Disposable darlings

A few notes about gynoids, A.I., and consciousness.

Your skin is like vinyl
The perfect companion
— Roxy Music (For Your Pleasure, 1973)


The Blue Book (Wittgenstein, 1958)

[A] queer kind of medium, the mind; and the mechanism of the mind, the nature of which, it seems, we don’t quite understand, can bring about effects which no material mechanism could. Thus e.g. a thought (which is such a mental process) can agree or disagree with reality; I am able to think of a man who isn’t present; I am able to imagine him, ‘mean him’ in a remark which I make about him, even if he is thousands of miles away or dead. “What a queer mechanism,” one might say, “the mechanism of wishing must be if I can wish that which will never happen.

The Blue Book (Wittgenstein, 1958, p. 16)

There is an objection to saying that thinking is some such thing as an activity of the hand. Thinking, one wants to say, is part of our ‘private experience’. It is not material, but an event in our private consciousness. This objection is expressed in the question: “Can machines think?” […] “Can a machine have toothache?” You will certainly be inclined to say: “A machine can’t have toothache?”. All I will do now is to draw your attention to the use which you have made of the word “can” and to ask you: “Did you mean to say that all our past experience has shown that a machine never had toothache?” The impossibility of which you speak is a logical one. The question is: What is the relation between thinking (or toothache) and the subject which thinks, has toothache, etc.?”


Mind 49 (A. M. Turing, 1950)

I propose to consider the question, “Can machines think?” This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms “machine” and “think”. The definitions might be dangerous, If the meaning of the words “machine” and “think” are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, “Can machines think?” is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words.


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Philip Kindred Dick, 1968)

Think that a small class of human beings could not pass the Voigt-Kampff scale. If you tested them in line with police work you’d assess them as humanoid robots. You’d be wrong, but by then they’d be dead.


Blade Runner (Hampton Fancher, David Peoples, 1981)

The eye is brown in a tiny screen. On the metallic surface below, the words VOIGHT-KAMPFF are finely etched. There’s a touch-light panel across the top and on the side of the screen, a dial that registers fluctuation of the iris.


Actroid-F: Super Realistic Female Humanoid (TechCrunch, 2010)

Her maker, Japan based robot maker Kokoro, says that she is supposed to give patients a heightened sense of security. Actroid-F is very realistic, but actually, she is pretty creepy too […]

Actroid-F, which was billed as “the fist true android” by Guiness World Records, weighs just 30 kg and is 140 cm tall (in a sitting position). Wait a few years for her makers to reduce the mechanical and chopping motions, make her walk, and act more independently.


The Blue Book (Wittgenstein, 1958)

[T]he problem here arises which could be expressed by the question: “Is it possible for a machine to think (whether the action of this machine can be described and predicted by the laws of physics or, possibly, only by laws of a different applying to the behaviour of organisms). And the trouble which is expressed in this question is not really that we don’t yet know a machine which could do the job. The question is not analogous to that which some might have asked a hundred years ago: “Can a machine liquefy a gas?” The trouble is rather that the sentence, “A machine thinks (perceives, wishes): seems somehow nonsensical.


Weird Science (John Hughes, 1985)

Let’s have one final test. Throw the switches. Here in this machine, I have discovered the great ray that first brought life into this world.

Here’s the final touch […] the brain you stole, Fritz […] the brain of a dead man waiting to live again in a body I made.


The dreams of Google’s AI are equal parts amazing and disturbing (Adam Epstein, 2015)

American sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick once famously asked, ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? While he was on the right track, the answer appears to be, no, they don’t. They dream of dog-headed knights atop horses, of came-birds and pig-snails, and of Daliesque mutated landscapes.

Google’s image recognition software, which can detect and analyze […] uses artificial neural networks to simulate the human brain […] Google engineers sought out to see what these artificial networks “dream” of […]


Gyrating Animatronic Doll Will Haunt Your Dreams (Robbie Gonzalez, 2014)

Presented here for the first time, Wolfson’s animatronic sculpture combines, film installation, and performance in the figure of a curvaceous scantily clad woman covered in dirt marks and wearing a witch mask. Unlike the artists’s two-dimensional subjects, this life size character was developed in close collaboration with a special effects studio in California used by major Hollywood productions. The woman can be encountered on a one-to-one basis in a mirrored room in the gallery, creating a different kind of viewing experience that intensifies the importance of the gaze found in Wolfson’s work.

SP & EN | poetry | society | teaching | science | tech https://about.me/oniricvonnegut

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