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Florentin Aisslinger — Happy Machines

Poetics of Repetition (Course) — Winter 2019

“One must imagine Machines happy.”

In the famous Greek mythology, Sisyphus was punished by the gods to push a boulder up a mountain. Upon reaching the top, the boulder would roll back down, leaving Sisyphus to start over. He was damned to do this till the end of eternity.

In his book ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ Albert Camus is convinced that, even though Sisyphus is not able to change his circumstances and the meaninglessness of his never-ending task, he is still able to reflect upon it and choose how to interpret his fate and stated: “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

What if the task of Sisyphus would be carried out by a machine? A ball gets pulled up the stairs by a motor and falls back down when reaching the top, this process happens in a loop. The work should give machines a human and poetic level by letting it endlessly repeat a pointless action. Just as machine's existence is doomed with repetition, human life itself is to a large extent repetitive.

Do we lose something when machines take over a large part of our repetitive tasks? Is the discrepancy of men to machines existence diffusing? What if the meaning of life is the repetition itself?