Category Archives: Magic

Electric Kool Aid Turing Test slides

Yesterday I gave a conference talk; it was nominally about qualitative research on the use of psychedelic drugs and the implications this has for machine learning. But the issues here have as much to do with philosophical problems of induction and the narrow view of human intelligence which gets emphasized in AI. I’ve uploaded the slides for […]

after life

…the invention of the Morse alphabet in 1837 was promptly followed by the tapping specters of spiritistic seances sending their messages from the realm of the dead. Promptly as well, photographic plates-even and especially those taken with the camera shutter closed-furnished reproductions of ghosts or specters, whose black-andwhite fuzziness only served to underscore the promise […]

absence makes the heart

“Naming the ‘things that are absent’ is breaking the spell of the things that are; moreover, it is the ingression of a different order of things into the established one — ‘le commencement d’un monde.’ For the expression of this other order, which is transcendence within the one world, the poetic language depends on the […]


“Magic is bloody untruth, but in it domination is not yet disclaimed by transforming itself into a pure truth underlying the world which it enslaves. The magician imitates demons; to frighten or placate them he makes intimidating or appeasing gestures. Although his task was impersonation he did not claim to be made in the image […]