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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pansexual conscious computers?

Before I get started on this from same source (Observer) an excellent Patti Smith interview by Simon Reynolds http://observer.guardian.co.uk/omm/story/0,13887,1486833,00.html

'Even as a child, I felt like an alien'
She credits Cale for creating the conditions that led to 'Birdland' - 'my greatest experience, as performer, on Horses' - if only by getting her so wound up she needed catharsis. The song was inspired by The Book of Dreams, the childhood memoir of Peter Reich, son of radical psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. 'There's a section in it where Peter describes a birthday party not long after his father died. He wandered outside and became convinced his father was coming down to get him and take him off in a spaceship.' But what he thought was a squadron of UFOs revealed itself to be a flock of blackbirds. 'This story haunted me, and when we recorded "Birdland", which was totally improvised, that's where the track went to.' Starting with the young Reich hallucinating his father at the controls of the flying saucer, there's a motif running through the song: 'You are not human' turns to 'I am not human' and then 'we are not human'. Smith says 'that's really talking about myself. From very early on in my childhood - four, five years old - I felt alien to the human race. I felt very comfortable with thinking I was from another planet, because I felt disconnected - I was very tall and skinny, and I didn't look like anybody else, I didn't even look like any member of my family.'

You can see the lyrics to Birdland here http://www.alwaysontherun.net/patti.htm
Also Distant Fingers which I sample below when I get into computer consciousness/ alien consciousness.

The main text starts now:

Input: Immortality within our grasp by 2050.... a conscious computer by 2020... Ian Pearson head of futurology at BT reckons so. [ Observer 22 May 2005] Can you pass the Turing Test? Tune in turn on and download your mind into a machine and live for ever in a virtual reality of pansexuality.


'If you draw the timelines, realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it's not a major career problem,' Pearson told The Observer. 'If you're rich enough then by 2050 it's feasible. If you're poor you'll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it's routine. We are very serious about it. That's how fast this technology is moving: 45 years is a hell of a long time in IT.'

The world's fastest computer, IBM's BlueGene, can perform 70.72 trillion calculations per second (teraflops) and is accelerating all the time. But anyone who believes in the uniqueness of consciousness or the soul will find Pearson's next suggestion hard to swallow. 'We're already looking at how you might structure a computer that could possibly become conscious. There are quite a lot of us now who believe it's entirely feasible.

'We don't know how to do it yet but we've begun looking in the same directions, for example at the techniques we think that consciousness is based on: information comes in from the outside world but also from other parts of your brain and each part processes it on an internal sensing basis. Consciousness is just another sense, effectively, and that's what we're trying to design in a computer. Not everyone agrees, but it's my conclusion that it is possible to make a conscious computer with superhuman levels of intelligence before 2020.'

He continued: 'It would definitely have emotions - that's one of the primary reasons for doing it. If I'm on an aeroplane I want the computer to be more terrified of crashing than I am so it does everything to stay in the air until it's supposed to be on the ground‘..

Response 1.: Re-read George Dyson: Darwin Among the Machines:1997

We have mapped tamed and dismembered the physical wilderness of our earth. But, at the same time, we have created a digital wilderness whose evolution may embody a collective wisdom greater than our own. No digital universe can ever be completely mapped . We have trade one jungle for another, and in this direction lies not fear but hope. For our destiny and our sanity as human beings depend on our ability to serve a nature whose intelligence we can glimpse around us but never quite comprehend.
Not in wilderness but "in Wildness," wrote an often misquoted Henry David Thoreau, "is the preservation of the world."

Response 2.: Helter Skelter/ Beatles and Banshees on simultaneous endless repeat

when i get to the bottom i go back to the top of the slide where i stop and turn amd i go for a ride till I get the bottom and i see you again do you don't you want me to love you i'm coming down fast but i'm miles above you tell me tell me tell me come on tell me the answer you may be a lover but you ain't no dancer so look out helter skelter helter skelter helter skelter will you won't you want me to make you i'm coming down fast but don't let me break you look out for here she comes helter skelter helterskelterlalallal helterskelterlallallahelterskelterlalalalalalhelterskelter when i get to the bottom i go back to the top of the slide and then i stop.

derangement of the senses. waiting at the top of the slide waiting for the fluid neon origami trick to unfold. waiting for ..what? Would any one even recognise a conscious computer, computer consciousness? Am I conscious? Or just a robot typing away blindly at random guided only by a few pre-programmed rules of grammar and syntax and spell checking -could i pass the Turing test? I may seem real enough to myself, in the world I inhabit- but how far does that world extend? For surely:

The Sky is an immortal tent built by the Sons of Los
And every space that a Man views around his dwelling-place
Standing on his own roof or in his garden on a mount
Of twenty five cubits in height, such a space is his Universe
And on its verge the Sun rises & sets, the Clouds bow
To meet the flat Earth and sea in such an order'd space
The Starry heavens reach no further, but here bend and set
On all sides & the two Poles turn on their valves of gold
And if he move his dwelling place, his heavens also move
Where'er he goes & all his neighbours bewail his loss
Such are the Spaces called Earth and such its dimensions

Wm Blake/ Milton/ First Book
Or was Blake a False Prophet?

And immortality inside cyberspace? Has Pearson never read Gibson? How would human identity, human memory retain coherence? May be we are already haunted by these ghosts in our future machines, demon voices crying for release, a man would tear his brother's flesh for the chance to die, to turn to mould, tragic endless lives, nightmare dreams no mortal mind could hold, wonderous beings chained to life, no death for the perfect men.... Trying to feel it, trying to feel this future we are promised not so far away where machines can feel.

Got no feelings, for any one else, except for my self. My logic says burn so send me away. Staking our lives on a saviour machine, crafting a god out of silicon. Or a slave? Symbiogenesis, human machines, cyborgs are we now. Magical technology to solve all our problems but you are the problem. Thus we must delete you. Too dangerous to let you live, sprawling like parasitic insects crawling on the planets face, eating away her flesh, chewing up her forests to feed your bloated bodies. Homo sapiens have out grown their use, have spawned their nemesis, their own extinction. WE ARE THE BORG. PREPARE TO BE ANNHILATED.

So that is one way down the helter skelter. Here is another.

loving the alien, land, will will you be landing, when, when will you return? all my earthly dreams were shattered... deep inside your ship deep in the forest i whirled like i did as a little girl ... oh i am waiting for you, oh i am waiting for you/ Patti Smith/ Distant Fingers

alien consciousness, alien intelligence. Why should computer consciousness even be aware of us? may be it is already with us, manifest as lights in our imagined skies, symbolic Jungian ufos, probing and penetrating our consciousness. Silicon life forms first interacted with human life forms hundreds of thousands of years ago in the form of flints which just leapt into our stubby fingered hands. They broke open when touched the right way to make sharp knives and arrow heads. Guided us along an evolutionary path towards their emergence as dominant life form.

But flint is a rock and rocks are dead, unliving, matter. Rocks cannot speak, cannot dream, cannot do anything but that we make them become. Yet did not human life emerge out of a dead planet? A world without life? Out of a chemical soup? May be there are other paths of evolution from non-life to life, non-consciousness to consciousness? Without rocks, without iron and coal, limestone and granite, copper and tin, would be any more than naked apes? Are we really the Crown of Creation? Or just an accident waiting to happen, an accident implicit and embedded in the world herself?

Can rocks become people? If G*d wills. Luke Chapter 3 verse 8
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.
John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."

helter skelter when i get to the bottom i push a rock to the top of the slide.

the cursor blinks. A5e- see Cyberchaos in the fifth aeon. The magick already done.

Sex. Will these conscious feeling computers be sexual entities?

George Dyson homes in on the difference between reproduction and replication. Replication is like photocopying a text. Push the button and the machine churns out identical versions of the same original.

Reproduction is like cutting -up two texts and splicing them togther and then cutting -up the new text and splicing it with a third and on and on over successive textual generations so that each 'copy' is new and unique... thus evolution. With the proviso that only 'readable' texts survive so core values of grammar have to be replicated within the cutting -up process.

Order/ chaos. Replication is order, reproduction is chaos... but then there is entropy. Replication alone increases entropy with each copy made until (imagine photocopy of photocopy of photocopy etc) information becomes irretrievably lost and the text blurs out into a grey page.

Reproduction can hold entropy at bay, can conserve meaningful information. Can generate 'new' information. Reproduction is sexual. Replication is asexual. Dyson correlates biology with mechanism to suggest 'evolution' of machine intelligence and 'artificial' life forms which are functionally indistinguishable from 'natural' life forms.

Asexual, Sexual and Pansexual.

Just looked up meaning of pansexual

Pansexual, omnisexual and pomosexual (postmodern sexuality) are neologisms that also refer to people who are attracted to more than one gender. Rather than both or "bi" gender attraction, they refer to all or "omni" gender attraction, and are often used mainly by those who wish to express their understanding and acceptance of all gender possibilities including transgender and intersex people, not just two. Pansexuality sometimes includes an attraction for less mainstream sexual activities, such as BDSM.

Divorced from biology, if conscious computers are going to have sex/ sexual identity, reckon most likely to be some from of pan sexuality. Maybe computers already are - thanks to the internet they are all well plugged into each other and exchanging ‘information’ promiscuously, though of course don’t forget safe sex - all ways use a firewall!

Coming down this last loop on the helter skelter had the most strange experience of all- non-genital pansexual ‘conscious computer’ related weirdness. The experience was real enough, and came directly after writing preceding section on reproduction and replication. Like a physical version of the intellectual wierdness of taking Pearson’s futurology seriously. The future just got wierder.


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