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FleshFactor: Re: Fascinated, but frustrated too.

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

Valery Grancher wrote: 

>Do you work keeping in mind how your research can be used by the military
>to destroy humans ?

I wonder if this is a useful question to ask ourselves. Although I can see
it is naive to suggest that there is a "pure" drive in Science towards
knowledge or a "pure" drive in Art towards beauty (or whatever) - I also
feel that we limit our scientific and artistic imaginations if we work
with one eye on the harm our work could do, or the evil purposes it could
be put to. 

I am working with VR to create an intelligent agent with whom we could
interact at a psychological level. I want my agent to model the behavior
of an overwhelming mother/lover - and for the user to experience
conflicting emotions with relation to the agent. I don't think most people
would have a problem with any art work that set up, or tried to set up
this kind of dynamic. But should I stop working because maybe the military
could get hold of this idea and create some kind of virtual torture
chamber? I think not. 

It's an old truism that almost any invention can be used for good or ill -
but that seems to lead me back to the naive position.

For myself, as an artist/scientist, I feel I should do my work as best I
can. As a world citizen I should be alert to the ways our culture uses
technology and intervene in the political process as far as I am able to
prevent the destruction of humans.  But then do I end up with an
unacceptable dualism? 

Josephine Anstey    <josephin@aec.at>

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