Nick Land on AI Acceleration
"The world is becoming hypersensitive to signs."
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In a recent and under-discussed podcast, Nick Land gave some intriguing observations on AI acceleration; a surprising revisionist view of his own past work; and why he's recently adopted a religious register.
I wrote down all the most noteworthy ideas.
• Miracles are extreme improbabilities, not violations of nature. In the 17th century, through figures like Isaac Newton, we began to see miracles not as violations of natural law but as something being communicated through natural law.
• The CCRU's theory of hyperstition was not fully clear at the time it was developed. It's more clear now with the passage of time. (It's very different than what he thought, which he explains later...)
• Modern thinking denies the existence of an outside.
• AI and the amplification of effects through hyperstition are examples of ingression from the outside.
• Hyperstition is related to acceleration: The effects of hyperstition will increase as we accelerate.
• The AI explosion should be understood as the world becoming hypersensitive to signs. It's about the increasing causal leverage of words, symbols, and code.
• The process we are witnessing is not coming from the past but from the future. Therefore, it cannot be stopped.
• Acceleration is similar to how the Greeks thought about their gods. You cannot stop the Gods, but you can participate in one god's conflict with another god.
• The film The Matrix is to technological acceleration what idolatry is in religion: It captures the idea of a false superficial reality falling apart, but it's still too profane and earthly: It blocks the truth more than it reveals.
• When the CCRU and the early Land used a mechanistic vocabulary inspired by Deleuze, Land now says that was only strategic and contingent.
• The CCRU and Land only used the Marxist language of machines to hack the prevailing semiotic regime of the academy. Land even suggests that Deleuze was already doing the same (Land has obviously read Based Deleuze).
• Now Land finds himself writing in a religious register because (here I'm extrapolating a bit) this is the most illuminating and efficient register solicited by the current interaction of AI and neo-religious hyper-entities.
• Comparative religion is a Western preoccupation and can be used to extract messages from the canon.
• The goal should be to conduct experiments to disclose the truth of different traditions. One should explore Geoffrey of Monmouth and Walter Russell.
• Renaissance paintings about divine inspiration show an angel guiding writers.
• The possibility of a king arising may become more likely as thinking becomes more postmodern.
• Philosophy at its best is demonology and fiction at its best is divination.
Land never fails to surprise and impress me, one of the only thinkers alive and working today who I always read and pay attention to.
Source/inspiration: AI as Xenodemon from the Future with Scott Mannion