Are Some AI's "Slightly Conscious"?
Most regular readers of this site – and certainly our members because we talk about such things alot in our vidchats – are aware that one of my high octane speculation scenarios is that super-computers, or even artificial intelligences, may be gaming out complex scenarios for the “elites” with access to them, and that the “elites,” being the technocratic twits that they are, are blindly following along whatever scripts the computers are writing for them. I grant you, it’s not a very satisfactory way to rationalize the evil twittery of – oh I don’t know – someone like Justin Trudeau or Dr. Ernst Stavro Klaus von Blohschwab and his cronies at Spectre Davos and the World Economic Forum. In Trudeau’s case we went directly from hiding out in fear to full tyranny, do not meet-with-the-truckers-do-not-attempt-to-negotiate-go-directly-to-tyranny. It’s hard to rationalize how people can be both so evil and so nuts, and hence my entertaining of the computer-AI-gaming-out-scenarios hypothesis.
Well, I’m not the only one thinking this scenario apparently, according to this little article spotted and shared by G.B.:
What caught my eye hear was something very interesting, and it’s well worth pondering in my opinion: artificial intelligence expert Ilya Sutskever, according to the article, is maintaining something very akin to my own suspicions often aired on this website, namely, that AI’s “already used for finance, research, or medicine” might have become “slightly conscious”.
This implies a kind of “continuum” of consciousness or self-awareness, and that notion has been at the center of many a philosophical conundrum, including the question of animal intelligence and consciousness, and so on. Frankly and personally, I have no difficulty with the non-dialectical and non-binary approach of a continuum, for the dialectical and binary approach has in the past – in the West at least – led to some consequences that are rather grizzly. (By the way, so has the continuum idea too). My point here is not to get into debates of continuum vs. dialectical approaches, but rather to draw an analogy.
Most pet owners are aware that their pets exhibit some form of intelligence, emotional life, and “awareness”. It may not be on the scale of human intelligence, emotions, or awareness, but it is there for anyone honest enough to admit it, and not bound by the dictates of the “dialectical view.” On the dialectical view, the “whole creation groaning and travailing” is a metaphor, nothing more. On the continuum view, it’s a reality (stop and think of the implications of those pictures of neurons, and their resemblance to those pictures of the universe and the plasma filaments running between galaxies and galactic clusters). My little dog Shiloh, when I first brought her home, saw her reflection in the big mirror in the master bathroom and – thinking it to be a strange dog – started barking. It didn’t take her long to figure out that her – and my – reflections were not “real,” and the barking stopped.
The continuum view would seem to acknowledge something else: each species is unique. Octopuses are remarkably intelligent animals (as we’ve come to discover), as are dogs, African Gray parrots, chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins. But each appears to have species-specific types of consciousness as well. Octopuses and crows can both solve puzzles, but do so differently.
So why not computers to some degree? There’s the danger: for we really have no idea what a purely machine consciousness would be like. For the modernist materialist, humans and animals are nothing but machines. But I would aver – and warn – that such a view over-simplifies once again. The “tabrets and pipes” of Ezekiel’s description of Lucifer can describe an organic creature, certainly, except that Lucifer isn’t. In the traditional view, he (or perhaps, she?) is a bodiless “power,” a sheer energy, whose the tabrets and pipes are more appropriate to a coldly “rational” and brutal machine, with no appreciation of the subtleties of life.
Such a view of AIs crunching numbers and gaming out scenarios is appropriate to a culture which also believes in things like sin natures, and that humanity is a massa damnata, a collective of damnation.
Of course, such views remain heresies... eph ho pantes hemarton, not en quo omnes peccaverunt.
See you on the flip side...
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