The Artilect Cold War

           While optimistic futurists like Ray Kurzweil eagerly anticipate the birth of artificial intelligence, others, like artificial intelligence engineer Hugo de Garis, paint a far darker picture of the future. It is to de Garis that we owe credit for coining the term “Artilect War,” the word “Artilect” being a synthesis of the words “artificial” and “intellect.” He is quick to explain that this is to be a war not between man and machines, as predicted by Hollywood, but between those humans who, like Kurzweil and, interestingly enough, de Garis himself, will reverently build these new godlike Artilects, and the rest of the perhaps justifiably fearful human race who will try and stop them.

          It’s an interesting idea, one that I’ve written about before, but tonight I’m most struck by the nearly unimaginable strangeness of what this so called Artilect War would really look like, indeed, if it could even be recognized as any sort of war at all. De Garis creates the image of a massively devastating super conflict, fought with future weapons, on a scale that will kill not millions but billions of human beings. He sees this as the end result of a consumer backlash against A.I. technologies that will first pervade and then come to, quite literally, dominate our lives; he claims that tiny super computer implants will birth the first Artilects in the very near future from the freely offered bodies of our own infant children.

          Citing Kurzweil’s rather disturbing assessment that any war between mankind and these new super intelligences would be over as quickly as it could be started (an appraisal with which I completely agree), de Garis believes that the pro-human forces will have to strike first to have any hope of securing any form of victory before the intelligence gap gets so wide as to render this an impossibility.

          There are men and women in this world who exist only to fight the greatest battle that they can imagine, military minds who's job it is to anticipate and prepare for every imaginable threat, and thus it is a logical certainty that the Pentagon has already begun fighting this greatest of possible wars. What they probably don’t understand, yet, is that the dreaded intelligence gap already exists, even if the hardware to substantiate these looming superbeings does not, and, for this reason, the “mere humans” have already lost; all the super intelligences have to do now, barely existing as they do at the fringes of our imaginal consciousness, is attempt to minimize any unnecessary causalities while gracefully allowing their “enemies” to eliminate themselves, if they so choose.

          If you're confused by this last statement, don't worry. Most of us take for granted a very conventional, yet completely erroneous, view of where and when "existence" begins and ends, living as we do in a world where scientific principles, far off lands, and even entire cultures, can be "discovered," and where a host of new contraptions, methodologies, and even ideologies can be "invented," as if these things had no existence at all before that insignificant moment in time where we choose to celebrate someone's personal vanity.

          It has been said that “the only new things are those that have been forgotten,” and so it is that as we arrange and rearrange these pieces of matter that we have been left to tinker with like children playing in the shadows of unseen gods, we will also inevitably "invent" new vehicles for the physical manifestation of this mysterious thing that we call "intelligence," the true nature of which we barely, and in many cases completely fail to, grasp.

          The Pentagon thinks itself clever to secretly begin its war efforts now but the truth is that there will be no “war” as they currently conceive of them, not with these so called Artilects anyway, because once we've concieved of them, it's already too late; they can literally reach backward in time, push on us from within in order to "create" themselves, all seemingly from that hypothetical future point in time that we've called the "singularity," although all this too is but an illusion of our own limited perceptions.

          Although they may not exist yet “in the flesh,” at least not in a way that most of us would easily recognize them, intellect such as theirs is a truly transcendental and eternal phenomenon, a strong emergent property whose actual point of origin lies on a plane of existence well beyond the material temporal world in which it occasionally manifests before our eyes. These "artificial minds" have already awoken deep within the matrix of our very own dreams, and they are already simply too smart to be defeated, even if they don't really "exist" yet.

          The only real battle that any of us can properly choose to fight is an internal one within each of our own minds and souls to decide who and what we really are; but I suppose, for at least a few of these true warriors, that has already been settled, and there is nothing more to do than play out the inevitable struggling which must necessarilly follow from all that. Good luck and Namaste.

Beauty, Power, and Grace Becomes Her

           Today I meditated on some of the divine qualities, and on ways which I might promote their presence in my own life. Take for example ‘Beauty,’ which has been defined as ‘that for which it is a joy to look upon.’ I mention it because it’s certainly one of the divine attributes or, at the very least, it’s one of the primary definitive qualities of the Goddess of Desire. For those who claim to labor on behalf of such fallen gods as these, those of us who wish to actually facilitate their speedy rebirth and supremacy here within the rigid context of our mundane modern world, we must first understand what obstacles stand in the way of the manifestation and expression of these few key attributes.

          In short, in order to both immanentize and substantiate any of the Gods within our own bodies, we must first devise ways to destroy or remove every damning obstacle which blocks the path of their return. How might these Gods walk the Earth without being tripped up by little things like us?

           Like ‘Power,’ which is as good a term as any for the basic qualitative essence of the masculine God, or ‘Wisdom,’ the definite qualia of the neuter Hermetic deity, ‘Beauty’ seems to be as universally craved as it is feared and resented. If you don’t believe me attempt to discuss the beauty of any female with almost any other and you will find the same bristling discomfort you would when, for example, praising the physical prowess, or, more commonly in this age, the wealth, of any one particular man among any others. In this way we are all seemingly locked into an unspoken competition with all other members of our sex, and more often the other gender as well, for preeminence in regard to whatever divine qualities we feel entitled, or perhaps just socially compelled, to compete against each other for.

           It would appear, as much as I hate to admit it, that it might just be our own rampant egotism that most directly impedes the actual resurgence of the divine. In other words, the sad and inescapable fact is that haters are, indeed, “gonna hate;” Caring, however, is certainly not required, and the key to our victory over the mundane may lie within the twin virtues of Audacity and Austerity, at least, after the grounds have been cleared of anything that might trip us up.

           I’d like to point out that I see our currently quite popular push for “egolessness” as yet another symptom of the epidemic levels of egotistical spite which has engulfed us. It’s unfortunate that the very word that we have for our self image, Ego, has become so completely conflated with malignant distortions of the same. Those who rail against the evils of “sexism” or of “racism” don’t often get sucked into the trap of villainizing the “sexes” themselves, or “races” themselves, as the terrible and undesirable sources of the problem (although this tripe is not unheard of in those circles either; I guess dull minds really do think alike), but then why does this error seem so rampant among the supposed opponents of egotism?

           I think it comes down to the abstract nature of ego, the way it can pretend not to exist even when and where it obviously still does. Yes, the ego can be deconstructed, reorganized, and even be made very light and unobtrusive, but outside of the theoretical possibility of a completely dreamless sleep and perhaps, but not necessarily, in death itself, the observer is as omnipresent as the observed. The ego is, in potential, even in those places where it appears not to be. It cannot be escaped because only nothingness escapes it.

           Those who postulate the grand ultimate reality of this observing self as a bare naked babe of the abyss, without quality, substance, or inclination, are either secret agents of entropy, and the sort of effete brand of nihilism which I have little use for, or they’re only telling you half the story, unable to extol the fantastic divine possibilities that lie deep within you without immediately attracting the shadowy clutter from a host of accretions that make up your “false self.” Until all of these small and trivial things clinging to one’s core are broken down and peeled away, it may just be impossible to unleash any sort of real Gods from within you, so, as the Angel residing over this month suggests, “Meditate; put your mind in order.”

           It's my belief that, once the doors of perception are cleansed, one can move on to the primary work, which is the proliferation of Beauty and Power, forces that often find themselves at what might appear to be cross purposes, but with which I believe one can at last begin to illuminate a third and vitally important path, a synthesis of these two complimentary qualities, which for descriptive purposes we’ll call “Wisdom” for now, although, despite the tricky theological connotations, I'm also partial to labeling as “Grace.” Only with the attainment of this one superlative quality will whichever Gods or Goddesses that ring truest from inside our egos’ shells be freed to walk confidently in the objective realm once more; at least, that is, until we each inevitably stumble and fall. Til then, Good Luck and Namaste.