Fact Becomes Artifact Becomes Us

As information enlivens, it begins to look more like us. Image: Possessed Photography on Unsplash
The photograph becomes selfie becomes artifact. Photo: Tatiana Pavlova on Unsplash
See Kevin Kelly in Wired Magazine, March 2019, “Welcome to Mirror World”
Image: Chicago Tribune, all rights reserved
  • Artifact enhances fact (helps the doctor understand your blood chemistry)
  • Artifact distorts/fakes fact (the possibilities are endless)
Image: Barry Chudakov
Image: Margaret Weir on Unsplash
This person does not exist. He is an artifact, an identity amalgam, a new life form that looks — and can act — like us. Image: https://thispersondoesnotexist.com
  • Once an artifact has evolved (devolved) from a fact it has the ability (the digital option) to separate from the logic of the fact that spawned it
  • While facts follow a linear, alphabetic logic, artifactual logic is digital logic: miscellaneous, malleable; digital logic is not stable but able to morph or be morphed
  • As a result of the variability of digital logic, the identity, or identifying characteristics of an artifact are not fixed
  • An artifact can have multiple, even innumerable, identities
  • New technologies (AI, deep fakes, etc.) can enliven the artifact with voice, gestures, facial movements, exact sounding and seeming expressions
  • A digital artifact can alter essential characteristics in small and large ways: i.e., an image of a face could change genders or races
  • Artifacts can be used to verify facts, as a driver’s license is used to verify identity — yet their reproducibility can make such verification suspect
  • Artifacts can be built from facts that use (a model based on) those facts to enhance understanding and utility of the data while shielding certain identifying characteristics of the data. This has remarkable utility for securing privacy, while also raising concerns of such technologies falling into the hands of those who would seek to distort the facts for malign purposes
  • Data on user response to artifacts is scant at the moment, but there is a strong likelihood that users will engage with artifacts — especially those that adopt or mimic human characteristics — as though they were human
Before we establish rights and liberties for artifacts, we must first ensure integrity. Image: Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash




Barry Chudakov writes about the intersection of technology and consciousness. He is the founder of Sertain Research, a future-focused consulting firm.

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Barry Chudakov

Barry Chudakov

Barry Chudakov writes about the intersection of technology and consciousness. He is the founder of Sertain Research, a future-focused consulting firm.

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