in the Formative Years of the Internet
STI is a complementary initiative to the well-known research program SETI (Research for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) which attempts since the 60’s to detect the possible signals of intelligent life forms. As SETI points its radiotelescopes towards space, STI proposes to orient our instruments towards the planet Earth. STI is an attempt to detect the forms of intelligence that can contribute to establish a sustainable human civilization at a cosmological scale.
STI observes our lives with networks
Some hypotheses on which the STI program could be based are proposed in the article « Search for Terrestrial Intelligence » published in issue 11 of the Cube Review on the theme « Making society. What meaning?« . These hypotheses lead us to pay attention to artificial networks that we construct in all areas of our social life, to try to understand their dynamics, and to learn how to evaluate their legitimacy. Indeed, according to the thesis defended in the article (expanded in the book ANOPTIKON published in 2019), we build our artificial networks following to anoptical perspectives which imply all our cognition, but we have not yet assimilated the criteria of legitimacy of these constructions. Combined with our limited understanding of the dynamics of our social networks, this means that we have no control over them. They make bubbles and crises in all areas and at all scales, to the point of threatening the life itself of our species. A first step of the STI program could be the launch of a STI@home initiative.
STI@home: detect intelligence from home!
Everyone knows the SETI@home initiative, derived from SETI, which proposes to volonteers to allocate some resource of calculation of his personal computer to the analysis of the signals received by the radiotelescopes. Let’s see how a STI@home initiative could be inspired by it. According to the hypotheses developed in the article:
« It is enough to build a network according to a legitimate anoptic perspective, dedicated to the creation and observation of its own dynamics. »
This can be simpler than it sounds. Indeed, the support of this network exists. It’s just the Internet. The base of software also exists and can be improved can be improved ad infinitum. This is the Poietic Generator, a collective and contemplative meta-game (without any commercial character), conceived a long time ago to meet precisely these objectives.
Practically, the STI@home based on the Poietic Generator can be reached by anybody from any mobile or terminal. It generates in real time an image constituted by all the contributions of those who participate in it. Its image can be captured and displayed anywhere in all possible formats, including « live paintings« .
The STI@home network could thus become a generic model in front of which the legitimacy of all other networks could be assessed. This could lead to the creation of a community of people, private actors and institutions involved in this research. Each could contribute to it in several ways:
All the project, software, images, data and scientific results are published under a free license (Free Art License, GNU afero, GPL, CC-BY-SA, etc.)
To participate in a planned or unexpected way, please contact: olivier.auber (AT) vub.ac.be
This is a Poietic Generator recording (speed x20) with 16 players only.
Try to imagine what we will get with, 50, 100, 1.000, 10.000 players at the same time…
Will it show Turing’s patterns like the ones bellow?
Generative artist and designer Jonathan McCabe, based in Canberra, Australia, is turning Turing’s theory into art. Instead of cells, McCabe starts with pixels. Each pixel gets a random value, usually a number between -1 and 1, which is represented in the final image by a color. Then, McCabe applies a set of rules that dictate how each pixel’s value shifts in response to the ones around it. As the program progresses, pixel values change, creating clusters of shapes that begin to emerge from the originally random mix of numbers.
Source : WIRED
This is the text of a submission to the Codepoetry Slam 1.1 held at Stanford University, Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.
The Poietic Generator is a social network game takes place within a two-dimensional matrix in the tradition of board games and its principle is similar to both Conway’s Game of Life and the surrealists’ Exquisite corpse. Every player draws on a small part of a global mosaic formed by the dynamic juxtaposition of those parts, which are manipulated by all the participants (eventually it will be possible for several thousand players to play simultaneously). Every player can therefore change the sign in his/her square, depending on the overall state of the image, which itself depends on the actions of all the individual players. Out of this cybernetic loop emerges a kind of narrative: autonomous forms, sometimes abstract, sometimes figurative, appear in a completely unpredictable manner and tell stories… There is no concept of winning or losing, the goal of the game is simply to collectively draw recognizable forms and to observe how we create them together.
The Poietic Generator is known as one of the historical works of digital art, interactive art, generative art and net.art. The project has been launched a long time ago (1986!) at a time when the technology did not allow massive experiments. Nevertheless, small scale sessions performed over the web or experimental networks with various online communities have provided a good proof of concept.
In 2014, time has come to launch some bigger scale experiments with the help of citizen from all over the world. That’s why, the project is going to be launched as citizen science research. Its goal is to give to citizen scientists a direct observation and a better understanding of crowd phenomena (self-organization, temporal behaviours, panic, etc.), as well as providing data to scientists in order to challenge various theories which may predict some global behaviours and dynamics. Various research groups in Europe are already involved in the project. Some researchers from Stanford may come onboard. Why not ?
The judges may have idea of the huge potential of the game by testing it. But please, test it together at the same time with your smarphone or tablet. Keep in mind that it is a collective game.