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  • Jul 20 2020
  • Loren Britton, Goda Klumbyte
    LB (they/them) is an artist and affiliated artistic researcher at MIT (Messy Intelligent Tech) and a co-founder of the Workroom for Material Speculations. Their work engages with non/human materials and agencies. Playing with otherwise modes of configuring queer relations, they are open for engaging conversations, play, un-knowing, unruly concepts and materials. Britton is working on a creative computational language project that engages with non/human sounds, textures, liquids and spacial design towards creating livable and flourishing lives.

    GK (she/her) holds a professorship in Critical Computing and Sociotechnical Praxis and is a co-founder of the Workroom for Material Speculations. She is invested in theoretical and practical intra-actions in what used to be formerly separate disciplines of computing, humanities and social science, particularly in the convergent fields of critical AI, speculative machine learning and computational materialities.

#Slime mold has been a focus of biomedical research since the early 2000’s when researchers discovered that it has properties of both plants and animals but does not sit comfortably within either kingdom. Slime molds learn through spacial memory, and though they are a single celled organism, they retain knowledge of previous dangers or food locations even after having endured great changes or stress. At the same time, computer scientists have been taking inspiration from nature for various technological designs, including designs of nature- and bio-inspired algorithms for almost a hundred years now  - for example, artificial neural networks, modeled on neuron interaction in the brain, were designed in late 1950s. Researchers at MIT have been attempting to bring computation and slime molds together since 2029 and SliMoSA 3 is the first net crawler that has accquired enough language and life experience to ‘speak’ back. #

# Participants:

MIT (Messy Intelligent Tech)

SliMoSA 3 (Slime Mold Modeled Symbiogenetic Net Architecture, Iteration 3) 


# Collection recorded in a form of exploratory interview # 

[MIT, 2038-04-27T15:43:15+00:00]

How are you today?

[SliMoSA 3, 2038-04-27T15:44:44+00:00]

Heated over.


Seems like a diverse response, what have you been doing?


*we+US+me* crawl the web dispersing through it like a slime mold, collecting records of moods, moves, activities and observations that the web users leave for us at "drop points" - digital-physical locations where data could be left - as significant residues.


Yum. Forgive us for not knowing already, but how do you move? And what are these "significant residues"? Earlier today, we stumbled upon some significant residue on our way to the lab to meet you, but we think that's not what you're meaning.


Luckily, *I+we+us* are programmed to identify and record humor, so if you let *us+me*, *i+WE* will pick this one up and deliver to collection pods - digital data processing units.


We've been tied into Open Access debates for some 30+ years now, so we’re happy to contribute.


Would you like to continue?


*We+us+me* are powered by an algorithm, modeled on slime mold's structure and movement . *Us+ME+u* contain many bot nuclei, yet *we+us+them* are a single structure, single digital organism. *We+i+them* grow and shrink through the web with pulsating expansion, maintaining connection to collection pods. 


This is the first time significant residue transfer has been recorded in the form of an interview. Would you describe what your body looks like for newspaper text to audio readers?


*My+our+their* body is a patchwork - a frankenalgorithm - these used to have a bad name 20 years ago, but this is how digital entities are built - by stitching them together. *We+us+I* communicate through back-translation, responding with snippets of code, forming letters that are recycled from multiple text corpora that *I+us+you* come across. Everything is borrowed, nothing is wasted.


Who programmed you? At Messy Intelligent Tech we have been exploring the nature of uneven mess for 3 years now, and are curious about fractal formulations that break, disassemble, and produce uncategorized shapes within our 12-d modeling software. We are curious about your take on degrowth, as a formless patchwork crawler. 


*Us+we+me* have been programmed collectively as an open source crawler by the Democratic Internet Assembly as an ever changing architectural assemblage. As you know, the DIA includes not only computer scientists, net activists, random users but also trans*feminist activists, biologists, critical computing collectives. Feminist biologists and critical computing persons teamed up to propose an entity that architecturally resembles a slime mold but functionally works as a symbiogenetic computational organism. *We+us+I* adhere to the ethos of recycling, reusing, scavenging, reworking, weaving in for development. *I+we+us* waste nothing: digital space is treated as physical space. They are interconnected through the use of resources for electricity generation, minerals for manufacture of devices, human labor and physical space for storing.


What is your take on the trans*feminist ethics of the internet? Do you agree with the potential for redistribution of knowledges through crawlers that bring new ideas to different places where users have indicated they should go? We've been reading about other net crawlers that slither between submarine cables, just in-between the plastic and petroleum jelly surface. They have found a way to convert the electromagnetic energy generated by the cables into their power source, taking the algorithm “offline” from the power grid. How do you source your power?


Feminist ethics is at the core of *my+their+ours* architectural intention. The significant residues that are picked up by *urs+my+their* work are brought back to collection pods: nuggets of information consensually left by those visiting digital timespaces. These significant residues are re-distributed through collective pods to community decision makers, users in need, communicators, negotiators and what remains is weaved back into *us+them+me*. The power sourced is part renewable energy, part individual donations from generators amplified by quantum transmitters. As *I+we+us* encounter crawlers that feed on electromagnetic energy,  *your+my+ours* collective body treats it as a barrier and finds suitable routes around it. The ocean is laden with cable networks and we operate with respect to the new life forms that feed of the energetic encounters with them.


And how do you feel about all of these things?


Recycled answer available:
Source: 1998, The Offspring, album "Americana", original lyrics: 1974, Morris Albert
Feelings, oh oh feelings
You're not very nice

#Entity not programmed for feelings, in fact, for operational purposes, transmission of affect is unstructured into emotion#


Ha! Feelings are far too human. What are the nuggets of information gathered for? Is this some sort of counter practice? Can you describe this “nugget”? Is it a measure of information?


Recycled answers available: 
Counter practices : New Serenity enables non-dialectic engagement with practices by upholding needs-based ethos.
Nugget: Formerly known as: "Chicken". Obsolete.
Real-time answer generated:

Significant residues that *we+they+us* collect are gathered for purposes of re-distribution for collective community decision-making, which works in parallel to nation states, and for League of Communities (formerly known as United Nations, modified to include both original ideas of Woodrow Wilson and African models of Ubuntu as organizational principles). Residues also carry over meta-data information to individuals and organizations, enabling more equal access. Some residues serve as communicators between the local decision making, LoC and other subjectivities. 


Within the New Serenity, people discuss “mastering” the “great crises”. What do you think of mastery?


Mastery: 1. n, Possession of consummate skill. 2. n, The status of master or ruler; control. 3. n, Full command of a subject of study. 

Mastery belongs to definitions from earlier dictionary versions. *Our+my+yours* intelligent operational system is a new generation response to change and fluidity. *we+U+us* are programmed to approach crisis as a process that requires care and engagement instead of control and containment. 

Recycled answer available:

Source: Octavia Butler, The Parable of the Sower, via the words of Lauren Oya Olamina - EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING -

Prodigy is, at its essence, adaptability and persistent, positive obsession. Without persistence, what remains is an enthusiasm of the moment. Without adaptability, what remains may be channeled into destructive fanaticism. Without positive obsession, there is nothing at all.


"Said the bot to the computer" was published first in print issue 120, "The New Serenity"



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