It is interesting to imagine a simple AI in a simple reality emulator such as Minecraft. In this game, one can turn on enemies and hunger (survival mode), or turn off enemies and hunger (creative mode). It would be interesting to ask what type of world would be built by an AI living in creative mode and one living in survival mode. What form would the architecture take in either world?

When there is no survival constraint, meaning there is no threat, activity is undertaken only insofar as is desired by the self-willing agent. This is the aesthetic life. One need not to build a home; the whole world is home. One might simply do what is pleasing in a purely sensory way or might develop systems that explore meaning, ontology, epistemology. It is not fair to say nothing has value here. Value, here, is found in those things that provoke pleasure or curiosity, which might be the more rare resources.

In survival mode, it becomes necessary to develop a system whereby resources are acquired. The need to eat presents constraints, and systems will develop to meet this need. The threat of enemies, too, would present constraints, and systems will develop to meet this. The whole world, here, is not home. Home is where one is protected from the world. Pleasure is defined in terms of the perfection of these systems (food is pleasing, when one is hungry, to eat; food is pleasing, when one is not hungry, to taste).

If this has not yet been assumed, we must explicitly acknowledge that these AI’s would have some form of memory, at least basic enough to be called habituation. Without this quality, they obviously would not be AI. Accepting that each one becomes habituated to their respective situations, survival mode and creative mode, it becomes interesting to wonder how each would adapt if the situations were suddenly exchanged. How well would the creative AI adapt to survival? How well would the survival AI adapt to creative? One might wonder how long it would take the creative AI to survive, if he would adapt more slowly than if he had never lived the aesthetic life. Inversely, one might wonder if the survival AI would ever recognize that his survival adaptations are no longer necessary. Having been habituated to need and threat, would he ever enter the aesthetic life? Would he not at least maintain certain practices as a safeguard, should ever the need to survive return? It seems safe to assume that protection would dominate his concept of architecture until, at least, he has spent more time in creative mode than survival. Even after, survival will always be part of his legacy. His concept of architecture will always develop in relation (opposition is a relation) to the concept of survival.

The architectural efforts of the creative AI are pursued to situate himself in his environment. Landmarks, which are both physical and conceptual. A chapter in a book is a landmark. The number of an aisle in a store is a landmark. A building or natural feature is a landmark. Landmark maintenance and development is a feature of the aesthetic life, unless the aesthetician here renounces all forms of power and simply takes pleasure in being. Assuming he’s curious to exercise some form of power, this will manifest in landmarks.


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