Monday, March 2, 2015
Another Angle to Consider AI From
It is telling that the purveyors of AI would designate its achievement as a new “Singularity.” Whether intentional or not, they bring metaphysics and philosophy to the table for discussion of this topic. It would have been inevitable in any case, though, just as physics in general begins to broach upon the same areas; a topology just as gray as the folded tissue of neurons and synapses that ask these questions, and contemplates their answers, in the first place.
This is so from my perspective because I view the bigger picture as follows: The entirety is another order of immense, question answer engine. A recursive process employing an infinite array of vectors of association (or realities) to sort out meaning, from the smallest scale to the largest, from one quantum moment to the next. It is a recursive process because every answer is just a parking lot for new questions, on and on, back and forth.
The basics in this process are the “Elemental embrace,” and “Mind.” The first serves to require interaction and exchange. The second serves to require the resolution of boundaries so that objectification can occur, information and meaning can happen, and thus ever more complex layers of abstraction to develop along each vector of association.
One of the essential points in this way of looking at things is that sentient meaning space and physical meaning space are not only both real, in their own ways, but must necessarily interact. This is so because physical meaning space requires the singularity of an observing, meaning processor, so as to provide something for that space to be relative to. And of course, physical meaning space is subject as well to the vagaries of sentient choice in both direct, and indirect affect from those choices. In other words, what we believe to be true, and how we proceed on the basis of those truths, affects our reality in both obvious, and not so obvious ways.
If we then take the notion of a truly sentient form of AI (a rather large, and by no means assured assumption) and insert it into this frame of reference it shouldn't take long at all to see where significant problems might occur. And I mean problems quite beyond the usual fear of robot overlords turning us into either slaves, or a biological inconvenience easily removed. No, what I am talking about is the possibility of meaning processors who's interaction with physical meaning space will result in far more profound affects on the fundamental aspects of what is now reality.
After all, in the first instance of sentience, it evolved from first order iteration meanings, and is, as such, a good deal more connected to those first order meanings, even though it might now be moving away from them with an overemphasis on the measured logic of empiricism. If we create a new kind of sentience, one that has absolutely no further connection to what is felt subjectively, as opposed to merely observed objectively; a meaning processor whose self imposed evolution will be many orders of magnitude faster than anything before it, what then might become of the interplay between it and physical meaning space?
Metaphysical nonsense? Perhaps. The fact that it might be possible, however low a probability, though ought to give everyone significant pause for concern. And even if fully sentient AI isn't in the cards any time even only moderately soon, what of self sufficient reasoning engines? How much meaning processing, short of actual self awareness, does it take before such systems start to have an effect on physical meaning space? Perhaps even more important, what will our incorporation of such systems in our bodies and minds, let alone our social organization, do to our own meaning space? How do we program the full range of what it is to experience physical meaning space as subjective feeling, as well objective observation?
Having said all of the above, however, I do still want to be clear on one thing: I am in no way opposed to objective empiricism in and of itself. It is, without much doubt at all, important not only to our physical well being, but in our ability to further praise and appreciate what unfolds around us. We must simply remember that it is not the only important thing to bring to the table of experience. This is so because objectivity can only get us so far in what is out there to be experienced. This is so because there are channels of interaction that defy ordinary means of observation; channels that will require a subjective application of how we feel about a multiplicity of what might be possible meanings precisely because the instrumentality of measurement lacks the precision to resolve boundaries any further than a cloud of probabilities, even if it can be applied at all.