The Diverse Meanings of Artificial Life

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Artificial Consciousness and the Self

Presentation Title:

  • The Diverse Meanings of Artificial Life

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • A recurring image comes to mind when confronted with aspects of the future. It is the image of a single physical human pose. The figure faces forward, arms outstretched. The position of the arms varies considerably. In one version the arms are open and palms beckon inward while in the other, the arms are taut, pushing with palms braced against an inexorable movement forward.

    This physical sensation of being dragged forward only coincides with the second pose, the one I interpret it as a fear of the future. Curiously enough, the welcoming variation of the same pose doesn’t include the dragging sensation, but instead finds the figure planted in the present. It welcomes the future to where it stands instead of being dragged unwillingly towards a future it does not understand and fears.

    I’ve found envisioning as well as physically recreating this pose in its variations has helped me understand the complex meanings in our reactions to the future, specifically to concepts existing in the present in embryonic form, but indicating possibilities of fuller existences to come. One of the most interesting of these, and germane to much recent work by artists involved with interactive technologies, is the growing research program, artificial life.

    Full text p.19-21

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