Irina IdeasJan 14
first published on medium.com in WomenMake publication
Emotional AI powered manipulators, stronger than music, require us to build filters if we are to slice the time that has been invaded with attention grabbers, all sorts of todo lists, mental push ups
The slice of time as we move towards more secure future –
I often end up hearing about the romanticized version of the history where everything was rosy and we just managed to break things apart in the last years with bad governments, bad education and sudden dissolution of values. Reality is very much the opposite, and let’s start from the fundamentals. I recently(or not so recent relative to the time of publishing of this article, as my writing marinates on my laptop longer than it should) read a very interesting book by Will and Ariel Durant in which it is stated that of approximately 3400 years of recorded history only 268 passed without the war and these are mostly recent years when we finally managed to suffocate the destructive differences that lead to conflict and more or less globalized the planet. Now that we have the overview of the general trend, relating to the basic safety as the most important foundation for building of any type of culture, let’s take a look at the now and the challenges that we face that didn’t exist before. First and foremost something that history has advantage over us is the use of time and that is something that we could definitely learn from and possibly consider changing today as the time seemed much more mono-chronic while today it is poly-chronic until we lose the battle in the whirlpool of stimulation from the outside world and become a zombies lead by algorithms.
Solving intrinsic experience with extrinsic methods and hoping for the best
For starter we live in the era that has incredible stimulus and attack on the personal time and how to fill it. We struggle with todo lists, saturated market of apps that promote solving just this problem of somehow hacking our brain to do more in less time, but in reality there is no magic trick for something like that. We are so used to use all the external solution that are invented for us by science and technology that we fail to recognize that the time is something that only we as individuals should have the ultimate power to sense, feel and divide. It appears that recently all we ever struggled to do was to divide the time most efficiently, but in reality we completely forgot about the sense and feel of the time. Then we remembered about the meditation, mindfulness and observation as a powerful method to sense the time and events passing, developing and resolving before our observing eyes. My question here is: are we truly not just dividing another slice of time and dedicating it to this aspect of our capability in hope that somehow it will transfer to the other slices of time when we are focused on other things, stressing and toiling over something that most likely a script has already created and trained to do somewhere in the world and ultimately will replace our efforts.
I hear the echo of this thought becoming more and more ubiquitous among the rising generations ready to join the work force, to conquer the world with the brilliance and problem solving capabilities, only to find out that these capabilities have already been offloaded to the AI. What happens next? A depression? A renewed energy to try harder? A life saving idea to search for a personal/professional solution gurus that helped so many in their effort to find and carve the niche of their careers? Meanwhile the Facebook of this world is quietly gathering, listening and stitching together the best sale pitch for any of those solution that the individual might be likely to either pay for or support in different ways like voting/liking. It seems to me one of the main problems of our civilization today is the time management and not so much in it’s division but rather in the unhealthy approach to the three aspects that constitute the experience of time passing. It is after all an artificial concept to measure time, invented by Homo Sapiens. Sometimes through history when s/he decided it might be wise to record the history and document what happened so that we can learn from the mistakes.
In music veritas — anti attention grabbers filters
The question is how can we learn to filter all the attention grabbers and become autonomous, uninfluenced with cheap emotional manipulation, and build the road of authenticity that everyone talks about? The answer is unexpected but it is in music. All we have to do is observe from the safe observation desk of our meditational slice in time, what happens to our emotions when we let ourselves be lead by the music, do we feel empowered? Excited? Renewed? Ready to see the world with new eyes and new enthusiasm? Only music and not just any, but the one played at the right moment with the right configuration of emotional manipulation can do such a powerful transformation to our psyche. Yes you have read correctly it is one of the most powerful emotional manipulators, because music is the tool used since antiquity to manipulate the armies to go into battles under the influence of renewed heroic sense, of course at the expense of the human lives, because the emotions were primed in such a way that the fear of death was at least temporarily diminished. This was later replaced by drugs which continued from one battle field of war to another called sports. Later the use of drug was prohibited, but the use of music can and should never be prohibited because at the end of the day it is sublime vision of Orpheus touching upon our emotions and inviting the most noble thoughts and feelings, but does every kind of music produce such a sublime message and effect?
I don’t think so, and this is where we come to the core of this article called filters, just like we have to filter out the artificial intelligence that manipulates our attention, by grabbing it with some disastrous or shocking title, we should be looking at the music in the same way. Music “industry” and I will repeat this thousands time, it should not be an industry to start with, this industry started pleasing the population at large in the last decades of internet distributing power. It followed the old accumulation of power maxim, “find out what the people need, and give it to them at large”.
AI talks to us through our feelings
Music is in such a crises now days because the power of the numbers have the tendency to swallow everything that we don’t even realize that if we continue to “consume” (again this word is and should be opulent in relation to any form of art) the same structure over and over, we will end up with the artificial intelligence through future Amazon Echo, Google Home, Sonos etc catering to the individually tailored sounds generated from a combination of songs that the individual used to like in the past in order to respond to the individual’s immediate mood. Does this sound right? Can you see yourself accepting such a condition for these devices after all they are designed to improve and optimize our life to the fullest. The same applies to the visual arts because it will be only the question of time when our walls become screens and change the paintings, photos or sculptures in order to reflect our mood, feelings and sense.
Now that we are finely reaching the circle of our feeling and sense of time, it is time to explore what is art be it musical or visual or literary and what should really the division of time be dedicated to in order to grow with our technologically powered world without losing our humanity or becoming cyborgs too early and thus self destructing. Art is about concepts and worlds beyond our physical reality, it is a portal into the way of thinking, the way of life and the infinite possibilities that it brings. It is about sensing and feeling the time without external influence of possible manipulation from those third parties analyzing. It is about analyzing ourselves every moment and finding the infinite possibilities and reflections in a line, in a sound, in a combination of sounds and a combination of lines and colors. All of which enveloped into the concepts, and ideas, the ideal of the sublime world existing somewhere parallel to us only accessible with our imagination through learning.
Art — complexity that survives the test of time
My goal with these thoughts in written form is not just a wake up call of the power of music and art and how it could be manipulated and misinterpreted and misconsumed, but also a lesson from history that teaches us that for example Leonardo da Vinci or Bach, Beethoven or Picasso or Prokofiev were not some kind of super humans who had a super filters against the mainstream and existed in their own world peacefully designing the complexity, the architecture of sounds, colour, or shapes and engineering indeed in Leonardo da Vinci case. This world was not only designed to be accessible to only a selected few who were fortunate enough, through their privileged upbringing to have access and explore such pieces in full power and historical context in which they were created. These works of arts were created with the goal to open the world, to extend the capacity of the mind and explore the frontiers of imagination only available to us when we scratch the surface beyond the cover it represents. Today with internet available at the fingertips of almost entire humanity it is easier than every to install the filters and take the steps towards a true Orpheus and be inspired with the muses of art, the sense and feel of time suddenly gets a new dimension and stops being just a slice of what is to be done which in many cases the robots will do in the future, it becomes a slice of time that knows infinite possibilities and that is something the robots can’t do in the future but will be essential for survival of human species in addition to raising our morality and ethics in becoming more responsible towards every action both in Macro (often invisible) and Micro (often visible) sense.