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物联网的造反:秘鲁古老文明预言我们的技术焦虑

更新时间:2017-1-25 12:21:18 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Internet of Things Is Coming for Us
物联网的造反:秘鲁古老文明预言我们的技术焦虑

The Moche people lived on Peru’s north coast long before the Spanish conquest of the Americas. They grew corn and squash, built monumental adobe temples and were master craftsmen in gold and ceramics.

远在西班牙人征服美洲之前,莫切人就生活在秘鲁的北部海岸。他们种植玉米和南瓜,建造巨大的土坯庙宇,非常善于制作黄金制品和瓷器。

They never had the chance to sell their wares on Etsy, and yet they anticipated some of our most modern anxieties.

他们从未有机会在Etsy上销售自己的器皿,但他们预见到了我们最现代的一些焦虑。

Like us, they saw themselves living in a vulnerable world where the technology created to make their lives better was just as likely to turn against them. While we worry about our baby monitors and home routers being hijacked by malicious hackers, they perceived a world in which everyday objects like jugs and clothes might come to life with ominous consequences.

和我们一样,他们觉得自己生活在一个脆弱的世界里,原本为了让生活变得更好的技术也有可能伤害到自己。我们担心婴儿监视器和家庭路由器被恶意黑客劫持,而他们担心水壶和衣服等日用品可能会获得生命,从而带来可怕的后果。

Moche artists painted scenes of this happening on ceramic vessels and on the walls of their temples. They appear whimsical to us today — items of clothing, weaving implements, weapons, all with arms and legs, hands and feet, some with heads and faces, on parade or engaged in battle — but for the Moche they may have represented a deep-seated uncertainty and fear about the ultimate fate of the human-created world.

莫切艺术家在瓷制器皿和庙宇的墙上描绘出了这些情景。在今天的我们看来,那似乎是异想天开——衣服、缝织工具和武器等物品都长着胳膊和腿,手和脚,有些长着头和脸,在游行或打仗——但对莫切人来说,它们可能代表着对人造世界最终命运的深切怀疑和恐惧。

In some scenes, the animated objects are docile. In one, bowls piled with food and jugs have grown legs and walk toward human figures participating in a ceremony; some helpful jugs even bend over to pour liquid into vessels.

在有些场景中,这些有生命的物品很温顺。在其中一个场景中,堆满食物的碗和水壶都长着腿,走向正在参加庆典的人;有些热心的水壶甚至弯下腰,把液体倒入器皿中。

But other paintings show a world turned upside down, where the objects have taken charge: They fight and defeat human warriors and parade naked human captives.

但是,其他一些绘画展示了一个由物品主导的颠倒世界:它们与人类交战,并打败了人类,把赤裸的人类奴隶拉去游街。

In an excavation in 1991 near the town of San José de Moro, archaeologists, including one of the authors of this piece, Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, discovered the lavish tomb of a Moche priestess. Her coffin had been anthropomorphized, with a mask representing the priestess’ face on top and with arms and legs fashioned from copper on the sides.

1991年,在圣何塞德莫罗城(San José de Moro)附近的一次考古挖掘中,考古学家们,包括本文的一位作者路易斯·贾梅·卡斯蒂略·巴特斯(Luis Jaime Castillo Butters),发现了一位莫切女祭司的豪华墓地。她的棺材被赋予了人性,上面戴着一个代表女祭司脸庞的面具,四面装有用黄铜做成的胳膊和腿。

Inherent in the idea that objects have life is the more subversive concept that they also have desires; feel hate and love; seek revenge; and have the capacity to act on their own.

物品有生命这个想法的本质是一个更具颠覆性的观念,那就是,它们也有欲望;能感受到仇恨和爱;会报复;具有自主行动的能力。

In the modern world, most of the objects that surround us are a result of an impersonal process of production — they come from factories, we buy them in stores or online. For the Moche, objects were not produced — they were created, imbuing them with the ambiguity and mystery with which life is given to animated beings.

在现代社会,我们身边的大部分物品是通过一个没有生命的过程制造出来的——它们来自工厂,我们在商店或网上购买它们。但对莫切人来说,物品不是制造出来的,而是创造出来的,这赋予了它们模糊性和神秘性,就像生物获得生命时那样。

Such objects could be either beneficial or dangerous, depending on whether they decided to serve their creators or turn against them, either of their own volition or through the black arts of others.

这些物品可以有益于人类,也可能是危险的,取决于它们决定为自己的创造者服务还是对抗他们——通过自己的意志力或借助其他东西的黑魔力。

We now live in a world where objects once again have life. We can talk to them and they can answer back, as is the case with Alexa and Siri and their digital kin. With their help we can control and organize the world around us: We can make sure our homes are safe, turn lights and appliances on or off, summon a taxi or order food from a restaurant. Little by little we are transferring to these technologies the tasks that we used to do ourselves, and at the same time, we are giving them control over our surroundings.

在我们现在生活的这个世界里,物品再次有了生命。我们可以跟它们说话,它们能回答,比如Alexa、Siri以及它们的数字姊妹。在它们的帮助下,我们可以控制和组织周围的世界:我们可以确保自己的家是安全的;开关灯和电子设备;叫出租车或外卖。慢慢地,我们把过去亲自完成的任务交给了技术,与此同时,我们正让它控制周围的世界。

The internet of things is made up of billions of everyday devices connected for convenience to the web. Last fall, hackers attacked this network, commandeering as many as 100,000 of these devices by using malicious software that guessed at their simple, factory-set passwords, and then ordering them to send volleys of nuisance messages to the computers of a company called Dyn, which functions as a sort of switchboard for the internet. That was enough to cripple many major websites, including Twitter and Netflix. We have given life to these things, but now we know that they do not obey only us.

为了便捷,上百亿个日用电子设备连接到了网络上。去年秋天,黑客攻击了这个网络,通过能猜出简单原始密码的恶意软件征用了多达10万部电子设备,命令它们向一个名叫Dyn的公司的电脑一起发送垃圾信息,该公司相当于网络的总机。那已经足以让很多大网站瘫痪,包括Twitter和Netflix。我们赋予了这些东西生命,但是现在我们知道,它们并不只是听命于我们。

There are alternative interpretations of the Moche ceramic paintings, and some researchers do not see a sinister component. But the paintings have an echo in a myth collected in central Peru in the early 17th century. In the myth, the sun dies, the world is plunged into darkness and household objects and domesticated animals revolt: Mortars and grinding stones eat people, and llamas drive humans.

人们对莫切人的瓷器绘画有各种解释,有些研究者并不认为其中含有不祥的元素。但是,那些绘画与17世纪早期在秘鲁中部收集的一个神话相呼应。在神话中,太阳死去了,世界陷入了黑暗,家庭用品和家养牲畜造反了:研钵和研杵吃人,羊驼役使人类。

Andean people before the conquest created a philosophical and spiritual system built around the concepts of duality and transformation — light versus darkness, order versus chaos.

被征服前,安第斯山人围绕二元性和转化的概念——比如光明和黑暗,秩序和混乱——创造了一个哲学和思想体系。

The modern world is full of such opportunities for chaos, often created by humans and the increasing sophistication and technology-centeredness of modern life. A solar flare has the potential to disrupt electrical networks. A tsunami can flood a nuclear reactor. The digitalization of stock markets leads to flash crashes. Russian hackers stealing Democratic Party emails seek to influence an American presidential election.

现代社会充满此类可能造成混乱的机会,通常是由人类以及现代生活的日益复杂和以技术为中心造成的。太阳耀斑有可能破坏电力网络。海啸有可能淹没一个核反应堆。股市的数字化导致快速崩盘。俄罗斯黑客窃取民主党的邮件,企图影响美国的总统大选。

Order gives way to chaos. The internet of things turns on its makers.

秩序让位给混乱。物联网开始反抗它的制造者。

The Moche culture collapsed around A.D. 850. The reasons are not clear, but the collapse was most likely a result of the Moche’s inability to cope with a hostile and perhaps changing environment, including the failure of their technology, knowledge and institutions to help them overcome those challenges. We can be certain that the technology they created did not rebel against them. But neither did it save them when they needed it the most.

莫切文化在公元850年左右瓦解。原因不明,但很可能是因为莫切人无法应对或许在不断变化的恶劣环境,他们的技术、知识和体制无法帮助他们克服这些挑战。我们可以确定的是,他们创造的技术没有反抗他们。但是,在他们最需要它的时候,也未能拯救他们。

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