In the middle of a fascinating essay on Artificial Intelligence and what the author calls the “cerebral imperialism” that drives it, I came across this:
Intelligence co-developed with other processes embedded in the body and designed for evolutionary advancement–love, for example, and empathy. A non-loving and non-empathetic humanlike empathy is a terrifying thing.
In fact, we already have non-loving, non-empathetic autonomous creations that function by using humanlike intelligence. They’re powerful and growing, and they operate along perfectly logical lines in order to ensure their own survival and well-being. Here are two of them: British Petroleum and Goldman Sachs. Each of them is an artificially intelligent “being” (whose intelligence is borrowed from a number of human brains), designed by humans but now acting strictly in their own self-interests.
How’s that working out?
It struck me that “non-loving, non-empathetic autonomous creations that function by using humanlike intelligence” is a perfect description of certain avant-garde writing, especially the bot-barf of flarf and the inane “uncreativity” of Goldsmithian conceptualism. Maybe it’s the natural outcome of our denatured lives, this heartless imperialism disguised as groundbreaking poetics.