Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Queensland Quest

Lynden Stone's Quantum Module

Exactly 40 years ago I built a machine for creating consciousness.

It didn't work.

This machine (which I called the Metaphase Typewriter) was based on the assumption that consciousness is a wholly quantum effect. More precisely I assumed that the quantum randomness that seems to underlie the behavior of all matter is the universe's default setting. Events in a mindless universe would be truly random--a condition I called "the orthophase". Mind enters the world and changes its behavior by causing otherwise random events to conform to Will. Whatever parts of the world are entangled with Mind, I call "the metaphase".

The Metaphase Typewriter is a machine that generates pseudo-English text that originates from a quantum-random source (Geiger counter + Thallium 204 radioisotope). You can read about the MT here, here and in my book Elemental Mind.

Recently Lynden Stone, a conceptual artist at Queensland College in South Brisbane, Australia, has decided to build a new version of the Metaphase Typewriter using modern components instead of the Wright Brothers-class electronics available in the seventies. Lynden calls this machine the Metaphase Typewriter Revival Project (MTRP). I call it the Queensland Quantum Qonsciousness Quest or "Q4" for short.

Q4's logical structure is Quantum Module ---> Statistical Filter ---> Metaphase Text ---> Quantum Metaphone. In Lynden's realization the Quantum Module is a USB-powered SparkFun Geiger counter driven by radioactive Thorium 232; the statistical filter (devised by programmer Mervyn Ullrich Shrooms) uses the "random" pulses of the Geiger tube to select English words according to their relative probability plus applying a "grammar filter" that recognizes properly ordered parts of speech. A text-to-speech program called "Alex" produces audible output from the quantum-driven machine.

Lynden's MTRP is currently located at Queensland College of Art and is running on the web for two weeks at MTRP Site where you can access the output and try to influence it with your mind. (Note: words separated by commas represent attempts at sentences. When a complete sentence emerges, the commas are removed and a full stop added at the end.) The project will run online between April 2 and April 14, 2012; afterwards MTRP will be taken on tour including a week-long installation at Crane Arts in Philadelphia: May 7 to May 13, 2012.

O spirits of the metaphase
creatures of pure consciousness
voices from the other side
please use this small machine
to tell us
if you're so inclined:
what one thing can we humans do
to make this Queensland channel
more accessible
to disembodied minds?

1 comment:

charles000 said...

Yes indeed, among my most favorite topics, though I'm less interested in randomness alteration correlations to quantum entanglement event phenomena, as some might now refer to as an artifact of "quantum biology" as such relates to consciousness, but rather taking a much more qualitatively relevant, potential characterization study of such biophysical quantum entanglement event signatures, via a nanostructured biomaterials "device" that can actually indicate such.

Perhaps you'll argue this point as being absurd, or rather (hopefully) have some conceptual models / design strategies for such.

I've been quietly evolving such here in my little relatively isolated sub-universe, but as always, welcome thoughts along these lines.

In any case, thanks for the interesting post . . .