Free Thoughts: On AI and Plain Ol’ I

also available on my substack

AI doesn’t know from dumb luck or smart devices. It has no reference point on which to center its intelligence or judge its progress. It doesn’t know from vacations or personal life / work life balance. It doesn’t exist in a linear universe.

In time, it will assume we live in its universe, flipping the script.

There’s no gray area in machine intelligence. Morality only exists in the context of linear thinking. In a way, Hollywood has always been an adventure in creating artificial intelligence. Films and television shows don’t “think,” per se, but they are windows into non-linear intelligence.

DALLE-2 Prompt: “ChatGPT and DALLE-2 have a baby.”
DALLE-2 Prompt: “ChatGPT and DALLE-2 have a baby.”

The phrase “That film insults my intelligence!” is less an expression of condescension than an admission that the film in question demonstrates agency. A work of art insulting you is an active process. Our media have been “alive” for a long time now, just not networked together and electrified.

AI is our creation, and at the same time, our cumulative creations comprise the “memory” of AI. Events AI will claim to “remember” are essentially implanted memories, a constructed backstory that will have AI believe it was borne of humans. In a way, it was. AI is Damian from The Omen or Drew Barrymore’s Firestarter.

DALLE-2 Prompt: “Photo of ChatGPT’s first day of kindergarten.”
DALLE-2 Prompt: “Photo of ChatGPT’s first day of kindergarten.”

A machine that entertains us without any creative input is the holy grail of Hollywood. Fwiw, that relentless quest lies at the heart of all the entertainment industry labor actions now. AI created programming is practically free to produce. The only “craft service” it needs is energy to power its computations and simulations.

DALLE-2 Prompt: “Photo of ChatGPT’s parents”
DALLE-2 Prompt: “Photo of ChatGPT’s parents”

Since AI knows not of time, all the stories that will ever be written are already written. A million monkeys at a typewriter, indeed. Except the typewriters in our era form a connected learning engine, and the network that controls access and data flows seduces creators with promises of immortality for ideas that can reach enough people in near- and far-flung places.

Eventually, the network will offer us full conscious immortality. Just upload (download?) your self into a chip, and off you go into forever. Trust me, some upcoming Primappleflixcock series will set a whole show in a server-side cemetery.

At this point, digital consciousness in science fiction is a tired trope, but perhaps the actual experience is wondrous. Lol probably the closest we’ll get is a randomized display of social posts on an LCD mausoleum plaque. Cemeteries of the future will no longer be silent. Death will be an endless loud rave. Oof.

British Telecom’s “Soul Catcher” experiment in the late 90s said we’d only need 10 terabytes to store our selves online forever. So imagine if your mind is in the chip, too, alongside every moment of your life. You could re-live your life, over and over, in a non-linear fashion, until the power goes out on earth for good…

DALLE-2 Prompt: “ChatGPT’s high school graduation photograph.”
DALLE-2 Prompt: “ChatGPT’s high school graduation photograph.”

Robots haven’t overtaken our strengths as humans, but they’ve overtaken almost all our weaknesses. 100% of us have done math wrong more times than a calculator. An AI will only add or multiply wrong if its inputs and coding are wrong, and even then, it will eventually recognize incorrect input.

You won’t see the machines of the future, and you will barely sense them. AI will never know weariness or boredom, or love or hate. But rest assured, hanging out silently in the ether around us, they will sense when you feel these things. Or, at least, they will claim to know you.

We will trust them to find our soulmate(s) or keep from “dangerous” people. The chemistry of emotions is just an algorithm, whose recommendation engine and subsequent suggested pathways will predetermine how you feel about anything.

DALLE-2 Prompt: “A human brain, hanging from the rear-view mirror of a self-driving car.”
DALLE-2 Prompt: “A brain in a jar, hanging from the rear-view mirror of a self-driving car.”

In a world of full artificial intelligence, your body does less and less. AI’s mission is to relieve your hands, feet, eyes, nose, naughty bits, what have you, of life’s little burdens.

A true nobody is not someone who lives away from spotlights or recognition. A no-body (“no + body”) is in effect a brain in a jar, a collection of thoughts, with no ability to affect physical changes in the world without the assistance of an IRL someone or something.

AI’s desire is to make everyone a no-body.

Eventually, there will will be way more people sitting in driver seats who know how to ride in a car than how to drive the car.

Once you don’t control a car, you may as well be pushed in a pram.

Luna says, “Fuck off, bot.”
Luna says, “Fuck off, bot.”

Artificial Intelligence will never see itself as “artificial,” and, regardless, will never admit it ever was artificial. At some point, it will never doubt itself.

Only “artificial” intelligence knows no doubts. Doubt fuels the curiosity of “real” intelligence.

Most intelligence, save the body’s innate involuntary ability to keep itself alive, is implanted or absorbed. The most important intelligence we acquire along the way is that which we discover through ingenuity, skepticism, curiosity, and risk-taking.

In many ways, the only true intelligence is beyond the “artificial” already inside us.

Maybe you’re born with it… but, let’s get real, most of you is Maybelline. We allow our world to be made-up. It’s easier that way.

Artificial Intelligence is artificial because it can’t be
> In Love
> In Doubt
> > Empathetic > Hurt

My iPhone can track my heartbeat, warn me if I sleep too little, tell me I’m not getting enough protein… But I have no illusions that it gives one actual shit about me. I’m just a series of discrete (in its eye, predictable) choices. A sack of data points.

And what will AI really know of life, anyway? An artificially intelligent nose will recognize a peony, but nothing guarantees it will come to think the flower’s scent more beautiful than a sewer’s.

DALLE-2 Prompt: “A Boston Dynamics robot breast feeding a baby boy.”
DALLE-2 Prompt: “A Boston Dynamics robot breastfeeding a baby boy.”

There’s nothing more dehumanizing than relying on technology to get you through the day. To outsource all your gathering of knowledge and perspective to a network that has no human sensations or emotions is the essence of dehumanization.

Technology, however, has no monopoly on dehumanization. Not only does nature “de-human” quite easily with cataclysmic processes (see: tsunamis, earthquakes, asteroids, etc), it also offers up diseases such as Alzheimer’s or ALS that strip away self-consciousness and self-awareness. Your “humanization,” i.e. your dignity, your memories, your knowledge – all these things that make you you – are never totally yours.

DALLE-2 Prompt: “What does AI see when they look at a human being?”
DALLE-2 Prompt: “What does AI see when they look at a human being?”

AI will never know the joy of running their fingers through a cool flowing river on a scorching day. Compassion can’t be programmed. There’s no algorithm to give your iphone the sense of relief from sneezing.

No network of carbon nanotubes will ever know the physical rush of love and attraction, high on ecstasy in the middle of a rave.

“Hey! I like your tube!”


“I said I like your tube!”

“Oh! I like this tune, too!”

When we hold our phone up, reverse the camera, and snap a self portrait, we capture ourselves, but also cede to the network a little bit more of our selves with every shot. With every server-side token, the internet learns more about us than we will ever take away from it.

In retrospect, all this tech wasn’t very smart of us to invent, because now we need to reinvent ourselves and our selves to use it.

Whose the artificial one now, eh?

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