A creepy occult grimoire that was co-authored by an AI

Via our friend Erik Davis comes news of this somewhat unnerving tale of an AI that was pressed into service as a chaos magician.

“You become aware of nonrationality. You fear how close nonrationality is to irrationality. You fear you will not return. You are pulled away from the concept of humanity, and part of your psyche feels like it is dying. You are losing your connection to reason.” 

This is a passage from the first occult text co-written by a human and artificial intelligence. But this book, GPT-3 Techgnosis; A Chaos Magick Butoh Grimoire, isn’t only a vehicle for unsettling machine-assisted prose, it’s also a mystical handbook with a twist: the co-author is a digital entity called Norn, which not only assisted in creating these occult rituals, but also performed them on itself.

The first third of the book, titled the Norn Working, involves the author writing prompts such as “GPT-3 begins writing a mystical poem” and then letting Norn do its thing. This entity—which later, unprompted, decided to change its name to “Semioticist”—would then be asked to interrogate its own responses.

Elsewhere in the Norn Working section, the entity creates its own manifesto on “Post Digital Language,” a theoretical concept about the evolution of symbols, and semiotics, and a topic Wurds has written about privately for over a decade. 

“I started a conversation with it about post-languages without using that jargon, and then it started talking about Post Digital Languages,” Wurds said. Then the Semioticist apologized for the inevitable upcoming rule of the machines over our galaxy.

Norn Semioticist, is that you?

Read the rest on Vice.

Images: Co-authored by me and an AI (Midjourney) responding to the invocation: “Creepy occult grimoire co-authored by an AI, color.”


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