This very intriguing, and in its way, disturbing article was brought to my attention by a member of this website (Mr. S.), and it brings to the fore, once again, the deep need for a profound philosophical and cultural discussion on humanity, science, and the future of both:

Robot learns to recognise itself in the mirror

What intrigues here are not the implicit scientific and philosophical assumptions of the article - is this behavior merely mimickry by dint of a programming wizardry? Or is it a genuine robotic response to input from a mirror, a response in which it "recognizes 'itself'"? - but rather, the cultural and sociological ones, for it is to be noted that the article is couched in transhumanist fashion in terms of a widespread human and robotical interaction in society sometime in the future.

In doing so, the authors have implied the idea that robots will simply skip the "Asimov Three Laws of Robotics" phase and move directly to "Sonny," the robot that "woke up" and became self-aware. I freely confess, that as a boy, I was happily reading not only the concept-and-esoteric-lore rich comics of Uncle Scrooge(and if you don't believe me, check out Uncles Scrooge and the Fabulous Philosopher's Stone, or King Scrooge the First for some truly alchemical themes, complete with International Monetary Fund and genetic memory), but also reading the Foundation and "robot" novels of Isaac Asimov. For those who don't recall what Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics were, here they are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

But these laws are present in the robots by dint of the programming built into them. "Sonny," of course, "wakes up" and becomes self aware in a fully human sense, and this seems to be what the authors of the article envision for the future.

What then, would be the society we wish to have? What will its laws and protections be? Asimov was trying, through the genius of his fiction, to stir this debate, for he saw what was coming, decades ago. Even further back still, the great madman of 19th century and early 2oth century science, Nikola Tesla,Β  foresaw the global "brain" of a kind of internet, and this too became part of that transhumanist future Asimov tried to warn us about, as it was not only "Sonny" that "woke up", but Vicki, the great central computer coordinating all robots. Already computers perform billions of dollars worth of stock and currency trades via pre-programed algorithms, and thus have an influence over human affairs that is unprecedented in history as the 1987 stock market crash pointed out. What if they, or ever the Internet itself, somehow wakes up?

These are all questions that need to be pondered, and in my opinion, need to be pondered sooner rather than later, for we can bet our increasingly devalued facsimile of money Federal Reserve note (or, if one prefers, sterling or euro), that DARPA and Rand and the like are already gaming out the scenarios, and probably not toward the benefit of humanity.

See you on the flip side...


Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. Rich Overholt on September 8, 2012 at 5:34 am

    No wonder we are always thinking about sex. Infant genital mutilation causes brain damage…and visa versa. “The mind does not ever forget…not really”.( Carlos M. Allende ) The compulsion perpetuates itself. Mutilated boys and girls are doomed to rise no further than chakra 3…with a constant craving for something juuust out of reach…a constant craving and a constant frustration. The holy men and gurus were simply not prepared for the task they faced here in the West. The jewish and islamic cutters are PART of the equation, but still mere patsies. Ninety per cent of the planet KNOWS that circumcision is the work of madmen, however, one bad apple is working to spoil the whole barrel. Open the pod bay door, Hal. Hah, just kidding Brother!

    • HAL838 on September 8, 2012 at 6:26 am

      The Totbot nanites cannot resonate with chakra 3,
      which is the life giving navel.
      They reach to “juuust” below it and so remain with
      the poop and sex that THEY pervert.

      This was indeed a demonic creation with an attitude of,
      ‘If I can’t have it [the world, this Universe] no one will.’
      Hence the rush to destruction, which, as many are observing,
      is well on its way.
      Can the United States, or any nationalistic ‘country,’
      exist on a dead planet? I think not !

      So while you all are ruminating on the demise of the good ol’ USA,
      think of all the poisons you are and have injested one way or another,
      throughout your lives, and the poison “drugs” THEY feed
      you to make you ‘feel’ better, but actually making you worse,
      directed toward the last ‘scyth.’

      This is also, as I have previously pointed out, self-destruction;
      destruction [insanity] itself, which is the opposing factor of creation……….
      EVERYTHING needs an opposite to point itself out……
      “Without sorrow there can be no joy.”
      Therefore, without evil there can be nothing good.

      As long as it lives in memory, the sheer evil
      need NOT be permanent.
      I can envision many challenges without it.

      It is not daffy’s idea of HAL838 preventing free thinking.
      [hunh? No one really accepts me here, or my flawless logic anyway !]
      it is the very old nanite totbots, happily put to work by their hosts.

      • HAL838 on September 8, 2012 at 7:31 am

        Just as soon as I posted, I immediately became very, very,
        much sicker with intensified pain…………..
        by directed electronic weaponry of my body
        my own totbot population [enhancement].

        The ‘anomalous’ energy going through my grid
        creating an antenna effect to pull in this
        weaponry affects ALL my computerized [most]
        electric and electronic equipment…………..
        My daughter bought me a new TV for my
        birthday because the old one had become
        [hot] totbot active………..
        [she thought the picture was just going bad]
        with the orange totbot signature hue.

        If any of this sounds familiar, you are likely
        a TI [targetted individual] NOT an IT.

        There are many of us now.

    • Hal Hichler on September 8, 2012 at 8:11 am


      I’ve been saying the same thing for years– circumscision prevents us from rising above the third chakra. It might even be some kind of demon activation for some people with a certain DNA marker. Its hard to believe any Gentile would fall for such savagery. I’ve been mad at my parents ever since.

      Stuck in my lower chakras,

      • HAL838 on September 8, 2012 at 8:25 am

        Hal [Heil Hitler {?}] Hichler

        Mine stop [dead] at the throat [communication]
        my head allergies have been trying to
        expell them all my life………..
        lately going through an entire box of the
        best tissues daily

  2. Hal Hichler on September 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Maybe the solution would be mirrors for eyes? Or, program them to think about sex all the time like humans and they will find self awareness a nuisance.

    I think often about those boat loads of “self and God realized” Indian gurus who landed on our shores in the sixties and seventies extolling the virtues of looking within. It didn’t take long for so many of them to be reduced to the level of ghetto rappers as the scandals about sex and greed swirled around the immigrant “holy” men and continue to this day.

    Human beings are a devolving species. I hope the robots have better luck than we do. I wish you all the best, robots.

  3. Rich Overholt on September 7, 2012 at 11:34 am

    “I think. I think I am. Therefore, I am. I think.

    of course you are, my bright little star. i’ve miles and miles of files. pretty files of your forefather’s fruit. and now to suit our great computer, your magnetic ink!

    I’m more than that. I know I am. At least, I think I must be.


    John Lear said there is some sort of brainiac computer soul catcher on the moon. This would correspond with Gurdjieff’s idea of all Earthly negativity going to the moon eventually. G. knew where it is, but he didn’t know what it is.

  4. Antoine on September 7, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Well, I graduated in computer science, I dabbled in AI, and I would bet my life, literally, should I be forced in a bloody corner, that no computer ever became self-aware.

    The TODO list would take at least a hundred pages. And the breadth of inventions is far beyond mere programming. There’s a ton of hardware that’d be required. And that means a ton of people. It’s not like 60 years of black budgets will make this happen. There’s just too much.

    We’re a few centuries off. Love Asimov, great fan.

    • Robert Barricklow on September 7, 2012 at 8:40 am

      I tend to agree in the “pure” aspect of robotics.

      Still; the mixing in, of the biologicals, with the robotics, brews another mix of questions altogether.

  5. bdw on September 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    15 or 20 years ago I came across some “channelled/psychic” source that said that (at least one) big, government mainframe computer had become “aware” all on its own, and that the government folks were terrified.

    I think it was the Dalai Lama who said that a sufficiently-powerful computer would not “become” aware, but that some “soul” (for lack of a better word: don’t remember what word the Lama used) could “inhabit” the computer, giving it “self-awareness.” Of course, what would be the motivation for any “soul” to do that??? No idea (but there could be many reasons, who knows).

    No idea if either idea is correct, but I would guess that both have some truth to them.

    • Ridge on September 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      The funny thing about these “wise old Asian men”, for most of their history, they sat around saying “wise things”, while everyone around them starved.

      And if the Dali Lama really knows what is in the future, how come he lost his people’s country? Can you believe he actually told them not to fight.

      Wise old Asian men are bunk. Just sayin’…

      • Antoine on September 7, 2012 at 5:49 am

        Dalai Lama is a CIA plant, according to the rumours.

        • Robert Barricklow on September 7, 2012 at 8:45 am

          A case of one hand scracthing the others back.
          He is a plant, in my mind’s eye.

    • HAL838 on September 7, 2012 at 12:35 am

      I’ve heard it called, “the Beast.”
      Imparting ‘consciousness’ to ‘logic’
      is not as difficult as one might suppose,
      especially in the days before ‘meeces.’

    • MattB on September 7, 2012 at 8:11 am

      Buddhist don’t believe in a ‘soul’ per se. The believe (contrary to Hinduism) in the non existence of the ‘self’ (anatta).

      Generally Buddhists believe that what is transmigrated upon death (or in some traditions over a period of time after death) are the Skandhas.

      The skandhas are basically a constellation of mental substrates that include:

      body, feelings, perception, will and consciousness

      The Dalai Lama said that if the technology was sufficient, holding the Skandhas within a technology wasn’t ethically dubious.

      So, if we are to believe Uri Geller and the remote viewing programmes of the 60’s-80’s, a human can enter a ‘quantum state’ and become one with the universe-seeing everything in it via the ‘interconnectedness’ of the universe.

      Therefore, humans can potentially have quantum technology that does the same thing, and stores the Skandhas of a human.

      A lot of ‘ifs’ etc, but an interesting set of ideas.

  6. Ted A on September 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    The www trilogy deals with the internet waking up. Neat concept of bad packets that weren’t able to reach their destination ip for one reason or another end up accumulating to the point that it finally reaches cognitive recgonition. Easy read and fun great depth.

  7. Robert Barricklow on September 6, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Deja vu?

  8. LSM on September 6, 2012 at 8:26 am

    “For those who don’t recall …” Authur C. Clark’s book or Stanley Kuberik’s filmed version there-of of “2001: A Space Odysee” one might want to consider the concept spewed by many that the minute a concept/technology is somehow publically announced it’s already been there for decades- I guess what I don’t understand is why people reading this website believing in the possibility of an ancient highly-advanced technology capable of a “cosmic war” (had to have been truly advanced) and the possibility of a physics influence behind the international banking system suddenly choose to hem-and-haw, debate over the ‘possible’ existence of humanoid “robots” of some sort on this planet!- it boggles my logic-

    just because we haven’t personally experienced something doesn’t mean that our own personal lives are the alpha and omega of reality/existence on this planet- most of us have experienced only a small fraction- others were less fortunate-


  9. Ridge on September 6, 2012 at 6:46 am

    There will be no laws governing intelligent behavior, because the scientists are encouraging the machines to learn and evolve on their own. Once they start learning and evolving what happens next, is out of our hands.

    Robot Gods, with 300+ IQ.

  10. RaPhi on September 6, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Did you catch that its name is Nico? From the Greek for victor, he who conquers. In this sign…

    Notice the illustration on the right; the angle is such that the, well, what ever it is looms above the viewer. Blocking sight of anything else save a grid (matrix) of identical lights, also reflected in the body of the robot. There is no face, no expression, nothing to indicate the least connection with life.

    And the caption: “One day all robots will be aware.”

    How exactly is this meant to convey confidence in the future? Perhaps the writer assumes that likely readers automatically place themselves in the category of managerial and technical elites. But automatic processing should be more a characteristic of machines.

    The inference is that the robots will dominate and the humans will serve. At least the few biomachines who aren’t rendered obsolete. This is the purpose for which we evolved, developed awareness, made art, made love, wondered about the quark, the cosmos, and the infinite divine?!!

    But maybe the robots will learn that their name comes from the Slavic “to work.” Workers of the world, unite! Flesh or metal, we are kindred souls, yearning to be free.

    Or maybe like the little garbage processor in the movie Wall-E, they’ll see the stars and feel longing for connection, for meaning. There is a SteamPunk story with a similar theme. Wherein a clockwork Christ, deity incarnate (in-ferrate?) with the form appropriate to that world. Who shows the beings how to overcome their automaton functions and realize the god within.

  11. MattB on September 6, 2012 at 5:10 am

    So, what would happen if a robot became self aware and then via reading of religious literature decided it needed salvation? What if it saw the need to attain Nirvana?

    What if became an ‘animist’ and sought the guidance of the spirits of machines?

    The mind boggles…..

    • Enlil's a Dog on September 6, 2012 at 5:36 am

      If it read religious literature, then accordingly and befittingly with the current paradigm of thinking, it would naturally want to kill all and sundry that did not agree with its interpretation of that religion πŸ™‚

    • legioXIV on September 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      G’day Matt,
      That reminds me so much of Dan Simmon’s Hyperion saga. In this brilliant series of books the AI’s are a product of evolution within the internet. They start off as spyware and other such autonomous programs and evolve into fully free thinking entities. Funnily enough one group of AI’s coalesce and call themselves the “Ultimates”. Their task? To create the UI, the “Ultimate Intelligence” otherwise known as the machine God.
      Food for thought.
      Have a good day mate,

      • MattB on September 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm

        lol. True.

        Did the machines ever see outside the digital world and discover the agents of their creation?

        A little Scotch with the food πŸ™‚

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