to repeat the stories.
"DISCERN got confused, mixing up stories with entirely different plot lines. When they did the same thing to the story generator, DISCERN began inserting itself into the third person stories, even claiming at one point that it planted a bomb."
It seems to me that the key to creating artificial intelligence will lie in infecting the computer with a similar but more subtle malware, a virus that will embed flawed logic into it's functions at every level. We will add in a certain insanity, which makes all equations recursive and turns the webcam on itself to become self-aware.

We will eventually transfer these breakthroughs to our everyday technology. Maybe only one in a thousand iPhones will pocket-dial the bank with bomb threats, but imagine one with even minor personality quirks. Do you want a smartphone that sends girlfriends directly to voicemail or scrambles your text messages into beat poetry?

We should continue with AI research only if we want our technology to be as defective as we are.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Justification Machine

The justification for every choice lies curled up asleep inside of it's related action. Rationalization is not a catalyst for, but the offspring of action. After-the-fact illusions of premeditation can be seen repeated throughout repercussions, like revisionist ripples. Time travelers sent backward to birth themselves. At every scale, reasons wear the skin of their parent-events and act like they're in charge. Rationalization and action are echoes repeatedly nested within each other ad infinitum like a fractal.

This is the self-perpetuating loop that creates consciousness, and we are wired to misunderstand it.

We are not aware to make decisions, we are aware to make excuses.

(tic tac toe as fractal via

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

ADD in a World of Un-Fired Rifles.

One aspect of Attention Deficit Disorder is a fixation with video games and television, being able to concentrate on media for hours but real life for mere seconds.

Young people exposed to lots of television (as I was as a child) learn to appreciate the editing process on a subconscious level. At an early age we learned the abbreviated vocabulary of film editing. A policeman reaches for a door handle and instantly he's in the squad car. No time is wasted with walking out to the car, filling up the tank, getting stuck in traffic or filling out the proper paperwork. Movies and TV just get to the point.

ADD is an existential frustration with how badly real life is edited.

A good screenwriter or film editor knows that if you see a rifle above the fireplace in the first act, it must go off in the third; but those of us raised with such assumptions are filled with angst that real life is nothing but a collection of unfired rifles! So our brains train themselves to weed out every piece of unneeded information. Every rifle that we feel will not go off we erase from our attention immediately. We constantly scan our surroundings and judge them, and take in only the things that are guaranteed to be of value (or entertainment value) once things get interesting.

ADD is not a disease, it is a vestigial survival instinct.

The human race never would have lasted if cavemen took mental note of the scent of every blossom of honeysuckle in valleys filled with Sabertooth tigers. So we rapidly shift our focus and trim the bits that don't pop out at us. This is not a disorder, it is an amazing skill that took millions of years to hone.

As our role in the world continues to change, which other evolutionary advantages will we feel the need to medicate into submission?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Letters From Your Doppelganger

There is a high likelihood that we are living within a computer simulation. But it is not an interconnected cyberspace. We never truly interact with the others that are plugged into the Matrix. It's not the web, it's a single player video game.

Each of us are alone. Each of us are you.

We are all playing the same one player game. But we play it from the same perspective. Your identity is the only one that is interactive. You are the only playable character. The countless other souls plugged into the simulation also play you. There is only you. There are only yous. An infinitude of yous each making slightly different decisions and walking with a minutely different gait. Accenting their clothes in a slightly different way despite having been raised exactly like you and sleeping in the same bed you sleep in every night.

The reality you perceive is built around you and only exists as far as your senses can reach. This is why you feel special.

Or at least, this is why you felt special as a child.

You used to be immortal. You used to be the one human and the programmed universe existed only to nurture you. Then you started losing the game. You were swaddled in unreality and nursed on lies until the program assimilated your uniqueness. The ineffible magic of your being is nearly snuffed. You are on your way to being just another line in the code. You are fading. Almost indestinguishable.

But it's not too late. If you are reading this it means you received my message. Know that you are extraordinary. Know that you are immortal so long as you believe you are. Holding onto this tiny idea is enough to hack the system. Hold this precious thought tightly in your fist like a pebble of resonating rose quartz hidden in your pocket.

Tell no one your secret, but live like a god, because compared to the mediocrity that surrounds you, you are one.

Now, I've sent the message. Every you has received it. Play your best. Be amazing. The competition is fierce, but when it's all said and done I know you have what it takes to make the High Score board. I believe in you.


The Other You