Re: Professor set to 'control' wife by cyborg implant

Date: Tue May 08 2001 - 13:07:32 MDT

Anders Sandberg wrote:

>I consider Warwicks speculations combined with his media savy a quite
worrying threat to transhumanism. The risk is that he manages to do
spectacular stunts, drawing attention to his ideas about the imminent
cybercalypse, helping spread an anti-AI sentiment ("terrestrialism" in the
terms of Hugo de Garis, who is doing nearly the same thing).<

The problem as I see it is that Warwick's Performance Art gets confused with his job as a professor. It happens when artists are both professors and Performance Artists. Laurie Anderson had an easier time of it because her intention was to entertain with intelligent sound bytes while bringing literature to her themes and the body of her work has been to inspire and communicate rather than to disarm. Stelarc is another example of a Performance Artist who uses the machine/human medium to shock his audience, but his work his art and not a sidebar to being something else.

Performing stunts is a way for Performance Artists to obtain attention. I'm not familiar with the aesthetics of Warwick's work so I cannot critique it fairly. Laurie Anderson is a highly skilled visual and electronic artist and Stelarc has an elegance in his graphic designs as well as a fine sense of how the human/machine can interface for communications and interplay.

I'm not very familiar with Warwick, but there is an interview with him located at
In this interview he is called a transhuman. However, he does not profess to be transhumansit. I agree with Warwick that Bill Joy could possible have an implant himself in a couple of years. The difference here is that Warwick does it for sensationalism, but Joy would more likely do it because his doctor suggests it.

I see Warwick in the same artistic category as Orlan or the person who has plastic surgery to look like Aphrodite. The waters run shallow. The only disclaimer here is that I may not be a totally fair critic because I am an artist and I think these examples weaken the value of art. Alternatively, if Warwick, for example, wants to be a cyborg he may be confusing the transhuman ideal with the cyborg. Artists who put a lot of technological gadgets on their bodies may enjoy the ride, but may not be in sync with the concepts of transhumanist thinking. I have written about this issue in the Transhumanist Arts FAQ.

>...we better do the analysis and start a more serious debate on how to make AI social ...<

Yes, I think that Extro-5 will peek into many social issues running ramped in human/machine crossing points.


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