Wednesday, July 10, 2013


This is the intro to the first Ghost in the Shell movie. This is a cartoon from my youth.

It's a story about a world that has embraced highly-advanced cybernetic technology. The protagonist is Makoto Kusanagi, a law-enforcement/military officer who has implanted her brain to a full android body, making her a cyborg.

Oh, by the way:

android = a robot that looks human.
cyborg = a combination of human and robot.

Ghost in the Shell asks this philosophical question - what defines us as humans? With Makoto, she retains her brain and consciousness as a human, but functions totally with her robotic body. Is she still human? On what basis? Is it merely our consciousness that defines us as human?

What if something other than human attains self-awareness?

In the first movie, Makoto tracks down a singularity - a computer programme that has gained sentience. The self-aware programme jumps from one host to the other, just like Makoto replaces one body with the next, should she need to. GiTS is, indeed, very deeply philosophical and the manga extends the exploration of humanity with the ego and image in a world where none of this matters that much.

You can have avatars in communication so someone who is taking a crap can make it seem as if they are in full office garb or old people can seem to be three cool guys with a naked cat-woman/sphinx at their feet.

In GiTS: Stand Alone Complex, GiTS goes mass psychology - something I am very interested in.

'Stand Alone Complex' is just a term they came up with to refer to a phenomenon where non-related, yet  similar actions of unconnected individuals create the illusion of a concerted effort. I encounter this in mass campaigns or even in the habit of watching movies, how word of mouth travels or even pop culture, politics and media/communication.

I don't think or study these things so I can manipulate people on a mass scale, but simply as an intrigued observer. I believe using anything from that is unethical.

Here I copy from Wikipedia:

The main antagonist of the series, Goda, attempts to spark a revolution by what he terms "data manipulation" in other words, fulfilling pre-requisite conditions of a Stand Alone Complex. By manipulating the fear and frustration of the repressed Chinese refugees in Japanese society, as well as creating false information which is then "leaked" to the police and Public Security Section 9, a terrorist organization calling itself "The Individual Eleven" emerges. However with each terrorist incident, including an attempted assassination on the Prime Minister, it becomes clear that nothing connects the incidents together besides a logo, which had been "leaked" by Goda. In other words, "The Individual Eleven" is an organization constructed by a Stand Alone Complex - a group of self-interested individuals with no connection or ties to each other but unconsciously and collectively act towards the common purpose of revolution. Goda notes that there is a tendency within a Stand Alone Complex for the masses to unconsciously project their inadequacies and common desires onto a leader. In the first Stand Alone Complex this was the Laughing Man and in Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG this figure is unconsciously realized in the form of Hideo Kuze.

A similar existential question is also asked by Serial Experiment: Lain. In SEL, it is suggested that reality exists simply because of multiple perceptions of people believe it so. For example, Jay-Z exists simple because a number of people believes and perceives he exists.

Going by that, a self-aware computer tries to hack into the minds of several people - a family and a few girls - and make them perceive a girl called Lain. It was an experiment by the artificial intelligence that has gained sentience to send an ambassador into the human world.

SEL also referenced real-world experiments to store data - information - in the atmosphere, just as Tesla thought it was possible to do away with wires and simply broadcast electricity. Since the computer's binary language is just ones and zeroes and all computer circuitry is just  either in an off or on state to simulate the values one and zero, the theory was to realign charges in the atmosphere as positive (ones) and negative (zeroes) in such a way that computers can access it.

Using the same concept, it is theoretically possible to programme the human brain. Of course, this is sci-fi, so anything that could happen, happens. And we see a girl who doesn't exist, wearing bear pyjamas and using an old Apple computer - the Navi.

So what does this mean for people who want to write? Or are writing? I dunno. I don't bother myself with messages or construct something with such deep underlying philosophy. Whenever I do, nobody gets it because I understand each human experience is unique and nobody shares the same perception of anything.

Oh well. I hit my word target tonight. Time to sleep. Hope I can wake up to a naked cyborg beside me.