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Archive for the ‘impersonality’ Category

autotelic automatons

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You find the strangest stuff when googling around. I needed a definition of “autotelic,” which comes up all the time in the Kant that I’m reading now. And I found this, a paper from the Sony Computer Research Lab. Here’s the abstract:

The dominant motivational paradigm in embodied AI so far is based on the classical behaviorist approach of reward and punishment. The paper introduces a new principle based on ’flow theory’. This new, ‘autotelic’, principle proposes that agents can become self-motivated if their target is to balance challenges and skills. The paper presents an operational version of this principle and argues that it enables a developing robot to self-regulate his development.

I haven’t read the paper yet, and who knows if I ever will, but it sounds like an application of modern “human resource” management techniques to inanimate, yet incipiently thinking, things. Why offer a reward when the work is a reward in and of itself? Why “manage” when they can be taught – can be expected – to manage themselves?

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Written by adswithoutproducts

June 27, 2006 at 2:22 am


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Design Observer on Kafka and Typography:

We get the word “koan” from Zen Buddhism, where in Japanese it translates literally as “a matter for public thought,” sort of an open-source philosophy for ancient times. Koans often demonstrated the inability of logical reasoning to produce enlightened thought, and, as a trained lawyer and insurance clerk throughout his life, no one knew the deadening effects of logic better than Franz Kafka.

Yes, and that slip from “we” to “they”… Go look…

(Image above: “Walbaum, typeface design by Justin Erich Walbaum, 1804. Kafka’s favorite typeface and the original used for Meditation.”)

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Written by adswithoutproducts

June 20, 2006 at 11:07 am

lorem ipsum

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

According to Wikipedia, the Lorem Ipsum dummy text may have been “composed” as early as the 1500s or as late as the 1960s. We do know that Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, discovered the source text of which it is a mutilation: Cicero’s De finibus bonorum et malorum (On the Ends of Goods and Evils).

How strange is it that this text which we use as a placeholder to fill formats and containers with marks without meaning – which we use when we write but do not wish to be read – is drawn from a Roman treatise on, well, the work ethic and its discontents?

From the Wikipedia entry:

Cicero’s original text: “…neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?”

H. Rackham’s 1914 translation: “Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?”

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Written by adswithoutproducts

June 10, 2006 at 12:22 am


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From Flaubert’s letters, of course:

The illusion (if there is one) comes, on the contrary, from the impersonality of the work. It is a principle of mine that a writer must not be his own theme. The artist in his work must be like God in his creation — invisible and all-powerful: he must be everywhere felt, but never seen.

It is not simply a matter of taking on a pseudonym, even if that pseudonym happens to be God. Rather, as it turns out, it is letting the form speak itself, letting the novel novel.

What would it mean to let the blog blog?

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Written by adswithoutproducts

March 8, 2006 at 2:46 am

Posted in flaubert, impersonality