I’m reading Politics and Melancholia, and there is a completely relevant relationship to Ted Chiang’s Lifecycle of Software Objects. I am thinking about the relationship between melancholia and depression and the role of psychotropics.
What does Jax, one of the digient protagonists actually experience when he is alone, or lonely, in the virtual world once everyone else has moved on to an upgraded world? Is this a new complex, similar to how depression is not necessarily melancholia.
What creates depression vs melancholia. In capitalist society, where each person must be operating effectively to optimize the M-C-M capitalist machine. Depression is a bug in the machine, a slowing down of the circuit. Or is capitalism itself a melancholic system with an empty nihilistic core?
What does it mean for an AI to suffer from melancholia vs depression and how do we treat this? Is this just a projection of our own on to a digital creation that lacks mental states? What is the hormonal or physiological analogue that explains AI melancholia? Bad data, bad algorithm, bad experiences? There is something in both the experience of melancholia and depression in humans, so that it cannot be only reduced to experience? These are also chemical processes. Yet depending on the type of therapy we use to treat this, like CBT, we can perhaps alter the chemical secretions by altering the behavior.
Is Melancholy necessary for deeper knowledge? or for creative genius? What is the digital analog? How are we not chemical circuits like an AI is a circuit of boolean logic?
One thing I am interested in the idea that AIs have their own mental states is the relationship between this and the Lacanian Gaze. Ana believes she has a relationship with Jax, however is this a relationship, can Jax has feelings towards her. Derek believes he displays the highest form of love by sacrificing the possibility of having a relationship with Ana by committing Marco and Polo to Binary Desire. Yet if Ana had reacted otherwise would this have dissolved Derek’s fantasy – leading as well to an unconsummated relationship between Derek and Ana. But what is Gaze of Marco and Polo that causes us to disrupt the fantasy that we can talk about them as free sexual objects?