technoscience leaving modernity?

The ideas and practices of Artificial Life research, and the interactions between these ideas and practices, are the topics of this thesis. How can the study of life, which ALife researchers see as pregiven by Darwinian evolution, be combined with the study of the artificial, which they see as “man made”? What implications do the combination of “artificial” and “life” have on how they practise their science? We will see that this combination makes Artificial Life a blend of a traditional naturalistic science and what they themselves sometimes call a postmodern science. (↑Risan 1997: ↑Introduction) In their introduction Varela and … Continue reading

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who is calling?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #57 The public phone is ringing. Who is calling? And a scene from which book is cited thereby?     Simply leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the 'Leave a comment' at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it's the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I've approved a comment, your next ones won't be held, but published immediately by the system.] UPDATE and … Continue reading

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who is driving?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #39 A vehicle is dashing through the night at about 70 miles per hour, but who is driving?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the 'Leave a comment' at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it's the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I've approved a comment, your next ones won't be held, but published immediately by the system.] UPDATE (28 … Continue reading

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what is embarrassing?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #18 Why are the two gentlemen looking a bit off-balance, what is embarrassing in the scene depicted?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the 'Leave a comment' at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it's the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I've approved a comment, your next ones won't be held, but published immediately by the system.] UPDATE and solution … Continue reading

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colossus

But—and it was a very large but—his had been the guiding brain, the one with the big overall concept, the vision. And that was the one that counted. (Jones 1966: chpt. 1)     Briefly he considered his future, but the idea of life without the Project lacked reality. (Jones 1966: chpt. 1)     They were both roughly the same age, in their very early fifties, though a hundred years earlier they would have appeared much younger. (Jones 1966: chpt. 1)     Now it’s all over, and in the last few weeks, I’ve begun to realize what it … Continue reading

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lego think tank

↑Think tank is a slang term used to describe a robotic weapons platform that makes use of artificial intelligence to enhance its abilities. Most of the think tanks portrayed in ↑Ghost in the Shell (manga, films, and series), along with other machinery, (e.g. attack helicopters such as the Jigabachi AV) are developed and manufactured by a fictional company named Kenbishi Industries. The above is ↑Cole Blaq‘s rendition of such a machine. In the foreground is a custom ↵lego friends minidoll by ↑Mike the Maker depicting the cyborg Major ↑Motoko Kusanagi. Here are two more lego renditions: ↑by gambort, and ↑by … Continue reading

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plug & pray

Computer experts around the world, like Raymond Kurzweil and Hiroshi Ishiguro, strive towards the development of intelligent robots. Will man and machine merge as a single unity? Rejecting evolution’s biological shackles dangles the promise of eternal life for those bold enough to seize it. But Joseph Weizenbaum, a pioneer of the computer age, counter attacks against society’s limitless faith in the redemptive powers of technology. Filmed in the U.S.A., Japan, Germany, Italy. Since antiquity, humankind has dreamed of creating intelligent machines. The invention of the computer and the breathtaking pace of technological progress appear to be bringing the realisation of … Continue reading

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brains ain’t computers

When, ↵like recently, I am talking about the historical significance of cybernetics for contemporary culture and society I more often than not mention that in the process of marking itself off from mechanistic visions (Ashby 1957 [1956]: 1-6), cybernetics quite early emphasized a whole array of concepts: networks, complexity, self-organisation, reproduction, adaptation, cognition, aiming at and maintaining goal-states, purposeful behaviour (or action?), and autonomy. This line-up implicitly leads towards a vision of cybernetic systems as independent actors, maybe even gifted with ‘free will’. Therefore it is not astounding that a hypothetical analogy emerged early on: ‘mind to body’ is like … Continue reading

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