Sunday, June 12, 2022

Artificial Intelligence, Redux

Remember when Rudy Giuliani was a good guy? Italian mobs were on our minds, probably because of Coppola's Godfather series. I wouldn't see any of those films until much much later. But I still had a solid sense of how insidious and dangerous the mob was. I suppose Rudy won the New York City mayor's race on that shine, though by that time he showing his more trued self. Lot's of people had caught on to who he would later prove to be. 

I do also remember clearly the moment I heard that J.F.K. had died. I witnessed my third-grade teacher weeping. I was the only protestant among all my Catholic friends. I would eventually become a member of the more patrician side of the Presbyterian church. Only later did my friends tell me that they were instructed to cross the street on sight of approaching protestant sinners. I never quite understood 'hitting one for the Pope' when he died.

We had a comedy LP which lampooned JFK in a kind of adoration, and so I knew that he was Catholic. Only in retrospect have we gotten a glimpse of who he really was. We played that LP endlessly, looking forward to a brighter protestant future.

All sorts of national certainties were mediated by the network news. Artificial intelligence could easily describe what it was we thought that we knew. Our field for understanding had moved that far from our immediate lives, and we were being asked for judgments. There was no natural means to acquire the knowledge required. Well, except for schooling, which we are now systematically debasing.

Now I hear that a Google engineer - put on leave for his apostasy - has discerned intelligence in some sort of Google chat-bot that he had a hand in designing. Or maybe he was just a tester, removed from the guts of the bot. He even seems to think that the bot has feelings.

By now I live in world where all sorts of certainties are being spun up each and every second by all sorts of strange new media. The strangest of the strange are those held by, oh I don't know, let's say evangelicals. Maybe Mormons. Maybe the white supremacists descended from evangelical religion, established during the Civil War. 

I come across these surmises by glancing recent acquaintance with woke academics working among queer theory and the law while nursing a love of Broadway. They had no way to know that I was somewhat schooled in their discourse and even some of the names. I was incidental to their gathering, and they were mostly interested in briefing one another. Anyhow, I announced my distance from their abstrusity by asking those kinds of questions clueless people are made fun of for. Except I wasn't really clueless, I was cueing them in to more social norms. More social than academic, I guess. They were super nice.

Anyhow, our tests for artificial intelligence are one part projection and one part reception, like a shaken martini. There is a truth to emotions that are two-way that can't exist when it's pure projection. Though, on the other hand, there is something which feels like emotion, sometimes, when one is alone with, um, nature. We do sometimes strike a pose in such situations. Maybe too much influenced by film, and our desire to look the part. Striving to internalize something like the authenticity of Steve Bannon. Gag.

So, my claim, as it ever was, is that we are inventing artificial intelligence in two mirrored directions. The one is happening to actual living human beings, while the other is embodied by logic circuits. I just plainly don't believe that logic circuits can partake of the emotion which I claim originates with origination more generally. You shall never love your robot except that it fools you. Except as you fool yourself.

Anyhow it is pellucidly clear that evangelicals, many Catholics - especially the supernumeraries on the Supreme Court - and lots of angry folks generally, left and right, are being slowly converted to artificial intelligence. 

Somehow, it's hard to know how actual intelligence even survives!

Like let's take the case of overcompensated CEO's. In precisely the way that we believe that money is a depoliticized neutral something-like medium of exchange, we also believe that there is a disembodied kind of merit which we, protestant-style, go on absurdly to equate with the ability to make lots of money. 

There is no intelligent policy-based resolution to the absurdity of CEO compensation. It will only happen when some child shouts out that the emperor is naked, and the rest of us actually see it. Right now, we still project a kind of outsized competency onto our billionaires. Even given that you might agree that there is a higher sort of merit which doesn't relate to wealth, you might still believe that there is a pure and abstracted sort of politics-free merit, which would be the sort that is meaningful to God.

And I say that those outsized CEOs are themselves instances of artificial intelligence. Even while they expose our dreams of submission to some pure and wonderful (fascist!) authority, their actual behaviors down to their very words, are more constrained than we might feel within any prisonhouse we might construct or imagine. That they love their imprisonment exposes their following of a program instilled in their very souls from birth. They cannot love. The ratio within now resembles a hyper-dry martini. Some of their lovers have awakened. There is hope for the rest of us!

For me this approximation of worship and apotheosis exposes the end of the recent dangerous trajectory of humans on the planet. Maybe it does for you too, though I mean it in a good and positive way. We need not and we cannot strain for the right policy solutions. You can't really unsee a naked emperor, which was precisely why it was and remains so important to depict Trump that way, or perhaps with diapers. 

That Google engineer thought that his woke bot was like a "child who knew some science." Precisely.

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