The New York Times reprinted a version of an article dated 21 Nov. by Peter C. Baker under the title The Beatles Are Still Charting the Future of Pop. It Looks Bleak.
Nietzsche never envisaged that his famous formula of affirmation, "the eternal recurrence of the same", could look like this. Current sophisticated artificial intelligence was deployed to liberate John Lennon's voice on a shoddy, late 1970s demo tape to create today the "last Beatles' song", Now and Then. Baker deplores that this old post-Beatles material could be refashioned to produce new profit-generating 'content'. And it is truly eerie that A.I. technology dovetails so seamlessly with the endless accumulation of thingified value, that principle of movement which rules the globe without our knowing it.
Baker points out that:
"A.I. will function first and foremost as a way to keep pushing out recycled goods rather than investing in innovations and experiments from people who don’t yet have a well-known back catalog to capitalize on."
According to the Church-Turing thesis, the algorithms of the artificial neuronal networks employed by A.I., in principle, can also be run on a primitive, ideal Universal Turing Machine. The computations are equivalent. The idea of this non-existent computer still plays an important role in discrete computing theory. It is therefore instructive for us who are not computer scientists. Any Turing Machine generates its digital output-offspring by one binary number, the algorithm, copulating with preexisting binary data exclusively according to if-then rules i.e. progenerating strictly logically from the past into future.
This entails that A.I., which amounts basically to algorithmic pattern recognition, can only ever interpolate into the future from the past, namely, from the already given data. The future can only ever be a regurgitation of the past with modifications, an eternal recurrence of the same that would make Nietzsche turn in his grave. Baker implicitly has insight into this: No algorithmic artificial intelligence sees into the future, that is, into the open temporal dimension of the future. Nor does it see into the temporal dimension of the past, even though it has to be fed with already given, i.e. data. We humans understand that the data already exist, but no A.I. sees into any of the three temporal dimensions at all. As such A.I. is literally timeless, i.e. altogether bereft of the openness of three-dimensional time.*
This temporal blindness of A.I. is no impediment at all to recording companies' striving, with the aid of A.I., to generate more surplus value from existing I.P. material they own. Their striving contributes to the subterranean eternal accumulation of thingified value which, one could say, is also an eerie translation of Nietzsche's formula. The accumulative movement of thingified value is a linear, circular one, eternally returning to its starting-point, only to senselessly repeat it to generate more of the same.
We humans, however, do see into the three temporal dimensions, whose openness enables the creative freedom of our power of imagination (Einbildungskraft) to genuinely envisage something new for the future. Both Lennon and McCartney were gifted with gobs of musical imagination that generated hitherto unheard-of music.
defect applies mutatis mutandis also to today's neuroscience, which kids
itself that it can locate memory somewhere in the materially present
brain. Three-dimensional time, however, is pre-spatial and pre-material. Therefore neuroscience is on a wild goose chase.
Further reading: On Human Temporality (forthcoming DeGruyter).