On Consciousness, Memory, and the Role of Art in the Era of VR & AI Maturity

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Machine Flaws in Generative Art

Presentation Title:

  • On Consciousness, Memory, and the Role of Art in the Era of VR & AI Maturity

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Abstract:

  • Henri Bergson claimed that we have to change our way of thinking when facing new objects: “The idea that, for a new object, we might have to create a new concept, perhaps a new way of thinking, is deeply repugnant to us.” Memory has resurfaced as an important concept. Although much has been achieved with Analytical, Human-inspired, and Humanized Artificial Intelligence the loss of memory in AI can be treated as catastrophic and represents a big hurdle in the development of AI. For Vilem Flusser in the first phase of manipulating information we deal with creation or production of information, and in the second phase with the deployment of memories with the aim of storing them. Flusser emphasizes two significant aspects of the technical image: its capacity for memory and its mathematical logic.

    For McLuhan, the nature of media determines the nature of society. He writes, “[o]nce a new technology comes into the social milieu it cannot cease to permeate that milieu until every institution is saturated.” The Tetrad, or Four Laws of Media, according to the McLuhans, refers to enhancement, obsolescence, retrieval, and reversal. McLuhan notes: “[v]ideo related technologies must produce a form of psychological death for all mankind [sic] by separating it permanently from the natural order, the book of nature, through narcissus-like self-involvement” a conclusion reached by McLuhan operating on three analytical levels at once: the perceptual, the historical, and the analogic. Thomas Metzinger draws attention to the fact that we do not know what the psychological consequences of the use of VR will be and emphasizes the risks of depersonalization after extended immersion in virtual environments, as well as to the need to study its long term effects.

    Antti Revonsuo points out how conscious experience exactly is a virtual model of the world, a dynamic internal simulation, which in standard situations cannot be experienced as a virtual model because it is phenomenally transparent—we “look through it” as if we were in direct and immediate contact with reality.

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