Development of artificial intelligence is mainly imagined today as an apocalyptic journey towards menacing algorithmic agents which would make humans obsolete or even annihilate them implied both by the military discourse of cybernetics as well as a projection of society’s anxieties. Synthetic Eros seeks to create an alternative answer to the military choice of “the least of all possible evils” by allowing algorithms certain form of play and pleasure. By taking Duchamp’s move from traditional into conceptual art or in de Duve’s words from “this is beautiful” to “this is art” as an already distributed art, and art-practice it enables collaborative and hybrid exchange between human and algorithmic agents.

Methodologically it employs the notion of synthetic in three strands of artificial life modelling: hard (hardware-based machines mainly understood as robots), soft (software based models like artificial neural networks), and wet (wetware or biochemically based models). It brings together Golding’s ana-materialism, the analytical notions of artificial through Kantian synthetic a priori (again in the light of Duchamp-de Duve’s move) and subsequently Lyotard’s discourse on knowledge with the contemporary mathematical tools of algorithmic learning and knowledge representation systems. 

The synthetic is carried over to Foucauldian discussion of eros as pleasure concerning the current use of technology to mime those pleasure principles like Google’s framework called Dopamine with a reward system similar to ours. This move enables a possibility of a synthetic or algorithmic form of play (as eros) which in this research takes place through a centaurian figure of half-artist, half-algorithm that creates and explores a shape-shifting multidimensionality of distributed intelligence in form of laser exposed photographic metallic prints, 3D printing, and sculptures produced by industrial robotic arms.

Keywords: cybernetics, Duchamp, play, ana-materialism, algorithmic learning, knowledge, pleasure, distributed intelligence, digital sculpture
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