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[links] The Existence Forecast
Social Justice Kittens 2023 / How Online Mobs Act Like Flocks Of Birds / Midjourney V4 / Westworld and AI-Hands / Flintstone-Smurf-Simpsons-House designed by Hundertwasser
The most important thing this year: The 2023 Social Justice Kittens Calendar is out. A calendar full of kittens “who find themselves speaking truth not only to the formless, all-powerful nightmare of white supremacy, but growing “white-adjacent” forces who foolishly lash out in ill-considered disagreement. No matter what mask it wears, the status quo is desperate to crush these dinky darlings’ righteous rebellion. The constant threat of annihilation means absolutely anything the kittens do or say is completely justified! The Social Justice Puppies are back, too, sniffing for crumbs of approval and acceptance, always ready to announce their devotion to justice and denounce their despicable, unenlightened littermates!”
Speaking of social justice kittens, “People who self-report a strong moral character have a tendency to hypocrisy.” Who knew?
Didn’t think of this weird coincidence before: You know how AI image synthesis can't create hands and only comes up with mutant fingers and wobbly globs of flesh? Well, Michael Crichton knew it all along. In the original Westworld (1973), “Peter asks John how you can you tell if a person is a robot or not. John says you just need to look at their hands saying, ‘they haven't figured out the hands yet.’ Then when they arrive at their hotel, John gives their attendant a tip to show Peter what he's talking about. They look very unnatural and appear to have odd-looking ridges.” In the series, there’s a nod to this in the first season with a line in one of the first episodes: "A simple handshake would give them away." (Reddit)
And speaking of Westworld: The TV-series was maybe the only show that got AI philosophy and the questions surrounding consciousness right. Sad it got cancelled now.
Eric Hoel has a great post about a “neuroscientific case for art in the age of Netflix” and one point he makes is that “Fictions are quite literally (…) artificial dreams. Just as cooking allows digestion to take place outside the body, art allows us to benefit from dreams during the day. They are also more structured, and therefore more potent, than regular dreams, e.g., the monomyth.” // I wonder what happens when a) those artificial dreams are not shared anymore because everybody in the future can create her own version of the Matrix in whatever setting with whoever playing Neo, when fictions and art becomes singularily customized and thus go against our evolutionary social fabric of shared intentionality? And b) we have technology that generates visualizations of any dreamed up fictions on prompt in an instant? If art has a neuroscientific function and is maybe the most important part of our cultural evolution and in our sociality, what does extreme customization through AI tools do to all of this?
For some years now I compare memetic waves on social media with synchronized behaviour you can observe in animals like fireflies or flocks of birds.
Renee DiResta has a new essay in NoemaMag on this stuff: How Online Mobs Act Like Flocks Of Birds. The collective brain on Social Media is much more Steven Strogatz (who wrote the definitive book on synchronisation phenomena, and it contains an early chapter on memetics) than [insert your favorite Twitter villain of the day]. And if you train an AI model on the mathematics of synchronization and the collective output on social media, you can build Isaac Asimovs Psychohistory. Eat that, universe.
Cultural evolution of emotional expression in 50 years of song lyrics | Evolutionary Human Sciences: Since the early 1990s, pop song lyrics have become significantly more negative: "We conclude that the proliferation of negative song lyrics may be explained partly by content bias ... negative lyrics do better in the charts". I don't think this has to do with "negative lyrics doing better in the charts", i think his has to do with the rise of subcultures and the emergence of punk, hardcore, metal and rap. Stuff that's more real and arguably more artful and not just about fluff and love and cheese. “Love lyrics have contributed to the general aura of bad mental health in America.” Frank Zappa
An update to Arthur C. Clarkes 'The Nine Billion Names of God': "Modern day interpretations using genetic and quantum computing qubit engineering propose an engineering target that will likely be achieved by the year 2040": The 70,368,744,177,664 Names of God.
Dear Artists: Do Not Fear AI Image Generators: “True, new systems devalue craft, shift power, and wreck cultures and scenes. But didn’t the piano do that to the harpsichord?”
The answers to this tweet are gold: „Complete this image in a way that proves you won’t be replaced by AI”
Brain2GAN: Researchers reconstructed faces from a monkey brain. The results are amazingly accurate and nearly identical as the stimulating input face that the monkey saw.
a piece of greatness from the already always great exurb1a: the existence forecast - cloudy with a chance of being.
Science: Women are more ticklish than men and laugh more when tickled, but both share the same ticklish skin areas and ticklishness is higher for both when tickled by the opposite sex. Now you know.
Axis Records are repressing Jeff Mills’ Cycle 30 for the upcoming 30th anniversary of the label. I had the original pressing back in the day, but didn’t play it much and just looked at it in awe. The record consists of 8 looping tracks that spin on your turntable infinitely, both a DJ-tool and a piece of art.
An audio synthesis diffusion model which can do style transfer for sound. Scroll down for a singer singing in the style of a barking dog and try not to laugh.
“Spider-Verse Diffusion: fine-tuned Stable Diffusion model trained on movie stills from Into the Spider-Verse”.
Daito Manabe, a regular on my former blog, still doing his thing:
Promptist is a “a multiplayer collaborative environment for creation / collaging / moodboarding / vibesearch” from FacetAI. Think of it like a scrapbook-meets-an-exposed-brick-wall-in-brooklyn for Stable Diffusion.”
Well, that happened: Physicists Got a Quantum Computer to Work by Blasting It With the Fibonacci Sequence: “A team of physicists say they managed to create a new phase of matter by shooting laser pulses reading out the Fibonacci sequence to a quantum computer in Colorado”. Fractals, kids, i swear.
Dick RNN: A recurrent neural network trained to draw dicks.
So good. The Infinite Conversation, “an AI generated, never-ending discussion between Werner Herzog and Slavoj Žižek. Everything you hear is fully generated by a machine. The opinions and beliefs expressed do not represent anyone. They are the hallucinations of a slab of silicon.”
We've just released a new map for exploring 6+ million AI-generated images and the prompts used to created them.
What AI thinks we academics publish… I asked MidJourney to generate a biology, economics, physics, and a machine learning paper. They look like they are from an alternate universe where Reviewer 3 is an Eldritch Horror (aren’t they all), but I bet you can guess which is which.
19th century composers sit around making AI music by Glenn Marshall.
The midjourney v4 beta demos floating around are really impressive. The surreal quality of this particular image synth are gone, which is a loss, but the quality has improved a lot. Some exampled I liked: Lisa Frank tiger / Cyborg boy with bat wings and demon skin coming out of lava and flames / futuristic cities / ancient power rangers / Bauhaus jewelry / Werner Herzog interviewing Plato. MJ4 can also use 2 images and fuse them: