Nick Land on Urban Future has an interesting article describing the first robotic article written in Chinese that mimics human reporting better than humans; yet, as in all things it is not exactly what you think it is. Quoting a source he tells us a robot called Dreamwriter wrote the 1000-word article, using algorithms that search online sources and data, in just 60 seconds. What’s interesting in the appended section is the simple truth that reporters in China “…are not allowed to express doubt or really investigate reports against the authorities. So robot reporters could easily replace a lot of Chinese reporters like this nationwide.”
Reading Bataille of late on Surrealism my thoughts came this way: “Surreal automatism without the insubordination – totalistic conformity and subordination with the Law. Chinese Society: the perfect Automaton.” It’s as if the Chinese leaders live in a mirror of Narcissism where all truth must mirror only the thoughts of the leaders, therefore the society lives in a box of mirrors, a fun house of lies where the future becomes a machine that is no longer afforded the luxury of short-circuits in the system; rather, the world becomes a puppet world filled with automatons who spout the Party Line – whatever that line happens to be in the minds of the Leaders. But this is not just happening in China. Look around your own backyard… we’re all conforming to the mythologies of imbecility even if we think we’re free to think for ourselves. Our lives are mediated by machines everywhere we are – and, if truth be told, we are ourselves puppets to our own outmoded linguistic automatisms.
Language is the most ubiquitous robot of all and we are its servants. Bataille once said of Hegel’s Master/Slave dialectic concerning language and freedom: “The slave triumphs, but his apparent sovereignty is nothing but the autonomous will for slavery: sovereignty must inhabit the realm of failure.” He would add: “I am sure of one thing: humanity is not composed of isolated beings but of communication between them.” It is only in a “network of communication” (oddly reminding me of Nicklas Luhmann) with others that we reveal our subjectivation:
We bathe in communication, we are reduced to this incessant communication whose absence we feel, even in the depths of solitude, like the suggestion of multiple possibilities, like the expectation of the moment when it will solve itself in a cry heard by others. In ourselves human existence is nothing but shouts, a cruel spasm, a giggling fit where agreement is born from a consciousness which is at last shared between the impenetrability of ourselves and that of others. (Literature of Evil, p. 199)
These machines like Dreamwriter may mimic communication, but they will not communicate. Instead they will mark out the folded immensity of human erasure.
I cannot consider someone free if they do not have the desire to sever the bonds of language within themselves.
…….– Bataille, On the subject of Slumbers