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Live blog: The New Centre 2016 NYC Summer Residency, July 18–22


Agreed, and would also like to add that the “All Lives Matter” movement is similarly misunderstood as racially problematic because it is an attempt to both challenge the inherent fascism of the “politically correct” norms of (neo)liberal democracies as well as subverting the libertarian movement towards an inherently Marxist and critical position towards the corporate media state of our geopolitical economy.


What exactly is holding up Rhodesia as an ideal model for racial relations subverting?
“Seems to me that’s [Rhodesia’s] a superior model. If it can work in a 90% African-ancestry society, it can work anywhere, can’t it? (Its destruction was clearly exogenous.)”


@MIRI, Eliezer, as far as I know your real issue with Land is your diverging stance towards singularity and the emergence of AI. Others who have been concerned with race politics might have a legitimate question regarding Lan’d stands I am just not sure why you in particular feel the need to drag these false accusations into your picture.


What is the “rational” truth in “rational ethno-nationalism”? “Similarly, the Darwinian truths underpinning rational ethno-nationalist convictions are invulnerable to ideological reversal. A trend to racial
entropy and idiocracy, however culturally hegemonic and unquestionable,
does not cease to be what it is, simply because criticism has been
criminalized and suppressed.”


@MIRI @TheNewCentre Worth pointing out precisely what EY is doing here. He’s trying to initiate a holiness spiral against this event, and specifically against Land’s participation. As @DADABASE points out, EY is not the slightest bit invested in the norms he’s invoking. He’s using them to trigger the holiness mechanism, in his typically cold and calculating way. Kudos to the New Centre for slipping the snare of the Basilisk. ; )


It’s highly unlikely that whoever is posting as Yudkowsky under the @MIRI handle is in fact Yudkowsky – he actively avoids comment on this stuff unless it’s thrust in his face. Moreover the writing style is obviously not his.


Just to second Hito, could Land please qualify these statements?

"2) White Nationalism finds itself stymied at every turn by universalism, pathological altruism, ethno-masochism — all that yucky white stuff. If only you could do White Nationalism without white people, it would sweep the planet. (Try not to understand this, I know you don’t want to.) Heartiste is picking up on the pattern:

Where is this thought leading? The native stock of the West is clearly suffering from a mental sickness caused by too much outbreeding. Universalism is the religion of liberal whites, and they cleave so strongly to this secular religion that they are happy, nay overjoyed!, to throw the borders open and bequeath their hard-won territory and culture to battalions of Third Worlders and other temperamentally distant aliens, who of course given large enough numbers will promptly, whether wittingly or consequentially, execute its destruction."


@a_n_a_t_e_i_x_e_i_r_ Great question, I wish you were in NYC and could come to the event and ask this directly from Land.


@hito, I am amongst those interested in SOME of Land’s thoughts who think his flirtation wit these ideas was nothing but a theoretical insurgency, a hyperstitional practice, to infiltrate a problematic social formation and influence is seemingly from within. Regardless of the success or failure of this strategy, this has been the ethical basis for my continued interest in him. However even if we want to assume that Lnd actually meant these words, his other contributions makes him a valuable figure, at least a historical ones, in the rigorous study of cybernetics and artificial intelligence. Like what happened with Heidegger, I don’t think it’s fair for us to wait for someone to die in order to evaluate her/his legacy and find useful material in their contribution to knowledge.


Dear Mo, I am not implying anything in respect to you or anyone else.
I have a question regarding this text. I am not the thought police so basically I dont care what or if an author thinks at all outside his writing. I am looking at the text and my question is: What is “rational ethnonationalism”? If such thing exists what does it imply for wider ideas of rationality? I actually think such thing exists, it is called real existing neoliberalism. But if I insert this instead, it reads: real existing neoliberal convictions are invulnerable to ideological reversal. I conclude this is what the author is trying to say?


.0.3 Abstract: New Centre #AGI panel at the Future of Mind conference

Panelists: Reza Negarestani, Patricia Reed, Pete Wolfendale
What does it mean to accelerate the general intellect in the age of artificial intelligence? #AGI begins from the investigation of distributed networks from which thought assembles and into which it disperses. Unlike in the past, general intelligence, algorithms, and networks are together becoming as irreducible to the efforts of “universal” intellectuals as cultural and political movements have become to “universal” leaders. Will the future enable a more radical, integrated, but also more complex mode of cultural and political engagement? One predicated upon what Marx describes as, “the conditions of the process of social life itself… under the control of the general intellect." #AGI explores the new intensifying developments in the field of AI that are making possible subjectless modes of the general intellect, more collective and more general than any single individual or network.


.3.0.1 Reza Negarestani: Language of General Intelligence (Future of Mind panel)

Abstract: Can general artificial intelligence be adequately defined or built without language? What is exactly in language that makes it imperative for the realization of higher cognitive-practical abilities? Arguments from the centrality of language as a social edifice are by no means new. In defining what language is and why it is necessary for the realization of general intelligence, it is easy to go astray: to associate language with an ineffable essence, to find its significance in some mythical social homogeneity between members of a community, or espouse dogmatic theories of meaning. While addressing some of these pitfalls, I would like to highlight the central role of language in the realization of higher cognitive abilities. To do so, I will provide a picture of language as a sui generis and multi-level computational system in which the indissociable syntactic, semantic and pragmatic aspects of language can be seen as a scaffolding for the generation of increasingly more complex cognitive and practical abilities.


.3.1.0 Patricia Reed’s intervention

Before moving into her talk/artistic intervention, Patricia took a moment to note how disturbed she was by some of the previous Future of Mind panel discussion. There was enthusiastic discussion of eg. capitalistic wealth-creation in the 20th century, Google (the corporation) becoming a first-wave infrastructure for collective exocortical intelligence augmentation, etc. without any apparent attention to the massive inequalities, proliferation of debt slavery and patterns of social violence, and vulnerabilities to private or oligopolistic/class domination attendant in these developments. Can we trust Google, do we want them to own substantial pieces of our exteriorized minds, how are they to be held responsible for their behavior and choices, here in the US, in authoritarian societies, or the world over? Who is going to be uploading themselves, exactly, when 4 billion people currently don’t have access to computers? How can the means of informatic production be distributed or reappropriated in the course of the continuing development of these technologies and the systems in which they are embedded?

Patricia then triggers a prerecorded chipvoice (Windows/WIntermute-style) lecture accompanied by diagram asking how we can construct new cognitive architectures, prosthetics, and epistemic paradigms that are capable of apprehending or integrating futural, arbitrarily complex, and temporally ramified objects - hyperobjects, in one terminology - ranging from the climate to post-Westphalian political dynamics to nonhuman minds whether nonhuman animals or AGIs. Such infrastructure and methodology must take account of “zones of indistinction” between regimes and regions of complexity that are traditionally regarded as different in principle. She/it proposes on this basis a generic user epistemology, both a generic-user epistemology and a generic user-epistemology - making reference to Bratton’s THE STACK.


.3.2 Reza Negarestani: Language of General Intelligence

Reza poses language as a fundamental computational interaction matrix - a matrix of interaction-as-computation - that facilitates qualitative compression and the modulation of behavior and internality among agents, rather than simply a symbolic regime. These agents are described in terms of computational dualities between role-switching systems or processes that reciprocally and dynamically constrain one another in being forced to correct each other’s action series and augment their own interactive modes, driving the production of novel complexity. He goes on to discuss how the insights of this computational and ludic description of human/natural language apply and have failed to be applied in the deployment of artificial and formal languages. A language, or linguistic interaction-environment, that displays the full dynamicity and computational power he describes is a syntactic/semantic interface that has to be endowed with a pragmatics. The key to pursuing human-level artificial intelligences is to design multiagent environments in which interaction is a central motif and guiding matrix, at different and mutually reinforcing and regulating scales.


The panel’s just gotten a question from the audience about attacking some of the problems that Patricia brought up from the angle of FOSS, open hardware, targeted distribution of computational hardware and related resources, etc. Mo responded that there was a yet more radical way of approaching it, namely using the very paths of intelligenic development the conference is discussing and considering to create systems and dynamics that minimally don’t display and more importantly outcompete and ameliorate oppressive and inefficient pathologies of socioeconomic distribution. Pete also brought up that working in concert with material oppression is cognitive oppression, using the example of supermarkets, which for decades have developed and deployed strategies for inducing consumers to make inefficient and irrational purchasing decisions. The panel’s discussion has moved to ramifying this to include the (mis)allocation of resources to things like curing male-pattern baldness rather than ending tuberculosis epidemics, systematic misrepresentation of the people in modern democracies, etc.


.3.3 Pete Wolfendale: General Intelligence in General Terms (Future of Mind panel)

Pete reprised the initial part of his presentation of computational Kantianism and transcendental-psychology-as-AGI on Monday, introducing the audience to his analysis of generality and abstraction. The questions of the transcendental features of the generality that we’re looking for in the project of AGI, and of good and bad abstraction, are essential if we mean to avoid repeating the parochial trap of the first wave of AI research, which unknowingly overfocused on a merely local and restricted generality in the form of symbolic inference systems.


Ben Goertzel brought up the example of Lojban, a constructed language with a small population of speakers that uses an instantiation of first-order predicate logic for its grammar, and asks whether that’s already an emerging example of what Reza was talking about. Pete’s issue is where the content of the predicates comes from - whether it isn’t intrinsically implicit, and dependent on the prior (natural) languages of the speakers, and if it’s capable of the expressive power we see in natural languages. Apparently there are multiple forms of negation in Lojban, which helps with its expressivity. Reza pointed to computability logic and ludics (Girard) as logical regimes better suited to (re)expressing the way the syntactical-semantic-pragmatic interface/stack actually emerges, which something based on predicate calculus can only approximate or reproduce the concrete/surface results of rather than comprehensively simulating.


Patricia Reed’s talk, which will precede a live-diagramming and discussion workshop, addresses the problem of reconfiguring and ramifying ‘epistemology’ from an epistepolitical site to address the scale and complexity of what we are faced with having to think in all the ways that existing models from the epistemological to the geopolitical currently fail to. Infrastructures and programs must be constructed for autoescalative cognitive and libidinal (re)investment of the local in the global and vice-versa in generative engagement with integrative objects of scientific and political activity. To this end Patricia engages with the epistemic stereoscopy of Sellars and its recursive construction by Reza Negarestani, as well as the implications of numerous Copernican turns in contemporary thought and the diagnosis of continuing failures ranging from complexity fatigue to disciplinary autoBalkanization.


For all those planning to attend the #AGI Accelerate General Intellect Plenary session at e-flux New York on Friday afternoon: due to unforeseen circumstances, we are cancelling this event. We will be hosting the conversation in an internal format in the near future, and further announcements will provide information for those interested as soon as it becomes available. We apologize for any inconvenience, and thank everyone for their continued interest in the #AGI residency.


.1.3 Katerina Kolozova: Automaton, Philosophy, and Capitalism: Technology, Animality, Women

Katerina Kolozova’s talk engaged Marx with Francois Laruelle’s non-philosophy, and began by addressing the former’s humanism, asking how he understands it and what its structures and boundaries are. In a move which will be echoed in some ways by Reza Negarestani’s talk on Thursday, she dedicates this inquiry to a reclamation of the “human in the last instance”, structured non-philosophically in reference to radical foreclosure by the real of the overdetermination of the (concept of the) human, conceptualized by Katerina as “physical or real rather than material”, as that which is tangible or can produce tangible effects, continuously prior to (its) scientific reimaging in the Sellarsian sense. This both brings the question of the human back to the reality of suffering as central to the problem of oppression, and sets it up for engagement with the tendencies of technical science within the horizon of capitalism, as well obviously as allying it to the Laruellean project of non-Marxism.

This project identifies a procedure of “transcendental impoverishment” whereby the body has already changed, becoming masochistic, and desires its own exploitation. This transcendental impoverishment enables the non-Marxist project of thought as conceived by Katerina to depart from a non-philosophical khora in which differences and relations of class, gender, species, and vitality are reduced to an occasional continuum of material (as with Donna Haraway’s implementation of the ‘cyber-’) by the radical dyad of the Real and the World’s suspension of the split subjectivity of capital. This khora analogizes contingency in philosophy, except its occasion is neither essence nor substance but rather Identity-in-the-last-instance. The Alien-in-itself of capitalism is self-exploitative; one is never one’s own labor, and exploitation is never exterior to the bourgeois subject.

There are strong resonances here both with Amy Ireland’s deployment of Sadie Plant and invocation of the autoproductive and -dissimulating continuity of woman, machine, and AGI as well as with Reza Negarestani’s call to transcendental alienation of the human-in-itself; how these connections may work is likely illuminated by a central portion of Katerina’s presentation - on the priority of tekhne in relation to philosophy and the ontology of technology - that we lacked the time to hear, and I’m very excited to have the opportunity in the near future to read her full argument.