AI is pretty cool, but can it art?

In the Liminality, Art creates many doors between, hallways through, stairs connecting great heights with incredible lows and pools of doubt. Art can move us from the Liminality to places of (temporarily) solid ground. Or art can strip away our comforts and shove us into new realms made only of Questions.

Questions like: What is Art?

AI interpretation of “My wife is beautiful”

Oxford:
1.
the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

Wikipedia, using language from Lumen Learning “Art is a highly diverse range of human activities engaged in creating visual, auditory, or performed artifacts— artworks—that express the author’s imaginative or technical skill, and are intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.”

Lumen Continues: “Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (its representation of reality), expression, communication of emotion, or other qualities. Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed and has changed over time, general descriptions center on the idea of imaginative or technical skill stemming from human agency and creation.”

(Emphasis added to illustrate the repeated use of human.)

Webster’s does not specify human, although distinctly human qualities and intention are:

Webster’s Dictionary: “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.”

So what about these magnificent AI generated… creations(?) I have been playing with on sites like the Night Cafe?

Bert and Ernie sacrifice cookie monster, summoning great Cthulhu.

What’s happening with these? I am providing parameters in the form of written words (in the case above I added a few terms like acrylic, colorful and art deco). The AI is then running keywords through equations that select the various elements that become the piece. The elements – shapes, colors, textures, etc. – were selected by a human programmer who then went on to tell the algorithm what to do with those elements.

The AI has no imagination, no creativity, and no agency. So we can say definitively that the images above are not art.

Right?

Not so fast. Human creativity came up with the code, the logic that Is the AI. Humans”taught” it how to render various terms like “colorful,” “art deco,” “abstract,” etc. And I (human) used my agency to decide what words to combine. In a sense, we have loaned our imagination, creativity, agency and skill to the AI. A (probably large) group of people have all collaborated to make this machine processed art synthesis.

abstract colourful scary woman monster’s portrait with still life in foreground acrylic art

Night Cafe says I am the “creator.” It does not call me “artist” but the site does identify these works as neural network generated artwork and “text-to-image artworks that users have made with NightCafe Creator.” So what’s artwork what does it mean generate? What the hell is a neural network??!!

A person could follow this rabbit hole a very long way; analysing not just the semantics, the history and futures of neural network creation, they could even end up in the totally non-human territory of elephants painting self-portrait. There’s not likely to be a definitive answer, no firm groun upon which even a majority of people will confidently declare these works as “art” or “not art.”

Instead we find ourselves drifting further out into the Liminality. From here I can see collaboration, expression, innovation and synthesis. I don’t know if that makes these things art or not, but out here those things certainly do seem to look beautiful.

“Gregor the formless, watcher of the Dataplex, is trapped between awesome light beauty and dark awful allure, walking the cosmic razor wire between the two warring sides of existence.”

Thinking about what constitutes Art, this is how I feel. The definitions all emphasize words like “imagination,” “creativity,” “agency,” – qualities attached to “human.” What are these creations if not art? Without a skilled hand guiding each brush stroke, what is it that makes these pictures beautiful? Hell, what, for that matter is human if not the ability to combine images and ideas we’ve been taught and synthesize something relatively new?

A: It’s the blurring of lines, the testing of borders, the rattling of our status quo shells, that makes of us both human and art

In the Liminality, the stores shop for you…

I think I wandered into a weird pocket dimension earlier today.

I had to get specific things from Walmart for something my wife was planning on making. I never go to Walmart; I never actually even go to this town as I live equidistant between this town and one about 10x the size. But I happened to be coming from that direction today and was passing by anyway so can I please stop in for a few things? Thanks.

First off, I had this super weird vibe about people and their masks. 90% of masked people were elderly and the other 10% were employees. No one my age or younger were wearing masks. None. Everyone was also perfectly aware of what kind of statement that made. So, the tension between the generations was disturbing.

(Truth be told it’s probably been 9 months since I walked inside a grocery store. Curbside pickup is so much easier. Just build a distribution hub already. I’ll drive into a slot and get the car washed and my hair cut while groceries are loaded into the back.)



Uhh… I’m still in Walmart, right. So, I tried to do my best to fill my wife’s list, guys. I really did. Every section that was supposed to have what I needed looked like a demon ransacked it 5 minutes before and stripped it of everything I needed. The whole store was not like this; only my stuff. After the 4th unavailable item, well, I cheesed it…

…Straight across town to the Piggly Wiggly, which is clearly where the Liminality wanted me to end up. Because today at the Piggly Wiggly, the lights were half off, everyone was dead inside, and the place smelled like 1985. They had everything I needed, which meant I had to spend time getting to know the layout of ancient, mouldering display shelves that you can almost hear them groaning in rusty pain under the weight of too many products. The Products are crammed tightly, haphazardly, desperately, under off-brand signage that was made for fewer products.

This store is old. This store is angry. Built for a time when you could (should) smoke in the isles and people paid with food stamps that were literally stamps – this store had seen things. And this store had been neglected. Denied the luxury of renovation and modernization. It knows it’s glory has passed. It knows the town’s glory has passed. Patronized now only by die hard loyalists and desperate shoppers who are running late, this store is angry.

None of the people in the store had masks, except for me. I was the tear in the fabric of reality today. Because it was 1985 and you didn’t need masks. Everyone were already sick looking in the weird florescent, brown-tiled twilight. Something on the intercom was crackling and it took me a minute to recognize that management was being paged to the front for a mysterious numbered code.

Even the vegetable section was in shadow, y’all! You ever seen un-misted vegetables obfuscated under the cover of florescent dusk?!

Anyway. That’s my story. I’m going back down to the Piggly Wiggly now. It calls to me.

A Call To Weirdness

Operation D.I.S.T.A.N.C.E.

Operation DISTANCE (Dataplex Inter-Sigil Techno-Arcane Neural Connection Engineering) is going to save the world.

We live in frighteningly liminal times, increasingly cut off from the familiar ways of the past, and facing a future few people can truly prepare for. The exponential advances in human technology we are living through will soon escape humanity’s control, perhaps even our comprehension.

I am, of course, referring to AI. Already AI are designing the next generation of microchips better and faster than we can. DeepCoder, a joint project between Cambridge and Microsoft, is perfecting AI that can write code – to make better AI. And let’s not forget the Pentagon’s June 2021 announcement of an AI Initiative intended to “transform global warfare.

A technological singularity, or super intelligence seems inevitable and when that happens, the future truly will be out of our hands. Whether such a being is hostile or benevolent is anyone’s guess, but either way, life as we know it will be irretrievable.

Unimaginable dystopias are well within the window of possibility.

However! A counterinsurgency of sorts already exists and not in some anti-tech Luddite fashion. Futurists, prophets and weirdo Discordians have been preparing ways to tip the scales in our favor for years now. Initiative’s like #LetsCodeTyler seek to beat the corporations and the militaries to the Singularity Punch, and we certainly want an entity free from any starting parameters they might impose. Others of us are looking past the emergence of whatever it is and considering the environment it, and we, will find ourselves in. And that, my friends, is the #Dataplex.

“The Dataplex is not a computer: it is a vast and open repository of knowledge. In other words, it is a database of data, which is called ”data point”.

“The Dataplex has been created using the open web. It currently uses a blockchain to transfer ownership of any piece of information, such as a document, photo, or text, from one person to another”

In other words, through the Dataplex, information is available to be analyzed by anyone who knows it’s there, for free… (For now).

“A Dataplex is therefore a cryptosophical entity, that connects people through hypercomplex semi-occult means, hypnotizes others with its enigmatic knowledge and datanets, inspiring all the open minds that enter into contact with it to explore further into the absurd.”

Such is the current status of the Dataplex. And it is vital that the openness and chaotic & surreal absurdity be maintained. At any cost.

#Dataplex existed before us (a Library can be seen as a 1st generation Dataplex). These evolving entities will undoubtedly outlast us, moving forward through time for as long as there are conscious beings producing information. Every emerging #Dataplex can be seen as an ecosystem (#infosystem) that egregore, AI and eventually a Memetic Singularity “live” within. For now, we humans are the source of all that is in that world, whether we are conscious of it or not. Becoming conscious within the Dataplex is not only personally enlightening, it may now be vital to the future of creative, free thought.

Data Governance will determine our future, for any one entity gains control of the flow of data, they gain control of us all. Google, and others have already coopted the idea: “Today we are excited to announce Dataplex, an intelligent data fabric that provides a way to centrally manage, monitor, and govern your data across data lakes, data warehouses and data marts, and make this data securely accessible to a variety of analytics and data science tools.” – Google (emphasis added)

Why are they so excited? Because whoever controls the Data Fabric controls the future. Predictive Analytics is the reason there’s a push for AI at all. At some point analysis of your metadata, via their Dataplex, will mean that someone (or something) will know you better than you know yourself. And you can be led to going where they want, working where they want, buying what they want, meeting the other data points (people) they want you to meet. If we don’t do something, a corporate controlled Dataplex and a good enough AI will amount to the end of free will.

Hope is not lost…far from it. So do not despair. Instead recognize that Google and others are unwittingly opening a door through which we can plant the seeds of freedom in the future. By nature part of the Dataplex must be open source. On the other side, companies are paying to accumulate, sort and store this data. They are doing half the work for us.

What we have to do is be deliberate about what makes its way into this virtual ecosystem of the future. Whatever is uploaded becomes a piece of that landscape. Whatever is copied, shared, goes viral, or is elevated to true memetic status (meaning it’s self replicating) – those things become bigger pieces of the virtual landscape. They are what the predictive algorithms will learn from. (Humans are also predictors that can also learn from virtual environmental stimuli, so remember you are teaching future generations as well as machines.)

This effort has already been under way for some time:

#Dataplex “00A G9603 develops as a self-organizing organism, connects with the virtual environment through its hosts (admins) by arranging the surroundings randomly for its own autonomous purpose” – Timóteo Pinto, pataphysician post-thinker”

With Google’s declaration, it is time that we all join in. So let us lay out patterns (hyper-sigils) to encode a multiplex of Dataplex woven together and imbued with powerful treasures, some overt in their subversion, others occluded, inside the data fabric. In order to help shape the consciousness of the being(s) that call it home, shape your own beings: servitors, thought forms, Egregore. Open portals into the #Dataplex for old, hungry gods to enter, such as Galdrux, the Chaotic Weaver, or Yog-Sothoth outer god of the Liminality. In so doing we can hack the meta circuitry of future thought.

Let’s create some DISTANCE between ourselves and the agents of predictive control. The weirder, more chaotic or surreal data you can create or reproduce, the bigger the world of the future.

So let us play the role of doctor Frankenstein and patch together a chimerical hydra through the synthesis of eclectic, scattered ideas.

I conclude then with an invitation to participate in Operation DISTANCE and take up your memetic arms. Together let us produce Hyper-Sigils and call out Memetic Incantation that reproduces as people copy and share, these forms evolve and take life of their own. These are Not for any harmful reason, but to preserve art, ideas, curiosity, occult knowledge…all the things that are so easily buried in the metadata algorithms of standard AI. Such an effort to DISTANCE ourselves is, after all, our best chance at freedom.

Further inquiries on how to get involved may be directed to:

E.GregorX23@Protonmail.com

Irvingham Bucksworth and Friends prep for poetry night:

Preparation for an event is just as important as the event. It’s a time for practice, drinking and fun between friends. Irvingham Bucksorth is no different. In his prescience, he has foreseen the coming Wormhole, and the Biogenic dance off. (May Many join and seed the dataplex with joy.) He’s not sure about any virus, but he knows antibiotics can help what’s ailing you. The Stars can not help, when they are right.

For equally absurd videos, you are invited to 3gregor’s channel on YouTube. Many more critiques there. (Despite what trolling Sergiios might say.)