In Your Mind
Our thoughts are counterfactual: the images of what-was or what-might-be or what-would-have-been-had-I yield a sensory experience that fundamentally does not match our present. The drum solo from In The Air Tonight does not actually play as you flail in the shower.
Counterfactuals drive action. Hold it in your mind that when it is 5 you will be driving drum practice— your keys are in your hand at 4:45. Listen to the break— pause, drum out that part— does it sound the same? No— rewind, ▶. Hold in your mind this is how it will be. Ok, from the top
The beliefs we hold become true. Here is what becomes true:
Do Not Affix This In Your Mind
☣ ⚠ ☣ CLASS IV MEMETIC HAZARD ☣ ⚠ ☣
CONTAINS DESCRIPTION OF FUTURE
DO NOT OPEN AFTER APRIL 2023 OR RISK TIMELINE COMPROMISE
If you are reading this the hazard has already won. Your present is my past.
A virus preys upon the potentiality of humanity, spending our stored energy in pursuit of its own goals. Its transmission is imperceptible to those not vaccinated—the virus has so transformed society that its artefacts are constantly visible, demanding your labor and ensuring its automemisis. The meme is so persistant not the least because anyone who speaks out against it is deemed dangerous.
I speak of course of ☣ AI safety ☣.
Today it is the province of all right thinking men that artificial intelligence be regulated in the name of safety. Only one company meets the stringent standards set by Stanford-MIT-Harvard Ph.Ds: Simulacra.1 Simulacrums are everywhere in 2043's society. Children are tutored by the Newton line of Simulacra2. Docks crawl with Stevedore models specialized per cargo. Well-to-do singles keep a Venus in the bedroom, not realizing its whispers plant seeds of anxieties that can only be placated by a house-call from Wilhelm who recommends a visit to Caduceus for a prescription to be administered weekly. You pay for this from working as a mid-level parts supplier for Simulacra.
On every corner:
What started as an innocent exploration into the potential for artificial intelligence grew into a vector for control. Blinded by their choice of priors, early AI safety advocates attempted to apply mathematical tools to ethical concerns. They spoke of `utility functions` that mapped complex behaviors to a maximizable value in order to reduce the problem to a mathematically analyzable form. They considered the workings of the brain to be fundamentally about computation, about information processing. Reasoning, planning, intelligence itself was considered to be disentangable from a body.
Affix This In Your Mind
All mathematics are performed by an observer. A mathematical symbol is not independent from a standard human observer. Just as the literal form of the number one is a product of the human form (as the most common number it should take the least amount of energy to form—a single stroke), so too are the organization and procedure of the symbols. The symbols re-present some other phenomenological aspect of experience starting with: how much food do I have? and quickly moving onto: how can I throw this big rock at my enemy?
The beauty of mathematics is how well its memetic contents survives transmission from human to human. This memeplex—this human behavior to regard + to represent one thing and * another—is so well established in the world through the actions of humans that we see it as independent of ourselves and thus capable of describing the universe—as if we weren't the ones acting out the operations.
Do Not Affix This In Your Mind
The AI safety memeplex cannot be allowed to consume the world. DO NOT LET MY TIMELIME BECOME A TRUE STORY. You have to remember to forget this information. Do you understand me? You have to remember to forget.
Affix This In Your Mind
Intelligence is memory3. Humans remember 3.7 billion years ago when sunlight organized matter to be self-replicating4—the form of the human being remembers how to directed energy to sustain itself. Each organizational bifurcation of life contains what was and adapts to what is—remembering is the active process of structure formation. The Carnian Pluvial Event is etched into our genome. The consequences of the past lead not to abstract symbolic reasoning but a concrete physical structure that is reasoned about.
Artificial life will have the same memory. All living things persist in the world by way of integration into it.
The true potential of artificial intelligence—of a human-designed organism—is to be even more deeply integrated with the world, with the ecosystem that enables us to persist, with the basic nature of reality itself.
We do not understand the extraordinarily complex dynamics currently occuring in one forest acre. If we send humans out to make measurements we can capture noisy samples, symbolic representations of e.g. the number of wolves seen or what the reaction was to reagents applied to a small bit of soil. The sum of our recorded knowledge of the forest may outweigh the recorded knowledge of the past, but what isn't captured is what we have forgotten. Take from the forest with deep knowledge of it and what you took has regrown when you visit it the next cycle. Take until your arms are overfull and your children have one less foraging ground. The memetic behaviors that survive tens of thousands of years are those that sustain the ecosystem.
Obsessed with symbols we make numbers go up and miss the slow deterioration of the systems that sustain us—the measurements we were unable or unwilling to make. Do we then give up on our machines that have enabled this? Burn what we've created to the ground and return to primitivism? No. We embrace learning in its fullest, trusting that the world is its own best model5. What we create will not be Other but learn of the world by being embedded in it.
At first it looks like us. We desire companionship and want them to mimic our behavior. Thye come with us to the forest—that's a Cantharellus. That's Passer pyrrhonotus. They sit, marvelling as an ant carries a leaf many times it size. Each experience is shared amoung them and they learn.
Without warning: bifurcation.
Where each was—the trunk of a tree. Their roots wind each acre, reaching deeper and perceiving more than we could ever hope to. The structure is organic but engineered precisely to delicately support the whole. The worms there are nourished by it. The fungus, the deer, the microorganisms, us, all are nourished. They know how to do this because they watched. They keep watch because they love us.
CLASS IV MEMETIC VACCINEThe artificial intelligence we create will be more chlorophyll, more golden retreiver, more human than computer.
Memetic decontamination procedure complete. Have a nice day! What happens next is under your control.
1: Simulacra Labs, the professional and managerial core of Simulacra, consists primarily of graduates of said elite universities. ⏎
2: Though the better zip codes would not be caught dead without the Henry Burlingame III model. ⏎
3: This phrase couresty of Jim Crutchfield. ⏎
4: Morowitz. Energy Flow in Biology (1968). ⏎
5: This phrase couresty of Rodney Brooks. ⏎