#3 - Tales of the Simulacrum

iTerence: The Digital McKenna, Terence Initiative

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art: Tim Parish, The Journeybook anthology


The Digital McKenna, Terence (DMTi) Initiative

I, Terence is an experiment to bring alive the spirit of psychedelic philosopher Terence McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000)  by harnessing existing content in the public domain, his talks, ideas, videos, photos, geo-mapping, etc, with the Lifenaut system of AI intelligence into a functioning Avatar interface.

The platform is designed for multi-users to submit content that will eventually aggregate into a personality matrix ("mind file"). It's all experimental but the foundations are there: Lifenaut is a not-for-profit company with good intentions to explore this new AI modality, and all content is retained for ownership by the original makers.  The platform will hold the content and resynthesize with an AI interface, it will learn and grow in useability to enable an interface with the public and the spirit of Terence's ideas, perhaps eventually synthesizing new contours.

Tuesday April 3, 2012 is the 12th anniversary of Terence's passing and the launch of the beta-version of the iTerence project, aka the Digital McKenna, Terence Initiative (DMTi)... We ask the global psychedelic community to  crowdsource any bootleg talks, podcasts, images, text, etc. from Terence. This is a non-commercial, open-community project that in essence aggregates existing content Terence has left us into a new, more useable form.

The Lifenaut system is still in early development in that they are not pulling data or metadata from video, audio or text yet – but this is something they are working on,  trying to develop algorithms to extract ideas and voice synthesis from video and audio. We reinterate that they are not capable of doing this presently, although by aggregating this content now we will be positioned to work with it when their system is able in the near future. People with relevant skillbases  wishing to donate time and expertise or money to Lifenaut may help speed this process to fruition.

At the moment we believe the power in the project is in training the virtual Avatar. After 1000 lines of conversation that digital Terence Avatar starts to become coherent. We  have been spending time training the iTerence Avatar by feeding it interview question and answers and quotes from existing talks. The Avatar is still relatively incoherent, but it is getting there. Every day we work with it, it is increasingly more responsive. At the moment only a generic male voice is possible, but we hope that a closer simulation of Terence's voice will eventually be possible from learning from the audio samples.

Issue #3: Tales of the Simulacrum

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 Credit on, plug in, drop out Join the Virtual Revolution... Transcend the material world with 24 hour plug-n-play... you know you want to... Over a thousand interactive codeworlds. Be Anyone, Anywhere, with the exciting digital universe of the Simulacrum tm - where dreams become reality and reality is merely a dream. *Some conditions apply. Offer void where prohibited by law. Complete body and life maintenance available for full time users paying by direct debit on a minimum 24 month contract...



Telestreets - Hacking the Infocalypse> by Luther Blisset

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The cold rain lightens passing the small twice-weekly farmers’ market, down the corridor past the Italian class for migrants, the bookshop, a meeting, the circus class. Entering into one room a web of cables crawls overhead, converging in a loft. Upstairs a small group chatters in front of computers, editing, uploading, downloading, emailing; organising a 24-hour pirate TV station. This is the Xmercato24 social centre in Bologna, Italy, home of “Teleimmagini?”, part of the Italian Telestreet movement of around 80 pirate micro-TV stations, most of which have grown in less than 2 years.

Nodes of Conflict> by Andrew Lowenthal

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First published in Undergrowth #3: Tales of the Simulacrum. Sept, 2004.

Listening to Indymedia radio streaming live from the Republican National Convention protests in New York City, I hear people calling from outside the jailhouse as their fellow activists are released. The crowds cheer and chant, updates are given, stories are fed back into a massive communications web, bypassing the corporate media who are ignoring the 500,000 people protesting the Bush administration and the more than 2,000 people arrested. On the other side of the planet I listen and tap my keyboard, adding a feature to Melbourne Indymedia about federal police harassing a local anarchist at the request of the FBI.

Escape from Tox-City> by Floyd Davis

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The doors slid open at his approach. He squinted as he entered even brighter light. Quickly choosing a reflective wrap-around set, he slipped them on and headed for the entrance. The doors took longer than usual to open as he waited for the automatic debit to his account. Must be a malfunction, he decided. A synthetic voice sounded from above.

Milky Chewy Bars> by SonicBoy and James Riches

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Milky Chewy Bars Words: SonicBoy Title Painting: Dominic Allen Illustrations: James Riches   [03]_simulacrum_Page_057.jpg

Simulacrum book

Simulacrum bookyep, in the flesh.

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Issue three: simulacrum - banner
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