A Lecture of dr. Kim Veltman

Kim verhaal1

Dr. Veltman is an amazing Maestro Culturalis. One of the few very learned men on this planet. For that reason I have assigned to him the task of Chief Librarian of Corridoria. One of his own masterpieces is the book about Alphabets and their background in cosmology. I recommend that eBook very strongly. A paper version is under preparation.

Kim autobkim verhaal

On September 6, 2016, he presented the following Lecture:

Download====>  2017 The Universe and the Multiverse. From Matching to Cross-Matching  Reproduced in part below.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

==================Copy of the lecture paper- only first part====

Kim H. Veltman

“Opening Keynote: The Universe and the Multiverse: From Matching to Cross-Matching,” Human-Computer Interaction, Tourism and Cultural Heritage (HCITOCH 2017). Bologna, 6-8 September, 2016: http://www.ainci.com/HCITOCH-2017/workshop_HCITOCH_2017.html



There are different goals of art and image making. This paper considers seven, but focusses on two. The pre-historical and ancient world knew three: connecting, ordering and imitation (mimesis). The Renaissance developed a new goal of matching: copying and representing the universe, which became linked with perspective, truth and objective science. The 19th century introduced two further goals; mixing and exploring. Since 1996, there has been a seventh goal: cross-matching: one copies items in the universe to cross-match them with objects in a simulated world or metaverse.

A superficial consequence of this new goal is a surge in special effects in cinema: e.g. the bullet dodging protagonist of the Matrix (1999) or Jake Sully in Avatar (2009). At a deeper level, the rivalry between matching and cross-matching leads to a rivalry between reality and simulation; between matching of the universe and cross-matching with the metaverse; between reality/truth and illusion. A second consequence, has been an enormous surge in publications on perspective. One might expect a similar surge in methods to distinguish the two worlds. Instead, protagonists in social networks and social media are actively attempting to confuse, blur and conflate distinctions between these worlds. The paper explores possible consequences for future interfaces. Most discussions are in terms of new possibilities for communication, entertainment, gaming as if this were merely one further step towards an Internet of Things (IOT). Our concern is different: to warn that these developments threaten our concepts of truth and indeed endanger fundamental premises of what it means to be human. We need new forms of reality and truth meters.


  1. Introduction


Every society has approaches to image making. This paper considers seven (figure 1-2). In rare cases, they are iconoclastic and forbid image making altogether. Traditionally, early societies tend to follow a goal of connecting: whereby the image is less a copy of the original and serves to connect image and original via the trance of a shaman, or sympathetic and/or other forms of magic. The Greco-Roman world brought two other goals into focus: ordering and imitation (mimesis). The Renaissance introduced a fourth goal, which many have assumed was merely a rebirth of the earlier imitation, but was not. Mimesis imitated a series of features in individuals with no commitment to copying the features of any given individual. Matching was committed to copying the features of a single individual person or object. This was much more than a simple reproduction process of a given person/object. In establishing a fixed relation between person/object, picture plane and observer, perspective led to an objective relation between individual and the world. The good news was that it established an objective relation with the world that proved vital for the rise of early modern science. The less good news was that the role of individual observer was reduced to an insignificant vanishing point.

The 19th and early 20th centuries introduced two new goals. One was mixing, whereby artists played with the traditional laws of transparency and opacity. The other was exploring, which included the mental world, the perceptual world, and non-realistic art. In 1996, there was an unexpected development. Paul Debevec, invented a new method of reflection mapping. On the surface, it began simply as a clever method, whereby one could use the reversibility principle of perspective in photographs in order to reconstruct the original space. However, the same technology could be adapted such that instead of creating a new matching with the physical world, one could create a cross-matching with a simulated world.

This breakthrough has seen a surge in special effects in cinema, some of which will be noted. But it is the philosophical implications that are of interest. Cross-matching is not merely another goal. It competes with and potentially threatens to replace matching. In theoretical terms, this would mean replacing the quest to copy and replicate the physical world (universe) with creating a simulated world (metaverse). Since we live as physical beings in a physical world this is likely to remain theory to some extent but its potential implications are nonetheless profound.

Of concern, is that the champions of social media, notably, Facebook, are determined to confuse and conflate the physical and simulated worlds to the extent that we are no longer able to determine which is which. There is a quest to interface directly with our thoughts. The rhetoric is a quest for direct brain to brain communication. In practice, this means that those who control the technology can listen in and spy even on our thoughts and dreams. As some have already noted, this poses dangers of direct AI propaganda.

More problematic is that this erodes fundamental definitions of being human, which have traditionally distinguished between thought, word and deed. If there is no longer a clear distinction between reality and virtual, and even thoughts and dreams can be influenced, then the way is open for dystopian visions such as Minority Report (2002) and Inception (2010). And there are more serious problems. The realm of thought, has traditionally been the realm of considering alternatives, of choosing between good and evil. A thought is potential, a word is spoken, one step closer to existing, but still merely a possibility. ((Figure 1 and 2 not reproduced here, see downloadable paper, above)) An Oxford debate can happily discuss the pros and cons of murdering a dictator or even a politician without the slightest intention of wrongdoing. Only a deed is done and technically, in the past, only deeds were criminal offences and subject to legal action. If the three worlds of thought, word and deed are treated interchangeably, and their distinctions obscured and erased, then the traditional domain of free-will is obscured and erased: there is no longer a distinction between an errant thought and an errant deed.[i] Man would no longer have real free-will and be reduced to another item in the Internet of Things: a device that can be hacked, switched on or off by a non deus ex machina. To guard against this, new tools are needed.

  1. Connecting, Ordering and Imitation (Mimesis)

From the dawn of human marking and art c.90,000 B.C. until the heights of Greek culture in the 5th century B.C. there were effectively three goals of art. Most of pre-history was dominated by connecting: creating a relation between an image and the depicted person/animal/object in order to affect and control that person/animal/object. While this goal required being able to recognise the object in question, there was no incentive to create a one-to-one correspondence. Indeed, there were incentives against this. A one-to-one correspondence would, for instance, connect with a single deer. Typically, the goal was to hunt a number of deer. So, a generic image was likely to be more efficient than a carefully realistic image of a specific deer. This same logic applied whether the hunted object was a bison, a horse or some other animal.

By around 4,000 B.C. another goal of art has come into focus although its origins can be traced to the Indus Valley cultures of c.8,000 B.C. People had started to make geometrical figures and symbols, ranging from simple crosses and stars to complex forms. Typically, they entailed some aspects of orientation: 3 directions as in the 3 parts of the day, the 3 seasons; 4 directions as in the 4 cardinal points; 8 directions as in the 4 cardinal and 4 cross-quarter points linked with the 8-fold path. There was no attempt at a precise one-to-one correspondence just as a map does not attempt to render every tree in a forest let alone every piece of grass in a field, but like a map, it offers basic clues about orientation in an otherwise confusing world.

The rise of imitation (mimesis) in ancient Greece marked a new chapter in the history of image making. On the surface, it resembled copying. But the goal was more elusive. It was a not a question of copying a single person or object, but rather of copying the ideal traits of that category: i.e. there was no interest in copying the features of a given woman or a given charioteer, but rather in capturing the ideal beauty of the woman in question or the ideal qualities of a charioteer. The method was effective. It seemed to capture the essence of Venus, without limiting Venus to a single statue or portrait. In stage scenery, it captured the idea of depth, without committing itself to depth from a specific position. It was a portrait of idealized scenic space, rather than a record of physical space. The ideal world, the world of the mind, the worlds of dreams were worthy goals but in melding the subjective and objective they precluded any simple, objective rendering of the physical world. The ideal world of the mind continued to have precedence over the physical world. Indeed, in the neo-Platonic tradition the physical world represented a descent into matter, something less, sometimes even something evil.

  1. Matching

On the surface, all this changed with Renaissance. According to Auerbach, in his classic, Mimesis,[ii] the real impetus for change lay in the Christian concept of creatural realism: God had created the earth so it was created in his image, was real and worthy of study. Not mentioned by Auerbach, were older roots. The Indian Pancha-tantra had introduced a corpus of animal


  1. Coherent Space-Time
  2. Coherent Space, Different Times
  3. Real Events, Fictive Spaces, Different Times
  4. Real Objects, Fictive Spaces
  5. Real Space in Foreground, Imaginary Space in Background
  6. Seemingly real space created by spirit (imagination)
  7. Real Figures representing Mythological Figures in Metaphorical Spaces

Figure 3. Seven relationships of space-time resulting from perspective.


tales that inspired Aesop’s Fables in Greece, provided the structure for Boccaccio’s Decameron and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Also, not mentioned by Auerbach, was that the roots of this new approach lay partly in Arabic science: Alfarabi, Al-Kindi and Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) all assumed that the visible world was real and that the challenge lay in establishing criteria for the verification of sight.

But it was a French Pope at Viterbo, Clement IV, in the mid-1250s, who gave a new direction to Western thought. He commissioned Roger Bacon (Franciscan) to write the Opus Maius, reconciling religion, philosophy, mathematics, and science. He also commissioned Thomas Aquinas (Dominican) to write a Summa of all knowledge. He gave his blessing to the Guelf, nouveau riche, business faction competing with the Ghibellines and specifically favoured the establishment of private banks. A short-term consequence, was Giotto’s new approach to art at Assisi, Padua and Santa Croce in Florence. A mid-term consequence was that bankers became patrons to chapels and to artists. Within two centuries, the topic of paintings had shifted from Old and New Testament scenes and especially the life of Christ to include the lives of saints, often in contemporary contexts, surrounded by local patrons (bankers), politicians, poets and artists. Whereas mediaeval art had typically had a gold background to symbolize the realm of the eternal, Renaissance paintings increasingly recorded the realities of everyday life, often anachronistically.

  • Multiple Matching


The usual version of the Renaissance story is that artists discovered perspective, that this transformed their art and their world view: that it established a new objectivity linking observer, picture plane and object that became one of the foundations of early modern science. This rhetoric, while very attractive, is simplistic. Yes, linear perspective did enable a one-to-one correspondence between object, picture plane and observer. Brunelleschi’s panels of the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Piazza della Signoria are concrete examples. But the same method also introduced ideal cityscapes and at least 6 other relationships in terms of space and time (fig. 3). In other words, contrary to claims of Panofsky, Renaissance perspective did not usher in a single response to time and space.

  • Tools versus Humans


The popular story about Renaissance perspective is that it brought a new concept of the individual; made the individual the centre of everything: man is the measure of all things in the tradition of Protagoras. Plato had interpreted this to mean that there was no absolute truth.[iii] Philosophers and historians of the Renaissance (e.g. Cassirer, Panofsky) claimed that the new individualism went hand in hand with a concept of infinity, homogeneous space and a new world view:[iv] i.e. the distinction between of subject/subjectivism and object/objectivism went hand in hand.

It is true that individual portraits now entered religious paintings and increasingly became an independent category in its own right. But as the new technique gained acceptance, the number of tools used to record and depict the physical world from camera obscura and camera lucida, to pantograph, perspective box, zograscope and finally the camera increased dramatically. Each of these new devices established a more direct connection between original object/scene and its representation, with an ever-lesser role for the individual. Indeed, the camera reduced the individual’s role to focussing lenses and the automatic camera removed even that role. By the late 19th century, artists saw cameras as passive devices and their own role as active interpreters of nature.

  1. Mixing and Exploring


Accordingly, late 19th and early 20th century artists introduced two new goals of art. One was mixing, whereby the strict rules of transparent window and opaque wall were no longer followed, resulting in paintings, which mixed realism and non-realism. Others went forth and began exploring perceptual space, mental space and even chance.

  1. New Trends in Philosophy


Ever since the times of Plato and Aristotle there was an ongoing opposition of idealism and realism. Kant had sought to show that this was a false dichotomy and his a-priori categories were an attempt to give knowledge a firmer basis. His answers did not provide any final resolution. Instead, it inspired new debates. Hegel, went in one direction claiming that the whole of history could be seen as a quest for a transcendental idealism. The neo-Kantians, led by Hermann Cohen, and subsequently Ernst Cassirer at Marburg, took another approach. The whole of history was a gradual movement away from simple realism to recognizing the importance of abstract symbols. Cassirer’s masterpiece was a Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (1921-1929) with respect to language, myth and (phenomenology of) knowledge. But Cassirer’s complete solution was not completely accepted:

In the Spring of 1929 Cassirer took part in a famous disputation with Martin Heidegger in Davos, Switzerland, where Heidegger explicitly took Cohen’s neo-Kantianism as a philosophical target and defended his radical new conception of an “existential analytic of Dasein” in the guise of a parallel interpretation of the philosophy of Kant [Heidegger 1929]. Cassirer, for his part, defended his own new understanding of Kant in the philosophy of symbolic forms — against Heidegger’s insistence on the ineluctability of human finitude — by appealing to genuinely objectively valid, necessary and eternal truths arising in both moral experience and mathematical natural science (see [Friedman 2000] [Gordon 2010]).[v]

This was much more than a debate between two learned scholars:

In Heidegger’s view, Descartes and those who followed him avoided the most important question of how or in what way we come to be in the world. Knowledge, for Descartes, preceded being, and for Heidegger this constituted a perversion of the correct order of interrogation. Thus, the perspectival picture with its Cartesian “point of view” would be an entirely inadequate metaphor for either being or understanding precisely because it posits an epistemological solution to an ontological question (it tells us how we see without asking why we see).[vi]

Heidegger’s approach challenged not only Cassirer, but nearly five hundred years of philosophical interpretation, which had seen the rise of linear perspective in the Renaissance as a starting point for Western individualism, art and science. As Massey has noted, in Heidegger’s approach, perspective was “the track of foresight,”[vii] not a physical technique for representation, but a mental attitude; not a visual method entailing the eyes, but a philosophical, hermeneutical method. As Martin Jay has noted, this was part of a larger anti-ocular movement in the 20th century.[viii] Heidegger’s teacher, Husserl explored these themes more dramatically in The crisis of European science and transcendental philosophy (1936, 1954):[ix]

According to Husserl, Renaissance perspective had introduced an antagonism between subjective and mathematical space. Perspective thus vacillated between two seemingly contradictory interpretations: one which had its accent on the eye as a centre of projection and focussed on distortions as in anamorphoses; the other which emphasized the perspectival vanishing point of geometrical-mathematical bodies.

The Galileian world view had linked science with mathematical space with the result that one had only objects without perspectival viewpoints. There was no room left for perceptual space. Husserl was concerned with creating a transcendental subjectivity which brought human beings back into the centre of experience, defining the I as a consciousness that enters perspectivally into a polarity between self and object and is thus present in every act. Perspective in this sense thus became linked with the problem of life and presence (Präsenz) became one of the reasons for perspectival consciousness, which affected both space and time.[x]

Three years later, Novotny wrote on Cezanne and the End of Scientific Perspective (1939).[xi] Increasingly abandoned by artists, attacked by philosophers, it seemed as if the days of Renaissance linear perspective and the goal of matching were coming to an end.

The second world passed. New movements in art continued. The Dada movement was associated with nihilism. Another strand noted that “Chance must be recognized as a new stimulus to artistic creation.”[xii] Some tried stochastic painting.[xiii] Abstract expressionism led to abstract art. The experiments in exploring continued: from artists who used nude bodies dragged over canvases to serve as painters in performance art (Yves Klein), to artists who simply threw paint at canvases (Jackson Pollock). There have been anti-art[xiv] and anti-anti-art movements (e.g. Stuckism).[xv] Arnason has discussed many of these in his standard History of Modern Art.[xvi]


[i] For another discussion see the author’s Dreaming, Seeing, Feeling, Thinking, Saying, Doing. 2012, Unpublished: http://sumscorp.com/new_models_of_culture/culture/news_385.html

Cf. “New Interfaces,” Workshop 12: Patterns of Disappearance, I-Cubed ( Intelligent Information Interfaces) Spring Days, Athens, March 2000: http://vmmi.sumscorp.com/articles/pdf/2000%20New%20Interfaces.pdf

[ii] Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature written 1935, published 1946, Bern: A. Francke Verlage.

[iii] Protagoras: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protagoras

[iv] Ernst Cassirer, Individuum und Kosmos in der Philosophie der Renaissance, Leipzig ; Berlin : B.G. Teubner, 1927. This appeared in the same year as Panofsky’s Perspektive als Symbolische Form.

[v] Cassirer and Heidegger: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cassirer/

[vi] Lyle Massey in John Jeffries Martin, The renaissance world, London: Routledge, p. 67 https://books.google.nl/books?id=hHscBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&dq=Heidegger,+An+Introduction+to+Metaphysics,+trans.+R.+Manheim+(New+York:+Doubleday,+1961),+p.+99.+In+Heidegger%E2%80%99s+view,+Descartes+and+those+who+followed+him+avoided+the+most+important+question+of+how+or+in+what+way+we+come+to+be+in+the+world.+Knowledge,&source=bl&ots=usEiqFzhqQ&sig=0nKbiZS5odvnUyJ3f4KWvnaloFk&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Heidegger%2C%20An%20Introduction%20to%20Metaphysics%2C%20trans.%20R.%20Manheim%20(New%20York%3A%20Doubleday%2C%201961)%2C%20p.%2099.%20In%20Heidegger%E2%80%99s%20view%2C%20Descartes%20and%20those%20who%20followed%20him%20avoided%20the%20most%20important%20question%20of%20how%20or%20in%20what%20way%20we%20come%20to%20be%20in%20the%20world.%20Knowledge%2C&f=false

[vii] Ibid:

According to Heidegger: “We call it the ‘perspective’ the track of foresight. Thus we shall see not only that being is not understood in an indeterminate way, but that the determinate understanding of being moves in a certain pre-determined perspective…We have become immersed (not to say lost) in this perspective, this line of sight which sustains and guides our understanding of being.

Heidegger, An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. R. Manheim (New York: Doubleday, 1961), p. 99.

[viii] Martin Jay, Downcast eyes: the denigration of vision in twentieth-century French thought, Berkeley; London: University of California Press, c1993.

[ix] Husserl: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crisis_of_European_Sciences_and_Transcendental_Phenomenology

[x] Kim H. Veltman, Literature of Perspective, 2017, In press, p. 294.

[xi] Fritz Novotny, Cézanne und das Ende der wissenschaftlichen Perspektive, Wien:Schroll, 1938

[xii] Dada: https://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/course/student_projects/Kristin/Kristin.html

[xiii] Ibid.

[xiv] Anti-Art: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-art

[xv] Stuckism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuckism

[xvi] H.H. Arnason, Elizabeth C. Mansfield, History of Modern Art, Boston: Pearson, 2013, 7th edition

Our interest here is neither to challenge this account, nor attempt to offer a detailed supplement. Rather our concern is to draw attention to two paradoxes. First, notwithstanding all the trends away from realism in the 20th century, realism has remained important. Second, notwithstanding all the attacks on linear perspective, linear perspective has remained important. Indeed, there were more publications in the 20th century than in the five previous centuries (15th to 19th combined). Even more amazing, there have also been more publication in the first 17 years of the 21st century than in the whole of those previous five centuries combined. A tentative answer to the explain the first paradox is that historians in the second half of the 20th century continued and developed the view that Renaissance perspective had inaugurated a new chapter in Western art and science. Moreover, the principles of perspective became fundamental tools of electronic media in the form of computer graphics, virtual reality and augmented reality. To explore the reasons for the second paradox is the focus of the latter part of this paper. The one sentence answer is that perspective, which was fundamental to the quest for matching the physical world (universe), now became pivotal for cross-matching: developing simulated reality (the metaverse). 6. Cross-Matching There is every evidence that the new trend towards cross-matching began simply as a quest for a more efficient algorithm to capture the perspectival information available in pictures. In 1996, Paul Debevec, completed a doctoral thesis on reflection mapping. In 1997, the Campanile Movie demonstrated the potentials of the new system. Fiat Lux (1999) brought to light other potentials. Meanwhile, a spherical light stage (1998) for capturing all aspects of light and shade in physical objects was developed. This made it possible to reproduce all lighting effects in the physical world. 6.1 Practical Consequences for Movies The practical consequences for movies became apparent very quickly. It made possible the amazing bullet dodging manoeuvre in The Matrix (1999). It inspired a series of technical breakthroughs such as the protagonists in Pirates of the Caribbean (2003), Spiderman 2 (2004), Superman Returns (2006) and Avatar (2009). This spinoff in the form of more dramatic entertainment is only one aspect of a much larger phenomenon. 6.2 Digital Doubles Already prior to Debevec’s innovations, there was a trend towards virtual characters: There had been an increasing discussion of virtual actors, virtual thespians, and digital actors. The terms now became more numerous: “virtual spokespeople, virtual spokesperson, virtual actors, realistic 3d characters, virtual representatives, avatars and virtual avatars, virtual patient, and virtual humans. The new technology also introduced a further twist to these trends. There were now digital doubles. The British actor Peter Cushing played the Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars (1977) movie. The actor died in 1994. He was “brought back to life” through a digital double in a new Star Wars movie, Rogue One (2017). Hence, not only was there a danger of mistaking digital versions of Emily with the real person, Emily, but also a danger of mistaking a digital version of a dead person as still being alive. As a result, there was ultimately no regular means of distinguishing actual characters from digitally recreated characters. Admittedly we enter films with a general mindset that they represent a realm of the fictive and imaginative, but even so, we liked to maintain a sense of being able to tell where reality ends and the fictive begins. With the latest developments, this is no longer possible. It is instructive to follow that advances made in the past decades between F/X (1986), F/X2 (1991), The Illusionist (2006), Now You See Me (2013), and Now You See Me 2 (2016). This will no doubt lead to a new chapter in the history of special effects in movies. While obviously important, this is not our concern here, which is not so much with new technologies that imitate the reality of the physical world, as new strategies designed to undermine our distinctions between physical and virtual world; between natural universe and man-made metaverse. 7. Social Networks The advent of Second Life as a social network (2003) is part of this trend. Users create virtual real-estate in a virtual world. Initially these were very crude. Some of these are purely phantasy worlds, not infrequently with a sense of humour: e.g. the Jolly Blue Giantess (fig. 1). Some entailed imaginary combat scenarios with samurai (fig.2) reminiscent of role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Meanwhile, others create exteriors and interiors (figs. 3-4) which are so realistic that they could easily be photographs of the physical world. In these cases, it is difficult to tell whether it is a scene in the physical world or a vision of an imaginary world. Second Life also entails Machinima “real-time computer graphics engines to create a cinematic production,” once again eroding simple distinctions between real and virtual. 7.1. Internet of Things and Spying One of the disturbing developments of the past decades has been that every advance in new communications has been paralleled in new advances qua encroachment of our personal sphere. The Internet of Things (IoT) promises vast progress in this domain. But every new gadget that comes under the influence of IoT is also a gadget that can be turned off at will, where we are no longer in control of the gadgets, which we assume are under our control. This trend is made the more frightening because increasingly our actions are being tracked without our explicit consent. Google tracks our Internet searches. Google, has funding from the CIA and NSA and hence they too are privy to our searches, as they are presumably privy to our telephone, mobile, e-mail, and Skype communications. This is at the “obvious” level. More disturbing is evidence that smart TVs now have hidden microphones and cameras that track our conversations, gestures and reactions while we are watching television in the “privacy” of our homes. We may think we are in the privacy of our homes, but increasingly we are being followed, stalked, tracked, recorded, sometimes with a view to being subliminally influenced. 8. Social Media One might have expected social media to serve as a buffer zone or mediating factor in resisting this melding of real and fictive zones. In fact, the masterminds of social media are seriously intent on eroding clear distinctions between physical reality and virtual reality. 8.1. 6.2. Facebook In Australia, university students add noses and ears to their physical faces in real world environments (fig.5.). Masks (Greek persona, cf. person, personality) have always been a central part of human activity, but were typically used on special occasions, e.g. masked balls and carnivals. Today, this face masking is becoming used in everyday life. In the virtual world, similar images occur as part of Zuckerberg’s vision for augmented reality under the heading of enhanced objects. (fig. 6). Similar images occur in the context of Facebook Spaces (fig.7). Other images from Facebook Spaces appear to be deliberate attempts to conflate the boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds. Real faces appear as cartoons in a space with both physical and virtual elements (fig. 8). Figure 1 -2 Jolly Blue Giantess and Samurai in Second Life Figure 3-4 Second Life Exterior and Interior Figures 5-6. Australian university students; in real life; Facebook Effects Figures 7-8. Facebook Spaces 8.2. Brain to Brain Communication Zuckerberg’s real goals for Facebook entail brain interfaces: Facebook hopes to use optical neural imaging technology to scan the brain 100 times per second to detect thoughts and turn them into text. Meanwhile, it’s working on “skin-hearing” that could translate sounds into haptic feedback that people can learn to understand like braille. …. “The true breakthrough will come when the real and virtual worlds can mix freely, wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, so that the virtual world simply becomes part of our everyday reality,” said Abrash. “That will require AR glasses and those will be much more technologically challenging than VR headsets. In fact, the set of technologies needed to build them doesn’t yet exist.” If Facebook had such a brain interface, it would mean that we could communicate from brain to brain. It would also mean that Facebook could intercept our thoughts, spy on our thoughts and even subliminally insert thoughts into our stream of consciousness: not unlike the personalized, targeted messages already in place on our computer screens today, but at a deeper level. The film Inception (2010) explored one dimension of such possible interventions. A new smart glove can translate sign language. The bridges between inner and outer are increasing. The official story is that brain-interfaces, originally developed for mentally-ill persons, will be used in the realm of consumer electronics. The military is funding brain-interface research to control feelings of mentally-ill people, but which could, potentially, be used equally on healthy individuals. There are competing versions. BrainCo is working on a Brain Machine Interface (BMI) as is Elon Musk’s company: Neuralink. Dr. Michael Persinger (Laurentian University) has developed a God Helmet. DARPA is also working on an implantable neural interface: The interface would serve as a translator, converting between the electrochemical language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeros that constitute the language of information technology….The goal is to achieve this communications link in a biocompatible device no larger than one cubic centimeter in size. This theme is well known in science fiction. In the X-Files, “FBI Agent Dana Scully discovers an implant set under the skin at the back of her neck which can read her every thought and change memory through electrical signals that alter the brain chemistry.” There is a game with an ARI (Added Reality Interface) supposedly used by the FBI. More disturbing is that the FBI, in conjunction with the secret services, is developing synthetic telepathy and psychotronic weapons. DARPA already had a 1974 patent with “an apparatus and method for remotely monitoring and altering brain waves with radar.” The NSA has developed Remote Neural Monitoring (RNM), which is linked to earlier MK Ultra efforts. There is now Active Anti-Psychotronic (AAP) software such as Mind Guard. In the late 1990s, there were “jokes” about a boy seeing his friend drowning in a pond, pressing the escape button on his game console and wondering why it was not helping the situation. In a world where persons are no longer able to distinguish between real and virtual, this so-called joke could become deadly serious. Some of my younger friends assure me that I see these developments in naïve, binary terms. They assure me that they are very conscious of when they are playing in the virtual and when they are playing for real. They speak of having prismatic personalities which change constantly. Even so, such a mixing of real and virtual, while rhetorically attractive, poses great dangers, because it erodes traditional distinctions between thought, word and deed. 8.3. Thought, Word, Deed Already in ancient India there were clear distinctions between deed, word and thought (Sanskrit: kaya, vac, citta). In ancient Persia, this sequence was reversed to thought, word, deed. Thoughts are often fleeting, and random. Words are usually planned. Deeds are traditionally the only one of these three that had legal consequences. One could think about killing; one could theoretically say: I am going to kill so and so but only if one physically did the deed was one a criminal. Films such as Minority Report (2002) explored the dangers of a possible world in which technology could predict actions based on thoughts: quietly forgetting that thoughts are the realm where alternatives are considered and traditionally the realm where free-will leads to a triumph of good over evil. In a world, where possible thoughts are conflated with actual actions, one is removing the role of free-will and effectively narrowing one’s concept of humanity to a simplistic behaviourism, where thinking or speaking are equal to doing. At the frontiers of research, a new method called Brain Fingerprinting, is claiming to achieve the goals of Minority Report in real life. 9. Universe versus Metaverse Fantasy worlds have a long history. In a sense, Jacob van Ruisdael’s 150 paintings of Norwegian rivers and mountains were a form of virtual reality, depicting scenes which he had never visited and which he only knew second-hand through his friend, Allaert van Everdingen. Much of cinema could be seen as an escape module into possible and fictive worlds. And yet, the past decades have brought a new dimension. In the past, it was clear where the reality of the universe and the fictive simulated world of the metaverse began and ended. Today, those distinctions are increasingly being blurred. Fictive worlds are competing with the physical world, to the extent that many assume that the fictive world will hold precedence. One reaction has been to suggest that film, traditionally an entertainment medium, might be a candidate for representing reality at large. The objectivity of the Renaissance is being re-interpreted: Our current understanding of architectural representation recalls that of the Renaissance perspectival painting. As Merleau-Ponty points out in Eye and Mind, to the men of the Renaissance this depth was a window. The Renaissance technique encouraged painting to freely produce experiences of depth (Plate 1). These techniques were false however in the way they pretended to bring an end to painting’s quest and history, to found once and for all an exact and infallible area of painting. They wanted to forget the perspectiva naturalis in favor of a perspectiva artificialis which was capable of founding an exact construction. The perspective of the Renaissance is no gimmick. It is only a particular case, a date, a moment in a poetic information of the world which continues after it. We are at another particular moment in time where it seems as though the future of architectural representation lies in more and more exact detailed representation (Plate 4). Leading from hyper realistic perspective renderings to the hyper reality of the oculus rift. I see the need for a more authentic and true representation of architectural experience. Film could be the answer. 10. New Tools Needed are new tools that allow us trace sources and kinds of sources. 10.1. Sources In the Renaissance, it was a return to sources (ad fontes) that led to new critical insights. The Donation of Constantine had been assumed to be true. Lorenzo Valla, through careful etymological study, demonstrated that it was, in fact, a later forgery. In subsequent scholarship, it was customary to document any claims with proper footnotes or endnotes. The advent of Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW) has undermined these traditions. It is generally agreed that an article by Vannevar Bush, As we may Think (1945) was seminal. It outlined the use of microfilm as a mode of access to the world’s knowledge. His article was without footnotes and did not acknowledge prior efforts of Emmanuel Goldberg. While there has been much rhetoric devoted to a Semantic Web, these efforts have been limited to the tools surrounding the WWW rather than its content. A system that is able to search for keywords should be able to search for sentences and paragraphs such that the source of any text could theoretically be traced. As discussed elsewhere, it would also be useful to trace the means of certain knowledge Cf. Appendix 1. Today, image searching typically searches by keyword or uses a sample image. Given developments in the Internet of Things, one could foresee a radical development: every image would be catalogued on the basis of its existing in either the physical or the virtual world. Hence, even if an image of virtual clouds looks so realistic that the human eye cannot discern the difference between them and physical clouds, the system would be able to distinguish them. We have invisible watermarks to trace the provenance of pages and images from rare books and prints. We should have an equivalent tool for distinguishing physical scenes in the universe from virtual scenes in the metaverse. This would be the equivalent of extending footnotes to the whole of both the real and virtual worlds, such that we can always trace sources: an anti-plagiarism tool at a global level. We need new interfaces that allow us to see where we are in the spectrum from physical reality to virtual reality. 11. Future Developments There are many predictions concerning future developments. Conservative versions speak simply of a gradual development of the Web through Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 to Web 5.0. Others emphasize the ever-growing importance of an Internet of Things (IOT), where every object is effectively a node that can be turned on or off and controlled in some way. More radical scenarios envisage an ascendancy of artificial intelligence, transhumanism, post-humanism, or homo Deus. 11.1. Artificial Intelligence At least since the 1940s, there has been a strand of thinkers in the United States committed to having autonomous machines. Norbert Wiener developed the field of cybernetics (1949) in direct opposition to this trend. Films such as War Games (1983) and books such as Fjermedal’s The Tomorrow Makers: A Brave New World of Living-Brain Machines (1988), repeated these warnings, which continue to the present day. Some warnings are restrained and warn only of dangers of being overwhelmed by AI propaganda. Others speak of an AI threat to humanity. They warn of the dangers of machines gaining the upper hand which “could lead to humans either becoming extinct, or losing their place as the dominant species on the planet.” Some speak of an existential risk. 11.2. Transhumanisn and Posthumanism More dramatic are trends towards transhumanism: “The most common transhumanist thesis is that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities so greatly expanded from the natural condition as to merit the label of posthuman beings.” Posthumanism, is seen by some as merely a next step in transhumanism. Others associate it with a time when there has been an AI takeover, while still others foresee a voluntary extinction of the human. 11.3. Homo Deus One drastic scenario has been depicted by Harari in Homo Deus. According to Harari the traditional calamities of war, famine and disease facing mankind are receding. We are on the threshold of a new human agenda with three main goals: immortality, bliss, divinity (p.67). In theory, both science and religion are interested above all in truth, and because each upholds a different truth, they are doomed to clash. In fact, neither science nor religion cares that much about the truth, hence they can easily compromise, coexist and even cooperate (198). If humankind is indeed a single data-processing system, what is its output? Dataists would say that its output will be the creation of a new and ever more efficient data-processing system, called the Internet-of -all-Things. Once this mission is accomplished homo sapiens will vanish (380). Problematic with this view is the assumption that data will or even can have its own view of itself. If it is truly concerned only with the most efficient iteration then it will remove earlier iterations as inefficient. Humans have a history of knowledge for different reasons: in order to be able to trace both continuity and change. The version of Homo Deus envisaged by Hariri has neither the humanity of homo (sapiens) nor the magnanimity of Deus. It is a pragmatic solution without reference to history or meaning. It is post-human in a new way. It removes the role of free-will, an essential human quality. It reduces humans to merely another gadget in the Internet-of-all-Things, which can be turned on and off at will; condemns us to an objectivity where subjects and subjectivity are irrelevant. 12. Conclusions The history of art has developed a number of goals. This paper considers seven goals. It focusses on two: 1) matching which arose through linear perspective in the Renaissance and 2) cross-matching which has evolved since 1996 in the context of reflection-mapping and other new techniques in computer graphics. The shift from matching to cross-matching is not a simple progression. There are tensions between a commitment to matching the physical reality of the verse or cross-matching the virtual reality of the metaverse. Developments in social networks such as Second Life and social media such as Facebook are further eroding these distinctions between physical reality and virtual reality: between universe and metaverse. Traditionally, there was a sharp distinction between public and private: a public sphere where we effectively functioned as actors with masks and facades in order to make social interaction more graceful and a private sphere where we could “’be ourselves” without masks. New technologies are encroaching ever further into our private sphere; even into the realms of thoughts and unspoken words in our brains. They threaten our free-will and thus one of the cornerstones of our humanity. They promise us immortality, but a version where our abilities of choice, free-will and meaningful decisions have been taken from us. It is reminiscent of the promise of predestination, which lulls us into comfort that we have a guaranteed place in heaven, while robbing us of any credit for the success. We are saved the harrowing temptations and struggles against weakness and sin, but we are reduced to being merely cogs in some else’s decision process. We have eternity at the expense of genuine humanity. Is this real progress or merely another variant of Toyland and Pleasure Island of the Pinocchio story? What is the meaning of life if there is no longer a standard of truth? What is everlasting life if the essential qualities of life have been stolen from us? Acknowledgements This article summarizes a much more detailed analysis that is developed in two recent books by the author: Sources of Perspective and Literature of Perspective. The confines of a short article clearly do not allow a full listing of arguments and sources. Our concern here is simply to focus on two points: 1) seven goals of art which provide a blueprint for a new history of art and image making; 2) a recent development of cross-matching, that has received little attention: an attack on concepts of truth and what it means to be human, central to Western civilization. I am grateful to Professor Ficarra for inviting me to give this paper. I thank my colleagues and friends, Professor Frederic Andres and Dr.Alan Radley, for kindly reading the manuscript. This is the seventh in a series of papers seeking to outline a new approach to the Internet (cf. Appendix 1). A first paper (2010) drew attention to micro-elements such as symbols, letters and numbers linked with cosmology, pleading for a need to have dictionaries of letters and symbols in addition to traditional dictionaries of words. A second paper (2012) pointed to the limitations of an Internet of (outer) Things and the need for a more comprehensive Internet of Inner and Outer Worlds, which was called an Internet of Letters, Words, Concepts and Knowledges (2014); and an Internet of Knowledge and Wisdom (2016). The third paper (2013) outlined a series of meters that could be used: scaleometers; abstractionometers, orientationometers, dimensionometers, and granulometers. The fourth paper (2014) used alphabet letters to illustrate further these meters. The fifth paper (2015) focussed on granularity to suggest that there might be at least 10 levels ranging from letters to libraries. The sixth paper outlined a number of competing internets of: likes, opinions and habits; things; spying; military that were undermining the quest for an Internet of Knowledge and Wisdom. This current, seventh, paper returns to goals of art an imaging making as a general framework. 6 of these goals were explored in the 35 lectures at the NII in Tokyo (2004). This paper introduces a recent seventh goal, cross-matching and suggests that it may be linked with the competing internets outlined in paper 6. In any case, the increasing ambiguity between physical universe and virtual metaverse, heightens the need for new kinds of truth and reality meters. We need the equivalents of footnotes (sources) for both the virtual and physical world.


=====End of Lecture, partial text , see downloadable doc above for the full paper===



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1 Response to A Lecture of dr. Kim Veltman

  1. Pingback: Dr. Kim Veltman , RIP | The Connectivist

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