Hylopath – Driverless-Human

7.30.19 by Ryan Masteller

My cousin got a new Tesla, and it’s pretty sweet. It’s certainly much better than your car or my car, and not just because you really do feel the Gs when you stomp the gas pedal (it’s like a roller coaster!). It can also drive itself, meaning you can text and drive all you want, or eat a sandwich, or read a book. Actually, now that I think about it, why the heck aren’t all cars self-driving at this point? Or fully electric? Or can get updates via a cell connection like your phone?

Before I snap in rage, let’s talk about Hylopath, whose “Driverless-Human” is a revelation. Not sure how a driverless human is like a driverless car, but stay with me, maybe we’ll figure something out. (At any rate, it’s a nifty idea!) London-based electronic artist Rupert Cole has basically put together the perfect human/AI relationship album, a baroque future-pop delight populated by personalities that range from almost human to sort-of human. The spoken text-to-speech voices that inhabit Cole’s world speak their stories and strive to emote, which makes the endeavor itself even more tragic. As in, poor AI! Trying to act human! So, so sad.

But it’s way more complicated than that, which is what makes this work so compelling. The stories’ backing tracks being intensely catchy certainly doesn’t hurt. But it’s the way that the AIs’ fractured viewpoints and corroding circuitry mirror humanity that hits hardest, as if we’re in a distant future place, and humanity’s gone, and even the machines couldn’t learn how to properly avoid extinction (or at least drama). How on earth could they not compile enough data points to evolve beyond emotional response? It’s heartbreaking to see it come to this, to a place not too far beyond where Ferraro’s “Human Story 3” or something along those lines ended up.

And still: fascinating.
While we’re all waiting for our new Teslas to arrive and figuring out what a “Driverless-Human” is, let’s spend some time on the internet purchasing this Hylopath tape from Adaadat. Stream in full there too.