Note — Nov 29, 2020

Decision Trees

Jason Rhys Parry presenting an overview of a number of scenarios; from architect Bradley Cantrell and his co-authors, to artists Tega Brain, Julian Oliver, and Bengt Sjölén, on to theorist Benjamin Bratton. The various theories explored offer different visions of how environmentalism might be automated, circumventing politicians who have done so very little over the last 50 years. Going from a sci-fi-like “fully automated luxury primitivism” where an AI makes decisions and enacts them at scale, to a relatively plausible loop between sensors in an ecosystem finding agency through a legal algorithm enacting their rights (referencing autonomous corporations and legal precedents), the author provides a very intriguing thought experiment where algorithms meet ecosystems.

Beyond collecting climate data, environmental sensors pick up the signs of political paralysis and corruption. […]

Bratton posits is a synthesis: an emerging artificial intelligence that is bent not on monomaniacally murdering humans but on modeling planetary systems and mastering the subtleties of as-yet-undiscovered forms of biosemiotics. […]

Under the current regulations on corporate charters, Lopucki claims, algorithms can legally own property, enter into contracts, seek legal counsel, and even spend money on political campaigns. […]

As far-fetched as these scenarios might sound, many of the legal and some of the technological requirements for their realization are already being put in place. Entities like terra0 could provide a model of how automated environmental management could expand a kind of agency to ecosystems threatened by the Anthropocene. […]

Granting programs trained by nonhuman entities the capacity to generate policy recommendations, file lawsuits, and organize petitions could result in a formidable challenge to a political economy predicated on the denial of ecological agency.