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Hi Roger, G.H., and all,

I just feel like we're back at the AI/AL white elephant in the room. It's a tautological (and ultimately a teleological) white elephant. To say "non-human" presumes an agreed upon understanding of "human," to say "artificial intelligence" presumes an agreed upon understanding of "intelligence," to say "artificial life" presumes an agreed upon understanding of "life," and to say "self aware" presumes an agreed upon understanding of "self" and "aware." But we don't know what human-ness, intelligence, life, self, or awareness are (or at least we don't all agree on what they are). If you begin from a materialist (some would [pejoratively] say reductivist) biological (and especially computer scientific) understanding of life, complex software systems will likely confirm many of your original suppositions. But if others don't agree with your materialist presumptions, then your own observations and interpretations of your own software systems' behaviors won't convince them of your original suppositions.

You will say then that others are wrong. And from the perspective of your original suppositions, they are.

So 1) one forms an understanding of actual historical biological systems based (at least non-incidentally) on cybernetic systems. Then 2) one emulates those understandings of biological systems via cybernetic systems. And unsurprisingly, 3) one discovers "life" in these cybernetic systems. That is the tautology. But perhaps all sorts of salient, non-incidental (albeit non-quantifiable) aspects of "life" (affect, embodiment, historical contingency, Whiteheadean actualization of the virtual, just to name a few) escape this closed-circuit altogether.

Yes, something quite actual and funky is happening in both historical biological systems and emergent software systems. And these sytems correlate in all sorts of fascinatingly speculative ways. But I'm still not sure what "life" is.

Respectfully,
Curt


On Mar 23, 2014, at 12:24 PM, roger malina wrote:

> GH
> 
> re your comment:
> i append an abstract that yvan tina just had accepted at SLSA titled
> A-Live: Biological and Artificial Theaters
> 
> which is the sources of some of my comments in
> response to your:
> 
> 
> Hi Roger &  the List,
> There is always human agency in any of these arguments.
> Of course you could have a world without humans but we are talking
> about coding that is about performance, especially art performance.
> 
> I am not talking about a world without humans but a hybrid world with
> interactive performance between
> humans and other coded systems. RFM
> 
> 
> All of the systems we have been discussing take a viewer to recognize
> the system. It's a simple law of quantum physics. The viewer changes
> or isolates or recognizes or solidifies or manifests what they are
> observing.
> 
> I disagree with this-has nothing to do with quantum mechanics !! plus
> if you look at cybernetic systems theory, complex
> systems can be self aware/observing_RFM
> 
> Furthermore, code is always written with an end result in mind. Even a
> random system where you can't predict a result has the anticipation of
> a random result.  Indeed, There are infinite variations on randomness
> in the universe.
> 
> This is not true of artificial life software- you can create
> potentialities rather than end results. RFM
> 
> They only become interesting when we observe them.
> The observer is the audience for the result.
> /gh
> 
> Ph D student Yvan Tina just had this abstract accepted at SLSA which
> goes a little further
> 
> 
> roger malina
> 
> 
> The 8th Meeting of the European Society of Literature, Science and the Arts
> 
> Life, in Theory // SLSAeu Conference 2014, Turin
> 
> 
> 
> Stream 2 : Narrating Life: contagion, immunity, and mutation
> 
> Authors : Yvan TINA, doctoral student (Aix-Marseille University /
> University of Texas at Dallas), Prof. Roger MALINA (University of
> Texas at Dallas, CNRS), Prof. Yannick BUTEL (Aix-Marseille
> University).
> 
> Title : A-Live: Biological and Artificial Theaters  (working title)
> 
> keywords : meta, theater, design, a-life, synthetic biology, living,
> skenabiotope, bioart
> 
> Christopher Langton, in the original workshops of what would lead to
> the constitution of Artificial Life as academic and artistics fields,
> issued the idea of exploring "life as it could be" (1). According to
> him, artificial systems which exhibit signs of life and life like
> behaviours are worthy of investigation in their own right because such
> systems can expand our understanding of life. Drawing on this, we
> introduce the notion of 'Meta-Life'(2) which refers to a specific type
> of natural or artificial entities with behaviours characteristic of
> life -be they artificial, transgenic, synthetic, or inorganic-
> belonging to the Arts of A-Life and Biotechnologies as well as the
> fruits of evolution. As Maciej Ozog has shown in his article on the
> relationships between the arts and the sciences, these practices are
> somehow 'meta-artistic' for the reason that they generate
> meta-discourses' (critical commentaries) on life, arts and sciences
> (3). Since theater, as a performing art, has something to do with the
> living and is meta-critical per se, we intend here to question the
> performative dimension of those practices/objects and to feed life
> sciences theories with few theatrical contributions. The notion of
> theatricality, which is for instance defined as a "density of signs
> and sensations" by Roland Barthes (4), or as a "medium" by Samuel
> Weber (5), could be applied to such kind of productions which affect
> the shaping of life itself and reveal theatricality potentials.
> Following Sally Jane Norman on her writings about the skenabiotope
> (6), we advance the idea that theater can also be seen as a suitable
> place for the modeling of life as art through the use of new media and
> technosciences.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> (1) Christopher Langton, Artificial Life, The Proceedings of an
> Interdisciplinary Workshop on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living
> Systems, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1988
> 
> (2) See Meta-Life. Biotechnologies, Synthetic Biology, A-Life and the
> Arts, a Leonardo eBook Series, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2014.
> 
> (3) Maciej Ozog, 'Art investigating Science : Critical Art as a
> Meta-Discourse of Science'. In Proceedings of Digital Arts and Culture
> Conference, Arts Computation Engineering, UC Irvine,  2009.
> 
> (4) Roland Barthes, 'Litterature et signification', Essais critiques,
> in Oeuvres completes, Editions du Seuil, tome 2, p.508, 1993.
> 
> (5) Samuel Weber, Theatricality as Medium, Fordham University Press, 2004.
> 
> (6) Louis Bec coined this term from the greek skena, stage, and the
> biotope; it is defined as a 'dispositif' specially "constructed to
> study and amplify certain types of theatricalising or theatricalised
> behaviours in artificial organisms". Louis Bec, 'Skénabiotope. Etude
> des comportements modélisés et pamphlétaires d'organismes
> artificiels'. In: Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux (ed.), L'Art en scènes. pp.
> 115-126. Bois-le-Roi, 1992.
> 
> On Sat, Mar 22, 2014 at 3:17 PM, G.H. Hovagimyan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hi Roger &  the List,
>> There is always human agency in any of these arguments.
>> Of course you could have a world without humans but we are talking about coding that is about performance, especially art performance.
>> All of the systems we have been discussing take a viewer to recognize the system. It's a simple law of quantum physics. The viewer changes or isolates or recognizes or solidifies or manifests what they are observing.
>> Furthermore, code is always written with an end result in mind. Even a random system where you can't predict a result has the anticipation of a random result.  Indeed, There are infinite variations on randomness in the universe.
>> They only become interesting when we observe them.
>> The observer is the audience for the result.
>> /gh
>> 
>> On Mar 22, 2014, at 12:11 PM, roger malina <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>>> hi GH
>>> 
>>> a few days back you made a statement
>>> 
>>> "There is  always an author for the code"
>>> 
>>> Which I dont think is true and maybe introduces
>>> other issues on performativity
>>> 
>>> one reference of course is dawkins blind
>>> watchmaker argument- and is particularly relevant
>>> to the work of algoricists such as john latham
>>> where the code is self generating and the artist intervenes
>>> in selection rather than design
>>> 
>>> and with much large code-there are innumerable authors
>>> not an author
>>> 
>>> and then you go on:
>>> there is a result from running the  code.
>>> 
>>> but like recessive genes, some code may only perform
>>> when there is a confluence of factors that enable its
>>> performance
>>> 
>>> 
>>> roger
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> 
>>> Hi list,
>>> I think  you need to look at  the whole coding process. There is
>>> always an author for the code and there is a result from running the
>>> code.
>>> 
>>> gh hovagimyan <[log in to unmask]>
>> 
>> G.H. Hovagimyan
>> http://nujus.net/~gh
>> http://nujus.net/~nublog
>> http://artistsmeeting.org
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Roger F Malina
> Is in Texas right now
> please contact me by email but
> for very very urgent things phone/text me me
> 1-510-853-2007
> blog: malina.diatrope.com