Joint International scientific and practical conference
“Digital Century of Culture” and “EVA 2013 Moscow”

November 19 - 22, 2013


Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
Russain State Library
Russian State Library
Russian association of digital libraries
Russian association of digital libraries
European Union
European Commission
PIK Centre
PIK Centre
Interregional Center of Library Cooperation
Interregional Center of Library Cooperation

List of reports (97)

Forvard to the Future

Thomson Olga

media, contemporary art, museum,new media

Olga Thomson, D.A., chair of Russian Fine Arts, I.E.Repin State Academic Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture

Gilles Deleuze, a French philosopher and a post-structuralist, interpreted the notion of singularity to be point-like events generating raison d'etre, a meaning. According to him, “those are turning-points and score marks; straits, knots, thresholds and centers; melting-, boiling-, dew points; points of tear-drops and laughter, points of illness and health, of hopes and dejection, points of sensibility”.
The author who defined “a fold” or “a twist” as the way differences come to be thereby quite exactly noted an isolated phenomenon as a point of transition, based on numerous peculiarities of today's, simultaneously not losing touch with the precedent occurrences, but, having been passed, this world can alter.
While treating of changes that are transforming the modern world, treating of liberal breaks-through provoked by wishes of our society itself, reading the modern futurological auspices, you realize the evidence of a not so far-distant future when mankind will create at last a machine depriving us of secrets of tomorrow, describing the latter at a striking speed before it comes true and, in addition, will make such a machine more smart and clever than the man himself.
In the first instance our history will be predictable, in the second one – an artificial intellect which by far overpasses ours may bring forth an indescribable situation and bring any modern scholar to his wit's end.
Every science has got its own notion of singularity but the different definitions have one trait in common: it is some presentiment or, more exactly, foreboding a kind of mystery...
Roger Penrose, an English mathematician and cosmologist, believes that “Nature has an aversion for a naked singularity a detached onlooker is observing-, and thus the central event is being constantly concealed and isn't to be defined; nonetheless different branches of science are tensely awaiting a singularity; to cite one striking example: an infinitely great density together with an infinitely high temperature of the primordial matter, compressed into a dimensionless volume, this world being on the point of so-called Big Bang-, this fantastic object remains an enigma shrouded in mystery for all the scientists so far.
Information technology is also contemplating some singularity as a result of the engineering progress. There appear currently conjectures as regards the possibilities of creating a certain artificial intelligence. Being evolutionary system, it should by itself develop a scientific potential exceeding manifold the former one having been accumulated by uncountable centuries of human history.
Indeed, the last century was flush of technical discoveries of one sort or another. They literally were in the wind. For example, mass-tailoring which won a victory over custom tailoring is due to the time and the speed. The needle as an implement of production has been known from times immemorial. It has been keeping its form till now. Though, once the needle's eye changed its position and shifted to the opposite end of the implement – and the market-situation changed forever, mass-tailoring dominating over the custom one.
The overwhelming rate of intellectual dissemination, inoculation and implementation accordingly – all this is leveling off... Millennia had passed until the first manuscript sublimated and crystallized out of the raw speech of the Stone Age. From the incunabula till the computer and Internet there passed more than one century, too. Our time is characterized by an exponential technological up-growth, actual scientific findings and results are no revelations, they have been routinized and become an affair of interest.
“It will be possibly the most impetuous technological revolution we have known so far”, - so puts it Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, research fellow at the Machine Intelligence Institute.- “It will suddenly drop from the clouds, unforeseen even by the specialists involved; and what, then, should happen in a month or two (any day now) after that comes true? What may serve as an analogue? I can cite only one instance: beginnings of mankind on Earth... We will find ourselves in the era of post-humanity. And, despite all my technological pathos, I should feel more at ease if I would be separated from these supernatural goings-on not by some twenty years but a chasm of millenniums”.
While constructing a machine intelligence which could substitute for the brain, we came across a disarming problem: unintelligible functionalities and abilities of the brain itself. Many a scientist are unanimous as for the behavioral constancy of the man from the Antediluvian times till now. Others do not share this opinion. Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian philosopher of communication theory, described changes that occur in the man's consciousness under the influence of education. He wrote: “Nomads had never got any written language, any architecture as a kind of art, they didn't create 'closed spaces'. For any written language encloses spaces and sentiments. The gift of speech being the embodiment, materialization of all our feelings at once, the written language disengages itself from it.

There is no telling that our age is more importunate and possessed as against others, but, at any rate, it is more sensitive and prone to precipitate into some obsession should occasion arise.
E.S. Yudkowsky considers “one of the ways to the global catastrophe an accidental pressing of a button by someone having a false idea as regards the purpose of that button; in other words, a gloomy view will salute us if a certain artificial intelligence arises as a result of such an interface, purely random, of different algorithms under the guidance of investigators who knows little what's what in the system as a whole. Sure enough they will take their machine intelligence to be a friendly one without any clear notion of the real process... any thorough notion of what they themselves understand by friendliness. The more so, as the early investigations appertaining to machine intelligence had too high anticipations and a vague concept to boot as for the intellectuality of their machine programs... If you do not know how to make an intellectual medium friendly – it is, in itself, no fatal error yet, until you know that you know little as yet. It is a false believe in the friendly character of your future machine intelligence that makes a broad way for the global catastrophe”.
The conclusions S. Golubitsky draws in his article “Internet and the youngsters: from Frankenstein back to Yahoo” (COMPUTERRA 18/10/13) are seemingly disappointing: he forecasts dark prospects regarding the generation born in the Internet era and called millennials.
He quotes the results of an investigation made by the Think Tank Penn Schoen Berland under the guidance of Intel in which more than 12000 participants aged 18 and older from Chine, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and USA took part. The research served to answer a question: how do different social groups regard the modern technologies and the technical progress? In the issue the youngsters look to the future with optimism since they hope that the technological progress should entail a more personalized experience.
Fancy that the make-believe love of millennials for the technologies proved to be a social illusion. That the teenagers ought to love technologies almost in the performance of their social duty, for they, you know, go with computers from, as it were, “the tender nail” - it is a lovely phantom... Nevertheless, according to the results of the afore-named investigation, 59 per cent of the pollees of the age bracket given claimed a technocratic dependency for society that can not be tolerated and 61 per cent of them fear a kind of dehumanization on account of the current technology development.
It turned out that the young people are currently less and less longing for any technical advance. As Will Oremus, Staff writer at Slate puts it, “the young people care for only two things: fun and privacy; the key is to make fun and not to be worried with the claims, demands, lectures of the adult world”. Citing him, S. Golubitsky has come to a conclusion: it is no wonder that Western community has so degraded; this is the ideal of Occidental civilization: completely individualistic society, total social disintegration. Occidental world made for this goal two hundred years ago and is nearing it now by leaps and bounds if not to say it has already reached its ideal.
But, possibly, such a degradation of the computer generation is to be viewed as a manifestation of the slowing down of technical advance for lack of demand for the buildout of technologies rather than a wish to trust and regard technologies as facilities. Accordingly we dare say that the advent of technological singularity should or could be postponed.

© 2012-2019, Development and support of the Russian State Library

The authors are responsible for the choice and the presentation of the facts contained on this site and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization.