Stealth (ed. The u-Turn) was waited for with the impatience of those who watch for the last fifteen years, the new work of one of the greatest authors of science-fiction French. They will not be disappointed. A subtle blend between the Area of The outside (1999) and The Horde of Brace (2004), The Stealth in this same ambition to describe a “universe wide”, populated by characters in perpetual movement and transformation. It is also an object of political and philosophical, nourishing intense insights, questions beneficial on the human nature and our modes of lives, while pointing the finger at the excesses of the use of modern technology – artificial intelligence, connected objects, virtual assistants – and those who possess them : the large companies in the tech, always more eager for more personal data.
The Stealth can imagine the France within twenty years, full of technology-invasive recording the smallest of thoughts, deeds and actions of citizens fed a diet of advertisements and ultra-custom. Is this the distorted mirror of our present or a hypothetical future ?
What interests me in science-fiction, it is a human science, to guess the political and social evolution of societies. The Stealth, it is this bloated : I take some of the trends embryonic, small son of a ball and I draw. I imagine, for example, the MOA [a virtual assistant ultra custom], but the prototypes are already there with Siri, Cortana, Alexa [developed by Apple, Microsoft and Amazon]. All companies in the tech bet over and hoping that the convergence of interfaces will lead to a AI custom that will take all of our data in order to meet extremely detailed and natural language if possible, because that is the interface number for the human being, we tend to it anthropologically.
You imagine, for example, many tools – rings to project images, earrings in lieu of a headset – which is cut off visually and aurally the citizens of the world.
The notion of approximation of the technology is very interesting. The smartphone is already in the pocket and the technology is going to perhaps enter in us with chips that are connected. But we can also imagine jewellery connected : a piercing-micro, which is used to talk without needing to enable anything, or earrings that allow you to hear clearly without headphones. The risk is the cut off links with the outside world. As someone who is cut has wanted only one thing : consume. Liberalism has a vested interest in ensuring that this individualism develops, that it will be self-sustaining and comfortable, while giving the feeling that we are small gods that the world obeys the finger and the eye.
Attention, I’m not in the logic of the plot and does not consider that there are people in a room, the black, decide to put all of this in place. The Gafam, libertariens, are in this logical individual, and have put at our disposal a variety of tools that maximize our ability to self-dispose. But this ability comes to us, they are not required. One of the characters of my book is called the self-cerf-vice, the autoservage, such as the voluntary servitude to La Boétie. In the Stealth, I describe it with two fundamental things : the MOA, an alter ego digital loop the relation to otherness in a machine by offering an interaction with others and the Réul, a reality custom.
This Réul specifically, you describe it as a concept of “augmented reality ultimate” allowing everyone to provide data of a loved one (even a pet) and project it in images to make it live virtually in its visual space private. Would this be the way to privatize the last common space : the reality ?
This is where the work of science-fiction is interesting : it allows you to point of the underlying trend and create this mirror effect shock, who will play the role of alert of say: “Wait dude, this is about what tends!” An example of this ? This current movement of producing consumer goods for billions of people, while personalizing them to make them more acceptable. Even if the customization seems ridiculous, it is, nonetheless, fundamental in order to maximize the possibilities of collecting personal data thanks to big data. Therefore, if one wants to go further still : what is the last step of this process ? Customize the real itself.
The tracking of Stealth, an entity is elusive and invisible, is the main object of the book, but the blade of the funds is a denunciation of the domination of private capital over the public good and human. What is the drift current that nourished this reflection ?
It is the coupling between the digital and the capitalism, which we might call the digital-liberalism, or the techno-capitalism. He describes according to me, in three levels. The first is the society of control, an idea that I have taken from the philosopher Gilles Deleuze : this is the control scheme more effective, subtle and insidious, and which is put in place from the 1950s-60s, when the logic of emancipation, of liberation came to prize the disciplinary society of a pyramid.
The second is the double revolution of the advent of the Internet and mobile phones bring the technology in our daily lives. Our time online is huge, however, the peculiarity of social networks and smartphones is that you can’t click, surf, buy, without producing information. It is so collectable, dataminable and can be used to create profits. The digital comes, therefore, equip and extend the regime of contrôle, in a coupling that is very effective.
The third level, finally, it is the consumer society, that pushes us to accumulate (property). The ensemble produces a machine of war extraordinary fragmenting the society. We are no longer in the company “molar”, with large masses of workers or other highly liquid, but in a society that is very “liquid” where the people are in small grapes that are organized in clusters in the community.
And in their bubble of filters ?
Also. I like the metaphor spherical. I call it the standard-sphere, or techno-cocoon, to evoke the concept of weaving. We are sitting on eggs and we self-couvons in this cocoon from a young age. When you see in the subway, there is a dimension almost “centripetal”: the way in which it will curve on its screen smartphone, with the helmet that makes another curvature, and the gestures very centripetal, I find that it defines a logical spherical.
What are the technologies that you are afraid of ?
Paradoxically, it is not the system of social credit in China [a government project that aims to record all the citizens]. It makes me less afraid that the systems of self-alienation. Technologies are the strongest are those that affect the psychological aspects and extremely intimate. The SMS is a good example… his success is purely psychological, because the fact of being able to communicate without the need to call it allows concepts that are related to shyness or evasiveness of the relationship, to put in place. The AI custom is perfect to maximize these perversions.
Harmony is a robot sexual marketed by the u.s. company Realbotix/Abyss Creations, is expected to soon be equipped with cameras to allow facial recognition.
As I write in my book, it is possible to make the AI a father explaining, a mother couvante or a bitch that obeys all desires. And if you can summon the AI knows all your desires, your desires, and responds according to it in an augmented reality ultimate, you get to a point where human relations are more interesting as a comparison and become painful. The psychoanalyst Miguel Benasayag, told how he received an impressive number of men 25 to 30 years consuming a lot of porn. They told him that they no longer saw the benefit of building a relationship with a woman : it is too complicated, often deceptive compared to a porn scene perfect, etc. – These kids are so constructed in this report is self-sustaining where the drive can achieve when they want them, they are no longer able to go beyond it. This looping of the human being on individualism, maximum, and typical of our time scares me. For me the human being is beautiful and noble when it is confronted with what is not itself.
The technology may, however, have advantages and promise : in the field of health, education, information etc That should be done to ensure that they do not derail ?
there are three criteria ultra-important. The first is the distinction between the authority and the power. In this society very techie, we sell the power thanks to tools which allow making the machine do something in our place. The power, if we take the words of Spinoza, that is, the cognatus, namely, the ability to do things with his skills : thinking, memory, cognitive abilities or physical. There are technologies or tools that increase the two. Wikipedia allows me to find information very quickly when I write, so I can stay focused in my chapter, whereas before I had to look at the library and losing a crazy amount of time. This allows me to “empuissanter” my writing and to give it the liveliness. The GPS, on the contrary, gives an extraordinary power to navigate in any city without the knowledge, but does not allow the memory to make the effort to locate spatially, I like to say “ferment” the city itself. When a technical capability is available to us, it is always necessary to ask what the increase in power will bring to his personal power.
The second criterion is the technical self-reliance. If you’re going to work by bike and that you dérailles, if you can replace the chain and restart, so you have an autonomy relatively strong on the tool. In contrast, with a modern car with map, if it does not start, you need to call the repairman. Apple has been entirely designed on this idea of heteronomy technique, where the user does have more capacity self-repairing his machine, to take ownership of it. A technique that does not give you the option of diy, hacking in the primary sense, does not allow you to shine and makes you lose power. Hence my interest in free software, open source.
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The third criterion is upstream, it is the research funding on which we do not question enough. Why finance-t-on research on transhumanism rather than on the communication plant ? Ethology, the study of animal behaviour, taught us incredible things, especially on the wolf whose fantasies surrounding them fell one by one, because it was set a little ways. If you decide to put in more credits to research it, you’ll understand that animal intelligence is more developed than anything we had up here. And during this time we drool on AI that plays the game of Go, while the lesser insect stuff is pretty impressive.
Lee Se-Dol (d) best player in the world of the game go face on computer AlphaGo in Seoul, on march 8, 2016
And there’s an expression that I hate : “The technology, it depends on what is done with it.” No. Once it is there, it leads to a world with which we are forced to interact. I find it very dishonest false analogy between the Internet and a hammer [consisting in saying that the Internet can be beneficial or harmful in the same way that a hammer can hammer nails, or to kill, ED]. The Internet is not only a tool, it is a machine-world that induces a report to the world. It is like the car. You can say, “I don’t have one”, or “everything depends on the use made of it” because the car”, except the world in which we live is entirely structured by its use : the red lights, the streets, squares and the mesh of the rural areas with the highways.
The neuroergonomie, technology in vogue, in particular in the aerospace sector is to improve the man-machine interface based on eeg or cameras to track the movements of the eyes. One of its objectives is to ensure that a driver in a state of stress maximum can see and understand the alarm the most important. The benefit of this type of technology for security is obvious. When is it of its excesses ?
I have documented on the wave P300, which is 300 milliseconds, and you emit if it shows you something that you’ve already seen. In the book, the font used to show pictures of suspects who cannot prevent their brain to emit this wave when they see their accomplice. It seems to be anticipation, but this is something that they already know how to do today. Scientists have also put women in MRI machines and showed the hand bags. At the end, they could say : “the One you favorite is the red bag there, in twentieth position,” thanks to a simple fact : when something pleases us, our brain activity increases : it lights a little everywhere in the brain. It’s rude, but pretty scary in the end.
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The new novel by Alain Damasio, The Stealth, will be released on Thursday, April 18.