I Am Not a Device. Yes You Are.

I Am Not a Device. Yes You Are.

Does maker superintelligence fret you?

Still, I don’t see how we can feel the company of maker art as we do with human art.

Makers in art can have intent, and they can have a bit of complimentary will, too.


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What does it mean to be a biological device?

It implies we’re comprised of atoms and particles. They obey laws of nature and developed to produce us. They are the power behind our engines. We’re simply huge chain reaction. Each part of a machine is made by means of the excellent old laws of Newtonian physics, which were deterministic. When you put this assortment together, it’s capable of unforeseeable or chaotic habits. Unpredictability is one of the hallmarks of creativity. Right from the word go, machines can be innovative. Because we are devices, we can simply go out of presence like a maker. We can have consciousness, but when the electrons stop flowing, consciousness vanishes and that’s it. But that doesn’t take away from our creativity. We can still be imaginative in an inspiring way. We can have hopes, dreams, and goals for humankind. But we are devices, similar to computer systems are machines. When one states that to people, some get mad. They ask me, Exists a soul in a device? I state, you have to think in a soul, and I do not think in a soul. It isn’t necessary.

Does it make you queasy to think of yourself as a device?

No, not.

Why not?

Why should it?

Due to the fact that being a device implies we’re created.

We are developed. Simply not by a designer. We’re a huge mistake. It just so occurs a number of billions of years ago that there was an isotope of carbon in the sun that was spit out, arrived on the Earth, therefore we’re carbon-based. This accident could take place, most likely did occur, somewhere else in deep space.

The biology that makes us what and who we are has developed over billions of years. That evolution makes us very various from makers.

Well, devices are evolving too, and much, much faster than us.

However they were engendered by people.

We were engendered by nature. Yes, a human made the program, and a human put the machine in operation. That’s like saying Leopold Mozart taught Wolfgang the guidelines of music. However we do not attribute Wolfgang’s productions to his father. Similarly, you do not associate AlphaGo’s success at Go to the AlphaGo team. Or if you teach your 4-year-old child how to draw, she will draw like you at first. However 20 years down the line, when she’s at art school, she’ll be drawing much in a different way.

Makers in art can have intent, and they can have a little bit of free will, too.

It seems like you’re saying there’s generally no distinction in between maker intelligence and human intelligence.

The bottom line is there is no difference. We are computable and devices are of course computable, so there’s no reason why we’re not like devices. Awareness is computational. It’s computed from 100 billion neurons in our mind. Since makers use calculation, they’re computational, and there’s no reason why they can not have consciousness.

You stated you’ve ended up being of a reductionist. What got reduced in your mind?

What got reduced in my mind is our body, us. You could state to a reductionist that there are things that science can’t discuss. Science can and will explain whatever we see around us.

Let’s action back. What is art?

Art is representations with concepts. That’s what it is to me. AI art does that. AI art has principles because it’s created by scientific ways. It exceeds the science, but it has a clinical basis to it, therefore it has concepts. I have my own definition of visual appeals, too.

Lay it on me.

It makes art historians’ hair stand on end. Visual appeals equates to the image in a masterpiece– and the image need not be a visual image– however an image from our 5 senses, plus the apparatus that creates it. For example, at CERN, I asked a physicist for his definition of aesthetic appeals, and he said, “My notion of aesthetic appeals is perfectly laid out wires.” I saw them. There are these units of parallel wires, absolutely nothing crossed over, and the wires are color coded. It was gorgeous.

I like what Simon Colton, a professor of digital game innovations, tells you. Among his jobs, The Painting Fool, is terrific. He fed Guardian news short articles to a computer and had software examine words and phrases for moods like happy or unfortunate. The computer then created portraits of people, which varied, according to its state of mind. Colton states comparing AI to human art is irrelevant. We must “be loud and proud about the AI procedures resulting in their generation,” he says. “Individuals can then delight in that these have been produced by a computer system.” I concur that’s the method to value AI art, as its own beast.

Me too. We must not evaluate products of AI on the basis of whether they can be differentiated from products made by us. Because what’s the point? They might produce something that we can’t think of today, that could look like rubbish, but might then end up being much better than what we might produce.

Why is the intersection of art and science, what you call a third culture, essential?

Because it investigates the world as it is on a better basis than someone standing in front of an easel with oil paints. We’re looking at the world of the future. We’re looking at a world where we are combining with devices. A world where makers will be of significance. We will eventually be collaborating with them. They will produce works for us to delight in and for their brethren to enjoy. This is the way the world is developing, and this is why we should be aware of AI art, and attempt to comprehend. Try to understand that it’s not taking things from us.

Lastly, what has your research study into this third culture taught you about individuals today?

That they should broaden their viewpoint. A lot of artists and a lot of researchers have a narrow perspective. Researchers think art has nothing to do with science and artists think science has little to do with art. It is much easier for a scientist to understand art than an artist to comprehend science. In a conceptual sense, art is an effort to comprehend the ideas of science. I believe my research study has changed my view of humanity in the sense that individuals should leave their minds available to what goes on in fields besides their own. It might widen and even alter their beliefs.

Kevin Berger is the editor of Nautilus

Lead image: Juan Gris– Picture of Pablo Picasso— Google Art Job

This article initially appeared in our “Catalysts” problem in December 2019.

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