“Order is Heaven’s first law”, a quote from Alexander Pope that I hold dear. Design to me is about creating specific order and organizing elements within it, which best accomplishes a task and establishes a framework for future improvements. Incidentally, this also almost coincides with Charles Eames definition of design – “Plan for arranging elements to accomplish a particular purpose.” So nature itself is design; Design is a natural process. Look at a spider oh how it managed to build that we can withstand a hurricane. But why is it in that shape? Why can’t it be a more flexible circle? Look at the honey bee. So small, so irrelevant? Then why do we need to be concerned of their extinction? It’s because no matter how big or small any component of nature it, they are all part of the natural network, and you remove one block, it’s definitely going to affect the entire network.
When we reflect on ‘network’ or ‘networking’, the obvious example that hits the mind is the Internet. Shouldn’t we reflect more on the essence of what ‘network’ actually means. Has the internet actually got us ‘closer’ together? What that one of its purposes? Or does it make it easy to ping your best friend on facebook saying ‘Happy Birthday’ and that completes your friendship duties? Can two people walking on the road look at each other, unless they get a text to look up and smile?
Isn’t networking directly related to discovery or the invention of technology? In the ancient times, there were only individual kingdoms. There was neither a good transport network nor a communication network. Then trade developed – what does that mean? Didn’t trade develop because of the availability of network facilities? So we need to look at networking in terms of a door that is left open. I remember, in my junior school, we were told that ‘Man is a social being’. However, wasn’t the nomadic man someone who used to stick to his flock, his hunt, his food and his family?
If I strain my mind, other than Internet and Nature itself, the other example of a network in the context of Mark Wigley’s “Network Fever” is the United Nations Organisation. I feel the UN is a perfect reflection of this article of how intellectuals gather and network. Furthermore, take USA’sPresident Trump vs France’s President Macron. They both are the polar opposites, where Trump is identified by words like border wall, separate, evict, get ’em outta here and Macron is uncomparably inviting. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of Trump, so here’s Emmanuel Macron:
I love the above quote and this is something I’m going to teach my kids too, as this world is increasingly becoming a blur, debatable and definitions are a thing of the past. The author of The Spam Book article neatly draws attention to porn and spam in our inboxes which I think is replaced today by fake news, memes, and ‘everyone being an expert’ on social media. Stepping away from the author’s tulip example, let’s jump into something more obvious – the Internet itself. Given that it’s such a common part of our daily lives, what do people think of it? Do they know that Internet is actually made up of cables with some on land, some under the sea and some satellite, and that everything isn’t Wifi and that WiFi also ends up as cables? I agree with both Lisa and Mark (from “Network Fever”) about the irony on how we behave around wireless networks.
These are three quotes that I love, which are also striking a chord with my idea of the irony and definitions that surround Artifical Intelligence and how we want to build our future networks. I see an interrelated irony between how we all are looking at the concept of Artificial Super Interlligence within the below three quotes.
The question isn’t whether they are coming, but when. – Nora Khan
How can you reason, how can you bargain, how can you understand how a machine is thinking when it’s thinking in dimensions you can’t conceive of? – Cyberneticist Kevin Warwick
We strain to imagine foreignness, but we don’t get very far from what we know. – Jackie Wang’s essay, ‘We Epistolary Aliens’
With this, I would like to conclude with my own reflections on Horizons of the Human: The fact that we are referring to AI already and continue to call it a “super-intelligence” is the actual threat that we are already creating ourselves, that in our daily discourse, we look at it in a way that it is mightier and smarter than us. If Man has a more powerful brain than the other animals, and we believe ‘we rule the world’, then what stops a “super-intelligence” from doing the same to us? An intelligence that we created!