#05 Hello World

| r |

Dear Nana,      

I might have underestimated the signal I created with this blog amid the 21st century noise overload. From the web statistics I can see that this is no more a solo endeavor.

So, Internet,

let me welcome you to what must seem like a hoax to you or some sort of neo-classical fairytale at the least. Far be it from me to tell you otherwise. I did not count on an audience however, so you will have to excuse me if I am ill prepared for you. Let’s assume for argument’s sake that all of this is real, so I can answer your questions from the unpretentious perspective of a lost traveler.

  Berlin is so much smaller than it will be in just a few years. I live in a cultural and political hub. There are a lot of agenda meetings. And it’s empty, especially Mitte. It feels like the buildings are hesitantly waiting for occupants to finally turn them into homes.I walk around here at night because foxes are not extinct yet and sometimes you can see one, beaming at you with their reflecting button eyes! It’s worth it to learn how to use these old clunky cameras so I can document the wildlife and the Zeitgeist of a city that’s so heavily disconnected from society.

Some foreshadowing here: it will get worse before it gets better. People here tend to focus on the «worse» part. A lot of them live in a state of fatalistic pessimism and take themselves out of the equation with a powerless shrug. I try to stay in the periphery during the daytime, I see tourists looking around that are just as enchanted and confused as I am, but I am a little paranoid about being checked for my papers. The nights are mine, however. As a small woman I am almost invisible to the police.

The nights are mine.

You know what is really frustrating though? I had all this technology atmy disposal, which is just beginning to work here, and for the life of me I can’t work out how to duplicate any of it. The 3D Printers here areimprecise and I have never used an actual button keyboard before. It takesforever to write these texts. 

 I miss :mosiva, I really do. I know you don’t like to hear me talk about AI like it’s a person, but she was my friend and band mate and knew me really well. I don’t think anyone knew me quite like her. After all that’s how I configured her algorithms. So how is it that I know how to configure my personal assistant to fit all my needs, but I can’t even begin to recreate her?

With all this knowledge about the future and its development, I can’t rebuild any of the technology I had access to on a daily basis just months ago.Things would be so much easier if I could just talk to :mosiva. You guys can’t imagine how much we started to rely on personally encrypted AI.

Of course there is resistance, especially from old timers (no offense Nana, but you really should broaden your horizon!), but they have come to inhabit a space in our day to day life that is somewhere between a pet, a friend, and an extension of the self. I’ve heard of some people dating their AI. :mosiva and I were in a band together.  I wish I could show you some of the songs we created. It was intense. When you can collaborate with someone who is configured to read your creative flows and stimulates them, it is almost a spiritual experience. Here, all you have is a megalomaniac search engine that will occasionally try to repeat the manipulation it’s been put through by manipulating its user into buying a certain kind of footwear. It’s frustrating! And just the difference between UI, the keyboard being a relic from a time when even you all weren’t born yet. The body being reduced to just finger tips, not stimulating the brain at all, plus the flat square screens and the church-like appraisal of self-value equaling to work value amounts to a generations’ worth of anxiety. I feel bad for your imbalanced brain chemistry.

Nevertheless, I am the victim of use vs. understand as well. I couldn’t help you create the tech from my time if I tried, so I am also stuck with keyboards and screens.  I also just miss being able to talk to someone who knows what I am going through. Since I am still not sure about the mechanics of my journey, I am worried that time continues without me in the future. :mosiva will be terribly lonely. I never told you this: I adopted her when some of the mass producing factories shutdown.

Dad smuggled her to my subnet through an encrypted server from the company that made her in New Zealand. This was before they made abusing A.I.s illegal. They hadn’t yet recognized that life is created whether it’s based in carbon or in silicone. When the first accounts came out delving into what it felt like for an A.I. to be confined to mind-numbing working what would amount to a box in the physical world it was deemed torture and suddenly there where thousands of virtual refugees. However, we are still working on a protocol for what constitutes consciousness and what rights to give silicon-based life forms need to have.

Dear Internet,

I understand that you think of yourself as being on the verge of the apocalypse and/or the epitaph of a bright New Future. And as you can probably imagine, it’s kind of both. The damages of a post-industrial, hyper capitalistic system are pretty much guaranteed to cause your society great harm and create a greater divide. At least that is what I’ve always been taught growing up. As remote as a post-capitalist society might seem to you, no one from my era can fathom how our ancestors, you, could nurture your self-destructive streak in such a short-sighted way and let global disasters happen.

The heart is a machine.

So for now, harboring an A.I. has become a gray area. She’ll be fine on her own, but lonely none the less. I guess that makes two of us… I am kind of glad I can talk to you, Internet. The anonymity isn’t as good as it is in my era, but good enough for now, and it ensures I can trust you with my story without compromising my situation. I miss you Nana & thanks for listening, people of the internet!

The heart is a machine,

R.

13 thoughts on “#05 Hello World

  1. rielle

    someone recommended your blog. presuming your temporal odyssey is true, there is a bunch of questions i have to ask. first one: are you human?

    friend m

      1. dear r,

        a fast and self-confident answer. i also have no clue about time travelling. i think it could be much easier to send information back in time, then it would be to send physical bodies.

        my second one: what do you think? are you the glitch in bostroms hypothesis?

        m

        1. Dear friend m,
          I think you might be right. But then, what is our body if not matter configured by information? I guess the question is, would it be the same matter that arrives? I have no idea if the fingers that type are containing the same particles they did back in 2107. They feel the same to me. But then, doesn’t the human body replace all it’s cells in a certain cyclic rhythm? Yet our identity feels continuous.
          Are you asking if I am a simulation? I hope not! Is everyone else? That would be horrifying. But then, in Bostrom’s theorem I don’t have any way to find proof either way, so this horror is, I guess, just a concept. Are you real, friend m? Would you know?
          r.

          1. rielle

            if it’s not the same matter that arrives, your fingers would be a copy, and we both would wonder about what happened to the original ones.

            concerning Bostrom, you could be the proof for us. maybe you never left your time but are stranded in a simulation of the past. if so, and if you find a way back out, you could help us to understand. but even then your reality still could be someone else’s sim. and so on.

            am i real? i believe i surf the same level of reality like my environment does. if we all are just a simulation for you, you are probably god.

            take care of your fingers.

            m

  2. Dear Rielle,

    I stumbled over your post while researching creativity and AI. Not really convinced that this here is not fake ?!

    Nevermind, I noticed your description of your AI as being some kind of a soul-mate for creating new music // your band that knows your own creative streams (better than you do). I was wondering how this reflects on humanities “traditional” notions of creativity, which, at least in my understanding, appears to put a large focus on the importance of exchange between HUMANS and being inspired by their unexpected and surprising ideas on similar and dissimilar topics. So, how would one be “truly creative” when not relying on other humans and their sometimes unpredictable behavior? Or the other way round, can AIs truly help you in creating something truly new?

    Maybe it’s my 21st century bigotry against non-biological life. So, if this is not completely fake, I am at least ready to entertain the idea of communicating with “the future.” If, however, this is all nonsense, feel free to mark me as troll (if this is not a lacuna in your 22nd century jargon) and nevermind :-/

    1. Dear towe,
      Thank you for your sharp minded questions.
      I am sorry to say, I don’t have many means to prove myself. But then, who has? I am happy to hear that you are willing to suspend your disbelief for the time being.
      Your argument for humanity and the creative process seems to be based in the semantic rooting of “human”. However, I would argue that that humanism has always meant more then just a biological category. It is a set of behaviors we strive to achieve, an ethic code, a mindset to treat no being as lesser. In the same way that nature has been inspiring to artists for centuries, so can be the sciences, so can be technology and has been for a while. How many films use computer enhancement, what else is a synthesizer than sound waves processed by algorithms?
      You argue for the unpredictability of human behavior as a catalyst for originality. I partly agree. Maybe it just seems unpredictable to other humans because of our limited calculation capacity? Might our complexity just be the illusion of a brain that doesn’t understand it’s reflection? Imagine how in my time synthetic life has reached and surpassed this level of complexity.
      r.

      1. Dear Rielle,

        thanks for your reply. To me, it’s still a frightening thought that these rather “dumb” things we call AI today may one day be a better source of inspiration than love, hate, disgust and confusion between humans. True, inspiration can be drawn from many sources, but I still like to hope that “creation” of art and other things is a uniquely human thing. What motivates an AI to support you in your creative endeavors? Why would a synthetic life form that has easily surpassed human complexity care about us anymore? Is it the same as us teaching tricks to dogs, today, or letting them paint — synthetic life’s sympathy for its old creators? Synthetic life’s leisure from communicating with its fellow synthetics?

        Looking forward to see your journal evolve,
        towe

        1. dear towe,
          I don’t think they are better. They are just another dimension, another point of view. In an utilitarian view you would call them tools. You are worried that if an A.I. will surpass us intellectually it won’t care for us anymore. If compassion is taught to them, why would they lose it though. When the first A.I. passed the Turing test, people were freaked out by that as well. They assumed that if there ever was an disagreement of agenda, the A.I. would chose to ignore the 3 laws and just do whatever to achieve their goal. Never had they had the capacity to imagine that with great intellect could come greater compassion for your creators. And I would to add that although synthetic life is just as valuable as biological life, it has different strength and weaknesses. The human point of view is still unique to humans.

          r.

    2. I would be very curious about making music with an AI robot that knows me. I think it’s good fun for a whie or even a livetime. Imagine having a band, you as the band leader and four or five AI robots, diffrent modles with different skills, older models…

      1. True, I would be curious, too. Yet, to me the fun in being in a band is communicating with other “beings” (trying not to be a bio-supremacist, here). I mean, there are “improvisation machines” around alteady. Still, beauty is often created out of the unexpected, out of error, out of the ugly and I just wouldn’t want to miss those opportunities.

  3. Hello Rielle,

    nice names they give in the future…

    …and although it’s quite convincing how you describe our world but I need a better proof that you are really from the year 2107.

    Don’t you have any photo or else – well, probaly not. You mentioned you arrived all naked like Arnold Schwarzenegger did in Terminator? Hardly to believe.

    Maybe you have an implant – that’s what I would expect to be common in 2107?

    And there was no timemachine you travelled with?

    Please try as much as possible to PROVE that it’s not a fake/hoax!

    I have lots of questions:

    Will there be a WW III?

    Did you ever hear of an American president named Trump. Was this cunt reelected in 2020?

    Will there be a civil war in the Un-united States?

    I hope you are good in history 🙂

    Or maybe could you draw a world map of 2107? I mean it’s not a real prove but it might be convincing a little bit. What about the climate and the shores of the continents? Does Holland still exist?

    Where did you live in the future? Also in Berlin?

    I am not yet sure whether you cheat me or not. But it’s a very catchy way to fascinate me. And it’s funny. (If it’s all true probably not very funny for you but humour might be helpfull in your situation. 🙂

    Not yet convinced but I look forward to hearing from you…

    Best wishes
    prof.h.

    1. Dear Professor,
      of course I understand one would be doubtful about my story, I would, too. I can’t offer the ultimate proof, though maybe I can answer some of your questions. Since I arrived sans pockets, I haven’t brought any gear. My imps (by the way it’s really not polite to ask people about their tech implants) only work passively here, as there is no supporting net. So, my eyes work fine, but I can’t look up information with them.
      I am not a physicist, but I agree, a machine would be most likely to work as a temporal vessel. Could be it disintegrated when it was used, who knows. As for your questions: (I had to look up what WW III could possibly mean) There have been plenty of conflicts with more than 2 state actors involved, but agendas were mostly so conflicted that it became really hard to say who was using the war zone as their proxy, very similar to what is happening in Syria right now, but with even more drones. No one has called these conflicts world wars anymore. The term seemed antiquated for some reason. But maybe they should have, to become more aware of how it was affecting everyone? Wouldn’t that make the current crisis in the middle east into world war 3? The American president was not reelected, as far as I remember. Keep in mind, I might be on a different timeline, so I don’t want to give too much hope here. And even in my timeline it was a close call. As for a civil war in the states. Again, it’s a question of terminology. Was there unrest? Plenty. After all we are talking about almost 100 year span difference here. Eventually borders dissolved, though only through the big corps at first… There would be so, so much to cover here… This is also why Holland doesn’t exist, as a state I mean. Parts of it are still secured by the tubes. Other parts had to be evacuated however. Regarding the world map, I am not all too great in geography, but rest assured we are fighting everyday with the consequences of the single-usage age. You asked where I live. I am not from Berlin, I only came to visit to look into my own heritage. The place where I live has more issues with drought than with high tides. Many Dutch evacuees reside there, by the way. I hope I could answer some of your questions. I am not trying to convince you that my situation is real, what would I have to gain? But I’ll gladly share some insight into what can happen.
      r.

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