October 19, 2010

It's the tea which drinks the man

"Kelly's central thesis is this: technology has its own internal logics and rhythms that are distinct from (and sometimes adverse to) the desires of the humans that create it. Technology creates itself, using humans to do its bidding, and our normal view of inventors creating technology is a kind of romantic fairy tale that ignores the fact that nearly every great invention is invented nearly simultaneously by many people at the same time, all over the world."

Animism, Frankenstein and the Biblical injunction against creating life led to the dawn of robotic warfare
Here's social scientist Naho Kitano in Animism, Rinri, Modernizationp; the Base of Japanese Robotics (pdf)
The sun, the moon, mountains and trees each have their own spirits, or gods. Each god is given a name, has characteristics, and is believed to have control over natural and human phenomena. This thought has continued to be believed and influences the Japanese relationship with nature and spiritual existence. This belief later expanded to include artificial objects, so that spirits are thought to exist in all the articles and utensils of daily use, and it is believed that these sprits of daily-use tools are in harmony with human beings.
In the West, in contrast, creating life inevitably leads to destruction of the creator -- a notion that is hardly original to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, as author Rui Umezawa points out.
In order to understand fully religion's influence on the West's attitude toward robotics, we also must remember that Judeo-Christian monotheism also adheres to the doctrine that only God can give life, a popular interpretation of Genesis in which there is only God in the beginning and all living things are His creations. Exodus also decrees that idolatry is a sin. Thus, any human who breathes life into an inanimate object is assuming the role of God and thereby becoming a false idol. Such a blasphemer deserves punishment, and in the conventions of science fiction, this usually comes in the form of betrayal by the robots. From the 1920 work R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) by Czech playwright Karel Čapek - who is credited with coining the term "robot" -- through The Terminator movies to Battlestar Galactica, such human vanity is constantly met by rebellion by its creation.
In a feedback loop initiated by these preconceptions, culture influences not only the perception of robots, but also the design of robots created by Japanese and American engineers. 

Crystal. Such a state, while static and outside of time, nevertheless changes, and here we will employ the term used by Whitehead, ‘advance’, for this sort of development which occurs in states which seem to be outside of standard forms of time. Quantum potentials advance because the size of the spacetime area in which a particle may actualize increases over time. In this sense, the smeared area of spacetime, or the smearing of the particle as potential in spacetime, increases over time as percieved outside the potential in question. As a spacetime potential expands as it advances, each new added area, and the time associated with it, recalibrates the entire set of probabilities within the quantum potential, both forwards and backwards in time, and if we think of separate paths off the most direct ones as sideways, then we can say in many directions in spacetime at once.
This is why some researchers have referred to this sort of time as spatial, while others have put forth a fractal model to describe such phenomenon, and both describe aspect of what is at work in quantum potentials. We will describe this sort of spacetime, following Gilles Deleuze, as crystalline. For like a crystal, a quantum potential grows from a germ, namely, a quantum event which emits a potential. The potential then grows, in all spacetime directions, in a manner which is both determined by that germ and the medium, or context, within which that germ finds itself, as well as some degree of randomness. As exponents of the fractal metaphor have argued, it seems that quantum potentials exhibit fractal properties at multiple levels of scale, similar to the manner in which cells of a crystal repeat at multiple levels of scale. As with crystals, as quantum potentials advance, they increase in spacetime area in a manner in which each new increment is mediated by the shape of the crystal as a whole, and this is due to the fractal iterative structure  at work in both part and whole. As with holographs, the whole is represented, if in mediated form, within each of the parts, in a manner similar to the iterative nature of crystals. And just as light is refracted when it enters a crystal according to the manner in which the whole is enfolded in its parts, so it is that the whole of a quantum potential is enfolded in all the parts (otherwise it could not advance at its edges), if differently and more intensely at some points than others, thereby leading to the refraction of probability states in a manner analogous to that of light. It is in this manner that quantum potentials advance in a crystalline manner, even if they do so in a manner which exceeds traditional definitions of space and time.

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