Thursday, May 30, 2024

AI Can't Legislate Morality Either

Wasn't Holmes Jr. the author of that quote? I have it on the authority of my brother, a lawyer, that he was. Google says it's MLK Jr. My brother could always beat me up, even though I was bigger than him. He played football, I was a swimmer. Game over. He must be right!

Well in any case it's probably just law school shorthand lore. One gets the general idea, except when my lawyer daughter speaks in-group shorthand, like crimpro (I made that one up). 

Remember when Google was going to scan all the books ever published, and make it like a public service. That all went the way of 'don't be evil,' didn't it? Now we have NYT suing ChatGPT for pilfering their words along the way to training the bot, whose innards are as opaque as those of the human brain. Who knew?

Might we now depend on AI to skirt the copyright boundaries. What will be lost? Like we family share a bunch of film streaming services and feel downright rooked when they start surveilling and putting ads back in. Which was the whole point, right? 

But who, really can police this stuff? The Times also provokes me with AI as a threat to C-level types. And in the same issue (what's an issue anymore, really?) talks about how we win wars when they're truly existential. Meaning some general makes the call to kill large numbers of civilians. Destroy the morale of the enemy hoards. Nuke 'em. 

Holmes was the champion of the common law, right? It's what the people decide and it might not always comport to what philosophers of morality would decide. 

But CEO's have always been paid, and ever more exorbitantly now, for putting aside any concern for the patsy on whose brash enthusiasms their corporate selfie thrives. There is such a clear price now for amorality! Sick. According to Tooze, only the computations for 'evil bitcoinage' exceed the computing costs for AI training. Maybe CEOs will be the first to fall? The only ones worth the sacrifice, at the outset.

At elite colleges now, the Times also tells me, it's politically correct to boast about selling out. Grab you bag (of loot!) and take your prize. I'm telling you as a prolapsed Yalie that this is same as it ever was. No news fit for print. The local paper offers an ad-free account now, thought up by their national handler. So low have ad revenues fallen.

I know from my ex father-in-law that newspapers were so very recently among the most profitable to the tune of fifty percent businesses to own. No wonder Buffet, not Jimmy, owned ours for so long. So long! Newspaperman Commander Tom has his funeral today, may he rest in peace.

I tend to blame the degenerated system of public education, and I don't mean what you mean religionists, which in turn tends to blame the degeneration of the family, for the inchoate idiocy of Trump and his followers. Have any of them read any history? Ever? Or does the rot start at the top?

But hey, you know, that particular branch of the hoi polloi may be more emotionally intelligent than the rest of us. They know that something stinks in Denmark. Nuke it, they say, not entirely unreasonably. They smell an existential threat when they hear it.

Frankly, my dear, we don't give a damn. We have no good theory about what we're leaving out when we experiment with general intelligence. Well, I say, take a look at the world as a whole and you'll get the idea. 

Our media, whose eyeball grabbers have been artificially intelligent for eons, have finally polarized and bifurcated us to final death. Like a splitting amoeba, we glom to sides defined by guns and pollution without nuance for civil discussion. Red team blue team red pill blue, it's all that's left of me and you!

The law apparently has nothing much to say against allowing a proto-fascist to run for office, just because so many people place themselves inside his blob. I might almost agree that zero intelligence Trumps artificial intelligence every time, but for the evident fact that this guy's a psychopath who cares only for himself apart from performative displays of pseudo-passion. What we've come to expect from any politician.

Now hey, have I got a show for you! Mad Max on steroids, as if you could press that franchise any further. Max kicked me off on my Roku, but I was able to finish on my phone. Mad dash to the promised land. We may not have a good theory for what intelligence really is, just like we may not have a good theory for what morality is, just like we don't have a good theory for what emotion is.

Here's a good ol' college try: Emotion is that aspect of intelligence which artificial intelligence lacks. I say the lack is by definition, since logic reduced to binary bits is cut off from the factual integration of everything with everything else. 

Sure, a good CEO makes his best decisions by the seat of his pants. Take Steve Jobs, please. Oh wait, he's already taken. Like a great quarterback, you have to master the game and then you have to make the plays by feel. Computers don't feel a thing.

Who knows how the brain works, but however it works the brain is embodied, just like the body is embodied by the all. Decisions are the least of what the brain does, bogged down as it is with setting the stage from experience. Experience is built on moving about in the world and discovering commonalities with all else that lives. There is terminal sadness in the proliferation of plastics from oil, Benjamin, and not just in the form of global warming. Tools in the hand have been retracted onto a screen so that we may compute any structure that we can imagine. 

This is the root cause of our degeneration. Even Trumpers know that. Especially Trumpers. Which is a taboo subject on my side of the Great Divide. 

Fuck, I'm old. Just moving is painful. I have to hand it to those two soon-former guys as they keep up their marathon attendance on their roles. I watched the Buffalo marathon the other day. There's nothing there - there's nothing anywhere which could draw me into that pursuit. Painful just to watch. A woman who looked to be 80 jogged past with with numbered bib as I strolled toward the starting gun. Just wanting to witness the big bang. I walked a half marathon that day as a lonely spectator. Paying for it still.

So we still witness life, even though we might no longer participate in it. Even though our earth is almost fully constructed now. Even though we nurse dreams of travel through the Dune-scape of outer space. We mimic down here on earth now, the uncrossable distance one to the next as is the mandate of our economic totalitarianism. If you are not an individual you are nothing to the marketplace. A worthless cog. 

But we ain't dead yet. I don't know why, with the endlessness of unreachable space and its endless population of similarities, we think, against the laws of physics, that we're going to make contact with other life. We can't even make contact with one another here on earth. 

Get it together and God will be known to us once again. Not a god, or The God, but God, that remainder beyond our understanding which always defines the here and now.

Over and out. Roger that. There are so many ways to terminate. Not so many ways to live. At least we're all together now. One vessel. We made it ourselves. Let's get it together.

Or as my granddaughter sings, 'row row row your boat . . . '  I'll learn the ropes some day, even as it kills me. Hey, automatic life preservers are on sale! Yippee, hooray, wahoo!