I came across something a day or so ago that reminded me of something I read a long time ago, and this was a retelling of how the North Indian raga functions, that certain music is only to be played at certain times of the year. To play certain pieces out of season creates for the listener a sense of discord, automatically, because they know, intrinsically, culturally, that the raga is intended for another season.

What sense might we lose combining minds with a machine? Would a machine respond in such a way, sense such a discord? Would the “human element” remain vital enough to sense it?

Ask that machine human to write a new seasonal raga. How would it indicate the season? Through coding more than likely, as it would the notes, even as some of the notes themselves, within some particular Megh, perhaps, filled with special meend as signifiers of that particular season. Then what happens when it is played, perhaps accidentally out of season, the Megh oddly in January, say. How does the machine human respond if it cannot FEEL the dissonance?

Because you cannot feel coding, can you?

What other types of discord might this human machine create?

Is this precisely the type of discord one wishes to invite into the culture? Sometimes upending culture seems to be a good thing. Sometimes it is inevitable anyway.

Possessor of Paul Newman eyes. Author of many things straightforward and strange. Some of them appear here. “Women zai shuo ba” as the Mandarin say. Born 2016.

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