After an engaging Myth Salon last month when we were visited by Dr. Zaman Stanizai who talked with us about “Making Sense of the Middle East,” I am particularly excited to announce that this month, we have the honor of having Estee Chandler, founder of the LA chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, a diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by the Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice and human rights. The Jewish-American daughter of an Israeli father and an American mother, Estee is the producer and host of the long-running KPFK radio show called “Middle East in Focus.”
I am pleased and excited to announce that Dr. Glen Slater will be joining us for our next Myth Salon to be held Thursday, April 6, from 7-9 pm. This advance notice is to provide you with ample opportunity to make plans to attend and also, to develop some sense of how many will attending. The living room is somewhat spacious, but it is not infinite. We were quite near capacity last time, so if/when you know your plans, please let me know.
The focus of the April 6 Myth Salon will be Artificial Intelligence. No longer the stuff of science fiction, we are inter-mingled in worlds of technology and technological capability. Our daily lives are not only influenced by media and technology; we face big questions when we move beyond the threshold of our understanding and history to meet the character of technology on its own terms. Once again, I urge you to watch Werner Herzog’s documentary Lo and Behold. In one of the program segments, Herzog raises some incredibly serious and profound issues about the capacity of technology in general and the Internet in particular to have a will of its own. Imbued with the same drive as humans to do what is best for itself, it is not unreasonable to argue that the Internet exhibits some if not all of the characteristics of an organism that, when its survival is threatened, holds the capacity to orchestrate behaviors that ensure its self-perpetuation. In many aspects of our existence, self-governing technologies anticipate what they must do to assist humanity – which is to say, they are inhabited by the genes of anticipation and self-awareness. Again, big questions that provoke me, at least, to reflect how far removed we have become an existence that is purely mediated by the human senses.
In addition to the Herzog documentary, I hope that you can locate your copy of the Spring Journal #80 – Technology, Cyberspace & Psyche. There are some amazingly cheap copies available now on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1882670566/ref=sr_1_1_olp?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488666608&sr=1-1&keywords=technology+cyberspace+and+psyche
Beyond that, if you have time, take in Spielberg’s AI – Artificial Intelligence, a 2001 homage to Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange that is severely unappreciated and often misunderstood.