Copertina del podcast

Disintegrator

  • [Hyperlecture] Marek & Roberto: Non-Player Dynamics: Agency Fetish in Game-World

    11 GIU 2024 · https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHfNS3K4fRA for the full experience + Q&A. In the pod, I say to just listen to the audio, but honestly the video is really really fire. Lecture given to our friends at Foreign Objekt, now ON POD. Programmer and Organizer: Sepideh Majidi Moderator: Maure Coise Video Edit: Shaum Mehra Tons of references here from all over the place, but definitely strongly in debt to the work of many many people. See the YT video for a more complete accounting, but a first pass definitely should call out Suhail Malik (on finance), Benjamin Bratton (on the entanglement between computation and geopolitics), Bogna Konior (on the aesthetic category of the human), Catherine Malabou (especially the later work on anarchism), Brad Troemel + Joshua Citarella + New Models + Interdependence (especially on internet culture), Nick Srnicek (on the platform), Luciana Parisi and Beatrice Fazi (on computational autonomy), Anil Bawa-Cavia (on the computability of the social), Keith Tilford and Andreas Reckwitz (on creativity), and of course <3 <3 Reza Negarestani (on horizons of possibility, on the inhuman, and on Nick Land). It's such a beast definitely definitely hit us up, we love this one.
    Ascoltato 1 h 43 min. 32 sec.
  • 14. Deathcare for the End of the World (w/ Patricia MacCormack)

    28 MAG 2024 · This one is deep so see tons of explanatory resources below. The philosophy talk turns to political talk (easier to grok) after about 15 minutes, but the philosophical context adds a lot of richness to the latter conversation.   Patricia MacCormack is driving productive tension between philosophy and political action. Her Ahuman Manifesto is strongly recommended, even to those who may take issue with it in principle (anti-natalism! anti-idpol! anti-human!), because it makes a forceful argument for a politics based in empathy and care as applied to everyone and every thing.   Core concepts you might not be familiar with: - Posthumanism — if you recall, a kind of running theme of the podcast is "posthumanism is kinda sus.” As a philosophical stance, it means an expansion of categories of agency and vitality, thought and creativity, to forces beyond the mere human. Rosi Braidotti (Patricia MacCormack’s PhD advisor) was one of the first major forces in this field, and Patricia has written extensively on it as well (see her Posthuman Ethics). In practice, of course, posthumanism gets confused pretty quickly — Reza kicks off the first episode of the pod with a brutal critique that Patricia sustains here: many people tend to use posthumanism to advance a kind of hard anthropocentrism applied to everything, a way of accidentally inflating the human all the way out to the cosmic level. It’s likely good to critique anthropocentrism at all scales, but it is a very challenging thing to do in practice without carrying out what Reza calls “inflation”, assigning anthropogenic models to everything from fish to stones to electromagnetism. E.g. "my politics include this rock" turns pretty quickly to "this rock has some vital characteristics I'm imposing upon it through my own human gaze." - Transhumanism — kind of reversal of the posthuman project. Think Neuralink, human cloning, or dramatic surgical alterations. Transhumanism is humanism transcended, the human project continues but with greater veracity, constructed to conquer the future. A nice quote, per the Xenofeminist Manifesto (not quite a transhumanist project but also not not one) is "if nature is unjust, change nature." If the human as presently understood is insufficiently capable to handle its futures, change the human, make it live longer, act more efficiently, move faster. - Asemiosis — the absence or breakdown of traditional semiotic processes, where signs cease to function within the established systems of meaning. This is what happens when we operate within a superabundance of signs and references on massive scales. Don’t worry about this one too much. - Potestas to Potentia — lmao ok. Potestas in Spinoza refers to the word “power” as we most often understand it, authority, domination, or control. Power OVER. Potentia, on the other hand, refers to power as an intrinsic capacity or potential within an individual or entity. The, uh, power within… so to speak. (Michel Serres concept of “grace”, that MacCormack refers to occasionally, is similar to potential). It's a nice way to think about power without the coercive connotations. - Irigaray “letting be” / Serres “stepping aside” — many people have theorized political inaction as a type of action. Check out Bifo Berardi’s latest interview on Acid Horizon where he talks about “defection" so sickkkk. This doesn't mean doing nothing, but rather not doing (opting out). - Knowledge — this isn’t as hard as it comes across. Patricia is basically attacking the need for us to know each other to help each other, to understand each other in order to have empathy for each other. Why? Well, understanding requires communication, which means that information is moving through protocols (e.g. language, digitization, facial expressions, etc…) that are always already encoded with power. - Difference — also not so bad! What is difference? You and I are different! Everything is different. For many postmodern philosophers, you can reverse that statement into “difference is everything.” And once you start to think of difference as constructive stuff, well, the world gets quite interesting. For people like Patricia MacCormack, difference is probably a good thing and forces that move to hide, cloak, or suppress difference are probably bad. - Art — not what you think art is in this context, like a "painting" for example. Instead, it's an encounter with the unknown, a way of communicating without understanding (this follows from Maurice Blanchot's theories of art as event, which one can also find in a different but not unrelated way in the writings of Alain Badiou, who believes that art is a specific kind of truth different from scientific truth or political truth). HMU via @dis.integrator if I can help with this one.
    Ascoltato 54 min. 8 sec.
  • Ascoltato 25 min. 55 sec.
  • 12. Piles (w/ Alex Reisner)

    30 APR 2024 · Alex Reisner's writing in the Atlantic is some of the best investigative coverage of Large Language Models out there. In this episode, we talk through the mind-bogglingly vast archives of random pirated material that provide every major commercial LLMs with their linguistic faculty.  Definitely check out his writing on https://www.theatlantic.com/author/alex-reisner/, especially the phenomenal January 11 piece on "https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2024/01/chatgpt-memorization-lawsuit/677099/." ALSO -- if you haven't -- submit to our call for papers on AI interfaces: https://orpheusinstituut.be/en/news-and-events/call-for-submissions-echo-6-interface-after-ai We'd love to have you.
    Ascoltato 40 min. 38 sec.
  • 11. Reinventing the Surface (w/ Refik Anadol)

    10 APR 2024 · Refik Anadol, and by extension Refik Anadol Studio, is one of the most visible, if not the most visible, artists working with large models today. His work is everywhere, from MoMa to the Biennale Venezia, from the very first Las Vegas Exosphere art display to the front of Walt Disney Concert Hall. We’re delighted to have had him on the pod to talk through his artistic philosophy, touching specifically on media, light, AI, and his new incredibly large-scope https://news.artnet.com/art-world/refik-anadol-living-archive-nature-2419482) project announced back in January (approximately the same time we had our conversation with him — yes, the backlog is real). We're also accompanied in the virtual studio with Pelin Kivrak, who writes as apart of Refik Anadol Studio.
    Ascoltato 36 min. 30 sec.
  • 10. Voice (w/ Jennifer Walshe)

    26 MAR 2024 · Jennifer Walshe is one of the coolest people we know. Her artistic work and thought has broken our brains for years, leaving us shipwrecked in its torrential waves of reference and irony and joy and conceptual viscera. We talk about her recent piece for the Unsound Dispatch, https://unsoundfestival.substack.com/p/unsound-dispatch-13-ways-of-looking — a series of vignettes that in their totality assemble into one of the most coherent accountings of what it is we’re all experiencing. Some references from the ep: - Listen to https://milker.org/things-know-things on RTÉ Lyric FM.  - Hopefully you’re aware of the music duo Matmos — Jennifer references https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/matmos-return-to-archive/ in the context of discussing conceptual work. Jennifer also speaks often of her close collaborator Jon Leidecker (Wobblyhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wobbly_(musician), who has a few absolutely killer sets with Matmos, including https://w0bbly.bandcamp.com/album/wide-open-spaces. - You can interact with Walshe’s Text Score Dataset https://milker.org/text-score-dataset#:~:text=Jennifer%20Walshe%20created%20the%20Text,text%20scores%20could%20be%20created. - We continue to enjoy references to Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst’s Have I Been Trained (https://haveibeentrained.com/), a way to search for your (or anyone’s) work in large, public, AI training datasets. - Two movies everyone should see: Catfish the Movie and HER. (We’d also recommend Catfish the TV show, of course). - Jennifer mentions the computer scientist Kate Devlin’s work, especially “Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots.” - If you haven’t googled a picture of Paro the Therapy Seal, do it. - Jennifer’s record https://jenniferwalshe.bandcamp.com/album/a-late-anthology-of-early-music-vol-1-ancient-to-renaissance is a top lifetime record as far as we both are concerned. Check out track 16 for that Palestrina. It’s CRAZY.  - To wrap it up, check out Ted Gioia’s Substack and Bruce Sterling’s writing (the concept Walshe references is "Dark Euphoria").
    Ascoltato 49 min. 52 sec.
  • [Bonus] Non-Player Dynamics (Teaser)

    6 MAR 2024 · Go https://www.foreignobjekt.com/post/roberto-alonso-trillo-marek-poliks-non-player-dynamics-agency-fetish-in-game-world for more information about the upcoming talk that Roberto and Marek are doing Sunday, March 10, at 10AM Pacific. It's virtual, so come join us!!!
    Ascoltato 6 min. 3 sec.
  • 9. Alignment (w/ Benjamin Bratton)

    27 FEB 2024 · Benjamin Bratton writes about world-spanning intelligences, grinding geopolitical tectonics, “accidental megastructures” of geotechnical cruft, the millienia-long terraforming project through which humans rendered an earth into a world, and the question of what global-scale order means in the twilight of the Westphalian nation-state. Candidly, if either of us were to recommend a book to help you understand the present state of ‘politics’ or ‘technology’, we’d probably start with Bratton’s The Stack — written 10 years ago, but still very much descriptive of our world and illuminative of its futures. If the first 10 minutes are too “tech industry” for you — just skip ahead. The whole conversation is seriously fire, and it spikes hit after hit of takes on privacy, bias, alignment, subjectivity, the primacy of the individual … all almost entirely unrepresented within the Discourse. Some references: - We briefly talk about EdgeML, which essentially means the execution of ML models on small computers installed in a field location. - Benjamin mentions his collaboration with renowned computer scientist and thinker Blaise Agüera y Arcas, whose work on federated learning is relevant to this stage of the conversation. Federated learning involves a distributed training approach in which a model is updated by field components who only transmit changes to a model therefore retaining the security of local training sets to their own environments only. Also - here’s a link to their collaboration on https://www.noemamag.com/the-model-is-the-message/ - Benjamin calls himself a bit of an “eliminative materialist” “in the Churchland mode,” meaning someone who believes that “folk psychologies” or “folk ontologies” (theories of how the mind works from metaphysics, psychoanalysis, or generalized psychology) will be replaced by frameworks from cognitive science or neuroscience. - Benjamin calls out a collaboration with Chen Quifan. Check out Waste Tide — it’s excellent sci-fi. - The collaboration with Anna Greenspan and Bogna Konior discussed in the pod is called “Machine Decision is Not Final” out on Urbanomic. - Shoshana Zuboff is a theorist who coined the term “surveillance capitalism,” referring to capital accumulation through a process of ‘dispossession by surveillance.’ The implicit critique of “surveillance capitalism” in this episode hinges on its overemphasis on individual sovereignty. - “Tay” was the infamous AI Twitter Chatbot Microsoft rolled out for 16 hours before pulling back for its controversial content. - Antihumanism refers to a rejection of the ontological primacy and universalization of the human afforded to it through the philosophical stance of “humanism.” An “antihumanist" is someone who challenges the stability of the concept of the “human” or at very least its salience in cosmic affairs. - Check out Benjamin’s new piece on Tank Mag (http://Tank.tv), it’s fire. And check out Anna Kornbluh’s AWESOME “Immediacy, or The Style of Too Late Capitalism” on Verso.
    Ascoltato 53 min. 48 sec.
  • 8. World Models (w/ Anil Bawa-Cavia)

    14 FEB 2024 · Anil Bawa-Cavia (AA Cavia) is one of our favorite writers and practitioners on the philosophy of computation. We discovered his work through Logiciel, on &&& (we <3 &&&!), both a gorgeous book in print and an elegant formal depiction of what computation might actually be (a definition that stands in striking contrast to the limitations imposed upon it by the humanities, or the comprehensive universality bestowed upon it by that particular breed of TEDx computational ‘realists’). This conversation is a really nice parallel to Anil’s amazing chapter in Choreomata, in which he identifies the bottlenecks we are rapidly approaching through deep learning as, in part, products of incomplete thinking as to the nature of language, learning, their messy and entangled relationship to the “world,” and their reconsumptive throughput as it assembles into what we increasingly understand as something like intelligence. We want this conversation to be accessible to as many listeners as possible, so here are some further references and definitions that might be useful: - I’ll be honest, I was surprised when I learned how radically different (and how totally gendered) the “Turing Test” was in its original formulation from what it’s become known to be. Read about it directly via: Turing - Can Machines Think (https://redirect.cs.umbc.edu/courses/471/papers/turing.pdf). - It’s likely the distinction between supervised and unsupervised learning is very clear to most listeners, but if you’re unfamiliar with this distinction, see a sufficient overview here (https://www.ibm.com/blog/supervised-vs-unsupervised-learning/). This becomes important as Anil starts speaks to the implications of things like pedagogy and normativity to learning. - The concept of normativity is used quite a bit here in a way that might be unfamiliar to some people. Think of normativity as the moment the word should enters into some construct — both in the prescriptive sense (“you should behave according to xyz social norms”) but also to some extent in the empirical sense (“based on what I’ve observed so far, this type of outcome should result from this interaction”). While we encode norms into language models (both through supervised learning, but also through the hidden organizing principles that are contained within complex structures like language), we do not encode “normativity” — a way of engaging with norms as norms. This is a good place to start when trying to understand the critique from inferentialism that Anil brings from Wilfred Sellars and Robert Brandom. - An “embedding” is essentially the ability to place some system or configuration within another system in such a way that its general shape is retained. In the context of machine learning, language is embedded into a high-dimensional numerical space wherein meaning can be identified by the proximity of various words within that space, and translations between languages can be accomplished by looking at the position of words within one language’s embedding and correlating that to a similar set of positions in another. You don’t need to understand topology to intuit what this might look like in a way that is sufficiently useful. Anil playfully refers to “embedding” in Wilfred Sellars’ work — a philosopher who argues that everything we know is ‘embedded’ within complex webs of beliefs, norms, and meanings. - Anil references Alain Badiou’s writings on finitude, and it’s our impression that this is a reference to Badiou’s completion of his enormously sprawling Being and Event trilogy (“The Immanence of Truths”). Not an essential book for this podcast or a barrier to understanding Anil’s work, nor for the faint of heart in terms of its scope, but if you’re intrigued by “an all out attack on finitude” — go for it! - For some more content on what the “multiple realizability” of computation looks like (how computation enjoys meaningful distinction from hardware), we love Laura Tripaldi's Parallel Minds. - Anil references James Ladyman & Don Ross, whose work he repurposes in a critical way — see “Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.” - We love love love Anil’s interview on Interdependence (https://interdependence.fm/episodes/inhuman-intelligence-with-anil-bawa-cavia). We love this episode! Enjoy!
    Ascoltato 58 min. 57 sec.
  • 7. Protocols of Encounter (w/ Sofian Audry)

    17 GEN 2024 · Sofian Audry wrote https://mitpress.mit.edu/9780262046183/art-in-the-age-of-machine-learning/, an absolute canon read that contextualizes the contemporary flurry of creative AI application and detournement within a much longer lineage of human-machine relations. Their chapter in Choreomata straddles theory and practice, situating Sofian’s own work in the field of robotics within a history of questions: how do we communicate to an audience through and with machine performers? How does the external intelligibility of a system complicate its autonomy? How, and why, do we construct empathy with our machine collaborators? In this conversation we discuss Sofian’s concept of Apprivoisement, a French term akin to domestication or taming, but one which leans into the mutuality of the relationship without the stain of dominance. We love this term and are eager to watch it seep into the discourse. A few references from our conversation with Sofian: - https://medium.com/@genekogan?source=post_page-----8384824a75c7--------------------------------’s Abraham AI (https://abraham.ai/). - Simon Penny’s “Aesthetics of Behavior” — which is meaningfully different from Bourriaud’s Behavioral Aesthetics — see Penny's “Making Sense: Cognition, Computing, Art, and Embodiment.” In discussing the Aesthetics of Behavior, Sofian briefly discusses the history of cybernetics, including W. Grey Walter (e.g. the cybernetic tortoises) and Gordon Pask (the “Colloquy of Mobiles”). They also reference the influence of Rodney Brooks, who argued for the necessity of robotics as an embodying factor within the domain of AI, on the more recent school of cybernetic-adjacent artists (e.g. https://billvorn.concordia.ca/menuall.html, https://vimeo.com/lpdemers, https://www.kenrinaldo.com/). - Sofian references https://www.memo.tv/as an inspiration for their concept of Apprivoisement. Akten’s work is profoundly important to the media art scene and to the general art world especially with respect to questions about AI. (Come on the pod, Memo!!!!) - Sofian also references https://mitpress.mit.edu/9780262045018/beyond-the-creative-species/ by Oliver Brown in contradistinction to Margaret Boden’s value-driven concept of creativity. - In addition to Sofian's book, we of course strongly recommend checking out their https://sofianaudry.com/.
    Ascoltato 43 min. 11 sec.

What does it mean to be human in an age where experience and behavior are mediated and regulated by algorithms? The Disintegrator Podcast is a limited series exploring how Artificial...

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What does it mean to be human in an age where experience and behavior are mediated and regulated by algorithms? The Disintegrator Podcast is a limited series exploring how Artificial Intelligence affects who we are and how we express ourselves.

Join Roberto Alonso and Marek Poliks, as they speak to the artists, philosophers, scientists, and social theorists at the forefront of human-AI relations. In-depth contributions from these visionary thinkers will be released in a book entitled Choreomata: Performance and Performativity After AI, out on CRC / Taylor and Francis in December 2023.
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