“Artificial systems give us nice metaphors, but what we can model with artificial systems is not genuine cognition. Biological systems are doing something entirely different.”Paco Calvo, philosopher/cognition scientist
We are conscious life forms. What makes us alive?
Let’s begin with one dictionary’s definition of terms:
Life – [ lahyf ] – noun, plural lives [lahyvz].
- the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.
Conscious – [kon-shuhs] – adjective
- aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.
What do we do that makes us ‘alive’? In a word – breathe! There is not a creature alive on Earth large or small that does not respire in one form or another in order to survive. All life forms, without exception – land creatures, water creatures, air creatures, plants, single cell organisms, etc. – breathe to live and live to breathe!
Without breath we are not alive! Simple!
At the time of this writing there is a profound cultural awareness of all things Artificial Intelligence amidst a plethora of perspectives on what it is, what it can do, industrial applications, ethical considerations, potential for political abuse, etc. The range of views continues to grow as developments in AI thrust us all, unabated – toward an illusory contrivance known as “singularity” which lies beyond an equally illusory technological “event horizon” that aspires to transform life as we know it, into some ontological dystopian technical hybrid.
Let’s deconstruct Artificial Intelligence. It is not so mystical. The most accessible analogy is that AI is simply a machine:
Machine – [muh-sheen] – noun
- an apparatus consisting of interrelated parts with separate functions, used in the performance of some kind of work
- a mechanical apparatus or contrivance; mechanism.
Artificial Intelligence directs both hardware and software devices to replace or expedite tasks that we have long done ourselves to expand production capacities and improve our standard of life – much like any technology spawned across history. The worthy applications for AI in this context and spirit abound, and make sense wherever it is employed simply as a tool in hand that consciously renders our Earth a better place to live for everyone on it.
What sets Artificial Intelligence apart as a technology is its capability to learn and update itself such that it can ostensibly augment or replace human mental processing, even emulate our ‘thinking’. Its development has fostered the growth of Transhumanism – a philosophy that explores human transcendence above or beyond organic, corporeal limitations through technological and philosophical evolution.
This development presses forth with abandon and it is here where Artificial Intelligence continues to go off the rails and threaten to take humanity along with it. The “shiny things” vanity of trying to be the technology that modern culture so shamelessly worships, and all the things it can enviably do, is a fool’s game and prescription for destruction.
Today’s Transhumanists rush to establish a race of biodigital Frankensteins. Hypnotized by wet dreams of enhancement, they attach wings to a caterpillar and call it a butterfly, ignore the pulse of their own breathing beings hidden behind a heartless view of the Universe, and charge headlong in passionate pursuit of some contrived delusional notion of ‘progress’.
By the 2020s we find ourselves commandeered by a technology whose algorithms and oh so virtual artificial intelligence are often regarded as a model to emulate in real life, sacrificing our very own minds in a blind displacement of genuine thinking. Is it any wonder we find our entire species in the diamond lane on the highway to extinction?Whole World
There is currently an abundance of discussion about whether or not Artificial Intelligence in any of its forms can be ‘conscious’. Really???
In all of its forms, data exudes no life force whatsoever! Artificial Intelligence shall always be artificial, a machine that can only execute instructions (even its own) and process data – a machine that shall never need to breathe in order to “survive”, and shall never, ever, ever have a heart!! – no matter what it “says” or how it “says” it!
As per “Conscious“; definition above: “aware of one’s own existence” – Artificial Intelligence has no actual ‘existence’ to be conscious of!!! No manifestation of AI can possibly satisfy any definition of Life. Regardless of how “lifelike” it appears, AI shall be forever be a “thing” and never a Life capable of consciousness! The very question suggests a fundamental ignorance of our selves as living breathing organic elements of nature. How else can one explain away any degree of belief that a machine in any form, inexorably devoid of metabolism and consciousness – is somehow alive?!
Yet so very many of us are fooled by the forms it takes, particularly young generations brought up interacting with virtual worlds – elaborate and highly developed emulations of how we present ourselves as humans. We “chat” with soulless entities as if we are talking to a person. We “befriend” breathless ‘companions’ comprised solely of toggling 1s and 0s. The technology has become so advanced that we don’t even bother to imagine that everything it “says” and “does” ultimately emanates from the minds of its programmers as well as those who direct the programmers. Artificial Intelligence cannot help but incorporate the bias and presuppositions of these people no matter how diligent and comprehensive the coding.
Especially insidious is the application of Artificial Intelligence to form and control the worldview of the masses, worldwide – a situation that has already gone way too far around the bend, and way too surreptitiously. We live with an extremely sophisticated, extended technocratic ventriloquism that tells us what to believe, how to behave, what to do, and what to say. We fall for it because we don’t really know what it is, nor are we aware of the command it has over us every single day now – individually and collectively.
Since the invention of the wheel, technology has inspired humanity to slowly and steadily separate itself from its habitat, Earth – as well as from humankind’s inherently spiritual and organic nature. The Age of Reason accelerated this division by introducing reductionist thought and inserting a partition between spirit & science.whole world
We have long lost sight of our true nature as fundamentally heart centered spiritual creatures of energy, functionally supported in life by the processor that is our brain. Artificial Intelligence profoundly exacerbates the long standing capture of culture by the Cartesian delusion that we are mind centered beings – cold, calculating processors serviced by a simple pump in our chest, who traverse an exclusively physical Universe.
In all worlds AI, ‘Love’ can never be more than an empty word peeling off of a line of code.
How do we recover and reinstate our sense of ourselves as living breathing organic elements integrated with our natural Earth, liberate ourselves from the lock technology has on us, and direct Artificial Intelligence to its proper place as an invention of universal benefit?
If humanity is to truly evolve, even survive as a sensitive, compassionate, and highly intelligent species – Artificial Intelligence must be subordinated to its proper role as simply a tool to enhance and advance qualities of real Life. We must recover our sense of being as nature, and evolve accordingly toward an organic “singularity” – through the Authentic Intelligence everyone seems to be missing.
Take a deep breath – feel just how alive you are – right here, right now!!
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