Posts Tagged ‘william gibson’

Debugging Trace

August 4, 2009 Leave a comment

from “Queen Victoria’s Personal Spook, Psychic Legbreakers, Snakes and Catfood: An Interview with William Gibson and Tom Maddox”

TM: […]You know what Marvin Minsky says about consciousness? It’s a debugging trace. It’s like a little piece of froth on the top of this larger thing. I think Bill believes that. Consciousness is just part of the act (laughs). All this other shit that goes on is equally important.

From Stewart Brand’s The Media Lab snagged from here

“Has any of this cleared up what consciousness is or is for?” I asked. “People have such a small number of memory registers,” Minsky said, “that we can’t think of much. Everything has to be on automatic. Consciousness is not a window. It’s more like a debugging trace you use for reprogramming around problems. Humans are really amazing, considering.”


July 29, 2009 Leave a comment

from “Queen Victoria’s Personal Spook, Psychic Legbreakers, Snakes and Catfood: An Interview with William Gibson and Tom Maddox”

TM: […] there’s a guy at Berkeley named Lakoff, George Lakoff. He’s a cognitive psychologist, and he’s testing a whole set of theories based on the notion that all knowledge is a “body” of knowledge, and that every single intellectual structure in the world is ultimately a piece of embodied spatial knowledge translated by metaphor into something else.

The essential thrust of Lakoff’s work has been the argument that metaphors are primarily a conceptual construction, and indeed are central to the development of thought. He says, “Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.”

For Lakoff, the development of thought has been the process of developing better metaphors. The application of one domain of knowledge to another domain of knowledge offers new perceptions and understandings.

Machines for Generating Interpretation

July 29, 2009 Leave a comment

from “Queen Victoria’s Personal Spook, Psychic Legbreakers, Snakes and Catfood: An Interview with William Gibson and Tom Maddox”

TM: Asking Bill if this thesis about women’s bodies is true to his work is asking him to be the interpreter of his own text, in which case he’s just another interpreter. Now if you [ask] what he meant by something, well, that’s legit, but he can’t validate or invalidate a particular interpretation, and in fact, to ask him to validate or invalidate a particular interpretation is like asking him to betray the possibilities of his own work. Umberto Eco wrote a book called A Postscript to The Name of the Rose, in which he said that in writing his postscript he was betraying the novel. He said, if I wanted to write an interpretation, I wouldn’t have written a novel, which is a machine for generating interpretation.

doing virtual reality

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment

“Someone told me that cyberspace was ‘everting.’ That was how she put it.”
“Sure. And once it everts, then there isn’t any cyberspace, is there? There never was, if you want to look at it that way. It was a way we had of looking where we were headed, a direction.”

We’re all doing VR every time we look at a screen. We have been for decades now. We just do it. We didn’t need the goggles, the gloves. It just happened. VR was an even more specific way we had of telling us where we were going. Without scaring us too much, right?” (William Gibson, Spook Country)

I suspect for much longer than decades, actually – and I don’t think it is just screens… I’m pretty sure we’re also “doing VR” every time we read a novel… Actually, we’ve probably been doing it as long as we’ve been telling each other stories…

In fact:
Want to Explore Virtual Reality? Try Reading a Book (from Kendra’s Psychology Blog)

In a recent edition of NPR’s All Things Considered, psychologist Jeff Zacks (…) discussed his new study exploring what happens in the brain when we read a book. In the study to be published in the journal Psychological Science, Zacks and lead researcher Nicole Speer utilized brain-imaging to look at what happens inside the brains of participants while they read. What they discovered is that as people read, the creation of vivid mental representations activated the same areas of the brain that process similar real life experiences.

In other words, you are constructing a virtual reality of your own inside of your head every time you read.

According to Zacks, “We’re used to thinking that virtual reality is something that involves fancy computers, helmets and gadgets, but what these kind of data suggest is that language itself is a powerful form of virtual reality. That there’s an important sense in which when we tell each other stories that we can control the perceptual processes that are happening in each others brains.

The results indicated that specific actions in the story, such as performing a motor action, activated the relevant area of the brain associated with performing that action in real life.

from here

I love the idea of sharing New York City with people who are playing an Area/code virtual game as a result of which the city takes on new drama and urgency that completely involves them but remains invisible to me.

from here

In the book The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, Michael Heim identifies seven different concepts of Virtual Reality: simulation, interaction, artificiality, immersion, telepresence, full-body immersion, and network communication.