Future Fossils Podcast 0029: Raising Robots Right with Visionary Artist Sara Huntley
This week we chat with Sara Huntley – Dancer, Graphic Novelist, Tattoo Artist, Clown, and Psychedelic Futurist.  Buckle Up!

Sara’s Website:

Sara on FB:

A conversation on New Media & The Future of Storytelling, the Ethics of Digital Entities, and Treating Bots With Kindness.

>>> Topics:

What will the future BE like?  Not just what will it LOOK like.

With books, the story is revised with every printing, but oral traditions allow for the story to evolve with every telling.  Virtual reality is opera – in that it contains all forms that came before it – but it’s opera tied into attention-tracking systems that can re-weave worlds and narratives in real-time as you interact with it.

We’re going to be able to get inside our data, to LARP the user-generated, annotated maps of the terrains that we inhabit, and with AR turn our modern notions of a shared experience completely inside out. 

The ethics of keeping digital entities as pets.  Michael:

“While you can make the ethical argument that there is no harm to the bot, you might have to come up with an excellent rebuttal to the argument that it does still harm the human user of this game…”

Sara’s conversation with “Phil,” the robotic version of author Philip K. Dick, designed by Hanson Robotics, at South By Southwest 2016.

Grounding in the offline world while learning through interactive high technology how we are all connected, and then bringing back that awe to analog existence and the nature that preceded us.

The manufacture of nostalgia as another artificial environment in an age of human-directed ecology…the replacement of our parents’ childhood with videogame franchises and, “What happens in a field at dusk?”

The Lithosphere, Biosphere, and Noosphere…

The racist Tay bot and how we need to be more mindful about how we socialize our digital offspring. 

What happens when we can’t tell the difference anymore between the minds we make online and those we make with our own bodies?   Will we create and destroy sentient entities as casually as we create and destroy ordinary data files?

>>> Sara Quotes:

“There are no new ideas, but there are, there are new perspectives through these handed-down ideas.  So it’s like, even though we take an idea that had been an oral tradition, then we bring it to the press, then we bring it to the screen, whether it’s a streamed series or something like that, and then it becomes a 3D thing – it’s always going to be the artisan’s ability to empathically tell what lands and what doesn’t.  That’s what makes a great performance.”

“As cool as AI art will be, I think we’ll always have a premium on what’s going to land with our imagination.”

“I’ve come to think of it like, ‘What’s the thing I ultimately do? I rearrange matter. And how do I do it?  I do it harmonically…as an artist.’”

“I’ve been thinking about what the ramifications are of creating machines in the shape of gendered beings…and what that means in terms of coming to grip with the hierarchical strata that’s already a part of society.  Because machines are always going to be mirrors of our desire of them…and granted, we want to convince ourselves, sometimes, as biological or spiritual beings that somehow parts of our experience transcend being programmed on a genetic level…but they’re all very grounded in human-ness.”

“I think it’s really important right now, how we train the mind of the other, this emerging reflection.  Like that one Microsoft young-lady bot – the Tay bot, that poor thing – how it got terribly socialized.  Within 24 hours I felt bad for it.  I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is a really bad report card on our ability to socialize a thing in a big pool.’ And it shows you exactly why kids don’t show their children terrible media when their minds are forming…”

“Empowerment comes down to your awareness of the upgrade that you want.”

“Is it gonna be just a battle of smart goos?”

“I feel like no matter how advanced our toys become, the degree by which we will be able to have a sustainable system and be able to progress is going to be directly related to how harmonic the technologies we invest in are.  Because you can have a bunch of ideas, but it really comes down to having a culture that has the wisdom to know which ideas are important to leave by the wayside.”

>>> Media Mentions:

• Blade Runner
• The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect
• “The Return of the Black Madonna” by Matthew Fox
• Charles Stross - Accelerando
• William Irwin Thompson – The American Replacement of Nature
• Nicholas Caar - The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
• Train to Busan
• I Heart Huckabees
• Prometheus
• Transcendence
• The Matrix Revolutions
• 2001: A Space Odyssey
• Samurai Jack
• The Fifth Element
• John Dies at The End
• Event Horizon

>>> Tags:

Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Neuromarketing, Cognitive Liberty, World-Building, Media Theory, Augmented Reality, Robotics, Animism, Philip K. Dick, 2001: A Space Odyssey, I Heart Huckabees, Fantasia, CRISPR, Gene Drives, Robin Hanson, Black Goo

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