Computation is not a fact of nature. It’s a fact of our interpretation. (Searle 2015) Conducting scientific research means remaining open to surprise and being prepared to invent a new logic to explain experimental results that fall outside current theory. (Jarry 2006) Chance encounters are fine, but if they have no sense of purpose, they rapidly lose relevance and effectiveness. The key is to retain the element of surprise while at the same time avoiding a succession of complete non-sequiturs and irrelevant content. (Hendler and Hugill 2011) The view that machines cannot give rise to surprises is due, I believe, to a fallacy to which philosophers and mathematicians are particularly subject. This is the assumption that as soon as a fact is presented to a mind all consequences of that fact spring into the mind simultaneously with it. (Turing 2009) [ . . . ] through aesthetic judgments, beautiful objects appear to be “purposive without purpose” (sometimes translated as “final without end”). An object’s purpose is the concept according to which it was made (the concept of a vegetable soup in the mind of the cook, for example); an object is purposive if it appears to have such a purpose; if, in other words, it appears to have been made or designed. But it is part of the experience of beautiful objects, Kant argues, that they should affect us as if they had a purpose, although no particular purpose can be found. (Burnham n.d.)
Only those who attempt the absurd achieve the impossible (attributed to M.C. Escher). Opposites are complementary. It is the hallmark of any deep truth that its negation is also a deep truth. Some subjects are so serious that one can only joke about them (attributed to Niels Bohr). Machines take me by surprise with great frequency (Turing 2009). A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a great truth (Thomas Mann, as cited in Wickson, Carew and Russell 2006). Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle is merely an application, a demonstration of the Clinamen, subjective viewpoint and anthropocentrism all rolled into one (Jarry 2006). all the familiar landmarks of my thought - our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography - breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other (Foucault 1966, taking about Borges).
There is no pure science of creativity, because it is paradigmatically idiographic—it can only be understood against the backdrop of a particular history. (Elton 1995) Evaluation is thus a matter of subjectivity, since no scientism allows us to pretend to objectivity, an objectivity aspired to on the illusory grounds that it would support taking a decision without the decision-maker simultaneously taking a risk or responsibility. (Montfort and deVarine, cited in Matarasso 1997, Matarasso’s translation) Tools are not just tools. They are cognitive interfaces that presuppose forms of mental and physical discipline and organization. By scripting an action, they produce and transmit knowledge, and, in turn, model a world. (Burdick et al. 2012) Humanists have begun to use programming languages. But they have yet to create programming languages of their own: languages that can come to grips with, for example, such fundamental attributes of cultural communication and traditional objects of humanistic scrutiny as nuance, inflection, undertone, irony, and ambivalence. (Burdick et al. 2012) Conceptually, I’m curious about what happens when an algorithm passes the uncanny valley and becomes a perfect mimic. If humans were unable to distinguish the generated drug experience from a real one, the machine would become a sort of philosophical zombie: an entity that appears to be something that it isn’t, something it could never be. (McDonald 2016)