Sunday, November 27, 2011

Artificial Projection

Geese don’t try to find a placid lake to spend the afternoon in. They are just following instructions, from the conscious-human perspective. Animals don’t try to do anything. Our tendency to project consciousness into animals reveals this basic understanding of evolution: Animals are a direct result of genetic activity, genes, in themselves being pulled forward by some force. They give some instructions that the animal “unknowingly” executes. But alas, they cannot know, and thus, their execution of genetic operations is a complete subservience to the will of their genes (although even ‘submission’ implies conscious activity). There is a subtle distinction in perspective offered here. Are animals slaves to their genes, evolving eventually to liberate themselves?

Consciousness, of course, is this liberation. But then we must ask, referring to the same relationship between animals and their genes: What “mindless” operations do we undertake? We are conscious, intercepting genetic fulfillment, yet we may be performing under the illusion of self-control. Will we, if we will still be able to call us that, will we look back on us now and see the absolute subservience to evolution once again, in this new phase, now under the soft-formed authority, the chaotic maelstrom of memetics and artificial selection?

And so, as the goose glides in to settle down for a warm autumn day on the water, are we in the same way going forth into the world, our world, the mindspace, with the same absolute fidelity to instructions whittled down by the sands of time, albeit a time of post-biological magnitude. Is this mindspace not a wild frontier that we have yet to fully explore? Is not our world, the one that sits atop the ‘wild’, not just as wild? As those sands of time become a shower of meteors, carving out a place on this earth, who will we become, and where will that be?

and then there's this:
This Aeon article is a must read for anyone interested in just about anything:
When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?
-Ross Anderson, Aeon Magazine, 2013

Prompted by a recent article in Aeon Magazine warning of the threat posed by advanced artificial intelligence, Kristin Centorcelli of SF Signal put together an impressive panel of renowned science fiction authors to get their opinions on the subject.
Mind Meld: The Future of Humans and AI
Kristin Centorcelli, SF Signal Fanzine, April 10th, 2013

-via io9

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