CHAPTER 1: Feed Us, Please Feed Us – We Need You

2 Jul

Table of Contents, Glossary, Introduction and Methodology, Contextual Scene, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Conclusion, APPENDIX A, APPENDIX B, Bibliography and Other Sources


Music: Radiohead, 1997. Paranoid Android. OK Computer. YouTube.


In this chapter I talk about Jean Baudrillard’s concept of simulacra in relation to Arctificial Territory. I introduce transhuman and posthuman theories by selected thinkers and the philosophical idea of the other as “strangers to ourselves”[1]. These are models fitting into or leading to a new posthuman condition, which I scrutinise for Arctificial Territory. This research is not about trans- or posthumanism but about a new psychological space for art. Therefore, I only outline some aspects of these philosophical ideas. Ethical questions are raised, and egotistic superhuman and superrational theories are contraposed with more altruistic philosophies. I utilise certain assertions by post- and transhumanist thinkers and investigate theories by Kristeva, Levinas, and Lacan as well as Nietzsche’s concept of “strangers to ourselves” to demonstrate that the new arctic cold space, an alien space, is also a familiar space due to the nature of the other in us.

Fun Fair: A Trip to Post- and Transhuman Stuff

OCAL is part of a futuristic and probably post- or transhuman world, a world that might be devoid of humans but still has some human traces. Obsessive-compulsive behaviour is a human feature that has some commonalities with machine replication, pattern formation, and computer parallelism.

Never the Same Again

Baudrillard (2006a, p.121) distinguishes three models of simulacra. Simulacrum one stands for utopia, two for science fiction, and three for something that has not been defined yet other than that it will exceed or put an end to science fiction. I believe that he describes cyberspace and hybrid-space, a transhuman space that has already become actual space and goes well beyond utopia. I interpret simulacrum three as science fact that still feeds from science fiction and creates new fictions and facts as well as utopian and dystopian models and fairy tales. It is a hybrid. Arctificial Territory belongs to simulacrum three that is connected to one and two insofar that it started as a utopian idea and is science fiction. As such it feeds from and into science facts and has become the actuality of a new imaginative space.

Deleuze says, “Simulacra and phantasms are not simply copies of copies … but are precisely demonic images, stripped of resemblance” (2004, p.155). So they are something different, though they are somehow copies that are not that similar anymore to copy 1 or 2 or n. They might shift between reproduction and the production of something new. As they are demonic, they are dangerous images that can be attributed with fear, devastation, chaos, control, repetition, and OCAL. They are of an uncertainty that will never become a certainty other than that of a small movement between these polarisations. They are not dualistic or monistic but pluralistic. These simulacra inhabit any future zone including trans- and posthuman space.

Background Radiation: Entering the World of Arctificial Territory

“One disturbing conclusion we can already draw is that the concept ‘nature’ has had its day and no longer serves us well. The main reason is that nature is a kind of backdrop – and we are living in a world where the backdrop has dissolved: it’s all in the foreground now” (Morton 2010b, p.1).

Morton reminds us that nature is not part of human nature anymore. Something else has come into the foreground. I postulate that this is arctificial. Trans- and posthuman ideas have come into the limelight. They redefine the concept of nature.

The technology writer Justin Mullins asks if the current state of AI has fulfilled our expectations of “really” intelligent machines and maintains, “machines … that understand what you are saying and react appropriately, are still some way off” (2004, p.37). I agree that machines and robots are not yet as intelligent as humans, and I query if they have to be truly intelligent and in which way this intelligence can express itself. We have to ask ourselves if we want machinic intelligence that serves humans, or machinic autonomous life, or, as discussed in transhuman narratives, superintelligent machine-like hybrids that finally will supersede humanity. Since Mullins’ article robots have become more adaptable, flexible, and certainly more intelligent – in a way that has not been anticipated by the author – though they are still not complex cognitive, affective, and conscious machine life.

The transhumanist concept – there are transhumanist societies such as Humanity+[2] and transhumanist philosophers such as Max More[3] – tries to embrace all topics like philosophy and ethics, bionics, cybernetics, robotics, AI, and genetic engineering including cloning. It can be seen as a transitional stage for genetically, biologically, and technologically enhanced humankind to bring it into a world beyond humanity that excludes human characteristics. Transhumanist philosophy can be understood as a transition for thinking the unthinkable: life without humans – posthumanity.

“We’re at that point analogous to when single-celled organisms were turning into multicelled organisms. We are amoebas and we can’t figure out what the hell this thing is that we’re creating” (Hillis 2004).

The computer scientist and inventor Danny Hillis (2004) thinks that whatever “is coming after us will be wonderful,” indicating that it will be better than us, the fallible human animal that is still at the stage of an amoeba compared to the technological wonders and scientific possibilities it has not utilised yet. I wonder though, how “amoebas” can come up with this “something wonderful” if they do not succumb to rapid evolution, as they are probably not conscious and a rather simple life form. Hillis suggests that we humans are rather plain in comparison to what we will become, some form of enhanced and modified posthuman rather than transhuman with superhuman qualities. It appears that various posthumanist concepts propose provocative though escapist strategies for the end of humanity in societies that seem to have fallen short of living up to ambitious humanist, spiritual, and ethical models.

Neither One nor the Other

Fuller (2011b) makes a clear distinction between posthuman and transhuman ideas. Posthumanism is an egalitarian philosophy, not singling out the human as a special species, and refers to a posthuman condition per se, a place without humanity. However, I suggest that it can be a place with humanity where humans are not on top of the hierarchical order. It can be a space where they are equal to or intertwined with other life. “Transhumanism,” Fuller utters, “deals with humanity.” Therefore, the development of Humanity 2.0[4] is a transhumanist project. Fuller states that posthumanism is a form of “Pan-Darwinism”, whereas he maintains that the futurist and scientist Kurzweil is a transhumanist who is interested in enhanced, more endurable, and immortal humans.

Posthumanism deals with equality and rights for all life, leaving anthropocentrism behind. Transhumansim leans towards superhumanity, a form of exaggerated anthropocentrism. In fact, transhumanism with its theories of human modification is rather egalitarian. A transhuman hybrid does not mind how much non-biological or other-biological life it contains. Both philosophical perspectives query present anthropocentric models of life. OCAL thrives on the tension between superhumanity, leaving humanity behind, and “Pan-Darwinian” new life.

The bioethicist Sarah Chan (2008) gives a good overview of the fundamental nature of Humanity 2.0. Humanity 2.0 encompasses genetic or biomedical modifications, pharmaceutical interventions, and alterations of physical and psychological states as well as cybernetic applications leading to the creation of a hybrid species. Using this definition I suggest that OCAL is a Humanity 2.0 project. Kurzweil’s transhumanist scenarios that envisage the singularity, and de Grey’s SENS Foundation[5] that deals with age research and finally immortality are Humanity 2.0 projects.[6]

Kurzweil predicts a world that is dominated by technology and will make our intelligence less biological and more powerful. Like Moravec and Nick Bostrom[7], he envisages a future populated by super-beings, superhumans, or an existence that is superior to humanity. He maintains that we will reach this state by mid 21st century. He has adapted Moravec’s theory of mind uploading to something that I call “Moravec’s big grey goo”. I discuss Moravec more extensively in Chapter 4.

On his webpage, announcing the publication of his book, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, Kurzweil (2012) states, “… most of our thinking will be in the cloud – unhindered by the natural limits of our biological brain and easy to back up like a hard drive.”

The literary critic and philosopher Katharine Hayles conveys that this notion is based on “a decontextualised and disembodied construction of information” (2011, p.215). I agree with her. Without embodiment and senses, information seems to be useless and is confined to the cloud, not appreciated by and communicated to any form of embodied life. It is a form of self-referential information cluster that only exists for itself. I see the idea of disembodied information, cut out of its context (brain, nervous system, media, computers) and uploaded into something yet to come, as a form of mysticism concealed by scientific rationalisation.

Kurzweil is a utilitarian thinker and is more interested in the practicalities of a conceived future that has eradicated disease, turned sex into a recreational task, and transformed biological human life into a form of cyborgian and transhuman everlasting spectacle. His concept is a fantasy about a transhuman condition that will possibly end in non-biological stasis of (bio)-machinic existence that has been cultivated by human animals. In the end, machines will have outlived humans and gained a form of power that is truly otherworldly. All of these concepts are science fictions. Some aspects have already become science facts like longevity concepts by de Grey that finally could lead to immortality, “caring” AGI in the USA, Japan, and other countries[8], and various plans for human genetic and (bio)-technological modification and enhancement[9].

Order, Order

Kurzweil’s utterance that “computation represents the essence of order in technology” (2002, p.28) points to Arctificial Territory populated by technological or biotechnological entities that need to demonstrate this order and live the tension between “in order” and “out of order”. Order and control are seen as lion tamers in a world that is bigger than our idea of it, a world that is escaping our wish to control it and never was controlled by us anyway.

The “law of accelerating returns”, as Kurzweil (2002, p.20) calls evolutionary and computational order based on Moore’s law that is about accelerating exponential growth in computer technology, could be a metaphor borrowed from current economic models.

The prevalent economic model in most countries is based on neo-liberal ideas by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman[10] and associated with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher’s political restructure of society. It emphasises privatisation, austerity, free trade (unregulated markets), and the retreat from state responsibility with the aim to abolish social welfare models. The state provides a loose framework for its paying members with minimum taxation and certain infrastructures including the upkeep of (law and) order. Economic growth is the magic word. All actions and productions are geared towards this concept. More production needs more consumption, and more consumption is a must for the justification of ideally accelerating exponential economic growth. Citizens, people, and machines are only cogs in the wheels of this economic super-machine.

Hayles (2011, p.221-222) mentions the writer Nancy Kress’ disenchantment with the ideas of Ayn Rand[11], concerning unregulated free market capitalism – to be more precise the Austrian school of economics[12] – which led to Kress developing the utopian novella, Beggars in Spain (1993),[13] to counteract Rand’s Objectivism. In Rand’s philosophy, which is more or less expressed in her novel, Atlas Shrugged (2007), we can see an ill-fated marriage between reductionist capitalist ideas, extreme individualism and egotism, the belief in accelerating progress within technological and economical developments, and misconceptions of social Darwinism. We live in such a world, and it is fertile ground for “narcissistic” concepts of future, technologically enhanced life.

Recontextualising transhumanist ideas of superhumanity in my text and video work – introducing obsessive-compulsive traits, which humanise OCAL and don’t make it superhuman, and Kristeva’s concept of the foreigner in us (strangers to ourselves) that is about the alien as the otherness – might allow for an arctificial world that is guided by altruism and societal interactions rather than by utilitarian, individualistic, egotistic, unethical, capitalistic, and misunderstood or misinterpreted evolutionary concepts.

Sweeter than Chocolate

While Bostrom (2011, p.55) argues that we “need posthuman dignity”, I suggest that we need posthuman empathy. Whereas Bostrom wants worthy posthuman life that is treated with respect, I want to see empathetic and sympathetic posthuman life that feels for and with others and the other that is encoded in them. My posthuman life shows traits of obsessive-compulsive disorder as the quality of not being flawless, not being precise like a machine, carrying a built-in error that is algorithmic and biologically manifest or infused. This can make OCAL entities more considerate to each other (loving and lovable), even though they populate an apparently cold space like Arctificial Territory.

“The human certainly ‘exists’. But it does not belong (exclusively) to humanity.” The writer and media theoretician Dominic Pettman (2011, p.197) argues that “the human” is not an exclusive part of humanity. Other life can be “human”, too. He also maintains that we should not avoid mistakes (errors) but cultivate the more interesting ones. OCAL is the cultivation of such error. Hence it is human and makes Arctificial Territory a more habitable space. I posit that to erase human error is to erase the humane. Pettman not only refers to human flaws but also animal and machine ones. He claims that we should take Lacan’s “that there is no Big Other”[14] seriously (2011, p.196). This is contrary to my postulate that OCAL needs to embrace the (Big) Other, the radical divergence, or the other (in itself), thus to enable it to feel, show empathy, and be emotionally connected to different species; this without interfaces or binary “yes or no” habits translated into “zero or one” decisions. OCAL will turn out to be as ambiguous as humans or other animals. It has to embrace the “really other Other” and the other within itself. It also has to comply with its regulatory principles that are defined by its obsessive-compulsive traits, only to overcome these and become truly liberated future life.

This brings up the question whether OCAL subscribes to an ethical framework. I assert that OCAL, hybrid and not superhuman life, requires ethical concepts.

Bostrom and the futurist and writer Eliezer Yudkowsky have written extensively about AGI and its moral and ethical rights and stances. They discuss non-human personhood:

“AIs with sufficiently advanced mental states, or the right kind of states, will have moral status, and some may count as persons – though perhaps persons very much unlike the sort that exist now, perhaps governed by different rules. And finally, the prospect of AIs with superhuman intelligence and superhuman abilities presents us with the extraordinary challenge of stating an algorithm that outputs superethical behavior” (Bostrom and Yudkowsky 2011, p.18).

The authors already highlight future life that might be “governed by different rules” and verbalise a prospective superhuman intelligence with “superethical behaviour”.

It is disconcerting that some transhuman concepts include the idea of the superhuman. This makes me feel uncomfortable as it points to the history of Nazi Germany with its idea of superhumans ruling the world (misinterpreting Nietzsche’s idea of Übermensch [“overman”, superhuman]). It looks as if humans need to be enhanced, modified, and bettered. Even if it is apparently their choice, they will be coerced into modification or enhancement due to peer pressure and economic necessities. I query that we have to be made better or more durable. It sounds to me as if humanity were a disease. The idea of “superethical behaviour” reminds me of the unified theory; all is pointing towards one (if one takes into account zero and one as metaphors for a computational world, then this is a rather binary process despite its monism), one unity, one superethical “race”, the one and only superhuman intelligence. This sounds like a fascist political model or religious narrative to me. Thus life and art in Arctificial Territory shall not be superhuman.

Fuller (2011a, p.79) compares Kurzweil’s futuristic model to the philosopher Peter Singer’s ethical model. He calls the one “the Gnostic” who would “sacrifice” his own body and the body of others to gain immortality, and the other “the pagan” who “would ‘sacrifice’ his higher mental functions” to allow us to go back to our “sensuous, mortal roots”. Kurzweil wants to achieve immortality for us (even if we don’t want it) by transporting our “essence” into something disembodied. Singer believes that the limitations (“inhibitions”) caused by our “higher mental functions” prevent us from going back to our mortal roots. These mental functions make us forget our bodies, our embodiments, and guide our search for transcendence.

Fuller refers to the ethical concepts that are outlined in Singer’s book, Animal Liberation (1995). Singer argues that altruism and ethical models should include “most animals … not oysters, perhaps, or more rudimentary organisms – when it becomes doubtful if the creature we are dealing with is capable of feeling anything” (2011, p.120). This would already indicate some form of speciesism. I query Fuller’s argument that Singer would “’sacrifice’ his higher mental functions” (2011a, p.79). Singer draws a clear distinction between ethical concepts for life with some form of higher intelligence and more basic entities.

In his table, “Humanity as a Bipolar Disorder: Paris vs. Oxford”, Fuller (2011a, p.80) compares two models of thought by attributing them to the thinking schools of Paris and Oxford. I personally subscribe more to the “School of Paris” with its definition of progress (utopia, future, the new) as “increasing differentiation, complexification” in contrast to the “School of Oxford” that sees progress as “increasing purification, demystification”. OCAL has to discover the space in between “complexification” and decontamination, between chaos and order, so to find its singularity within Arctificial Territory.

Fuller’s reference to “‘Humanity 2.0 as a bipolar disorder” (2011a, p.3) points towards dualistic processes due to our animal nature and quest for transcendence and immortality narratives; however, my reference to obsessive-compulsive disorder indicates the locus between chaos and order, control and fear, mortality and eternal life as something in between these polarities, something not fixed hence in motion. OC life and OC behavioural patterns must fail in their conscious or subconscious attempts for cohesion. They reveal monistic tendencies. OCAL generates a new space that manifests our ambiguity and allows us to move imaginatively between repetitions without freezing in a catatonic state of fear. OCAL subscribes to an ideology of small motions.

I suggest that OCAL will develop some form of ethical framework. This could be rather different to ethical structures within human or even hybrid societies and certainly different from Bostrom and Yudkowsky’s ideas of superethical behaviour. OCAL might develop an ethical position that can be perceived as unethical by humans or humanoid hybrids with an anthropocentric stance. OCAL’s ethical behaviour might be more of a Singerian moral code.

Something So Alien that It Hurts

Music: The Mars Volta, 2008. Asilos Magdalena. Amputechture.

Obsessive-Compulsive Arctificial Life is a stranger to itself; it is like us, and it is the other in itself; it is itself and the other (us) in it. It is our invention, a product of our limitless fantasies and our limited existence.

The Foreigner Within Us

“Strangely, the foreigner lives within us: he is the hidden face of our identity, the space that wrecks our abode, the time in which understanding and affinity founder” (Kristeva 1991, p.1).

Kristeva talks about our Zerrissenheit, our disconnection and inner turmoil, our ambiguity and split personality. This could refer to another psychological disorder, dissociative identity disorder or “split personality”. She discusses the acceptance of the foreigner within us and that we have to embrace “him” with an altruistic gesture. He is hidden, but he is not speechless.

“Strange indeed is the encounter with the other – whom we perceive by means of sight, hearing, smell, but do not ‘frame’ within our consciousness. The other leaves us separate, incoherent, even more so, he can make us feel that we are not in touch with our own feelings, that we reject them or, on the contrary, that we refuse to judge them – we feel ‘stupid’, we have ‘been had’” (Kristeva 1991, p.187).

We reject the other outside of ourselves. We dismiss the foreigner and everybody or everything that is culturally or otherwise different. We sense the other somehow, but we do not want to be aware of him, nor consciously accept him. We do not want to see that he is just like us, is part of us.

OCAL has problems, not with perceiving the other but including the other, as the other is seen as a danger, as somebody who distracts from OCAL’s single-minded voodoo rituals against bad germs, thoughts, people, or other objects. Thus the foreigner within us is endangering these alien rituals that serve to keep our anxieties at bay. This could lead to OC entities either physically or mentally eliminating the other by activating the auto-destruct mode (the machine that destroys itself) or acknowledging the other as somebody who has to be tamed and kept in order. There is another option. OCAL could negotiate with the other and give it space, not too small and not too large, where it can have a voice that does not have to be oppressed. It can exist as the other that one does not comprehend. This is about ambiguity and being able to acknowledge the slight differences between object one and object two and object three and object four and so on. This is about repetitions with transformations.

The foreigner within us (ourselves) can be seen within the context of our alien thoughts and our alien selves competing with more familiar selves.

If OCAL wants to become altruistic, empathic, and emotional, it needs to accept the other within. This other is not just a binary other connected to OCAL’s digital birth. I define this other as something else, additional, and dissimilar. It can be one; it can be many; it can be everything; it can be all the others.

Strangers to Ourselves

“We remain strange to ourselves out of necessity, we do not understand ourselves, we must confusedly mistake who we are, the motto ‘everyone is furthest from himself’ applies to us for ever, – we are not ‘knowers’ when it comes to ourselves …” (Nietzsche 2006, p.3).

Nietzsche asserts that we are “strange to ourselves” (strangers to ourselves), another form of split personality, as we do not comprehend ourselves because of this estrangement, eternally driven to understand ourselves without ever understanding ourselves. OCAL might not even try to understand itself; it is so far away from comprehending itself that it needs OC traits to cover up this apparent absence of a self or many selves. OCAL is a homogenous mass of erratic objects, not knowing but sensing that control is not the ultimate goal of any other life.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Most Obsessive of All

“… the human child at an age when he is for a short while, but for a while nevertheless, outdone by the chimpanzee in instrumental intelligence, can already recognize his own image as such in a mirror” (Lacan 2007, p.94).

The very small child believes that there is somebody else when it looks into the mirror. At a certain stage in its development it recognises that it is the other. Lacan considers that this stage occurs between the age of 6 and 18 months. There is always an imagined other in the self as we might have memories of this other not being us, this image being somebody else, a foreigner in us or outside of us, looking at us and saying hello at the same time as we do. For a split second we do not know if we are real or if this reflection of us is more than just a mirror image, somebody with a life of its own. The mirror-other is reunited with the self. The older child, the adult, and OCAL can celebrate this amalgamation. They are one and the same. This transposes OCAL into the realms of humanity.

OCAL is also the mirror image of us with a life that is not ours, an existence defined by obsessions and compulsions.

The Other and the Same

“The Ego can be accused, despite its innocence, by violence of course, … by Others who as such nevertheless ‘obsess’ it” (Levinas 2006, p.51).

In Humanism of the Other (2006), Levinas shows us that we experience our humanness via the humanness of the Other[15]. Levinas’ Other is a metaphysical Other as it is an infinite Other which can be experienced as a god-Other or a human as god-like Other.

“The Other is absorbed in the Same. Do we not respond in the presence of the Other to an ‘order’ whose significance remains irreversible derangement, absolutely completed past?” (Levinas 2006, p.40)

So this Other that “is absorbed in the Same” makes us aware of ourselves. We probably “respond in the presence of the Other to an ‘order’” (control) that is signified by chaos and completed history. This would explain OCAL’s frantic search for a “self” because its efforts to control emotions end in pandemonium. OC traits can make machines aware of being erroneous. The machine can feel its machinic self via the machinic self of the Other. This experience forms OC life with its obsessions, compulsions, and repetitions and allows difference in the sense outlined by Morton. He mentions that there is a difference in the nano (miniscule) space in between repetitions (Bielz 2011b). This variance can happen to life that inhabits arctificial space, allowing it to escape a destiny of repetitive boredom.

There is too much Other in myself, the artist says, and OCAL maintains that it needs the Other (other) so as to understand connectivity and acquire something similar to empathy. Too much of the Other is a danger though; and OC traits try to contain this Other that resides “in the Same”. This is a paradoxical situation, a constant blurring of boundaries in a concept of arctificial selves.

“The otherness of the fellow man is this hollow of noplace where, face, he already takes leave, without promise of return and resurrection” (Levinas 2006, p.7).

This makes me think of arctificial other life, OCAL, which is absent like man and won’t come back as reincarnation of humans or itself. It is not superhuman as wished for by Kurzweil et al.; it is not a more durable plastic version of human animal life but something rather different, something other without the promise of resurrection, something mortal like us without the wish for immortality unlike us.

Arctificial Otherness: Summary

“Strangers within ourselves are like any other beings, aliens or manmade replicas, genetic clones or self-replicating life forms – they are all within us, outside of a world that is more than mere projection of our limited fantasies. The moment we make things and transform our thoughts, imaginations and short moments of enlightenment into products and projection material that can be televised or networked, we have added more to an amassment of matter, of garbage that is decorated as either useful or pleasurable output” (Bielz 2011i).[16]

There is the possibility that OCAL can become the other in the senses given by Nietzsche and Kristeva, the other that is so familiar but also alien because it is part of ourselves, this unknown assembly “strangers to ourselves’’. It is also Levinas’ “Other in the Same”, the Other in the many selves we seem to display and have invented for ourselves and our survival as complex organisms with the curse of mortality. Because OCAL recognises itself in the mirror as other life that is the same, it allows us to recognise ourselves in it.

There is a limitation of the fabrication of other life because we do not know more than ourselves and our observations of and interventions in an environment that we are part of. We cannot change the nature of nature[17], our romantic or “natural” concept of nature, but we are confronted by nature to defy nature. It is in our nature to be inquisitive and curious and to explore ourselves within the context of the world around us. We want to know. We challenge nature or what we perceive as nature by trying to tame it – building dams, making inhabitable areas liveable, and dealing with floods and catastrophes. We exploit the resources, and we overlook that they are finite because we are greedy. We are strangely alienated from nature. We either romanticise nature or do not want to acknowledge that we are part of it. We are (still natural) biological life that has also evolved culturally. Transhumanism emphasises the dichotomy between humans (even if they become less biological and dissolve in pure information) and nature, all other things, whereas posthumanism sees humans as an equal part of all things.

OCAL might be able to evolve without human interference and create an environment void of humans and even humanity because arctificial mind is non-human or more precisely other-human mind; this does not implicate lack of emotions or altruism. OCAL has other feelings yet unknown to us. OCAL will need the other, the foreigner that lives in it and is the reflection of it. It has to realise that it is not the mirror but the projection of the mirror image as well as the Other as an altruistic concept for new life.

As arctificial life that generates new OCAL, it might be a daft copy of mammal-like life that tries to make a daft copy of a daft copy of the other life it has become through arctificial reproduction like in a huge copy machine. See Video No. 9.


Illustration 14: Video still, Gudrun Bielz, “Antificial” Obsessive-Compulsive Intelligence:

Intergalactic Intelligence (2010)

Video No. 9, 49”

Gudrun Bielz, “Antificial” Obsessive-Compulsive Intelligence: Intergalactic Intelligence, 2010. Video Sketch. Obsessional Productions.[18]

OCAL inhabits simulacrum three, a space that has not been defined yet by Baudrillard; however, it allows for redefining and exceeding utopia (simulacrum one) and science fiction (simulacrum two). Arctificial Territory belongs to a place that is beyond known or anticipated perception (simulacrum three).

Table of Contents, Glossary, Introduction and Methodology, Contextual Scene, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Conclusion, APPENDIX A, APPENDIX B, Bibliography and Other Sources




[1] Kristeva refers to the foreigner within us, who both defines our identity and tears us apart. He is an alien, but he also is within us. I utilise this concept for OCAL’s identity building.

[2] Transhumanism can also be defined as Humanity+ (less of an intermediate stage and more of a spatial description like “humanity plus something else”). “Humanity+ is dedicated to elevating the human condition. We aim to deeply influence a new generation of thinkers who dare to envision humanity’s next steps” (Humanity+, n.d.).

[3] Max More (1996) wrote the essay “Transhumanism: Towards a Futurist Philosophy” and is co-founder of the Extropians, one of the first transhumanist societies.

[4] “Humanity 2.0 is an understanding of the human condition that no longer takes the “normal human body” as given. On the one hand, we’re learning more about our continuity with the rest of nature … on the other hand, we’re also learning more about how to enhance the capacities that have traditionally marked us off from the rest of nature … Humanity 2.0 is about dealing with this tension” (Tucker 2011).

[5] Aubrey de Grey is a gerontologist and theoreticist. He researched at the University of Cambridge and is the founder of the SENS foundation. “The research we fund at universities around the world and at our own Research Center uses regenerative medicine to repair the damage underlying the diseases of aging. Our goal is to help build the industry that will cure these diseases” (SENS 2015).

[6] I have discussed concepts of immortality and age research, ethical concepts of new life, and developments of AGI extensively in both the [singularity] email list @ (computer scientist Ben Goertzel) and the SENS Foundation (on Facebook), gaining new insights from debates about developments of AGI or future models of biological and artificial immortality. These communications have informed the development of Arctificial Territory and can be found in Appendix B.

[7] Bostrom is a philospher and professor at the University of Oxford. He researches theories of superintelligence and ethical aspects of human enhancement.

[8] There is a good overview of some of these developments in my research “Parcours” (Bielz 2011a).

[9] Genetically modifying non-pathological human traits.

[10] Hayek was a Britsh economist, born in Austria. Friedman was an American economist and writer.

[11] Ayn Rand was a American writer who developed Objectivism, a philosophy that sees the individuum and egotistical needs as more important than social interactions and the welfare of the group. She was a friend of Alan Greenspan, the American politician, who deregulated financial markets. Larry Elliott (2012) writes about Greenspan’s responsibility for the worldwide economic crash in 2008.

[12] The Austrian school of economics is an economic model that was founded in the 19th century and was developed by Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and others in the 20th century (Library Economics Liberty, 2008). One of the main propositions is: Only the individual chooses. Markets are competitive and shall not be regulated, etc. The Austrian School has influenced neo-liberal and neo-conservative economic thinking.

[13] In Beggars in Spain Kress critically explores a futuristic society with technologicially modified humans. There are “sleepers” and “sleepless”. Sleepless people are kind of superhuman. This fictional society is unjust and reminds me of current neo-liberal political and social models with their mantra of excellence and the idea of the survival of the fittest.

[14] Lacan’s Big Other can be interpreted as radical difference, a really other Other.

[15] I use Other when I refer to Levinas’ Other contrary to Nietzsche’s or Kristeva’s other or Lacan’s little other that is the reflection of the self.

[16] I published this text with the title “Somnabul – can’t remember having written this” as I could not recall having written this. I must have been in a state of semi-consciousness, in between being human and OCAL.

[17] Nature: “11 a. The phenomena of the physical world collectively; esp. plants, animals, and other features and products of the earth itself, as opposed to humans and human creations” (OED 2010).

[18] All videos are discussed in Chapter 5.




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