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ever-flowing feedback fountains - Pope Salmon the Lesser Mungojelly

Nov. 27th, 2010

07:18 am - ever-flowing feedback fountains

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Right now there's still a certain stillness to the web. Ripples
spread across it when you touch it, as a few copies of what you've
said echo on a few different sites or lists, but after a few moments
the ripples die down, and its surface is glassy smooth again. It
takes another human touch to spread any further ripples in echo or
response.

Soon, inevitably, that stillness will be broken. Each touch will
begin to echo autonomously & endlessly, swirling into self-maintaining
cycles. We will feel our actions on the web not as small pebbles
tossed into a still void, but as tiny alterations or additions to a
giant, spinning, independent storm.

For instance as more & more cameras fill our lives, more & more often
the images they catch will be of screens playing pictures from other
cameras. They'll form a giant worldwide fountain of images, spilling
constantly from continent to continent however we direct them. And
sometimes, more & more, an image will find itself back where it came
from and will begin to endlessly cycle, distorted & altered &
transformed more or less by the conditions in however many, however
distant places.

We will expect everything we do then to be remembered, not just as a
dead archive, but in a living cycle. Shadows of the past will always
be dancing with us.

And then, soon after that, there will be no more now & gone, no more
here & there, no more living & dead-- only now, only here, only
living.

mungojelly

Comments:

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From:anhinga_anhinga
Date:November 27th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
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I like this.

It seems though that the majority of patterns might be diluted into each other enough to fall below one-bit resolution...
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[User Picture]
From:mungojelly
Date:November 28th, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
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Yeah when you have a lossy feedback loop soon it degrades into being reflections of artifacts. Like that awesome thing that happens when you point a camera at a screen showing the picture the camera is taking: Images quickly swirl into psychedelic blobs. I expect once we have a lot of cameras and screens around there will be a lot of that! But also there will be a lot of longer loops, where an image bounces around many different places, like through various continents, each time around the loop. If you leave a loop alone for a long time it'll slowly settle into a stable feedback pattern, but various people all over the world could interrupt it along the way and change it. It'll be pretty and fun!

It won't necessarily just be dumb transmission of the images, though, I'm realizing. Like for instance we're already doing a lot of stuff with identifying faces; some step in a loop could find any faces in the image and do something to them. So gradually the loops will start adding information as well as degrading. I expect the whole thing to start to feel like it has an interiority, like the information is not only flowing into and out of real spaces but also through virtual spaces with rich meanings in them.
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