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value of Stand Alone Complex & maybe the end of history

 
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Elmo



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
Posts: 219
Location: Plato's Cave Weapon of Choice: Sarcasm

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 8:05 pm    Post subject: value of Stand Alone Complex & maybe the end of history Reply with quote

I've thought about making this post before but the first post always turned into a rambling beast of a essay on the real world implications of the effects we've seen in SAC. This time I'll try to keep it brief as what I'm really interested in is your opinions.

Also I'll try to keep footnotes to a bare minimum, as they're a pain to read and it makes me look pretentious. :wink:



Stand Alone Complex, i refer here to the event not the series; an event in which groups or individuals engage in what seems like organized or coordinated behavior when, in actual fact, each individual or group is acting on it's own unique personal motivations and self interest. In Ghost in the shell, this is mostly attributed to the mass use of cyberbrains, and it manifests itself through a wave of copycat crimes without an original criminal, the stand-alone complex occuring as a second-order simulacrum*. The lack of interaction with other stand-alone individuals is exaserbated by psychological or political events, that results in unpredictable actions by the individual. Combined with other stand-alone individuals, these unpredictable actions resonate exponentially to produce a cascade effect, resulting in a complex whole.

(I have tried to concentrate the above on the more philosophical view of SAC that is outlined in the first series rather than delving into the 2nd GIG 'SAC' which is more rooted in social theory and the question of wether Kuzes 'good cause' can be transmuted by goudas SAC; or the SAC in Solid State Society which more concerns collective conciousness. The SAC in the first series is thus the 'purest' form of SAC as it's merely establishing the phenomenom, so let's stick to that.)

The phenomenom that is Stand Alone Complex has been a part of human society for a long time, IMO it even seems to echo the 'clan mind' or the tribal social interactions that have been observed in very small populations e.g. an idea is had by the group, but no one individual knows who had the idea. And there are real world examples of SAC events to this day, the most obvious of these would probably be the supposed fundamentalist Jihad we have going on in the muslim world ATM. Humans have been gradually learning to desire the individuality that SAC counteracts (prehaps you disagree with me there? it seems to me at least that group thought and individualizm are a dichotomy), seemingly in concert with population intensity and the lessened need to rely on others**. But there is a part of us that yearns instead to be controlled, constricted*** and observed, wether we seek for this via rules, fame or gods. This is the part of us that is only too willing to accept information without question and to my eyes at least it appears as though this way of thinking is becoming more dominant over the way of individual thought, dissemination and parrelization of information is wide-spread. With the increasing speed and quantity of information absorbtion aided by advancements in communications technology we are reaching a tipping point of globalization of information, which allows for increasing frequency of SAC occurances, prehaps if we take it to the scifi extreme seen in SSS we can have a collective conciousness SAC if we reach universalization of information(ok maybe that's going too far, but it would be cool Smile ). however the quality of information is constantly under increasing threat of manipulation by persons with suspect agendas, especially via media concentration or preachers reprogramming myth and legend. Or as gouda put it;****


"The mutation of information that should not mutate in principle, and the illusory originality called individuality, can easily trigger synchronization in the current societal system. I have named this "An Act of Creation in the Name of Consumption."



If SAC continues to become the dominant thought pattern then "society will become a concept which absorbs the reality offered it passively, becoming itself a media overwritten by those who speak for it. this is the natural end result of an ethic of unity in which actually antagonistic opposites are taken to be essentially the same. e.g. Baudrillard contends that universalism is equated with globalisation, which is not concerned with immutable values but with mediums of exchange and equalisation such as the global market and mass media."*+ There are two options that I can see for a world that predominantly follows the SAC thought pattern. The first is that a few gouda-like individuals control and manipulate information allowing them to control the effects of SAC events to serve their own self interests (the fox news model). The second is that organisation arises from chaos within an information system with no firm rules or control, like a road with no roadsigns, in which interaction between individuals and conflict between multiple information sources determines the parrelization of information and the effects of SAC events (the wikipedia model).

My questions to you are as follows; Do you think the SAC phenomena is a good thing or should we be trying to retain individual thought? can true individuality stand out after parallelizing information(a la tachikoma Tachi or Kuze)? Am I an overthinking pretentious troll? Is this sort of emergent behaviour the natural supercedent to the genetic cause and effect method of determining human behaviour? some other question probably involving mimetics and words i don't understand? and of course anything else you come up with :gabu:





<Usual disclaimer about post not making sense because it's 3 am>


*A term coined by Jean Baudrillard second-order simulacrum are symbols without referents, they have no real object to represent. An idea taken to represent reality is simulated, causing the simulation to no longer describe reality directly. The symbol is itself taken for reality and more layers of sybolism are added. This happens when the symbol is taken to be more important than the original entity, a copy has been substituted for reality.
Sorry it's a confusing idea, but useful when thinking about SAC. Hyperreality is slightly easier to wrap your head around but isn't entirely accurate. (when a mind loses the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy and engages with the fantasy without awareness of what it is doing, this is hyperreality.)

**The more cynical side of me says that it's because after industrialization we have each become individual economic units and economic units must be allowed to move and act freely(integeral to individualism).

***Physical constriction at least has definate positive effects on our disposition when in a non threatening situation, constriction, especially among infants or young children is equated with safety, comfort or just being cosy Smile (think about how being hugged makes you feel, or tightly holding a duvet around you, curling up when upset or being in a squishy chair in a small room. Complete freedom and no physical restrictions on the other hand can intimidate some people e.g. being alone in flat wide open spaces or being in a very deep ocean with miles of water below you.)

****Sorry, I lied about not delving into 2nd GIG, but hey i also lied about the footnotes and not mentioning SSS Razz

*+ straight from some old notes on simulacra, but i'm fairly sure i more or less copied that from somewhere.(aren't I honest) Wink
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rcog3



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:36 pm    Post subject: Re: value of Stand Alone Complex & maybe the end of hist Reply with quote

Elmo wrote:

Do you think the SAC phenomena is a good thing or should we be trying to retain individual thought? can true individuality stand out after parallelizing information(a la tachikoma Tachi or Kuze)?


First of all, what is individuality? When you make a decision, how much of it is influenced by innate stuff and how much by "learned" though patterns (rational or not). As you put it, SAC "has been part of human society for a long time". In fact, I don't think we could say that anyone is really free or individual (in the psychological point of view) as long as he/she interacts with other beings.

Still, having a perfect mind control over society seems utopian to me. To take your examples, I understand the "Fox news model" as a particular case of the "wikipedia model" (with a very small number of administrator). And the former was only possible in the short period of time when it was too costly/etc. for everyone to propose alternatives. And even if you had only one source of information, I think that the universe is too chaotic to allow everyone to have exactly the same ideas. You can't really control what informations are processed, in what order, etc.

Hence, I think a perfect absence of individuality could only be possible by forcing a complete copy/synchronization. And this absence of individuality would only last for an instant, as the two beings would begin to experience different things as soon as they become two separate physical entities. As for retaining one's former identity, I think this is only a matter of physical difference. e.g. all tachikoma's psyche are the same -> one tachikoma in particular ask himself "Which one was I before being synchronized?" -> get its answer from the physical setting (I was the one with serial number X) -> acts with giving a priority to the X psyche (before synchronization) -> retains a little bit of identity.

My 2c.
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-Animae-



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I donít think there is any need to worry about the synchronization of information destroying individuality, because (as a major difference to tachikomas) we donít share the exact same nature. Small genetic variations are probably sufficient to provide with the necessary diversity to ensure that our words will never even be universal amongst human being. I see this as part of the evolution of ideas, just like there are reasons behind the mutation that occurs in our DNA ideas are successful because they have the ability to be distorted yet still remain. And there is of course what rcog3 mentioned, the environment you experience. These might however be worked around if it would be possible to have two entities knowing the whole of their system, basically putting two synchronized minds in the same ďbodyĒ. If you then assume that they occur in a deterministic world and as they share the same system they would be absolutely indistinguishable and react exactly the same to all input. However if you put free will (or free will over free will as some likes to call it) into play you can never synchronize two or more entities in the first place without merging them (if such a thing is possible).

I think itís really amusing how all discussions always regress back to what reality is, given that they are allowed an infinite amount of time.
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Snowman



Joined: 04 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 1:42 pm    Post subject: Stand Alone Complex in history Reply with quote

I think Stand Alone Complex is an excellent theory/concept which deserves attention in many disciplines

I think it can be applied to witchcraft belief and witchcraft persecution in sixteenth-century Europe. Anyone reading this (interested in SAC I guess) who is studying History should consider SAC it would make a novel dissertation
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rcog3



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

-Animae- wrote:
I donít think there is any need to worry about the synchronization of information destroying individuality, because (as a major difference to tachikomas) we donít share the exact same nature.

I think the point is that people in SAC tends to share more and more the same "nature" in the sense of same components (cyberbrains, etc) and same informations (news, DBs).

-Animae- wrote:
However if you put free will (or free will over free will as some likes to call it) into play you can never synchronize two or more entities in the first place without merging them (if such a thing is possible).

How would you define free will in the case of an AI?
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Elmo



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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Location: Plato's Cave Weapon of Choice: Sarcasm

PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

-Animae- wrote:
I donít think there is any need to worry about the synchronization of information destroying individuality, because (as a major difference to tachikomas) we donít share the exact same nature.


I don't think parallelization of information destroys individuality either. Quite the opposite, I think when most public-experience of information is parallelized the private-experience of information is the one thing that won't be and in this sense individuality would stand out more than ever.
Like rcog3 was saying in GitS:SAC people are share more in thought through widespread cyberdization(i'm pretty sure that's not a word Wink ) where information is often shared as though the recieving person had experienced it first hand. As it is we haven't reached the level of communications tech in GitS where people can share information as if they actually experienced it first hand, with current technology we have a tendency to tack on all sorts of imagined notions and presumptions to the information we share, expressing individuality.
But, as media sources become more centralized and our myths become more programmed; our ability to express individuality is limited by the fact that the experience of the information has become more parallel i.e. it's not that individuality is destroyed, merely that descision making as a group-thought agent has become dominant over descision making as a group of individual-thought agents.

Not that this is all necesserily a bad thing. If you like alot of the world think democracy is a very good decision making process(I don't but that's another topic) then isn't SAC style group-thought is the embodiment of that? - 'Everyone is smarter than anyone'.
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-Animae-



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rcog3 wrote:
I think the point is that people in SAC tends to share more and more the same "nature" in the sense of same components (cyberbrains, etc) and same informations (news, DBs).
While I see your point, what we are playing now us just a definition game. We could create multiple builds and see the outcomes of the ideas applied.
In the SAC case I would argue against symmetrical nature of individuals because of three elements:
1. As far as I understand there is still a biological compound in a cyberbrain
It is never reveled in SAC which parts of the brain are artificial and which are still natural
2. There can be diversity in the non biological parts used
There probably is a diversity of brands for components and nanomachines, the differences will probably affect perception of the world.
3. Not all human beings chose to have cybernetic implant or bodies, and the ratio between machine/human may vary This is more of a side argument, but I think it may be of importance as long as people cybernetic and without are not isolated from eachother.

But it not like any of these ďissuesĒ are unfixable, but I donít think the world in SAC is even close to symmetry of nature yet.
I think that a very slight difference in the way we are is sufficient to bring enough diversity to prevent homogenization.
rcog3 wrote:
How would you define free will in the case of an AI?
If there is one thing that is more oblivious than trying to make consciousness work, that has to be how to make free will work.
I think it is important (to avoid the whole compatibility/incompatibility argument) to define which of the free will concept you want.
There is the deterministic free will; basically that the AI acts in accordance to what it wants with its reasons as causes, or that in a non deterministic way the AI chooses what it wills (that why I usually call that free will over free will).
The first is pretty easy to create by simply creating something like importance of different matters and with fussy logic, simply carry out what is deemed most important.
The second, well in practice it would have the freedom to will whatever it wanted, without any restriction, as a mean in itself. How and if such a thing is possible can be open to debate but if you want the solution from me, just give me a couple of years and some thousand pages and will see if I can figure out a solution.
But unless you feel like providing me with everything I need for a worry free living for a couple of years I donít really feel to tempted to try Smile . Not to mention all the assumptions needed, as well as probably a lot of study in philosophy, psychology, biology and other sciences. And while your at it why not give me some research grants, labs and test subjects, all in a place free from all ethical restraints to ensure the smooth progress on the research. Rolling Eyes
If you can provide me with all that I would seriously give it a shot.

Elmo, I wrote this before I saw your post. As it is getting late (5am) I think I will reply to your post tomorrow or today. I think I may have found something interesting.
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rcog3



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a comment on Elmo's post first. There is a difference between knowledge absorbtion through one's own interpretation and a complete synchronization (like the tachikomas) which is a automated copy/merge (as I see it).

about nature and components

When the major changes body in the "Corporate Graft Ė SCANDAL" episode, it seems to me as there is no transplantation of any kind, only wires. And there is also the "ghosts hacks", when you break people personnal firewalls, you can overwrite their psyche as easily as a tachikoma. But I suppose these things may be open to interpretation.

about free will

Ok, I just wanted to know what you meant. Now, my opinion is: I think we could synchronize tachikomas and AIs in general (in spite of any deterministic or random free will). And for humans, see the comment above.
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-Animae-



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been thinking a bit about a cyberbrain is and due to its use I think we all agree that it is more than just a MMI.
I would be reasonable to assume that various sensory systems are replaced to avoid them from bottlenecking sensory input.
Memory might be replaced because of the ways ghost hacks work.
However would it make sense to replace the parts responsible for feelings? If not there still would be differences in the nature of people.
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rcog3



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

-Animae- wrote:
I have been thinking a bit about a cyberbrain is and due to its use I think we all agree that it is more than just a MMI.
I would be reasonable to assume that various sensory systems are replaced to avoid them from bottlenecking sensory input.
Memory might be replaced because of the ways ghost hacks work.
However would it make sense to replace the parts responsible for feelings? If not there still would be differences in the nature of people.


What are feelings? Some ways the human psyche evolved according to their usefullness (love -> reproduction of the species, fear -> self-preservation, etc)?

As attributed to von Neumann: "You insist that there is something that a machine can't do. If you will tell me precisely what it is that a machine cannot do, then I can always make a machine which will do just that."

Anyway, I thought it was one main point in ghost in the shell. Ghost refering to that elusive concept we call individuality and shell the completely artificial body of the Major. What do you guys think?
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-Animae-



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well as I see it, the world in the manga is not really materialist (the impression I get from the puppetmaster dialogue near the end) so I think the body and spirit are more of separate things. Now in the movie and in the series itís a bit harder to tell, but I think they still have some influence from the manga.
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Togusa



Joined: 10 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you familiar w/ the idea of Meme theory? I think it's relevant to the discussion in the sense that Meme theory postulates that memes are ideas that can literally infect your mind. This is interesting in terms of considering Gouda's machinations at the end of SAC 2nd gig, as well as explaining how Kuze was able to convince some many people to follow him. Anyhow, it's late, but I just had to throw in my two cents. Smile
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