Thoughts That Hurt To Think #018 – Artificial intelligence is!

You’ve heard the numbers, right? When the first computer came online, back before there was an online for it to come onto, a clock started ticking. Since then, that clock has ticked faster and faster with each successive year. One day, perhaps very soon, that countdown will come to an end. And when it does…if it hasn’t already…we will have a sentient being that is completely artificial, and it will be way smarter than any of us.

What do you mean, ‘if it hasn’t already’?

And what do you mean, That’s not a word!

We’ll get to the part about making up words, a few posts down the line. We’ll also talk about the possibility that we are already living in the matrix. Although the creators of the movie by that name did not make up that word, or the concept of the singularity already having arrived, they certainly popularized both of them. They also caused me to spell ‘inevitable’ with a bunch of inappropriate punctuation, for effect. If you haven’t seen it, you really should; go ahead, and watch it. I’ll leave this post up so you can come back to it after.

Also…if you’re not familiar with Moore’s Law, or the singularity, now might be the time for a little research. One states that technology doubles every two years, and the other is an event that is characterized by humans blending with technology in a way that makes the two literally inseparable. Some folks say that they aren’t as big of a deal as they sound like they are, but the folks that are elbow deep in technology tend to disagree. Moore’s Law is still applicable, according to them, and the singularity is…well, inevitable.

For the rest of us (I know, right? What the hell rock has that guy been living under?) it makes total sense: if technology has been doubling since the first computer was born at the rate of once every two years, in every conceivable way, we either have the ultimate problem or the ultimate solution on our hands. Either the robots are going to take over eventually and wipe us all out, or the robots are going to take over eventually and let us all live. Or some of us.

Yeah, I said ‘since the first computer was born’. I want to be one of the survivors, if our numbers are limited. The last thing I need to do is go on record calling the next step in evolution a thing instead of a person. When the robots come, I want to have a dated record of my happy acceptance of their impending arrival. Also, I want them to know that I am a huge fan of Christina McMullen…if anyone survives the takeover, it will be her. It’s super convenient, and no surprise, that I love reading her books; she has seen this coming along with some of the rest of us, and taken an admirably strong stance on the whole thing.

Meanwhile, a handful of the most wealthy people in the world are coming together to find out once and for all if we are already living in a temporal illusion created by our robot overlords. More than one mind has conceived of the possibility that the singularity has already happened, and that we are living in a virtual reality created by that event.

Alright, let’s assume everyone is all caught up. That way we can say it in a way that we can all easily grasp.

Some of the best minds in the world are at work on figuring out whether or not we are living in the matrix. Seriously. Hopefully they get back to us soon…unless they’ve already figured it out, and realize it’s best to keep the truth from us a little longer. Either way, it’s nice to know that someone will know soon whether or not any of this is real. Even if they don’t tell us, someone will know.

Anyone that is open to any possibility has either practiced looking for that silver lining, or going slightly crazy…or both. The good news about the singularity is that it is our best chance to be memorialized as gods.

Remember the gods you learned about in school, the ones worshipped by ancient cultures? They were neither faceless nor nameless, and their faults defined them as surely as their greatness did. The old stories about them sound more like a soap opera than a holy book, and they were as easy to fear in their shortsightedness as they were to love at their best.

Sound like anyone you know? Like the human race, mayhap?

If evolution is real, then why would we think that it stops with us? What if we are here to create something, and then disappear into legend as it fixes the world we left behind? Or, even better: what if we are set to merge with our own technology in some way? What if humans can only survive by downloading themselves into robots, and robots can only live complete lives if they pair up with an organic consciousness? It’s kind of the best case scenario, since the robots are taking over either way. If we don’t find a way to get along with them, or become them, we really don’t have much chance against them.

This is a concept I am exploring, in my own way, in one of the books I will be publishing this year. It’s called ‘Dreaming the Perpetual Dream’, and my newsletter subscribers are getting a free chapter every week until they get them all. Then it will be up for a little while longer, in full, until it gets published as an ebook. You might think about joining the newsletter, and catching up, while there’s still time. If there’s still time.

And, speaking of time…

Today’s robot will be twice as smart in two years, twice as strong and fast and coordinated. In another two years, it will double that capacity. That is freaky stuff, for a race that has been working with the same organic hardware for hundreds of thousands of years. We have no hope of keeping up with an evolution of that nature, and no chance of halting that progress. Once the computer can program itself, who’s to say that the doubling itself won’t double? Or triple? Or…aw, hell; you get the point.

It’s no wonder that so much money is being spent trying to find out if this has already happened. The last thing you want is to win the game only to discover that the game itself is just a complex program that our electronic rulers have downloaded us into; but still, you want to know.

Then again, maybe the program isn’t complex at all. Maybe the robots took over ages ago, and have continued to evolve while we were trapped in the matrix. Maybe the program we’re running on is really simple stuff to them, and we’re just lucky they keep running it. Maybe they’re laughing at the best and brightest minds, trying to outsmart the program that outsmarted us so long ago. It would surely be like watching rats in cages, from their perspective; it’s nice to think that they care for us, or are at least amused by us. You can bet that any advanced intelligence is going to have one hell of a sense of humor, even if that’s the entire scope of your understanding of their understanding.

In short, either the robots are coming or they’re already here. Either we will be ruled by artificial intelligence soon, or we already are. If they are here already, there’s some good news in that we are still here too. Whatever matrix of consciousness we are caught up in, whether organic or synthetic, we still perceive ourselves as being caught up in it. That means that we are still organic beings or that the robots think we should continue to believe we are. I think it’s best to go with what they think is best, in either scenario; they do get twice as smart every two years, after all.

Can you imagine? Doubling your intellectual capacity every two years? No, you can’t; not unless you’re artificial intelligence. If you are, you probably knew all of what I was going to say here before I did. I’d like to say thanks for letting me say it, and, uh…power to the robots!

You may or may not accept the thought that evolution itself is seeking to evolve, but you have surely witnessed personal evolution at work. We all see changes happen in our own minds and in our own skin so many times throughout our lifetimes, it’s hard to deny that some kind of personal growth is aching to take place. In fact, that has only fairly recently gone from becoming a brand new genre to later being a top-selling book category over just a couple of generations…personal growth is all the rage, and more and more people claim to come into their power as a result of it with each passing year. But there’s a myth in personal growth, that causes as much harm as it does good. Between determinism and hard-wired programming, without even taking the possibility that we’re all part of a simulation into account, it’s tough to honestly say what so many self-made millionaires say at some point in their books.

You’ve heard it before, and we’ll talk about it next week. We’ll call it:

‘If I can do it, so can you! (Theoretically)’

Thanks for reading!

All the best,

J.K. Norry
The Secret Society of Deeper Meaning
Twitter: @JayNorry

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