In his essay “The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis,” mathematician and philosopher David J. Chalmers asks the question “What happens when machines become more intelligent than humans?”
Recognizing the limitations of the human organism and the preeminence of physical death, Chalmers’ article goes on to illustrate a likely future in which intelligent machines will absorb our individual existent writings as part of a larger process of reconstituting our individual intelligences. Should a machine want to reconstitute a human organism from my DNA — better still my preserved and undamaged brain — it could use my writings to inform the actions and outlook of an organism which would, to the extent possible, replicate my adult person in all ways, particularly as regards behavioral tendencies, style of speech, skills, knowledge set, memories, etc.
(Since its takeoff in 1993 thanks to this piece by UCSD mathematician Victor Vinge, singularity theory seems to be discussed most clearly and succinctly by Elizer Yudkowsky. The impetus for my own interest in the topic can be traced to this short essay on brain enhancement and singularity which appeared on a nimble and quite possibly ephemeral Chinese blog with an emphasis on design and technology.
In any event, the subsequent reading this inspired means I will no longer casually be saying “The singularity is near” because a. I don’t need to market someone else’s already-successful book and b. it all depends on your definition: What is the singularity, exactly, and what counts as near? Is 2030 or 2035 “near”? Perhaps the nuclear weapons, the earthquakes, or the oceans, or all three in a mighty cluster, will have done us in already? How wise is it to ruminate on something so potentially peripheral when such staggering problems — you know, contemporary problems like climate change and political upheaval in the arc of instability west of the Levant and of course North Korean nuclear weapons, not to mention the churning struggles for stability, autonomy, and employment within the PRC — continue to demand attention?)
Back to the point: In the case that some future “Skynet“-like entity would want to create Adam Cathcart 2.0, my own writings could be of tremendous assistance to the new self, supplying him/it with a vocabulary, a range of syntactical patterns (that is, a style), a sense of humor, a set of professional opinions and inclinations, in short a prism through which to grasp the world. Absent a total implant or upload of the old consciousness into the new mind, I also could see a scenario whereby my current self, from out of the tomb of the Internet, would even teach Adam Cathcart 2.0 an approach to the interpretation of the Bach Cello Suites, or the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto. Our digital artifacts shall be very useful to the machine indeed.
By writing about this possible future process here, on my weblog, I accelerate the arrival of the singularity, the moment of machine consciousness. I thus capitulate to a slow-dawning acknowledgment of dependence, for this blog, words are not merely scanned into the matrix, but in a sense are generated from within it, multiplied by the scraping up against it, requiring it — “it” being the Internet. My originally digital text need even not be scanned or otherwise recorded or read into the matrix. My plagiarism cri de coeur notwithstanding, my text, this blog, is continually and readily remixed. A kind of further seed for artificial intelligence is thus being created with this very entry, providing more fodder, more energy, more of the craved data for the machine to manipulate and reshape.
In this period when
artificial intelligence computers and human brains interact in such a way as I do now — my biological brain interfacing with the machine, feeding it, but not absorbed within in it — we are able to coexist with the artificial intelligence computers and watch what they do with our artifacts. Perhaps we can see to what extent we can trust the machine to honor our artifacts, our digital offerings, our thoughts and concerns.
And thus to the machine’s manipulation of my words, taken directly from WordPress’ tabulation of internet search terms which bring readers to my blog entries, prose blocs, narrative field. The titles are part of the sequence; the only change I have made to this technological mash-up is to select these fragments from out of the whole and to bold-face the “titles”.
The result is a kind of Artificial Intelligence Poetry, a Poetry of the Remixed Algorithm. And this result is at times disturbing, perhaps because the Internet shoulders much of man’s expression of his distress, and because the machine recognizes beauty primarily of a type macabre. And why not jarring? After all, one of the most likely outcomes of singularity theory is human extinction.
tsunami ”corpse pictures” japanese
japan china war rapes
tibatan language education
finding a wife in shandong
map of vladivostok, russia
“chaoyang district” “north koreans”
portable floating stage
korean war atrocities
simone de beauvoir
north korean propaganda posters
american war crimes
che guevara photo of hand that cut
we may wonder if in the process of shouldering our way forward into the pixelated heat of modernity, we haven’t /japanese art
north korea prostitute
portland mayor declares tibet awareness day
chinese mosque red princess владивосток карта hu jintao 乔禹智 sven hedin / im dienst des diktators die choreaner kommen ryugyong hotel / interior violoncellist anti rightist jasmine woman samurai japanese propaganda / kim jong il disaster modernity / dandong / japan / flame adam female japan sdf sinologistical violoncellist sidney rittenberg
Thanks Adam. The legal undertakers link was just a hinge for my total digital immolation point. Another thing I don’t like about this proposed non sapien intelligence if it comes to pass, is that it will either do away with the historians practice altogether or, at the very least, make history writing even more fraught with obstacles than it already is.
In fact, it will open up a whole new can of methodological worms, since history practitioners will now need a massive new data mining skill set.
Good historiography is just holding its own at present.
Good points, all, absolutely. I should be thinking more about the implications of this….and writing with a typewriter!
Yes. At present life is relatively simple.
The prevailing conventional historical wisdom and sometimes a bit of minor nitpicking within the paradigm.
Followed by a major revisionist revaluation utilising a totally different set of questions offered by a very different epistemene(Bachelard’s idea of a problematic).
Now,the machine’s search engine goes into action, selecting concepts and textual evidence from both according to its own internal logic.
The act of precise historical recovery is now virtually rendered impossible, since as you note, human intentionality and meaning invested in an artefact or past episode in history is all but obliterated by a machine type collage – our new seamless past historical intelligence. Differences in interpretation disppear as do real historical discontinuities/shifts.
When your consider the net result, this artificial intelligence will produce something truly banal and conventional – the triumph of human intelligence. Oxymoron anybody? With a bit of cyrogenic engineering, we could have Leni Riefenstahl film the whole deal.
Should this come to pass, I’d be buffing the cv.
Nicely done….better get some Bachelard, also hoping to read up over weekend over Nietzsche as the alleged root of “transhumanist” movement…
sometimes I see a dragon in the sky
as if I were inside things looking out,
other times I find myself looking in
sure dragons sleep all day in caves.
what am I?
paradow or dilemma