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.

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