The Enlightenment is Dead, Long Live the Entanglement


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Discussion on Jul 20, 2016
Sean Thoennes
We continue to grasp at a reasonable means by which wealth can be distributed in an equitable fashion, not only so that each has the means of survival and opportunity that a wealthy and democratic society wishes to purvey, but the very meaning of wealth reflects its many forms. The concept presented here re-frames the economic argument for a sharing economy as a philosophical one, and does so rather well.
Discussion on May 30, 2016
Mike McCarthy and Danny Hillis
With the exception of the powdered wigs, the authors of the Constitution are little different (just fewer) than the authors of wikipedia: almost entirely white guys, mostly in their 20s. (As much as I enjoyed Danny's article, and have been following his writing since Day One of The Media Lab, I am disappointed he plays PC politics here. I'm looking forward to the "Age of Entanglement" for at least that reason: less PC, more collaborative reality.)
I think you overstate your case. While it is true that the demographics of WIkipedia contributors are very different that of the general population, it would be difficult to argue that they are not a vastly more diverse and inclusive group than the authors of the US constitution. They do tend to be white and male, but the are many important contributors and leaders who are not, and it is not true that they are "mostly in their 20s".
Discussion on Mar 24, 2016
Ken Goldberg
What is needed is a science of collaboration that combines diverse sets of machines (eg ensemble theory, random forests), with diverse sets of humans. In contrast with the rhetoric of Singularity, one might call this Multiplicity.
Discussion on Mar 24, 2016
Ben Toth and Danny Hillis
An interesting piece but is there any evidence that humans have ever NOT been intimately intertwined with their creations? If not the rest of the article falls rather flat on its face. One only has to look at the artefacts in the recent celtic exhibition at the British Museum to recognise the degree of physical and emotional investment in objects produced several thousand years ago.
We certainly had physical and emotional investment in our creations in the past, but there was little difficulty drawing a distinction between the character of the created and the creator.
Discussion on Mar 23, 2016
Joe Sokohl
Too bad its roots are in bad punctuation. Understanding homophones matters.
Discussion on Mar 16, 2016
Francisco José Casas Restrepo, Jon Henrich, and Dustin Ezell
Mr. Hills, your article is wonderfull!! The most natural in our world today is technology. This is our nature,
I totally appreciate your vision. I agree that the article is excellent. Can we really say that technology is our nature? This makes me shutter to think: Is synth the new, natural form of music, casting aside the instruments that brought about the sounds?
Those instruments are tech too. We've been making tech since we sharpened our first hand axe.
Discussion on Mar 14, 2016
Donna Fasano
Working in design and fabrication, often the question which comes up is "Why create this particular thing? What story will it tell after we have informed it?" Will this thing we design continue to adapt and change beyond our designer/creator intent because the form of the design interacts/adopts/adjusts to its purpose? How quickly is that change applied, or is the form static and is it interpretation over time which will compose the form's aesthetic? Of all the writing here, I am most intrigued by this last statement which is the process and the aesthetic- and how we as designers and fabricators may begin a process to see it evolve and find relative place in the tangle.
Discussion on Mar 13, 2016
Georgi Georgiev, Danny Hillis, Jon Henrich, and Andrew Menzer
Do you mind giving an example?
Programmed trading sytems on the stock market.
Programmed trading systems on the stock market.
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Discussion on Mar 13, 2016
Brian Eno, Boris Anthony, Kevin Ford, Ben Toth, gabriel licina, and D.A. Wallach
One of the issues hinted at here and very critical at present is the issue of authorship. Where does any given idea come from? Who is responsible for it and how should they be recompensed? How can we even begin to work that out? There's a lovely little book by an artist called Daniel Spoerri, called 'The Topology of Chance'. It was published in the sixties*. In it he looks at the plate of food on the table in front of him and traces every particle - including plate and cutlery - further and further back. Where was the plate made? Where did the clay come from? How is clay made? etc. What's so nice about it is that you realise that everything, even the most mundane thing, has roots going back and back to the dawn of time; and that almost every natural process somehow impacted on its development. The more I think about the genesis of 'creative work' the more I recall that book. Tracing where any piece of art or science comes from is astonishingly complex and ultimately futile - because even if you could name all the threads in that tapestry you can't retrospectively assess the relative value of them. It's chaos theory worked backwards. All of us who make our living from some notion of 'ownership' of ideas - like copyrights, for example - are starting to recognise this dilemma. Indeed, one of the big challenges of Entanglement is how we pay for things and get paid for them. It isn't a trival question: I imagine that our solutions to that problem will entail some new kinds of thinking that may lead us to a whole body of new philosophical ideas - economics leading philosophy. Wouldn't be the first time (whispers Karl Marx).
A lovely example indeed here of how "zooming" in and out of problem spaces can give us different perspectives towards a resolution. If, for example, we stay within existing / prevalent consumerist/capitalist models, we may ask: "How do we ensure authors get a "ding!" at every sale?" Zooming up however, we may ask, for example, "Is that necessary if the author's living wage is covered by the state or some other institution? As long as no one is profiting beyond recovery of costs and re-investment…" And as Mr. Eno says, nothing prevents us from finding new models at either level. In fact, I think we must.
Brian, Kirby Ferguson produced a thoughtful and eloquent 4-part indie movie series that I think is related to what you mentioned above about the book, The Topology of Chance. This book is now on my list of things to read, but I wonder if Kirby knew of it when he made his series. Also related, three years ago I proposed a project for the Knight News Challenge that was inspired in part by Kirby's series but mostly by Harvard Law Professor William Fisher's CopyrightX course. I think there's a whole lot of room for social experiments to study what you wrote: " we pay for things and get paid for them." Flattr is one interesting alternative.
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Discussion on Mar 13, 2016
Andrew Martz and Danny Hillis
"We can no longer see ourselves as separate from the natural world or our technology, but as a part of them, integrated, codependent, and entangled." Codependency, in a psychological framework, generally suggests an unhealthy behaviour exhibited by an individual, who gives of oneself to another, at the very expense of oneseself, to satiate an unhealthy fear of abandonment, or as another expression of emotional need, with origins in learned coping mechanisms and survival methods developed in dysfunctional childhood environments, to respond to unmet, fundamental, emotional needs I can only wonder then, if the author chose this word 'codependent' advertanly, or inadvrtantly, to describe the human relationship to this new world of entangled nature and technology? Where the lines of discipline, relationship, and even existential purpose are blurred, for what exactly is it that nature and technology depend upon each other to achieve? It is argued by many of those who work in the field of psychology that the illness associated with codependncy can be overcome through self-healing, whether mediated or self-directed, using various tools for overcoming reactionary, subconscious, psychological responses. A critical question for humans, in the early childhood of this new age, is how do we navigate, negotiate, and direct these entangled relationships of nature, technology, and the human experience, in ways that are functional for us, healthy for us, and which meet our fundamental needs?
I am not using the term “codependent” in the clinical sense, but our co-dependencies with technology certainly have the potential for becoming pathological. Our co-dependencies with other people and with technology can confer great advantages, but they also come with risks.
Discussion on Mar 12, 2016
Natasha Davidenko
All enlightened people just go into 3D and are in greed of having material golds and etheric power. And what church provides.
Discussion on Mar 12, 2016
Zacharias Efraimidis and Jon Henrich
Reading this makes me think of a Global Constitution, i.e. a collaboratively constructed set of rules.
I think that brings about the excellent point: things become too large for any single contributor to even read, which brings about Design as Participation. To paraphrase Henry Rollins, "I don't think we can do it, but I think you can do it." Let's not think of a Global Constitution as the order, but rather your participation here, and my participation here, and another's participation elsewhere as the new order.
Discussion on Mar 11, 2016
Jackie Luo
Particularly fascinating in light of the argument about the Apple v. FBI case that iPhones are more analagous to our minds than safes.
Discussion on Mar 11, 2016
no rb
This whole article reminds me a lot of "The 3D Additivist Manifesto"
Discussion on Mar 11, 2016
no rb
"You have constructed your own little machine, ready when needed to be plugged into other collective machines." - D&G (from 1000 Plateus)
Discussion on Mar 11, 2016
no rb
I'm getting a type of post-humanist vibe from this. Maybe we could suprass "the human" (so to speak) instead of us being "left behind".
Discussion on Mar 11, 2016
no rb, Georgi Georgiev, and Danny Hillis
Science predates the Age of Enlightenment....
Isn't it the case that the Age of Enlightment IS the age of science?
The scientific revolution began towards the end of the Renaissance period, yet I would argue that science as we know it today is a product of the Enlightenment, when the great scientific academies and societies were formed and began to dominate the intellectual discourse.
Discussion on Mar 11, 2016
Tom Leedy
Reminds me of P Teilhard de Chardin's ideas about evolution. Forward the Mind! (organic or other)
Discussion on Mar 02, 2016
Evgeni Sergeev, gabriel licina, and Danny Hillis
Yet, luckily, the end result may be understood by a designer to a large extent (e.g. organs in a body). Maybe the best fusion will be achieved when we learn to contribute our designer's understanding to an evolving system in real time. Rather than passively watching it.
You vastly overestimate our understanding of biological systems...
The relation to parts to function is more complex in a biological systems than in an engineered systems, but I agree that they sometimes have have parts with understandable function, for example the heart pumping blood. These doesn't happen always, but it happens enough to require an explanation. Why should evolution make parts with narrow functions, when it can also make integrated functions that emerge holistically, like the immune the system? I think the answer has something to do with what is easy to evolve. I think the same modularity that makes organs understandable also makes it easier for them to evolve under natural selection.
Discussion on Mar 02, 2016
Evgeni Sergeev
That's SNARC. "C" was for "Calculator".
Discussion on Feb 27, 2016
Chris Oestereich, Matthew Shaw, Ravi Heugle, and Aaron Rosier
This is my concern. We are children playing with power tools -- blithely unaware of the havoc we might wreak.
Children do wreak havoc. They also create and inspire wonder. Omelettes and eggs and all that.
Chris, I like the poignant analogy but I think that your concern is everyone's concern. The question is whether or not we can build cultures and institutions that allow us to utilize "power tools" to engender flourishing, while simultaneously safe-guarding us against mailce and folly.
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