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The Posthuman
ENGL 165EC - Spring 2003,  Rita Raley
Thu, 5/22 AI

Implementations of the neural network in Galatea 2.2:
  • Imp A: " 'Too much retention. It was learning. But learning got swamped in its own strength. The creature was driving itself batty, holding on too tenaciously to everything it had ever seen. Dying of its own nostalgia. Mired in the overacquired.' .... Particulars overwhelmed it. Its world consisted of this plus this plus this....Overassociating, overextending, creating infinitesimal, worthless categories in which everything belonged always and only to itself" (78-9).
  • Imp B: "Only this reduction of limitless possibility made learning possible again" (90); "Unfailing literalmindedness may be the most impressive thing going" (95)
  • C: "Testing itself for internal consistency. It's generalizing about the nature of its own generalizations" (121).
  • D: "D came into this world recursive. It took forever to grasp that two was the integer just past one. But the instant it got that, it had infinity in the same breath. It could watch itself learn" (128).
  • E: sight (129); "How is E going to know anything? Knowledge is physical, isn't it? It's not what your mother reads you. It's the weight of her arm around you as she - " (147); "One day, provoked by boredom, I asked it, 'What do you want to talk about?' The question of volition trapped the rolling marble of its will into an unstable local minimum. The machine that so dutifully strove to answer every interrogation ground to a halt on that one" (153).
  • F: "Every connection we encouraged in F killed off extraneous connections. Learning meant consolidating, closing in on its contour the way a drop of water minimizes into a globe" (155).
  • G: "In short, version G could converse among parts of its own net. That net had grown so complex in its positing that it could not gauge the consequences of any one of its hypothetical worlds without rebuilding that whole world and running it in ideational embryo. Imp G, in other words, could dream" (157).
  • H (Helen): "The last release, the version that ran our simulated human, involved but one small firmware change. This one incorporated an essential modification to the bit that had gone too long without an upgrade. The component that had been holding up the show. H was a revision of the trainer" (171).
    "She sorted nouns from verbs, but, disembodied, she did not know the difference between thing and process, except as they functioned in clauses" (195).

"It can be a shock to remember that for information to exist, it must always be instantiated in a medium."
- N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman (13 [reader p. 91])


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