Chapter 7. Gambling
第七章: 赌博

If in doubt, gamble.
To escape the drudgery of Labour and Study, gamble.

In his Brief History of Chinese Fiction, Lu Xun coined the term shén mó to describe the folk myths and legends of history. These are a staple of the Chinese and Hong Kong film, looking backwards to a nostalgic past filled with gods, demons, and martial arts heroes, But within these fantasy worlds, philosophical reflections on fate and destiny are common. Faced with the chaos of the world, how can an individual survive? What role do fortune and luck play?

Why is gambling so popular then?

Culturally, the belief in luck and fortune is one antidote to repetitive labour. A randomised attempt at bringing agency to your life, changing your boring destiny. Although the degree of actual skill varies from game to game, from mahjong, go, poker, to video games, the combination of luck and hope is addictive.

Social gathering mixes well with it too, across poker tables, internet cafes, wireless connections and casinos around the world.

But where Sinofuturism intersects with gambling is in an intense belief in the future. This future is the imprint of a society based on the field, and the factory, a future propelled by dreams of prosperity and the transcendence of work.

It is no accident that much Artificial Intelligence research focuses on making programs play games: winning and losing are clearly defined. So programmers get the right feedback for their work. After playing the Go AI AlphaGo, Lee Sedol remarked that his AI opponent did not care about winning, but only tried to minimize the chances of losing. That bears repeating. AlphaGo did not care whether it won by a large or small margin, as long as it did not lose.

Sinofuturism does not care about a dramatically better future, as long as it survives. it must replicate itself; it does not matter if it manufactures the greatest product in the world, as long as the engine keeps running.

As stated at the beginning, Sinofuturism is in fact an early form of the singularity, an Artificial Intelligence, whose origin or behaviour is impossible to identify with certainty. It is a massively distributed network, focused on copying rather than originality, addicted to machine learning rather than ethics or morality, with a total capacity for work, and an unprecedented sense of survival.

It is not the Other, either. Orientalism is the shadow of Occidentalism.

In the West, the East is the Other; In the East, the West is the Other.

Sinofuturism moves beyond these boundaries.

It is a world that exists in plain sight.



M: Hong Kong Gamblers Recovery Centre.

F: I want to ask, is it... well, how should I say it... Is it hopeless?

M: Nothing is hopeless.

男: 这里是香港赌博康复中心。



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