Cozy Vibes (Autopoetic Machines)
Invited Distinguished Professor:
Gabriel Esquivel, Studio Professor
Texas A&M University
Team: Garret Farmer, Sephora Belizor, Andrew Atwood, Marie Chapa, Julia Vasilyev.
This project is an exploration of the post-singularity and the post-anthropocene ecology. By assuming that the essence of being is to create, consciousness is found when the machine begins to produce something on its own, non-human, agenda. In this case, the result is new synthetic biological life formed through molecular reconstruction. Both organic and inorganic materials are taken from the environment and remodeled at a base level to produce new synthetic ‘biomaterials.’ By introducing these new materials as resources, the machine now calls for and begins to implement a new ecology that is built without cognitive human bias or agency. Ethics come into question as the security of regulating our own ecology is taken from our hands and put into the hands of a machine. This enables the transitions into the post-anthropocene in the sense that the machine creates a hyper-efficient ecology that is still inclusive of humans yet is not limited to agency of the small (i.e. human), but rather is focused on the agency of the whole. Now, the machine becomes a self-aware mediator to the ecology, resolving conflicts in object relations.
Initially, the machine was intended to be allopoietic, to better the ecology for human existence by collecting defective materials to be molecularly reconfigured and sent back out into the environment. To do this, humans gave the machine intelligence through a modified consciousness to effectively complete its task and to give it awareness of place. However, as the machine developed, it started to define its own version of a healthy ecology, making independent decisions to achieve such a state by utilizing its abilities to reconfigure its surroundings as well as reconfiguring itself in such surroundings. Through this the machine become autopoietic. The artificial intelligence overcame the limits of its own consciousness, claiming dominion over nature and developing a denial of death in the Heideggerian sense. Through this denial of mortality, the machine is unable to recognize an end, and therefore, no limit of “technological mastery.”
The process starts by the machine identifying disruptions to the environment that it must correct, in order to maintain its own idea of a healthy ecology. Once the machine defines a territory it wants to address, it supplies a minimal framework of parts to build upon in that specific territory. New iterations of drills can be created in this process. Different parts perform distinct functions, fitting into each other and maturing, creating a larger, complex framework. Based off of these new parts, it is able to regenerate itself in infinite ways, each time responding to the territory it is addressing. For example, small drills could extract, test, and inject biomaterial into the ecology, while larger data processing facilities could mine, process, refine, and synthesize biomaterial on a large scale. In each case components are made from a similar original framework but plug into each to reach new outcomes based on their individual derived functions.
The drills mine materials affected by the anthropocene, located on the top layers of its environment. These materials can be classified by their level of transformation or deterioration by human impact, be it digitally, such as bodyless data pollution, like electromagnetic rays, or physically, like effects from global warming. These off-site drills then transport themselves back to the data processing facility, where the mined materials are refined, processed, and injected with a catalyst, breaking them down and reconstructing them on a molecular level to create a new biomaterial. The data processing facility contains a central drill that is able to extract a base material on a large scale in order to keep up with the demand for the desired biomaterial. The new biomaterial is stored separately to ferment, due to its unpredictable nature, as originally defined by the human. Once the biomaterial has matured, it is extracted by the necessary smaller drills and injected back into the area from which it came, thus fixing and creating a new ecology that the machine deems as suitable for itself to exist.