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Synthetic Exchange

Part 2 Project 2001
Sam Cutriss
University of Auckland Auckland New Zealand
A critical response to Stanford University’s Spiritual Robots Symposium.

The Spiritual Robots Symposium basically revolved around the moot point that spiritual robots will replace humanity by the year 2100. International experts in the field of cognitive science, artificial intelligence, nano technology and social commentary gathered to debate the issue. Notions such as transhuman, post human, and post evolution were posited and validated by some of the most qualified experts on the planet. Ray Kurzweil calculated that “by 2029 one thousand [American] dollars worth of computation will equal one thousand human brains, by 2050 one thousand dollars [American] worth of computation will be ten to the 26th power calculations per second, which is the amount of computation that takes place in all human brains on earth today, all biological brains.”

The social and thus architectural implications of such a phenomenon are considerable. Should this prove to be correct, and evidence is gathering to support Kurzweil’s hypothesis, we will indeed enter a new paradigm within our lifetime. In order to facilitate the occupation of the new paradigm a pre-emptive architectural exploration is required.

Architecture effectively clings, tentatively, to what exists as precedent. Whilst it may be seen as a tabula rasa, this proposal does draw upon fields such as filmic language, computer game construction, interactive/ tactile time space, and cognitive psychology. The proposal denounces asinine simulations of an already functional “reality”, favouring the exploitation of synthetic divergence. The presentation demonstrates the negotiation of the synthetic, employing sophisticated relational mechanisms to integrate otherwise discrete phenomenon producing functional, navigable environments.

Spatial syntax and its associated cognitive language have been adapted to exploit the synthetic. Previous absolutes become adaptive, intuitive, sublime and schizophrenic. Translation becomes subordinate to the more flexible and relevant transition, notions of distance, scale and time deflect effortlessly as space is initiated and collapsed. The design sensibilities motivating the project are best characterised by Mitsuo Inoue’s portrayal of the sublime, “a sense of mutability or flux attended by diverse deflections characterizes these visions; they describe an unknown world where except for that small part before our eyes, nothing can be foreseen.”

Space in Japanese Architecture
Mitsuo Inoue
Weatherhill 1985

Sam Cutriss

This student's project forms part of an ambitious, radical manifesto involving an attempt to conceptualise and visualise the communal space of an exponentially-evolved near-future. Drawing upon meta-disciplinary notions of "spiritual machines", he speculates that a collection of utilities might function as a replacements for the lower order of current biological mind functions. As this "synthetic consciousness" learns more and maintains more, it moves to disinherit the physical body, while maintaining something akin to a spatial (yet formless, non-physical) presence that allows it to explore, exchange and encounter.

The project thus represents a (place of) Exchange, positing a model of public and private relationships that are not singularly determined. A sublime, pre-(as much as post-)architectural" Plane of Immanence" that seeks to unite Thought and Nature, supporting our synthetic other. The "body disparate" is represented as the single line that also indicates its bandwidth capacity and therefore the richness, depth or breadth of information absorbed. The model - employing sophisticated relational mechanisms to integrate otherwise discrete phenomenon and produce functional, navigable environments.- is both Experiential (in as much as the presence of other synthetic conciousnesses affect the non-linear, adaptive environmental system) and Analytical (measuring multi-dimensional relationships of density). The proposal defies conventional reading and might be seen as net or newspaper, agora or universe.

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