Transformation: From Latin transformatio (trans ["across, on the far side, beyond"]) + formatio ("shape,
form"); Borrowed from Ancient Greek μεταμόρφωσις (metamorphosis);
A marked change in appearance or character; a mapping of one space onto another; the alteration of a bacterial cell caused by the transfer of DNA from another; (Source: Wiktionary)
"Man muss [Experimentalsysteme] als Orte der Emergenz ansehen, als Strukturen, die wir uns ausgedacht haben, um Nicht-Ausdenkbares
einzufangen." (Rheinberger, 2007)
What could be new when catching up with the present depends on the speed of light? Perhaps the new can be imagined like a difference, like a thunderbolt to pry open the other side of the night. Since the new is unforeseeable and the unknown uncontrollable - that is, contingent, in potentia, or subject to chance, the right conditions must be conceived to make it happen.
The term unknown alludes to the 'in-between' -- a becoming future of possibilities through dissolution and recombination -- where interaction between artefacts, consciousnesses, communications and bodies leads to spatio-temporal interferences with states of equilibrium that substantiate "life as an abstract phenomenon, a set of vital functions implementable in various material bases" (Langton, 1996). Design is a praxis of the unknown and designers should stay in contact with the unknown to be closer to life.
|➔ Melting the Crystal|
Arthur Schopenhauer devised an abstract machine to clarify interactions between matter and natural forces. He argued that the law of
causality must determine the time, space and validity of a force, or power, that will emerge with the necessary conditions in order to:
(a) take charge of the matter, and (b) reveal its proper nature. The power itself exists outside of time, becoming mere appearance once
activated until it is inevitably displaced by another when conditions change.
"[T]he law of causality has meaning only in relation to time and space, and the matter which consists in the union of the two. For it determines the limits in accordance with which the phenomena of the forces of nature divide themselves in the possession of matter, while the original forces of nature [...] lie outside these forms." (The World as Will and Representation, Second Book, Chapter 26)
Schopenhauer's machine unfolds as follows:
1) In Computer Graphics, a mathematical representation of the object is governed by XYZ world coordinates in order to specify a viewbox.
Simple two-dimensional transformations that shift, scale, and rotate a geometric outline can be accomplished by adding or subtracting
translation amounts to the XY positions of their vertices (with a subsequent redraw of connecting lines).
The [planar geometric] projection of a conceptual object floating in logical 3D space - the volume where points are represented by XYZ triplets - is sliced at the view plane and mapped into the viewport for 2D display. The view plane of a one-point perspective projection bisecting a three-dimensional scene at a distance d from the origin converges parallel lines in the z-direction and also determines the size and distances of its objects with a scale factor derived from the division of XY coordinates by Z.
2) Plato's "cosmological organization of the universe" integrated four perfect polyhedra, or basic building blocks, that were linked to the four classical elements of fire, air, water, and earth:
"In the first place, then, as is evident to all, fire and earth and water and air are bodies. And every sort of body possesses solidity, and every solid must necessarily be contained in planes; and every plane rectilinear figure is composed of triangles;" (Timaeus, c. 360 BC)
The faces of these polyhedra, or platonic solids, comprise isosceles or scalene component-triangles which, according to Plato, were "capable of resolution into one another" and could be assembled into all physical matter.
Alchemists later expanded the ancient cosmological system, including man's highly integrated relation to the world (as the following excerpt indicates):
"The three principles of Alchemy are Mercury, sulphur, and salt, representing the volatile intellect, the soul, and the body; Solis-gold is masculine, Mercurii-quicksilver is the hermaphrodite, and Lunae-silver is feminine; the four Elements of earth [cube], water [icosahedron], air [octahedron], fire [tetrahedron] - and the elementary qualities of warm, cold, moist, dry - correspond with the four trigrams of the zodiac [earth sign: cold-dry, water sign: cold-moist, air sign: moist-warm, fire sign: warm-dry] as well as the four temperaments of man [choleric: warm, phlegmatic: cold, sanguine: moist, melancholic: dry]."
A stimulus-response mechanism comprising a sensor, an effector, and some connecting wire can act as a simple agent. With different
sensors, with straight connections, crossed connections, excitatory and inhibitory connections, or by utilizing threshold devices
and functional dependencies, the agent becomes more complicated. Internal modeling, memory and object recognition will, moreover,
permit method and deliberation which outsiders might attribute to intelligence "just from the observation of behavior." The
designers of the agent, however, would be aware of the sequence of steps which led to the state of the art, and probably also
that "all specified complexity must ultimately rise from simplicity by some kind of escalatory process"
(Dawkins, 2006). In this light, it could even be argued that the human brain is no ultimate explanation of the complex artefacts
it creates since it couldn't recall the simple evolutionary beginnings of itself - that is, "smartness arising out of nothing,
or rather, out of not-so-smart premises" (Braitenberg, 1984).
The Goddard Agent Architecture consists of several software modules that implement functionality, subscribe to or publish information, monitor their own state, and interact with other modules. An agent typically receives system or sensor data as input which is modelled together with state information in order to formulate goals. The steps of a resulting plan are then ordered, sent off to be executed by various effectors, and their completion status is reported back.
|➔ State of the Practice|