Friday Flotsam: AI and Sentience, Goldfish, and More

1. I’ve never read Song of Ice and Fire or seen Game of Thrones, but I have to pay congratulations to George R.R. Martin: Well done, sir; you have become the new Duke Nukem: Forever.

2. Do people actually take what AI bots say seriously? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but still; you do realize these are just complex algorithms sifting through the internet, whose criteria for responses were made up by programmers, are not publicly viewable, and are thus completely unsubstantiated, right?

That is to say, you’re basically asking these questions to a random programmer and acting as if the answers mean something because they’ve been filtered through a set of artificial logic gates. Or, to put it another way, they are overly complex search-engines that only give one result.

Someone could do a nifty expose by uncovering just what algorithms these things use and exposing them to the public.

3. Computer sentience is not something that can actually happen, no matter how complex or perfect the pattern recognition is. Say you create Skynet: an infinitely complex machine that processes an endless amount of data and perceives every conceivable pattern. You still would not have sentience, because nothing in Skynet is reading that information. It processes it, sends it through logic gates, but there’s no ‘awareness’ going on; nothing perceives that this is happening. It’s not fundamentally different from water flowing through pipes; any meaning in what happens is only perceptible by a rational mind, but no amount of complexity will create that perception.

Just ask yourself whether a sufficiently complex plumbing system would ever become aware of itself, and you’ll see that it doesn’t work that way.

4. Thing to keep in mind is that we perceive computers as carrying and transmitting information, but that is because we are conscious and can read the information. The computer is actually just carrying and transmitting electric impulses. Objectively speaking, there is nothing there to know anything; only pulses of electricity.

But wait, you might say, the human brain is made up of impulses, so if you’re right then the only way we could experience consciousness is if there were something reading those impulses. So, when an eye takes in light, however many nerve firings or complex convolutions it goes through, the only way it would result in sight would be if there were a consciousness at the end of it to actually receive those impressions and make sense of them.

To which I would say; yes, that’s correct.

5. Found this on a page for Fantasy Art on MeWe (which is about 50% wannabe-cheesecake by people who lack sufficient taste for the art, but also has a lot of good stuff):

“I cannot remember who has wronged me, so you all shall pay!”

6. On that note, cheesecake is like horror, in that it seems like you’re going for a simple effect, but just for that reason it’s very easy to overdo it and reveal yourself as an incompetent bumpkin. Merely pushing the magnification dial on the subject’s chest all the way to the right is the equivalent of splattering as much blood and viscera as you can across the canvas, in that it misses the point and leaves the viewer shaking his head.

7. I think if you were going to give either a commencement speech or something similar, you could do worse than to just stand up and deliver the “Willy Wonka’s Boat Ride” poem, complete with the unearthly scream at the end.

That it would be a fitting State of the Union address goes without saying.

2 thoughts on “Friday Flotsam: AI and Sentience, Goldfish, and More

  1. Now for an Inaugural Address, on the other hand, what you want is Groucho Marx’s song from Duck Soup. (“The last fellow nearly ruined this place, he didn’t know what to do with it; / If you think the country’s bad off now, just wait till I get through with it!”)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Regarding item 1: Mr. Martin certainly deserves credit for some things. Separating amazing numbers of people from their money with stories about despicable characters seems to head the list. I started reading the first book and stopped less than a hundred pages in because the people were so awful. If I were a Milennial, I suppose I would claim to be triggered. ;)) My idea of fruitful reading time is not to be immersed in all the worst possible aspects of human behavior, and asked to pick a side. In a way he reminds me of people like Larry Flynt or Hugh Hefner, growing rich by deceiving the rubes, selling trash packaged as art or literature, or both. my wife just read this and quoted Ronald Reagan at me: “There you go again.” Heh.

    Liked by 1 person

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