HYPER REALITY, the Wrong Biennale, AI fake porn, Facebook's downward spiral, and more.
Hi! Here, have a fittingly-titled song to listen to while you peruse this Glitchet: Takami Nakamoto - Wrong Seems Right. Hope you're having a good week.
Wow. Watch this sucker. Overwhelming augmented reality interfaces, noisy overlays in the city, pushy pro-system "inspiration gurus", identity resets, a virtual doggy superimposed on your shopping cart that encourages you to buy more food to level it up, and then a fantastic, intriguing drama... this is a "a provocative and kaleidoscopic new vision of the future, where physical and virtual realities have merged, and the city is saturated in media." It's great.
The Wrong Biennale is a massive decentralized internet festival that anyone can apply to participate in and practices "instant radical inclusion" which is pretty radical and inclusive. This is a NY Times review of what The Wrong is like, how it works, and some of the works inside of it--of which there are literally millions. Wait, no, literally thousands. Sorry. I got excited. Anyways, when I was reading Snow Crash, this is pretty much what I imagined the metaverse being like, all the time.
So, I did you a service and checked this thing out (including the "deepfakes" subreddit--look it up yourself if you must). It's weird. It's real weird, and uncomfortable, consent-violating, and even my most masturbatory self couldn't get into it. The weirder thing is the number of text posts in the subreddit defending it as "well the cat's out the bag so we may as well prepare for that". I mean, it's certainly true to expect that people will be people (as in people will be terrible), but I find it a little depressing that no one is just like, "hey, maybe let's make a choice and not do this". Weird counterarguments include "at least now we can say that any porn could be fake and therefore not usable as blackmail" (which is the most optimistically dystopian thing I've ever heard) and countercounterarguments are "this will make women (and some men) not want to go into acting" (which seems very valid to me).
There was also a highly-upvoted post of a woman saying that women are just upset because women don't have access to every type of male fetish possible and that this could be a democratizing moment for pornography so that (straight) women could get their jam on with Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, etc. pornography. This seems like also a bad takeaway, but what do I know? On another note that is less ethic and more aesthetic, it's bizarre to see the swimming faces of the most fetishized female celebrities flickering and blurring around hands (and other things) in their faces, twisted half-expressions, smoke-and-mirror existences imposed over other professionals' faces, pixelated and apparently-good-enough for someone in a feverish haze of lust that wants what it wants, implications be damned. I'm feeling the dystopia. BTW, have you read Mind Games?
"Most people think about robots as autonomous machines guided by artificial intelligence. Most people are wrong: robots come in all sorts of forms, which I know because I am a roboticist in a cheese factory. I work with robots fully dedicated to cutting, shredding, sorting and boxing up cheese." This is a relatively short op-ed-style piece by a roboticist who works in a cheese factory. (Bet you couldn't have guessed that. I'm here to help.) However, it's a neat little look at the nitty gritty of how robots work in factory automation contexts which won't be particularly surprising, but I'm delighted by the detailed (written) illustrations and the fact that somehow cheese factories strike me as very whimsical.
Good, thanks. An article on Facebook's "oh shit" moment as they've been forced to realize that they systemically have affected the world and changed society as we know it, perhaps for the worse. Are they taking steps to mitigate it? Yes, sort of. Meanwhile, governments are beginning to crack down. (Meanwhile, China seems to just be taking leaves--or entire chapters--out of Facebook's playbook.)
OK, look. Normally I wouldn't share such low-brow content but this meme has managed to captivate me. It's well-balanced--except for the mindfuck of 10,000 rats, cleverly thrown in there. I think I have to go with fifty eagles and ten alligators: alligators are alligators and ten of them can probably fend off the ground hordes (hopefully), viciously plowing through hundreds of rats at a time, and the eagles are just attacking everything. I could also be convinced to the side of 10,000 rats and 50 eagles, which many people in this article argue for--and one benefit of that is not having to deal with 10,000 rats. It does occur to me that in this battle I am the most useless entity involved.