AI generated text

The scrolling text was all generated by the PHRASER algorithm. 
I had the idea for Phraser when Elon Musk ran a press conference for his tech firm “Neuralink” in November 2020. The world had spent 10 months in their bedrooms, extremely online, and having a much more tenuous link to their body as a social tool. Their body was not at work, their body was not at play, their floating head was in waiting rooms or meeting rooms, they were in the car pretending to be at home, they were in the home pretending to be at work, almost all of social life was mediated by one algorithm or another, and Elon Musk was showing us the digital devices his team had implanted inside the skulls of some unfortunate pigs who were shown manipulating a rudimentary digital interface with their brains. In 2019 Mr Musk said he intended Neuralink to be a “campaign to create symbiosis with artificial intelligence”. The symbiosis he refers to here is meant to evoke a particular figure of technocapitalist eschatology that Mr Musk, Ray Kurzweil, James Lovelock, Vernor Vinge and many others in their tweets and theories have been calling “the technological singularity”. This term “technological singularity” stands as both the name for a historical “event horizon” over which the effects of runaway technological change become too mysterious to guess at, and also as a shorthand for the “thing” many of these theorists fantasise will exist beyond that horizon. The “thing” at the end of all this technological change will be, they say, a humanmachine hybrid intelligence of a singular identity into which we’re all somehow assimilated such that we are as one hypermind spanning all of future civilisation; a world spanning or galaxy spanning “thing” that is an über-mensch, an all-mother, a womb, a prodigal son, a blessed daughter, a transcendent subjectivity, a utilitarian panacea, and importantly, a justification for the world-consuming effects of late technocapitalism that imagines at the end of it all is a utopia rather than an apocalypse so we can all feel free to keep going. Such utopian visions of the world that machines will bring about has included also the notion that machines will take it over and be the more enlightened custodians of it since around the time the first coal powered steam engine pumped water out of a mineshaft in England, and this utopianism may have been quite integral to the social justification for industrial capitalism since that time.

Phraser answers the question: If the human species is to one day become a single world-spanning hyperintelligence, what will it be thinking about? This quotidian focus problematises the utopian notions of the technological singularity, and instead posits, that because whatever “runaway technological change” might be brought about by technocapital will conform to the expediencies of capital, so too will whatever worldwide hyperintelligence one day emerges. It also problematises the eschatological/messianic dimension of these visions of the technological singularity by considering that the world-spanning hyperintelligence—by dint of the COVID-caused diffusion of our bodies into the mainframe and our pre-existing reliance on algorithms for all social and material provisions—has already arrived and we’re already part of it. As we have already seen with our experiments with PHRASER, our collective hive mind worries who thinks what about us, frets over the to-do list, is pissed off that Instagram thinks we are bald, or need a toilet stool, or want to see pictures of our ex at a wedding (see below). These will be the concerns of the technological singularity in the utopia at the end of technology’s history: Petty bullshit blabbed into the aether for all eternity.