The narrative deals with a parallel reality where the humans lost their bodies and became data encoded in the natural and unnatural landscape of planet Earth. In this new state, the humans metamorphose into posthuman digital data interacting and living in a network of nodes. Each one of these nodes represents one posthuman being. I decided to not just imagine how these entities would feel, but to go further and create autonomous artificial digital beings that could express and exist by themselves. To achieve this I guided three artificial intelligences (AI) into writing from the perspective of these beings.
For this purpose I used the open source AI Generative Pre-trained Transformer 2 (GPT-2) from OpenAI that can consistently generate text indistinguishable from that of humans. The original content employed by the OpenAI research team to teach this model how to write comes from web pages linked to by Reddit posts. This AI was subsequently fine tuned with my own content as well as texts from other authors that dealt with the topics I wanted these posthuman beings to contemplate. Some of the first content generated was also added to the compilation of texts used to instruct the AI. The final result is an AI that is trained on topics suggested by millions of users online in Reddit boards, my own narrative, the perspectives of posthumanist theorists, the imagination of science fiction writers and its own generated text.
In order to better suit the structure of the narrative, I trained this original intelligence with three different sets of content, originating three different AIs. This means each one can generate text more focused on the three specific topics I wanted to address: what are the effects of the loss of the human body on the relations between human and human, human and landscape and human and death, respectively. Some content is repeated in the three collections; these include the passages regarding the history of the transition from the human body to data and about the condition of living as data. The control of this outputed text is limited, so the created text is frequently outside the scope of the desired topics. Nonetheless, some of the texts generated during this process are reproduced in the book, occasionally edited to improve the cohesion of the narrative.
On this website the process of creation and organizaton of the narrative is further explored. The digital mean provides a chapter for a realtime, fluid and fragmented generation of bodies of text.
For the process described above passages from the following works were used:
Braidotti, R. (2003). The Posthuman. Cambridge: Polity Press.
MacCormack, P. (2018). The Ahuman. In Braidotti, R. Hlavajova, M. (Ed.), Posthuman Glossary. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Van der Tuin, I. (2018). Diffraction. In Braidotti, R. Hlavajova, M. (Ed.), Posthuman Glossary. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Chukhrov, K. (2018). In/Human. In Braidotti, R. Hlavajova, M. (Ed.), Posthuman Glossary. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Haraway, D. (2018). Capitalocene and Chthulucene. In Braidotti, R. Hlavajova, M. (Ed.), Posthuman Glossary. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Critical Software Thing. (2018). Execution. In Braidotti, R. Hlavajova, M. (Ed.), Posthuman Glossary. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Colebrook, C. (2018). Extinction. In Braidotti, R. Hlavajova, M. (Ed.), Posthuman Glossary. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Quinan, C. (2018). Necropolitics. In Braidotti, R. Hlavajova, M. (Ed.), Posthuman Glossary. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Negarestani, R. (2014). Reza Negarestani: The revolution is back (At the crossroads between descriptions). Retrieved January 21, 2021 from http://incrediblemachines.info/reza-negarestani-the-revolution-is-back-at-the-crossroads-between-descriptions/
Haraway, D. (2017). A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, technology, and social-feminism in the late twentieth century. In Latham, B. (Ed.), Science Fiction Criticism: an anthology of essential writings. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Nakamura, L. (2002). Cybertypes Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet. New York: Routledge
Hayles, N. K. (1999). How we became posthuman: virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press
Lyotard, J. (1998). The Inhuman. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Le Guin, U. K. (1994). The Dispossessed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers
Le Guin, U. K. (2019). The Left Hand of Darkness. New York: ACE
Russ, J. (2010). The Female Man. London: Gollancz
Gibson, W. (2019). Neuromancer. New York: ACE
Ballard, J. G. (2014). The Crystal World. London: Fourth Estate
The fine tuning and further usage of the GTP-2 artificial intelligence would not have been possible without the work and knowledge shared on Max Woolf’s Blog.
https://minimaxir.com/ https://github.com/minimaxir/gpt-2-simple https://github.com/minimaxir/gpt-2-cloud-run
The augmented reality layer of the book was made using the open sources projects AR.js and AFrame.js