The machine dreams in hyperreal hallucinatory visions emergent from the convolutions of its deep neural network. It produces a cycogeographic mapping of site, an extraction of the essence of place through a process of forensic analysis and Bayesian probabilities.
Machinic Dreamings are the output of a machine learning generative adversarial network. Trained on 1000 photographs of a body occupying the temporary landscape of the Limehouse Foreshore; a triangular expanse of mud, silt and rocks on the northside of the Thames, just as the river sweeps south at Canary Wharf and only revealing itself at low tide.
All dreamings are collective acts. Machinic Dreamings link anonymous humans and non-humans across time and space. They are dependent on a technical infrastructure of GPUs, housed in data centres, located across national borders and interconnected through fibreoptic cables.
Machine Learning algorithms have their own ancestry and lineage; the StyleGAN2 algorithm redefined StyleGAN, which built upon wider style transfer research. It is impossible to map the network of actants whose labour has been essential in producing a single machinic image.
Machinic Dreamings contain unconscious bias. All machine learning outcomes are bound by the limitations inherent in the algorithms and data sets used to train them. Data drawn from a biased society will inevitably train its artificial intelligence in the biases of that society.
The initial results open up deep-seated cultural anxiety about human relations to the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The images suggest murderous intent. Severed chunks of flesh discarded on the beach, the possible abandoned residue of Capital’s human meat stranded on the Foreshore between the rising waters of the Thames and the hostile steel and glass of Canary Wharf. Surplus to requirements in an era of AI.
There is a generalised fear of the replacement of human labour by machinic prolls; but the real concern should be the already existing automation of the capitalist. A simple inhuman algorithm, the appropriation of ever more surplus value, has always driven the capitalist. An algorithm very easy to replicate in code.
The machinic dreams the future into being.
Inside the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, high-frequency futures trading, places algorithms at the centre of capitalist accumulation. Accumulation has reached the limits of expansion in the present, but the predictive capabilities of big data and machine learning open up the future as a new terrain of extraction.
Futures trading predicts the future, but it also brings the future into being through a process of feedback loops that transform the present.
The Capitalist is already post-human.
Any form of working-class resistance, must place the seizing of the means of production of the future, at the centre of its praxis.
John Wild 2021