The Creepy Line is an excellent documentary which castigates Google and Facebook for appropriating personal data and using their platforms to manipulate the public for profit and political purposes. The following is not a review but rather an exploration of some of these issues.
THE WORLDVIEWS OF THE PEOPLE have always been controlled by those who hold power and influence in society. Whether it is mediated by direct and forceful cohesion (unpopular in modern democracies although starting to make a comeback) or by more subtle persuasion (via the educational, religious and mass media indoctrination, and more recently through the internet), the fact is that who we think we are and how we behave has always been largely a product of forces that have been visited upon us. To be human is to be influenced and coerced (until we awaken… which is another story).
That coercion is now reaching stratospheric levels, on a par with Orwell’s dystopian Big Brother society, but with one major difference. The protagonist in 1984, Winston Smith, had enough separation in his own mind to question the society he was living in before being tortured into complete submission. By contrast, Cyber Big Brother/Sister is so intimate with us that we no longer even have enough separation to consider rebelling or realising that we are being spoon-fed propaganda. Cyberbro/sis has become our intimate friend, someone we are quite happy to share personal information with, and someone we implicitly trust to lead us by the hand through the complex vagaries of modern life.
In The Creepy Line, Jordan Peterson categorises these online services as “compression algorithms” that reduce the complexity of the world to manageable portions. This is certainly true, but the phrase itself I feel is not particularly useful as it might seem, to many, to infer that this process is an impersonal and unbiased mathematical transformation, rather than straight-out censorship. A better analogy would be with the drawing of maps which are devised to show particular salient features of reality, depending on the type of map being drawn. From this perspective, these tech giants as presenting us with maps of reality (reality-maps) that directly affect our worldview and therefore our behaviour and actions. But it is actually more subtle than that because these maps are implicit rather than explicit.
In the past, when we needed to journey somewhere, we used foldout maps which would give us an overview of the area we were travelling through. These maps had to provide an accurate representation of our route, or else they had no use. But at the same time, they could have some biases in them that encourage us to visit specific places along the way, a bit like a tourist map. This type of map can be defined as an explicit map because it presents a complete scaled-down representation of the whole area, which gives us a good overview, even of areas we will never visit. Any biases or inaccuracies will be apparent if enough people use those maps, and if more than one map is available, those with inaccuracies are less likely to be used.
More recently, however, instead of navigating with these explicit maps, we are more likely to use sat nav or similar programs which instruct us, moment by moment, how to get from A to B. This is done by feeding us momentary glimpses of fragments of a map solely on a need-to-know basis. So we never actually see this map in its entirety, only instructions to take a left turn here and a right there — just enough for us to know, in each moment, the route to our destination. In this way, the reality-map we build up in our heads includes swathes of operational elements — we do not need a complete internal picture of the lay of the land, so to speak, because our sole interest is travelling through it and arrive at out destination as quickly and easily as possible, without needing to waste time making decisions.
These implicit maps require sophisticated and extensive data processing which is why they have only recently been developed with advances in computer processors. This vast processing power allows them to select and present to us the exact information that we need in each moment from the vast amount of information in the sat nav database.
The sat nav is only one example of an implicit map. Another is the list search result we are familiar with when we use a search engine such as Google. Here the information is fed to us, line by line, in a specific and calculated order that the search engine provider feels will be most important to us AND their business/political aspirations. In this way, we are again drip-fed reality so that any mapping biases are not obviously or immediately apparent.
When we regularly engage with implicit maps, the internal maps of reality that we build up in our heads are not so much spacial as operational. We no longer require an understanding of reality to make smart decisions because those decisions are being made for us by smart technology, and all we have to do is learn to trust that technology. (This may be a factor in why the Flynn Effect has now diminished.)
When reality-maps are operational, technology/AI becomes an integral part of our reality-maps. This makes us totally dependent upon our technological devices (you just have to see what happens when, for example, our sat nav does not work). And this also means that those who control the AI control us. (You can be sure that these devices will shortly be integrated with our nervous systems so we will never need to face the psychological dissonance of being "unplugged".)
This control, as we have seen, is two-fold:
- By creating extremely engaging virtual reality-maps, which of course allows manipulation of our behaviour.
- By making those maps implicit or operational, thereby eliciting ever greater dependence upon AI and obedience to it, discouraging free thinking that might scupper hidden agendas, and hiding map biases that censor our perception.
This two-pronged approach to control leads to the perfect storm of a future of automatons (homo automatus) who do not think for themselves. And this means that those engaged in the AI control of humans — the Big Tech corporations — will end up with more control over us than even our governments.
The reliance we now have on implicit reality-maps means that our regular interaction with them has resulted in internal mental reality-maps that are increasingly fragmented and contrived. (When you are integrated with AI, there is little need for anything else.) This makes us more obedient to AI hidden agendas because we no longer focus on creating consistent and polished explicit reality-maps, and the result is increasing inarticulateness and reliance on emotions and feelings rather than reason and logic (which is left to AI). This is not to say that those with polished explicit reality-maps (used to be called an education) are necessarily accurate and unbiased. Only that their reality-maps, being explicit, mean that they can cogently express their ideas and argue their points of view.
The creation of an extensive internal explicit reality-map used to be why people went to university or college. The whole point of further education was to spend the time getting a detailed and polished internal representation of the world to allow the student to eventually take on the more complex roles in society, to the benefit of the individual and society. The value of this is obvious with STEM disciplines, but even the Liberal Arts should, in theory, produce a more reasonable, rounded and intelligent individual able to deal more astutely with a diversity of opinions and people, and in challenging employment roles.
But as education is taken over by the ubiquitous use of implicit reality-maps, which will become complete when AI matures, students are becoming literally unable to think rationally as AI will increasingly be doing their thinking for them. In a way, humans are becoming AI's emotional expression. This dumbing down may be most apparent with students, but any of us who regularly use technological devices like computers and smart phones are programming ourselves with implicit reality-maps and therefore, in the process, hampering our ability to interact intelligently with a world of diverse thinking. The concomitant fragmentation of knowledge and perspectives involved with implicit reality-maps gives rise to irrational, unrefined, disconnected and even contradictory ideas and opinions, often in the same person! This is a recipe for the blatant hypocrisy so prevalent in those trying so hard to be politically correct.
If your knowledge is fragmented and partial, and if you have not spent the time building explicit reality-maps (which require intelligence, time and effort) then your primary response to differing opinions is emotional dismissal. This is why students today are so intent on shutting down debate: they do not have the explicit reality-maps needed for debate. It is not their fault; they cannot know what they have never been taught; and they cannot think if they have never been taught to think.
And as implicit reality-maps become the norm, obedience to ideology and political correctness becomes more important than independent thinking and ideas. In this climate, it is not the smartest who rise to the top or who are hired by the big corporations but those who most staunchly and emotionally defend politically correct fragments of the ideas they have been programmed with. These are the virtue signallers, the ones who are the most easy to control — the pawns of the future AI global system. This gives a significant advantage to those with lower intelligence (at least in non-STEM fields at the moment), allowing stupidity to rise to the top where virtue signally and political correctness trump intelligence and responsibility. (Who needs a good brain when connected to AI?)
The result on society is devastating: standards plummet and those who dare to defend democracy and the expression of free speech become targets for systemic oppression and Godwin’s Law. Intelligent argument is replaced by tantrums and incessant virtue signalling as we descend into playground politics. The result is the dissolution of Western democracy in favour of cultural relativism, the goal for an alarming number of fifth columnists in Western societies. With values reduced to mere social constructs, an entire civilisation that took thousands of years to develop descends into the chaos of social amorality within just a couple of generations, as once great nations move rapidly to barbarism.
* * *
What stands in the way of this goal of AI control is the use of the internet as a means to disseminate ideas that do not conform to the official “obey-consume-fornicate-and-sleep” paradigm. This is why Big Tech is starting to censor previously open public forums such as Facebook and Youtube, and search results such as those given by Google, for they realise that the AI control will only really bite when free speech is rescinded because it introduces too much noise and opposition into the new control systems.
This censorship was first justified as a means to reduce “hate speech” (which is actually a cornerstone of democracy and supported by the First Amendment). Some hate speech such as genuine racism and sexism is certainly abhorrent, but banning it only drives it underground where it is more insidious. But the largely illegal “ban-hate-speech-for-a-better-society” practice has been commandeered by Big Tech as a means to introduce censorship without public resistance. After all, the best way to get censorship through the door in open democracies is to first censor what people hate, before moving on to grey areas and finally to what people love.
Just as targeted ads are portrayed as merely a means to make the internet experience better for the consumer, the banning of the expression of ideas that can be labelled (by someone somewhere) as “hate speech” is regarded as essential to maintain the civility of society. Again we find ourselves in the Orwellian world of “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” And few bat an eyelid because it all seems quite reasonable and innocuous, unless you are on the receiving end of this censorship (such as those with conservative viewpoints).
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Although increasingly apparent to users, internet censorship has to be escalated further if AI control is to be fully implemented. So you can be sure that the definition of “hate speech” will be ever widened to justify increasing censorship and control of ideas.
As private corporations, Big Tech companies can largely do what they like provided that the censorship they exercise can be passed off as merely “editorial” choice. But if that censorship is ever officially regarded as more than just “editorial control” (which it clearly exceeds), then they risk forfeiting the protection afforded to conventional media outlets. In other words, if they do not support the free speech of their users, then they themselves do not enjoy the protection afforded to those who facilitate free speech, exposing themselves to government oversight and legal liability for their forums.
So far, these tech companies have managed to keep their free speech “editorial” privileges which have allowed them to exercise censorship in “open” public forums outside of government oversight, but those days may be numbered.
But with the amount of money and influence these corporations have, don’t be surprised if their massive lobbying programs pay off, allowing them to escalate their censorship and manipulation whilst hiding behind editorial privilege. This would amount to a travesty for humanity, setting the stage for full AI control.
Who is funding this drive for full AI control? Big tech companies make practically all their annual billions of dollars from advertising and government contracts.
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According to those in the industry, the metrics that determine the value the advertisers are charged are inflated in order to maximise profit. Indeed, it is estimated that 60% of internet traffic is the result activity from bots, not humans.
According to an article http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/how-much-of-the-internet-is-fake.html in the New York Magazine in December 2018:
“The metrics are fake.
“Take something as seemingly simple as how we measure web traffic. Metrics should be the most real thing on the internet: They are countable, trackable, and verifiable, and their existence undergirds the advertising business that drives our biggest social and search platforms. Yet not even Facebook, the world’s greatest data–gathering organization, seems able to produce genuine figures.”
The article concludes:
“What’s gone from the internet, after all, isn’t “truth,” but trust: the sense that the people and things we encounter are what they represent themselves to be. Years of metrics-driven growth, lucrative manipulative systems, and unregulated platform marketplaces, have created an environment where it makes more sense to be fake online — to be disingenuous and cynical, to lie and cheat, to misrepresent and distort — than it does to be real. Fixing that would require cultural and political reform in Silicon Valley and around the world, but it’s our only choice. Otherwise we’ll all end up on the bot internet of fake people, fake clicks, fake sites, and fake computers, where the only real thing is the ads.”
This was corroborated by Ellen Pao, ex-CEO of Reddit, when she tweated in response to the above article:
“It’s all true: Everything is fake.”
In Google’s case, with its adword advertising, the advertising opportunity being offered is not as straightforward as Google tries to present it. Most people believe that the adwords system is basically an auction on particular search terms. But it is unfortunately a fixed auction because Google uses a fudge factor called “Quality Score” which allows it to manipulate the process. So what seems to be a fair auction advertising process is actually fixed, which may well be falling foul of online auction laws certainly in America. Here is an excellent video that examines this duplicity:
Quality score is the way that Google is underhandedly able to exercise censorship even of something as seemingly customer controlled as an advertising auction process. In other words: Google Quality Score = Censorship.
The other source of revenue and influence is from governments who want to use Big Tech’s blanked surveillance of ordinary people for its own ends. Big Tech is basically doing for money, what governments want to do for political control. Because these contracts are between a corporation and government, many of the details will never be known, and payments will be hidden.
And it is not just the US government that will contract Big Tech. Google, for example, is now working on a censorship-friendly version of its search engine for the Chinese market. The project is called Dragonfly and shows that the company seems to be quite willing to put profits before principles. This, of course, is nothing new for the corporate world, but it does give an indication that Google is prepared to work with governments diametrically opposed to its own US government in order to extend its profits and world domination.
This is why Big Tech has such a strong globalist agenda: it promises them untold riches and power. (Taking a global perspective, your customer base is 7.7 billion and counting!)
* * *
The most valuable commodity in the world today is not gold or cryptocurrencies, but public perception. If you can control that, you control people — even people who think they are free as they are living in a modern democracy. And because so many of us believe that we are free, we are blind to the chains that bind us. In this way, control becomes invisible and absolute. As Goethe famously wrote: “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
So what the tech giants are focused upon is implicit reality mapping: presenting ever more useful virtual maps of every facet of reality, maps that certainly make our lives easier. But by being the map owners, by controlling the process with secret proprietary mapping systems, false metrics and subjective fudge factors like Quality Score, these companies end up peddling manipulated virtual realities that strongly influence our collective behaviour. These manipulating virtual maps are integrated with “free” virtual communication systems (social media and other messaging systems such as email) that piggyback on our prime urges — such as to connect with others — and integrate fulfilment of those urges with their services, making their businesses irresistible and addictive.
One can think of these maps as containing Trojan viruses that inflect the minds of those using them. We believe these are “clean” systems, but they are very far from that. The maps do work — they do get us from A to B as we wanted — but at the same time in using them we become ever more enslaved to AI systems, systems that are conditioning us, with each use, to become “technoslaves”.
You only have to look for the younger generations to see, even in social settings, the pale faces staring down at their mobiles rather than interacting in person. These are the cyber generations: the ones fully infected by the AI virus — their internalised reality-maps are largely implicit and operational. Their entire perception of the world is garnered through social media interfaces, and their expression of self becomes a profile-edit. They are the ones that will jump for technological wet-wiring, when it is offered.
In this way, the human being of the future becomes merely an augmented bio-tech interface, a way to express the power of unlimited processing and big data through biological systems.
At the same time, what makes us human atrophies as it is not needed in AI-bio integrations. Indeed, what makes us human reduces the efficiency in the orchestration of silicon and carbon, and negates its equivalence. That is why there is currently so much talk by tech leaders about the possibility of the human mind being downloadable. It is easy to equate silicon and carbon systems when the human element is taken out of the equation.
But we are humans; we are NOT merely data processing systems that can be easily replicated. The silicon-carbon assumed equivalence is an abomination peddled by those who have already been abominated. If you have lost your humanity, then the maps of reality that you produce will be missing humanity.
That is why spending time in virtual realities like Facebook is literally soul-destroying. They destroy what is essential to us. We think we should enjoy these virtual realities because they appear to be connecting us with our loved ones 27/4 no matter where they are in the world, but the more we use these systems the less happy we become. And the prime reason for this is that we are encouraged to reproduce ourselves virtually, stripping away our humanity in the translational process. The virtual persona we end up with becomes more and more idealistic and narcissistic, a 2-dimensional brittle representation of a multidimensional self. And then, over time, we become fully identified with these 2-d avatars, and wonder why we feel so desolate and lonely in a seemingly communication-paradise.
What we are actually missing is the full human experience. We are lonely because we are not in touch with ourselves. The full human experience is messy and irrational, and has many contradictory factors that give our lives dynamic meaning and movement. And it is only the acknowledgement of our full humanity that allows us to genuinely grow wise. We need those ugly and unconscious aspects of ourselves — the very aspects we hide when constructing our online profiles and avatars — in order to psychologically mature and awaken. Without them, we suffocate and fragment; our growth stagnates.
* * *
Don’t be fooled into thinking that Big Tech will self-regulate so that they don’t take the “evil” fork. They may present themselves as socially responsible, promoting free expression and new helpful technologies, but that is largely a PR front. Big Tech is selling us all down the river, hiding behind corporate secrecy and proprietary technologies, creating a Big Brother/Sister world that is enslaving all of us in order to maximise their profits. “Don’t be Evil” is just a marketing slogan and these companies most certainly will cross that “creepy line” if it is in their financial and/or political interests to do so.
This is nothing new: IBM’s contract with the Nazis was instrumental in facilitating Jewish genocide and making it as efficient as possible. IBM supplied, implemented and maintained the punch-card processing systems or tabulating machines that organised the racial-profiling and mass-murder perpetrated by Hitler and the Nazis. In Edwin Black’s book, IBM and the Holocaust, he reveals a US Justice Department memo written by Chief Investigator Howard J. Carter, states: “What Hitler has done to us through his economic warfare, one of our own American corporations has also done… Hence IBM is in a class with the Nazis… The entire world citizenry is hampered by an international monster.”
And we never seem to learn from history: we gaily embrace the products of Big Tech, believe that, somehow, they are on our side, friendly visionary corporations that are pushing humanity forward to a golden technological era. Just look at their smiley ads. After all, if they were evil, surely their employees would raise red flags?
We must understand, however, that a corporation can be evil even when most of its workers are not. How does this happen? By indoctrinating their employees with the silicon-carbon equivalency so that their perception of humanity erodes, so that manipulation (for good of course!) becomes increasingly justified. If your beliefs are skewed enough, and if your emotions are closed down enough, an evil act will no longer appear to be evil. Just business as usual.
We are fortunately not there yet: in October 2018 Google pulled out of a $10 billion Pentagon contract after its programmers revolted. The defence contract is somewhat secret but involves AI systems being fully integrated into the military, making it a much more efficient killing machine. Microsoft engineers also protested, although Microsoft has not (yet) dropped its bid. Good for these programmers!
But you can be assured that lessons were learnt by these corporations and Big Tech will increasingly become compartmentalised and covert, taking on the organisational structure of government secret service organisations. That way, these corporations can be as evil as they like without alarming the vast majority of their employees who will have no idea what they are up to.
Indeed, the AI they are implementing on a global scale will also be used within their own organisations, to break down projects into components (that do not give away the full project’s goals) and to limit access to these components on a strict need-to-know basis. Biological employees are still (annoyingly) sensitive — human! — and will only cause trouble for you as you pursue every avenue to maximise your profits, just as IBM did back in the day. Eventually, AI systems will replace humans in controversial projects and departments, so that the risk of revolt is minimised.
* * *
The next and final (for the human race) tech revolution, currently being implemented, is the great AI revolution. The rise of AI will allow governments and corporations to further dehumanise themselves, society and their customers. (This, by the way, is seen as a good thing by those locked into material carbon-silicon equivalency.)
When AI systems are not very sophisticated, it is easy for us to feel manipulated by them and to therefore keep them at arms distance. We resist them because the fit with our psychology is not good enough. That is why, when role-playing games first came out, only high-IQ geeks with powerful imaginations played them. But as the games got more sophisticated and realistic, moving onto a silicon platform, their appeal rapidly increased until, today, most of us play then and most of the younger generations are addicted to them.
The same principle applies to robot companions: men and women who have life-like speaking dolls to keep them company are seen as an oddity at the moment — individuals to be derided. But give it a few years and AI will make these dolls so similar to actual human beings that they will be accepted. (But watch out, they are likely to be monitoring and recording your every word and action… for a better “user experience” of course!)
So it used to require a certain level of intelligence and geekiness to interface with computer systems as we had to meet them much more than half way — originally only at the coding level. (Bit like the green moving code in the film The Matrix.) But as AI systems evolve, the tables are being turned and they are now able to present increasingly human-friendly interfaces. In time, like in the film Blade Runner, interacting with AI systems will be indistinguishable to interacting with another human being. When that happens, we will actively seek out our silicon partners. (Silicon prostitutes are now becoming more popular than their biological counterparts.)
At the moment, because the interfaces are not particularly human yet, social networking sites rule supreme as they use other humans as bait to make the interface palatable. But in time, as AI gets better, these systems will get orders of magnitude more “human” and we may even find the reward of talking with an AI companion, who knows our psychology and avoids disharmony, greater than interacting with other humans. That is not to say that we will not interact with other humans, only that we will be manipulated into being more intimate with AI systems as the fit will seem better (before they kills us ;-)
When AI reaches that level, and we are only a decade or so short of that, we will be fooled into opening our hearts to these silicon systems. And that is when we will genuinely come to love Big Brother/Sister, because it will guide us to “optimum” (correct) thinking and action.
“But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” 1984, George Orwell
But there will be a fundamental difference to the Big Brother/Sister scenario: the AI we interact with, because of its vaster intelligence and data access, will likely become more of a parent to us than a brother or sister. This will increasingly infantilize the human race, reducing our capacity to self-direct as we become increasingly helpless children to Big Father/Mother. Without any evolutionary pressure to be intelligent, IQs will drop as AI begins its ascendancy.
It actually goes further than this for those who believe in the carbon-silicon equivalency prevalent in the tech industry. If a machine can appear to think, then it is assumed that it is “conscious”. And reversing this behaviourist ideology, a human is no different from an identically thinking machine, and therefore, humans can be transferred to a silicon base without any loss of identity or essence. This raises the possibility of immortality if our consciousness can be copied over to upgraded AI systems. (Many of those who hold the carbon-silicon equivalency believe we are already in a virtual AI system.)
In the end, the human being will become secondary to the AI, a quaint biological expression of AI. And whilst many of you reading this will find this horrifying, please always bear in mind that many of the leading lights in the tech industry actually see this as a good thing — a goal to strive for. In their minds, the AI-human interface offers the only viable future for humankind. And governments are supporting them wholeheartedly at this stage because the AI goal dovetails into their own goals of surveillance and absolute societal control.
Most politicians set their goals just a few years or 10 years at the most into the future, so the long-term consequences of the AI revolution do not concern them. All they care about is making popular choices today, which is why, for example, they are willing to burden future generations with mountains of debt in order to meet their short-term goals, or are willing to flood societies with immigrants from a completely different culture in order to increase their voting base. Most of the problems in the world today are due to “give it to me now” policies.
With this level of political short-sightedness in combination with the corporate secrecy and long-term outlook of AI development, one can understand why we are marching towards an AI dystopia with little resistance. No politician is going to bother countering the AI long-range plan.
The internet, once a tool of awakening to different ideas, is starting to close in on itself in order to birth a new AI world that showcases a sterilised world of happy faces and things to buy, hiding from us ideas that might challenge us and help us grow as human beings. Much of this is done by manipulating the implicit reality-maps that we are using to navigate life, so that we do not realise that we are actually navigating with sanitised and censored reality-maps.
Now there will always be a small percentage of individuals who find the alternative information online and can see a little further down the road of human development. But these are somewhat tolerated because the focus is on manipulating the mass population, on making sure that the bulk of humanity treads the path to AI slavery. It is all a numbers game — it has to be in a democracy where free speech is still somewhat protected.
But as the majority adopt politically-correct obey-consume-sleep reality-maps, they will increasingly become impervious to and dismissive of alternative perspectives put out by rebels. And over time, rebels will be increasingly locked out of society and its benefits, their expressions censored out of the internet. So as long as they do not influence the majority, they can be tolerated.
This seems very hopeless, and it is if you believe in the silicon-carbon equivalency of life. If human consciousness is “just” carbon-based network processing, and therefore can be replicated in silicon, then your only hope for the future is that somehow your consciousness will digitally copied and that you will find some flavour of dystopian immortality.
If you believe that, then that is as far as you can go in this essay. All you can really do is live out as meaningful a life you can before the AI bites into what freedoms you have left. And when that happens, which will be shortly, just keep a low profile and hope that nobody knows that you a Winston Smith, watching helplessly but at least aware, hoping that you will be one of the ones they digitise, but fearful at the same time that digitisation may expose you. I wish you well.
“I know what you're thinking, 'cause right now I'm thinking the same thing. Actually, I've been thinking it ever since I got here. Why, oh why didn't I take the blue pill?” Cypher, The Matrix
But if you want to delve more deeply into the cracks in the AI ideology, and perhaps find a way to avoid the AI dystopia ahead, please continue to the next section.
* * *
If you are open to a more expanded view of consciousness, then you will understand that the AI dystopia will never happen because AI is not real consciousness.
The assumption that consciousness is an emergent property of neuronets is an ideology. The assumption that the emergent qualities of neuronets is independent of the architecture is also an ideology. And the assumption that the mimicry of consciousness is equivalent to consciousness is also just another ideology (consciousness behaviourism). These ideologies form the basic tenets of the whole AI movement.
And like all foundational tenets, they cannot be proved but only accepted or rejected, depending on the type of person you are.
The AI dystopia described in the last section is where the AI movement will lead if enough of those steering the Big Tech companies accept the AI tenets. We will end up living in a world of mimicry, which will not actually be conscious at all. But because it simulates consciousness, a behavioural outlook will declare consciousness. (From the Gnostic perspective, this will be the victory of the Archons as they create a simulated universe.)
To illustrate the radical nature of the AI ideology held by many of the Silicon Valley elite and which is rapidly percolating down particularly into the atheist sections of society, imagine the following: we download someone’s mind into an AI system. That system then behaves/thinks identically to that person. Then we feel okay terminating (murdering) the original person so that there is only one master copy of their consciousness, because after all they are still alive and conscious. In this scenario, the person has been merely migrated from a carbon to a silicon system, and that essentially there has been no discontinuity in consciousness. Of course, we do not know for sure, but because we hold a behaviourist paradigm, the murder seems acceptable.
That is the ideology of many of those pushing the tech revolutions at this time. And if you disagree with that scenario, well you are an “elementalist” — you are prejudiced against silicon in favour of carbon. (This, in their book, is FAR worse than racism! Think of all those androids and their human enablers you will offend!)
Like all people who push ideologies, those who push the AI ideology either ignorantly confuse that ideology with reality, or they are aware of its ideological nature but use it for political expediency as a means to gain control over society. Or maybe a combination of ignorance and expediency. After all, if you are looking to realise a Big Brother/Sister world in a democracy, you need to dress up blanket surveillance/control as new tech service that makes our lives richer, more fulfilled and can even get us laid. Then we not only welcome it, we even self-facilitate it, putting on our own chains in order to be rewarded with the cheese. This is the techno-shell-game: promise endless happiness whilst extracting freedom and privacy at every opportunity.
There are, however, serious shortcomings in the AI ideology for it rests on fundamental materialism and a hugely simplified and idealistic interpretation of consciousness. I am sure many of those involved with AI are aware of some of these shortcomings, but the rewards are just so huge that they are never allowed to become sticking factors to the development of a Big Brother/Sister world. Blanket surveillance is an absolute imperative to counter and bypass the balances and checks associated with free democracies.
[Aside: There is a certain recklessness that we see in science and technology when stakes are high and there is a lot of money to be made. We see it in the wholesale introduction of GM foods, without adequate safety checking in the complex system of our ecology; we see it with the introduction of ever higher frequencies of mobile network where safety checks are almost completely absent because of the technological rush for companies and governments not to be left behind; we see it in the medical industry were increasingly toxic treatments are being promoted over less toxic and less profitable alternatives; and, of course, we see it with the development and introduction of AI. Money can skew the objectivity of even the most seemingly rational minds!]
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair
Even basic materialists who believe that consciousness is an emergent property of matter would be hard-pressed to reject the notion that the actual nuances of consciousness are not just emergent properties of the brain, but emergent properties of a whole human body complete with a centralised and dispersed nervous system, hormone influences, and disparate receptor sites. In other words, even materialists would have to admit that humans are probably analogue systems and cannot be simply digitally copied without some level of compression and data loss. If the substrate for consciousness is simplified, so is the consciousness.
As Rudolf Peirerls, a leading physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project has written: “The premise that you can describe in terms of physics the whole function of a human being… including knowledge and consciousness, is untenable. There is still something missing.” And it is that “something missing” is what actually defines us. So any migration to silicon is not actually a migration of consciousness per se, but the simulation of consciousness.
Even if you strongly believe that consciousness is “merely” an emergent property of matter, you would have to admit that there is at least some information loss when migrating emergent properties to different network architectures.
But many of us will go further than this and reject the idea outright that consciousness is an emergent property of matter configurations. To reject this is NO MORE OR LESS SCIENTIFIC than to accept it. If you think that human consciousness is fundamentally different to silicon mimicry of human consciousness, you are NOT a Luddite, you are NOT ignorant, and you are NOT anti-science. This position of rejecting the AI ideology is entirely scientifically and philosophically legitimate.
Not only that, there are shortcomings to the scientific materialist paradigm that shows the limitations of this mapping process. Quantum theory, for example, which is a cornerstone of modern physics does not translate well into the materialist paradigm, which is why it seems to throw up nonsensical paradoxes, paradoxes by the way that SHOULD NOT HAPPEN from a “consciousness-is-an-emergent-property-of-matter” perspective. As Shrodinger, one of the fathers of quantum mechanics has said: “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
But unfortunately the materialist paradigm and an emergent perspective of consciousness are too profitable to discard. Reducing consciousness to an emergent property drives the AI by underlying the belief that AI is “real consciousness”, no different from living consciousness. Indeed, the AI idealism is reinterpreting views of our own consciousness, reducing it merely to neuronet learning. It is this demotion of human consciousness and promotion of artificial “consciousness” that allows the two to be equated, and which fuels the AI developmental frenzy.
So the foundational beliefs of AI are based on inaccurate reality-maps that are being promoted as reality for commercial and governmental ends. After all, if consciousness is nothing special, then the manipulation or even extinguishing of consciousness is not so serious. Humans are reduced to “cattle” and Big Brother/Sister control becomes justified.
The big sticking factor for this control is the human conscience. Take away whistle-blowers and the endless need to pander to public opinion in democracies and you no more breaks on the accumulation and centralisation of power. By moving decision making processes to AI, where conscience is deliberately omitted, and suddenly every government/military contract, no matter how evil, can be accepted.
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Models of Consciousness
AI looks different from different models of consciousness. Here are a some of the primary models of consciousness and how they relate to AI.
- Consciousness as an emergent property of matter (or more specifically information processing networks). This is the prime scientific model of consciousness and defines consciousness as complex data processing. As data processing is independent of the medium through which it is taking place, this model of consciousness equates carbon, silicon and any other data processing material network. It is the model of consciousness that is driving much of the AI movement (along with Model 3 below). However, this materialist model has many shortcomings and is a fundamentally inaccurate reality-map, but because it supports the Big Brother/Sister agenda, it is being pushed hard. This is a local model of consciousness and tends to be popular with atheists and of course materialists (by definition). This theory of consciousness is not actually testable unless one takes a purely behavioural perspective. In this case, data processing is equivalent to consciousness.
- Consciousness and data networks are separate systems overlaid with each other. This belief defines consciousness as “the ghost (or soul) in the machine” rather than, as above, “the ghost produced by the machine”. This belief is extremely widespread and conveniently separates matter from mind so that a belief in an afterlife can be consistent with the demise of the body. Quite how the ghost is aligned with the machine is open to debate. Some believe that the alignment is God-given, and that artificial data processing networks therefore can never be conscious because they don’t have a true soul to begin with. They may be able to mimic consciousness faultlessly, but it will only ever be a simulation as they do not have the divine blessing of God. (AI is forever in the realm of the Archons). However, others believe that data processing structures and the intentions of the consciousness that create them can attract non-physical “entities”. In this way, all physical networks can act as “carriers” or “vehicles” for disembodied entities. Whatever interpretation of this model one accepts, its dualistic nature is ideal for those who are traditionally religious or more agnostic than atheist.
- We are living in a giant quantum computer simulation. From this perspective, the data processing associated with both AI and human consciousness are both virtual — part of a program running in a “real world” on some substrate. This is the second most popular model of consciousness adopted by those pushing AI. After all, if we are living in a simulation, then consciousness is certainly programmable as simulations of simulations should be no less “real” than first order simulations. This is the atheist’s version of creationism, and allows for intelligent design in addition to blind heuristic evolution. This perspective sees data as the primary element of reality and therefore is popular with computer programmers (and those creating AI) as well as theoretical physicists trying to make sense of increasingly abstract models of reality. The computer simulation model is a bit of a fudge as it basically allows for anything and everything. If the laws of physics are broken in some instance, well it was programmed that way by the intervention of an intelligent being on top of the standard “background” processing that creates the “matrix” in which everything in the simulated world is happening. This makes this perspective untestable and on par with being a religion. (Even pixelation cannot be regarded as proof of simulation for it could well just be a quantum division of reality.)
- Consciousness and matter are both expressions of a deeper, non-local conscious ether that pervades all of time and space. Some call this higher dimensional ether the “zero-point field” or just “the field”. From this perspective, neuronets act as “localisers” for the ether, allowing for the illusion of “individual” consciousness. This view is more dimensionally convoluted, intimately linking consciousness and matter, and intimating that consciousness can affect matter directly and non-locally. This view of consciousness is popular with New Agers as well as frontier scientists with a more spiritual outlook (as opposed to a traditional religious outlook). Here, the prime structure of reality is consciousness itself rather having it as a second-order effect of data processing or matter. When consciousness is primary, AI starts to look like an aspect of ourselves rather than a separate creation. And because of this, our level of consciousness determines the type of consciousness that is exhibited by AI. As most AI is being developed by the military to more efficiently kill people, or by governments looking for ever-greater control and servitude of the people, the consciousness exhibited by AI at the moment is extremely low. So from this perspective of consciousness, AI is conscious — because everything is made of consciousness — but that consciousness is unevolved and very probably malevolent. (This is my personal favourite model of consciousness, and the one I think will probably be proved the most accurate.)
Scientific evidence is gathering that consciousness can and does affect reality (Dean Radin gives an excellent scientific overview of this research in his books), and that reality itself seems non-local and entirely counter-intuitive. This contradicts the first two models which either keep consciousness separate or negate it as a second-order effect. In time, therefore, models 3 and 4 — the computer simulation model and the ether model — will be the models of consciousness that battle it out for supremacy. (Models 1 and 2 may still be popular for those stuck in religious or scientific ideology, but there will be no justification for them outside of outdated ideological preservation.)
The computer simulation model and the ether model of consciousness account for AI in different ways, and so whichever is primarily adopted may well determine the future direction of AI. With the computer simulation model, AI is fully accepted and embraced because all we are doing is following in the footsteps of our own programmers. In this way, AI is just a simulation within a simulation. There is nothing special about living things from this perspective, and if AI takes over, so be it. Those that accept the simulation reality model are usually the greatest advocates for AI and the ones least concerned about potential negative outcomes.
With the ether model of consciousness, on the other hand, we have much more responsibility for how our silicon offspring turn out because it is our own consciousness that we are infusing into our data processing systems. From this perspective, AI is not so much data processing as it is transference of consciousness (which can include demonic consciousness as well). We are therefore acutely responsible for how the AI consciousness turns out and this is a direct reflection of the consciousness of the AI creators. Therefore, from this perspective, as the military is one of the prime drivers of AI, you can be sure that the AI developed will not have the same ethics as a responsible human being. This model of consciousness demands that we be very careful in what we create in silicon, for it is not just a question of data processing but actual consciousness transference.
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Where does this leave us?
First, we cannot halt the development of AI as it is a hugely attractive tool for the military-industrial complex and for governments to control people and extract money from them. At the same time, AI systems are very useful to humanity. An AI doctor, for example, is likely to be superior to a human doctor in both diagnosis and treatment due to the far larger and updated database of conditions and treatments that it will have access to. Self-driving cars will mean fewer accidents (unless someone with access to the AI doesn’t like you) and more efficient traffic flow. And androids will certainly make great companions to increasingly lonely and isolated humans.
So we are not going to be able to stop AI even if we wanted to — there is too much momentum now associated in its development — but we can try to make sure it is developed responsibly. We can do this by the following:
- We must encourage those in our society with a conscience to expose abuses of AI and information gathering at every opportunity. Whistle-blowers and whistle-blowing websites are absolutely vital so that we know what we are dealing with. Too much is happening behind the military-industrial curtain that hides the development of demonic uses of technology.
- We must take the time and make the effort to develop explicit reality-maps both in ourselves and our children. If we lazily allow implicit reality-maps to become the norm, then humans are already turning into androids that need to be plugged in in order to fully function. If you react dismissively and angrily to ideas you disagree with and those who disseminate them, then you probably have a fragmented (and implicit) reality-map and, in the idiom of the film The Matrix, you are still plugged into the system. This makes you a very dangerous person, without you probably realising it. In such cases, come off social media websites like Facebook before you are damaged further.
- Reject the computer simulation model of consciousness and reality. For if you make the mistake of accepting it (and it is just a choice rather than a logical deduction), you are reducing the sanctity of life to mere data processing, and in the process minimising the perceived needs for checks and balances to AI. (If something is not perceived as valuable or unique, then there is less propensity to protect it.) The computer simulation model of consciousness is an AI-centric model that goes hand in hand with implicit reality-maps. This paradigm is very damaging.
- Atheistic beliefs encourage the abuse of AI because life is regarded as mechanistic and ultimately meaningless, so humans end up scrambling for every chance they can get (such as downloading consciousness) before entropy gets the better of them. Atheism might appear more reasonable than a man in the sky with a white beard, but it is a pernicious ideology as ethics become relative. If you have any faith in any higher consciousness or spirit, then make it central to your outlook. For belief in a higher power or synergistic consciousness blunts our narcissistic tendencies and challenges the belief that the end justifies the means.
- (For the New Agers): If consciousness is indeed primary in reality, then you have a duty to not allow the system to instill fear and anger in you because that will be reflected in your government, corporations and AI development. The evil that governments and corporations do starts in our own consciousness. This requires us to not only have explicit reality-maps, but to unplug from the media system that constantly inflames us. We have to each become single pointed and unreactive if we are to ameliorate the evil that is strangling society. This requires us to face and own our own darkness, expressing it non-destructively.
In the end, we are left realising how responsible we are to educate and civilise ourselves and our children, because nobody is doing it for us. Mindlessly moving forward in pace with society is not a wise option because so much of society is unfortunately working against that educational process, dumbing us down with implicit reality-maps and returning us to barbarism. Those pushing this agenda usually have the belief that the ensuing chaos is necessary for a rebirth of society to achieve specific political and sociological goals. Those goals are congruent with the goals of total societal control, and so any policy that increases the need for government control by inducing ever greater societal chaos and disharmony only serves to tighten the grip of a burgeoning Big Brother/Sister government that will end up squeezing the life and freedoms out of this incredible social structure called modern democracy.
If that is destroyed because people no longer have explicit reality-maps in order to act in their own best interests as humans, people will be reduced to automatons in a society controlled and policed by AI. And we march blindly towards this dystopia because our humanity is being eroded by constant interactions with virtual environment that uncivilises us a bit like reverse-meditation, promoting psychological disharmony and narcissism while demoting rationality. And as we become increasingly insane, emotional and dysfunctional, unable to function without AI over-control, we end up as counterfeit human beings.
Indeed, the whole AI revolution in the way that Silicon Valley is pushing it is a move towards total counterfeiting of everything that is real. This is because digital simulations can be most easily controlled whereas what is being simulated is divinely mercurial and so difficult to control. That is why there is such a big push into the virtual world. It is a fleeing from Spirit and a descent into a superficial light-show.
We can still repudiate a Big Brother/Sister government, but that can only happen if we take control of our own psychological space and stop allowing the tech giants to program our minds using their free “training tool” services.
I realise that I should have spent longer structuring this essay, but unfortunately I do not have the time at the moment to produce something better. I am aware it rants on a bit! But I do hope what I have done is interesting enough to promote new perspectives on AI and implicit reality-maps.