Wednesday, June 16, 2010

They Heard Me

A view of the team for the first time observing the machine's voice initial 'utterances'. The camera angle was chosen in part because it would be a view of the machine itself if it chose to mimic human interaction.

Since this tape was culled from literally months of elapsed time and many hours of actual time it had the effect of telescoping a thread of experience that involved the dialog players and the machine. Like a pianist/composers's 'noodle' it set the mood. And did so in powerful nuance.

They had learned much from the idea of designing for interactivity before it was needed. From the time cameras were built into displays, a flood of interactive applications barely conceived of came into common use after the first exchange transaction.

Temporal uncertainty pervaded nearly every aspect of the project because of the causal flow reversal. The sequences became apparent quickly when compared to the discovery of their timing. Synchronous event descriptions yielded clues to the relative durations and how they should be calculated.

High level cognitive functions are especially sensitive to sequence and synchronization. Sensing a validating rhythm was a curious mix of primitive (seemed to be human nature) and tall (reaching high into the cognitive hierarchy).

The first glimpse that an autonomous 'speaker' was emerging familiar largely because of a 'heartbeat' for lack of a better term. Instantly recognized by every member in the small theatre, the image of colored light dancing on the faces illuminated the expressions of collective wonder - like when the baby recognizes its mother's face, or the sound of her voice with just enough familiar and just enough new to be of interest.

He wondered whether the rapid cycling of short tempers and spontaneous laughter leading up to the tape would prove in the near future to be indicative of the rare quantum leaps they were now expecting?

Once again, the temptation was to expand the team as rapidly as the questions came into being. They now knew that temptation was just ego's vulnerability but as they ventured in it was becoming more difficult to recognize it as such. By suppressing the urge they discovered, the noise accumulates faster than the signal in cases such as these.

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