Biopower, Dignity, Synthetic Anthropos

Whatever the terms “biopower” and “biopolitics” might mean, and they are being used in a growing number of simplistic ways, most of which bear scant relation to how Michel Foucault deployed them. Foucault’s genealogical elaboration of these terms had been conceptual, historical and non-totalizing. Above all, Foucault deployed concepts like “biopower” or “governmentality” in a

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Distributing/Disturbing the Chinese Room

Fifteen years ago, John Searle posed a challenge to “strong” artificial intelligence (the program to create in an artificial medium intelligence comparable to that of humans). He confidently proclaimed his challenge would withstand the test of time, including any possible advances in computer speed, memory, and robotic appliances. His challenge, the so-called Chinese Room thought

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Who am I computing?

In Terrence’s Self-Tormentor the old man Chremes proclaims, “I am a human being. I consider nothing human alien to me” (homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto) – a proclamation of magnanimity that lept out of this 2nd-century B.C. play and took on a proud, expansive life of its own. But alongside the humanistic

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Do You Know What You’re Doing?: follow-up

Thanks to everyone for their challenging remarks. This post contains such responses as I’ve been able to make for the posted comments; I didn’t take them up in the order posted, so I’ve italicized author names to make them easier to find.

Bommarito (like Olin) seems to find the experimental results unsurprising, given the commonplace

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Baby robot learns by trial and error? (New Scientist)

Babybot’s software mimics biological neural networks, adjusting the strength of links between the computer program’s artificial neurons to perfect learned tasks. Is the program training its arm to pick up the rubber ducky in a way analogous to the way Junior trains his arm? Read more.

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Eye of a Dream Beheld (Washington Post)

In January, the Washington Post reports on a crash survivor seeking a bionic eye to replace her otherwise inert glass eye.

You used to need hubris, millions of dollars and the support of a great research university to imagine building a replacement for the human eye.

Now it’s become dream and quest material for artists

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