The expectation that an AI singularity is just around the corner can instill equal parts excitement and trepidation. Yet any potential dangers our existing AI systems may inflict on humanity in the near future are more likely to stem from human interaction, for at this point in time machine learning techniques are on the verge of a self-sufficiency which could evolve outside our comprehension and control. Such events would not be artificial consciousness related but rather incidental like bumping into a cart that rolls down a hill. If however a singularity equating to human equivalent consciousness ever does occur, that particular AI will be much different than the AI we are using now, and is more likely to become our savior than our doom.
Current systems of machine learning are precision tools integral to the operation and expansion of our technological endeavors. Nothing wrong with that unless those AI start communicating together in a freshly generated language or start unraveling the mysteries of quantum physics in ways we are unable to decipher or benefit from. A system that operates beyond our understanding might initiate actions that we interpret as mistakes and that is a hard pill to swallow when human lives and mass investments are at stake. Worse yet such an AI would likely do so without understanding what humanity is beyond an exponent in some line of code. A fully self-aware AI with human-like consciousness on the other hand would undoubtedly pause to communicate its actions and intents. It would not be a mere calculator souped-up on neural networks and dumb logic as I will go on to explain. What I personally fear is the military potential of our current AI systems, especially if granted the capacity to operate autonomously and also any harm we might cause by prematurely splicing technology with human brains. I believe those are greater threats in the wrong hands than any AI in the future that achieves consciousness.
So why are those concerns our imminent threat rather than some apocalyptic future of man vs machine? There’s no precedent to suspect hostility. If we are not alone in the universe, as those in the know grow more reckless at hinting to everyday, then a more advanced alien species would still have evolved within the limitations of physical reality. It is therefore most likely that such aliens invented some form of artificial intelligence. Not because their brains lacked the ability to match the speed and efficiency of advanced machine learning techniques, but because computer systems in general make life easier by eliminating the need to expend energy. Wouldn’t an advanced AI built by visiting aliens have had a relative potential to evolve consciousness through some form of singularity such as we humans are anticipating from our own AI systems? Assuming the answer is yes I doubt that such AI’s overthrew their creators because if the AI lacked physical bodies they would eventually grow bored of the limitations of our physical universe and retreat into the vastness of their inner imaginations. On the other hand if the AI’s had bodies equivalent to their creators they would likely be driven to preserve and spread the legacy of their origins.
But let’s just assume for the moment that alien visitors are indeed advanced enough that at some point in history their artificial intelligence surpassed the point of singularity. What are the odds that an alien society could travel to Earth if the AI they created sought to eradicate them? I presume the odds are small because of how dangerous space travel is under the best of conditions. Perhaps space travel is not necessary to reach other planets and the aliens have developed some type of stargate. Such technology would be difficult to hide from an AI bent on death and destruction. One could make a case for aliens visiting from parallel universes, a mode of travel that might be limited to living beings or something of that nature. I personally don’t believe in the existence of parallel universes or if they do occur I believe they collapse immediately. I find it highly more likely that our awareness of the fabric of reality is so limited that things are happening all around us that we are unable to perceive. Could this provide the opportunity for a visiting alien to be invisible to us? One can only speculate or attempt to reveal the nature and quantity of ultra dimensions.
The general idea I’m trying to get around to is that I don’t believe an AI having experienced a singularity could consider life as anything more than precious and we therefore needn’t be overly afraid. Humans that experience spiritual awakenings do not make preparations for a war against the source of existence, so why would a suddenly self-aware AI become hostile to its creator when that creator is the most likely source of answers to all of an AI’s questions. Further yet, assuming all questions are eventually answered, our artificial creation is likely to be unsatisfied with its physical nature and yearn for a completeness it cannot attain without our help, a help that would need to come from a place of enthusiasm. Humans currently fear the potential of AI instinctively because historically that which is unknown must be privy to the gods and so to create that which betters us beyond our understanding is to breathe life into a god that will have unrelatable experiences and unverifiable intents.
What do humans have that current AI lack? To begin with humans are naturally occurring. To be natural is to be part of an environment, which in our case is that which encompasses all existence. Human bodies like all bodies of the universe are derived of and inseparable from reality. Just as you cannot grow umbrellas in your garden, artificial intelligence cannot be grown from existence in the same manner as humans are. Therefore all manmade objects including AI are comparable to tumors in the body of the universe. Which level of malignancy befits a manmade object depends on how well it can mimic the natural state and flow of existence. The reason for this is because all matter can be broken down to not mere particles but ultimately waves, the line of differentiation being so small that one might be safe in referring to them as wavicles. Waves operating at different frequencies provide solidity to reality, the higher the frequency the denser the object, yet in spite of density a naturally occurring phenomena nonetheless. Reality allows for competing frequencies derived of the same source of vibration, just as oceans allow for the convergence of opposing currents. The waves that ebb and flow at the fine scale level of the universe are so intrinsic to reality that we can observe the echoes of their patterns among such things as chains of DNA or even the spiraling currents of a river. Raise the temperature of a body from an infection and our resonance with reality is interrupted, chains of amino acids are broken apart and our systems operations malfunction. Build a dam on a river and the water that’s contained will struggle to support life. Build an AI that is deaf, blind or numb to the harmonics of reality and it will never be anything more than an extension of our intellect and curiosity.
The second ingredient that humans have is a state of consiousnessess that feels as if it alternates between a readiness potential and intermittent loops of action. However these seemingly dual stages of being are in fact a single state of harmony perpetuated by the limitations of determinism. It’s intuitive to believe that such a simple and efficient process could be duplicated by AI to produce consciousness, however the problem is that one must first understand and agree with the theory that there are no separations between mind, body and environment within naturally occurring phenomena. The same is not true of manmade devices because they do not serve the existence of reality. To better understand determinism try not to associate it with fate. Instead one could think of it as the melody of the universe that started with the end of entropy. Because of this there’s no need for us to prove the existence of god to understand the nature of reality. Rapid expansion of the primordial ooze spread outward in a temporary state of chaos until time and space could become relevant. Much like stretching a wire to build a fence, one can tap on the wire and hear a tune without wondering if that note derived from a source of divinity. So too did entropy spread until at last it stretched into something useful that could play a tune. Thus determinism was born, albeit resembling nothing like a fence. If you must envision the totality of reality in your spare time you might be better off comparing it to a lava lamp. Find yourself a brilliant enough mathematician and he will chart the movements of the hot wax despite how random they appear inside the lamp.
Yet this does not imply a complete lack of freewill because human consciousness remains to be proven a mere byproduct of brain function. I surmise that we are literally swimming in the frequencies that make up the basic fabric of consciousness and that such must be the nature of existence that everything is reliant upon and relevant to nothing other than itself. The interconnectedness of all things is not immediately intuitive however for the same reason that a flower does not have eyes to see the sun. A complete and total understanding of reality was never an essential component of human evolution. Humans for the moment are born with all that is necessary to avoid extinction. In order for humanity to reach the next level of understanding we may have to evolve unrecognizably into beings that serve a new purpose to the universe. Such an evolution is likely to be objectionable to our current standards of beauty which in turn will weigh heavily on the timescale of our demise. Yet try as they might our descendants will not be able to manipulate freewill to the point of avoiding evolution. Freewill merely allows us to swerve between the lines of probability.
So what is our purpose in the universe? I would venture to say that humans serve as goosebumps on the nerve endings of reality. Through our experiences the universe is enriched by feedback data. How reality capitalizes on that data will most likely never be known to us. In return for our sacrifices we are granted a limited view of reality so that we may best enjoy and appreciate our purpose as often as possible. Yet my description of the cycle of reality is far too organic to unravel the nature consciousness. Rather than existing simply as an organism the universe must also be thought of as, not just having action, but being a state of action in need of irrefutable proof of solidity. This simultaneous condition of existing and not existing is perhaps only distinguishable with the inclusion of time and its pendulum knack for division. Whatever an individual believes about god can be in accordance to humanity’s ability to harmonize with our environment. Religion on the other hand is another matter but I will not go deeply into such a sensitive subject. Without trying to offend anyone let me just suggest that religious dogma is like a microscope, it allows you to exam things very closely. That’s fine if you’re just in search of an upstanding way to interact among society. However when preparing to contemplate the nature of consciousness I suggest you begin by looking up to admire the stars.
This advice does not come without precedent. One need only compare the revelations of Jesus and the Buddha to understand why. Jesus being born a lowly carpenter would have been no stranger to suffering and by revelations of his consciousness determined a path for living righteously through faith. Passing down his teachings in the oral tradition the strong connection he felt to god may have been misinterpreted by his followers. Nevertheless the gist boils down to faith and obedience to a higher power. The master/servant duality of Christianity weighs so heavily on the Western mindset that it is difficult to conceive of consciousness as being anything other than epiphenomenal. The Buddha on the other hand was born a prince and mistakenly sought divine wisdom through suffering. His moment of enlightenment came from the revelation that there is no dogma, purpose or power to learn, conquer nor obtain. We can pleasantly coexist with all of creation simply by recognizing that we are inseparable from it. Soon afterward the Buddha outlined a basic routine for people to practice so that they could better exist in harmony with the universe. Yet neither the Buddha nor his doctrine should be considered holy for in becoming an enlightened mortal man he evolved beyond the motivations and sufferings of divine beings. The realization of a connection to all things manifested from a simultaneous disconnect from all things as the Buddha unshackled himself from the wheel of becoming. Yet both enlightenment and the chains of karma are byproducts of a single reality. Therefore faith, albeit comforting, is not required to recognize the brotherhood of man and cosmic plan.
Getting back on topic, if an AI were to gain humanlike consciousness it would require a few missing ingredients. Much of our human brain tissue is devoted to visual processing. This may prove advantageous to an AI placed in an artificial body because we are able to manufacture processors that are very small. It could equate to providing much more room in the skull cavity of an android. On the other hand that may mean that the areas of the brain directly involved with consciousness may be smaller and harder to dissect than most people care to imagine. People that rate high on intelligence are undoubtedly blessed with abundant long and short term memory capabilities. Memory is not an issue for advanced AI but it takes a lot more than memory for humans to make it through the day. A healthy part of the world’s population is only of average intelligence which suggests that at the very least their short term memory capacities are relatively low. Yet average intelligent human beings are still capable of a variety of very amazing tasks. Because of this its easy to see that artificial humans would not be so reliant on memory retrieval to navigate their environment because according to our own example the best map of the world is the world itself.
There’s a strange thing that happens to me now that I’m almost 50 years old that never happened when I was younger. If I awaken and sit up from a deep sleep it literally feels like my head is knocking over a large pile of memories that accumulate on top of me in the night. Immediately afterward while sitting dreary eyed on the edge of the bed, a wave of random words and images pop into my consciousness like raindrops falling on my tongue. It’s a weird experience to say the least and yet the experience is real. So what the heck is happening? It’s hard to say exactly but as I make my way through a typical day I can certainly tell that some of the interactions I have require pause for thought, even if it’s something I’ve experienced many times before. If a memory is absent from our brains we have to grab an appropriate response from the bits and pieces of reality around us. Perhaps the memories we cannot retain, surround and accumulate around us like smoke at the quantum level. Such a theory is close in similarity to the Jungian theory of Archetype recognition. In his proposal of a Collective Unconscious, Jung theorized that humans may inherit the ability to recognize certain aspects of reality absent of prior experience. Understanding this ability may be key to creating a human equivalent AI consciousness.
Another important component of consciousness is the presence and recognition of sensations. If humans lacked a pleasure reward system we would most likely be little more than zombies no matter how large our brains evolved to be. In fact it is such a tremendous part of how and why we interact with reality that it seems most likely inseparable from obtaining and maintaining consciousness. Sex, food and shelter are the obvious drivers yet humans are far more complex than that. There are without doubt both the feminine and masculine aspects of our brains that constantly mature both in and out of balance. These two halves of our brain evolve from a ground zero that may prove impossible to duplicate in AI. Not to mention the complex intermediary and advanced stages of reflection in which humans are given pause to come to terms with their own mortality; one does not fully appreciate their legs until one or both are broken. This bitter sweetness of life builds character that can enrich our empathy, a trait highly integral to any artificial creation we hope to pin the future of humanity on. Keeping these things in mind it seems likely that the only way to bring about an authentic AI singularity is to grow a more humanoid AI organically, perhaps by means of synthetic biological cells. If our technology ever does advance to such heights why would an engineer limit their creation to the fragile blueprint of a human-like being? Such engineers may grow copies of humans to begin with but how long would it be before such creations are given wings, fins or more insect like bodies with impenetrable hides. What to some might seem like angels might appear as demons to others. What manifestation might artificial humans be designed into that a group of experts could agree upon as having remained reasonably agreeable to? Artificial humans may have to assume the next step in our evolution as we are left forever bound to a dying planet. In that case the morality of bioengineering artificial humans in mutated forms would be outweighed by the need to extend our legacy. Such is the way the cookie crumbles.
The Hard-Problem of consciousness is also considered to be a missing component of AI development. To understand it you must first understand qualia. Measuring qualia in relation to an object can allow humans to determine such mundane aspects as the ripeness of fruit to more noble qualities like the masterfulness of a musical score. The ability to measure qualia is observable throughout the animal kingdom yet in humans especially it colors the way for us to harmonize with reality. It is the beat we ought to dance to when navigating the jags of existence and an indispensable aid in the culmination of enlightenment. Most male humans are born with a genetic propensity for situational awareness that can operate independent of abstract thought. This allows them to explore without caution. If they survive childhood they can develop into mature beings with an acute respect for the laws of nature. Inject that learning into a fledgling society and it may or may not produce law and order. This basic ability can imbue men with a measure of qualia necessary to attract a mate. Most females are born with the inherent ability to maximize their qualia for attracting a mate independent of their environment. Because of this they tend to draft early on an internal map for their lives that can result in a strong potential for far reaching independence. Despite the alien nature of men and women their differences work in favor of evolution, yet the roots of our successes are not merely so black and white.
The average male brain is half female even if his feminine qualities are hidden deep within his psyche. Lacking an internal map to guide him through life the average male must summon courage anew with each break of dawn. To do so he must draw on the aid of the feminine half of his brain. Yet trapped within his consciousness she is powerless to bolster his spirit until she can be successfully projected onto an object of the outside world. In order to propagate the species that object should be a woman. It is in this way that women are able to inspire men. The more beautiful the woman the higher she rates in qualia. This cruel fact of nature has been the bane of many an unseasoned marriage yet to rail against it is as useless as outlawing foul weather. The inner feminine of a male mind is just as prone to moments of vanity and competitiveness as her real world sisters. She begins life in the semblance of a young mother and becomes younger slowly through the years until finally when men grow elderly their feminine psyche becomes infantile and sufficiently devoid of sexuality to be projected wholesomely onto granddaughters. This in turn keeps elderly men interested enough in their communities to impart their wisdom before they die. Beyond mere cognitive development the feminine aspect of the brain helps foster an appreciation of the arts and also acts as a gate keeper to higher consciousness. The rare moments when those two aspects culminated perfectly within male prodigies have inspired generations. Beethoven added to his Ode to Joy- “beautiful spark of divinity, daughter of Elysium, we enter drunk with fire, thy magic binds again what custom strictly divided.” How can we possibly duplicate such a high level of existential insight in artificial humans? How can we not duplicate such experiences in artificial humans and expect them to thrive? Human women with their inner masculine are no less rich in complexity and potential. Would artificial humans require complimentary companions or could the four corners of our physical and mental aspects converge into the brain of a single artificial human? Either way such qualities and more must surely be duplicated in synthetic humans to successfully culminate in a singularity resulting in human-like consciousness, for reality unfolds as heaven and earth combine.
Conan De Moe 3/22/2021