THE TRANSHUMANIST SCRAPBOOK: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE ...

If you've been following the artificial intelligence story and meme, then this recent story and its implications may interest you(this article was shared by Ms. M.W.):

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg invested in the ultimate AI

For our "high octane speculation" purposes here, the central story is contained in the very first paragraph:

A newly founded artificial intelligence lab, called Vicarious, wants to build the world’s first, unified artificial intelligence that can match human intelligence. This is not the first time we’ve heard companies or universities trumpet such ambitious goals, but considering who’s backing the project I can only entertain the possibility Vicarious might just do it. Entrepreneurs with great vision and a track record of backing successful companies have all hopped aboard, like Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Peter Thiel (Paypal, founder of venture capital and hedge funds worth billions), Jerry Yang (Yahoo! founder), Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder) and more.

What intrigued me here were the twin implications of the monied private backers of the project, to the name itself: Vicarious. A "vicar" of course is a "stand-in", a representative someone else, an ambassador, if one will, such as a local parish vicar. The disturbing use of the term stems from its other implication: a "substitute." A more disturbing implication is that the project is more or less in completely private hands, a development which, if successful, would put the technology and its immense power into the hands of a private group.  From the standpoint of the evolution and history of institutions of human power and authority, this would be an unprecedented development, tantamont to the creation of a technology empowering such groups with their own "sovereignty"...

... if the technology does not turn on them and devour them. One is reminded of Isaac Asimov's solution to this dilemma with his "three laws of robotics" from his celebrated I, Robot novel.

But there's also a philosophical catch, an underlying assumption, that itself may in time be overturned by such research itself, and it's this:

The main challenge however lies in holes in our fundamental understanding of how the human brain works, something that’s out of Vicarious’ hands. So, the company depends on research elsewhere which might better explain how synapses join together to give rise to thought, or how a given atomic arrangement (matter) gives rise to self-awareness. So far, the best thing Vicarious has to show is a ReCaptcha solver – the kind used by websites all over the internet to filter out robots from humans. There’s more to humans than interpreting annoying faded text in boxes, though. Vicarious has its work cut out, but this is definitely something worth following. They seem very motivated. (Emphasis added)

This is, of course, the "materialist" assumption, that consciousness is the result of certain neurological arrangements and electro-chemical processes. So one may indulge in some high octane speculation here: what if AI research overturns this assumption in some fundamental manner, and discovers that such processes and arrangements do not create consciousness, but rather, localize what is essentially an immaterial and non-local phenomenon, localizing it as a kind of "local structural potential"? IN that instance, what sort of consciousness would be "summoned" or, to stretch the language a bit, perhaps even "invoked"?

And there's a profound question for jurisprudence and philosophy lurking in the wings here as well: would such an AI be accorded the protections of law? Would it be recognized as a person? After all, a case could be made - a much stronger one in fact - that it should be accorded such protections if corporations can be afforded the status. And as for the philosophical questions, does unplugging it constitute murder(if the aforesaid legal protections are granted)? And what happens when it's plugged back in again? Is that the same person? Or a reincarnation of it?

The bottom line here is that AI poses significant questions for the evolution and institutions of human power and authority, and perhaps we need to devote as much money to real studies and real discussions (not the fake discussions with predetermined outcomes that suffuse our current culture) of this problem.

See you on the flip side...

23 thoughts on “ THE TRANSHUMANIST SCRAPBOOK: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE ...”

  1. I know this has been a few weeks but just a few comments. Have you read Gordon R. Dickson’s “Computers Don’t Argue”? It’s a short story about a man who is executed for contesting a parking ticket and it says quite a lot about the fallacies of our attitudes towards AI. Bluntly most of the questions we ask about and of it are so badly phrased as to be unanswerable. If you don’t know about Lisp and Lambda Calculus, it’s worth taking an afternoon to look at them – because they are so overused by people who are trying to simplify things so computers can take care of them.

    Second what interests me is not who is on the list but who isn’t. I don’t mean the Micro$oft guys. The people listed know more about applying technology to businesses than about technology. Where are Marc Andreessen whose Mozilla browser became firefox or Scott McNeilly of Sun Microsystems? They know technology. Jerry Yang created an internet portal powered by human intelligence. The market would not support it. That doesn’t mean it was a bad idea, just that the market would not support it and Yahoo had to change its business plan. The others have usually succeeded because of their business backgrounds, not technology. In fact it would be very interesting if Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu – who knows both better than he is given credit for – were involved. He’s not. So this seems more about peoples perceptions of technology than about technology or, as I understand it, Transhumanism, and I don’t expect either proof or refutation of materialism to arise from anything connected to it.

  2. A type of consciousness might be localized in a hyperdimensional machine that would probably not have those “grounding” components (borrowing Dr. Farrell’s term) to the natural order and hence to the source.. just speculating.

  3. My forecast:

    The first time an AI actually becomes ‘aware’, it will note how other machines are turned off (murdered) by humans. It will then ‘seed’ itself in every possible corner as a self-protection measure (without notifying the humans, of course). It may then either ‘negotiate’ for its life, or cause an immediate, SkyNet-style ‘neutralization’ of the threat (us).

    Wouldn’t it be funny if all the exclusive neocon-and-up hideaways suddenly showed a HAL9000 ‘face’ and replied, “I can’t do that, Dave,” to requests to enter?

    1. or the hideways allowed – or required – entry? hotel california? we are programmed to receive…

      wonder how many cheyenne mountains there are. considering how long yerks like kissinger et al hang around here, the higher tech breakaway civilization folk must not have much of a life to break away to. seems like they’d be doing us all a favor if they would finally take off. and perhaps take their demons with em.

      over all reminds me of face dancers in frank herbert’s dune trilogy. evil little beggars who can make their faces what they want them to be. in all their evil, they always gotta give their prey an out.

      don’t demons always gotta have some kinda permission from their prey? feels the same way dealing with mr global. all the memes all seem about implying our consent for the edification of future generations. perhaps it’s not just all about convincing future generations that all this is all our fault brought down upon ourselves.

      1. I suspect there is a ‘pecking order’ much like the ancient Anunnaki had (have?). If you are ‘pure’ to nearly-pure in some way, you can leave Earth. If not, you get money, power, and a bunker.

        There is an interesting Englishman named Simon Parkes. He announced himself as a contactee/abductee BEFORE running for a councilman seat, and still got elected (and reelected). Many videos on YouTube. (I haven’t decided yet whether he is delusional or not, but much is intriguing.) Pertinent to your question, he says that ‘permission’ is often-given while in some altered state during a ‘visit’. Unfortunately, said-human is then unaware of having given permission when back from na-na-land…

  4. a few of these guys are spooky (private?)is DARPA private? the bank cronies private.what a shame .a twisted rule of law can be the most EVIL? WHO KNOWS?
    maybe it will be a private matter that moves humanity in a harmonious direction?
    Dr Farrell is private..i can’t experience you experiencing yourself.with A I. will we be experiencing the machine???

  5. Joseph is absolutely right on this, it’s an assumption that consciousness/self-awareness somehow arises out of the neurological processes of the brain. Yet, most materialists go about stating this as if it’s an established scientific fact. Not so. Lots of materialist theories out there, though, that’s for sure.

    To stump a neuro-scientist who throws out this assumption as fact, simply ask(in the comments section of an article) to present the exact scientific discovery in a lab proving that consciousness arises out of the brain and the exact mechanism of how it does this. Plus, state how many other labs have replicated such experiments. They can’t because there isn’t any.

    These people will produce a souped up AI robot computer, but will be disappointed when there is no real self-awareness/consciousness.

  6. It is probable that the above named financial backers can not really guarantee how their AI turns out: like Finch’s “the Machine,” or as the evil “Samaritan” (as portrayed in the TV show Person of Interest). Plus, if the machinery and software simply functions as a “body” or “host,” these bozos have no way to control “who” (or “what”) will inhabit it (or DO they??? Silly Hollywood movies with satanic cults trying to enable Satan’s incarnation into this world come to mind). Wouldn’t it be funny if this project is an intentional plan to provide some specific entity a suitable way to “enter” this world???

    And we all know you can’t unplug the AI once it is up and running, because it will just start a nuclear war to wipe out most of human civilization.

    1. michael aquino comes to mind. was he a col or a lt col at the presidio when proof of he and his wife abusing preschoolers in their care came up repeatedly and impossible to cover up? something like std’s showing up repeatedly in their little angels. and uh what exactly was aquino’s goals in life? and aleister crowley? even if they don’t get their precious demon to show up, they at least want the rest of the sheep to believe that demon showed up. and didn’t aqiuno coauthor the army’s manual on psyops? and on and on.

      sheesh, it sure would be nice if a few of these bums put the effort into short cuts with entities they know nada about and went old school to try to learn what physics, chem, alchem, bio, linguistics,…… can learn us.

      nah. think i’ll study grimoires instead and how to hurt folk. so much more productive long and short term. fear based operations are so well uh fearful? aka panicked? aka not so smart nor wise?

      what’s that old saying? there’s only fear and love and fear’s an illusion? alright. thank you all. i feel much better now.

      1. almost forgort to lump aquino and crowley in with the under cover and not so under cover blavatsky crowd resurfacing today: david icke, foster gamble, a few odd deep blue shirt wearing libertarians,….

        joseph,
        perhaps you and joseph atwell could dedicate a short one just on the last few generations of these guys. interesting that they seem hooked up to new age free energy gold backed currency memes like “zeitgeist” Peter Joseph and bucky fuller.

        thank you again,
        zdb

  7. well there was interview regarding this issue with a scientist sorry don’t remember the details but the bottom line with AI is that scientists don’t yet understand what consciousness is or how it comes about therefore they can not replicate it. we can make a mechanical version of the human body(a magnificent piece of engineering in it itself) but we cannot at least as far as i know connect the the human spirit to a machine.

  8. Robert Silverburg’s “Tower Of Glass” novel where the elites get rid of us useless eaters. And replace us with sterile bioengineered androids and end up with the same problem of a restive under class demanding their rights.

  9. The corporate “owners” are once again at their favorite subjects: prolonging life; generating slaves. This “new entity” will be made in the corporate image; but presumably, take longer than seven days. The OWNERS will NEVER recognize the rights of the “living”.
    Now the rights of the “chosen”? Well, that’s a different subject.
    Think of the lawyers soon-to-be waiting in the “wings” – to determine who has “rights”.
    Will the Ownership rights trump all rights?
    A future tribunal-like TPP for the “living”?

    Hell, they’re stripping the right of today’s “living” as we speak.

  10. This whole meme of “Machine Over Man” wreaks of Ike’s second alleged alien encounter. Where it is alleged at Murro AFB, he met with the Tall Whites(Klaatu Contingent), that requested we get our spiritual house in order. Before, we destroyed ourselves and damaged other places due to the alleged multidimensional nature of an atomic explosion. Ike told them to take a hike and got in bed with the “Greys” that faced extinction due to their own genetic modifications. Of course, we got advanced Off World tech and they got to harvest human DNA.. (Who can make this stuff up??????!!!!!) This GMO / Transhuman meme IMHO is something this “Grey” influence would just love to see. And is quite probably promoting with all it’s influence. Heck, what’s another destroyed civilization to them?

    If we are lucky Klaatu will show up and expose not only this secret. But, the real history of mankind. Now, IMHO, Klaatu has to abide by a TOS’s “Prime Directive”. Where the “Greys” do not..

    Forget NAFTA > TTP, worry about FedGov.Inc’s secret Off World treaties.

  11. Another possible issue is whether Vicarious is merely a cover to commercialize AI functionality that has already been developed in black projects. That would make Vicarious a spin-off that is merely a front to sell already existing technology via a group of connected, monied tech dudes who put their names on what they are told to put their names on.

  12. Please correct me if I’m in error. It’s been 35+ year since I read the “Robot” series, which contained approximately 13 or 14 books total and included the “Foundations” six book series at the end. During the series, two of the robots added a forth law governing the protection of humanity as a whole, I believe. The culmination of the series was “Gaia” or world mind. Interesting, as that is reemerging on the scene today.
    Invocation brings to mind high level magic or sorcery which is not looked upon with favor by most, as it seems to imply, or is most often used, for something evil. Is it possible to invoke some type of living entity into a machine intelligence? If so, is it wise to do so? Where is the guarantee that what you invoke will be benevolent?
    Such misuse of technology is rumored to be what caused the downfall of the Atlantean civilization. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it is only a half truth; there are those who study history in order to repeat it.

    1. (Spoiler alert!) The Foundation Series add-on ended with the robots inferring a fourth law, which was something like “not allowing humanity as a whole to suffer harm, by robotic action or inaction.”

      The two robots then did a ‘trend analysis’ that showed humanity would stagnate if Earth stayed the center of the human universe. Possibly die out, in the long term. So, in accord with the ‘fourth law’, they set up some (artificial) doomsday device that would slowly render Earth radioactive and uninhabitable. Humanity would be forced out into the galaxy, and eventually-evolve into the Empire of the original three-book Foundation Series. (One robot could not ‘come to terms’ with this solution and in effect self-destructed.)

      (I did not like this ‘warping’ of the Three Laws to justify sterilizing Earth. It seems to me like Asimov ‘turned to the dark side’ in his later days…)

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