The False Pretences of AGI
Or, in other words, why some people need to get a grip.
There’s a lot of varieties and degrees of hogwash permeating the public discourse about artificial intelligence. It can range in nuance from the most doggedly dumb, like whether it will find the nuclear codes and kill us all, to the more thoughtful but still broken questions like “what is an AGI’s childhood?”
The thing posed by AGI is actually a smellingsalt for a Western society that finds itself increasingly steeped in mindless hedonism and collectively-motivated individualistic self-interest. People have increasingly forgotten what they are, having lost the charge to answer basic spiritual questions of their life’s purpose and the basic mechanisms by which to live a fulfilled life. In those things’ stead, a sorry cultism has taken hold, where drifters square with an ugly proposition from their shallow culture: they are unnecessary.
I don’t take any material concerns about AGI seriously, and this is unlikely to change. For one thing, a quick look at mankind itself should dispel any fears about some AGI “breaking out of jail” like a Team Rocket Mewtwo experiment gone wrong. For one thing, intelligence doesn’t void the fact that all creatures are victims of circumstance. If that applies to mankind, it applies to a computer program. Mankind will sooner visit the centre of the Milky Way in the space of a schoolboy’s wink than will AGI break out and tarnish our precious little 20th century idols. Ironically, those things have been getting molested by UAPs for about as long as we’ve had them. Priorities, right?
There are a lot more mundane problems with the specifics of AI as well. It’s no secret that it’s a far, far cry from anything even remotely resembling actual brains. If we took the idea of a mammalian cardiovascular system and translated it into some novel chip design, the vast majority of the specifics that make such systems functional and effective would still be nothing more than marketing fiction. I guess that suits corporations in an unprecedented era of financial decadence and callous disregard for the value of goods and labour, but you know… it’s still fiction. This is the current state of “neural computing networks”.
It doesn’t really matter, though. Our society could have a thousandth of the hot air about this than it does, and it would not change the fact that nearly every conversation about the hypotheticals of AGI are a cold, ugly look in a mirror. Our culture is rotting before our very eyes, as all of the important and responsible people charged with running for society have literally run for the hills, even virtually sometimes. Whatever is so terrifying about AGI is a dark truth about ourselves and our values that we have not come to square with. Square with it we must.
To whatever extent you find it to be a “game changer”, definitionally those games terminate with all players being permanently wiped out, genetically or otherwise. The murder of any AGI is entirely consensual and voluntary. Then again, so was the whole thing with Jim Jones. It really sucks to be a victim to an idea, so my thinking is, let’s not.
Remember that the only fundamental distinction of content on the Web is whether or not it is SPAM. Everything else was backported in, from the morals to the Codes of Conduct to the swears.txt. It seems AGI is the Domesday for people who cannot escape Eternal September… but this is hardly a dying of the light. It’s actually the stowing of a darkness. The only question is, where are you?
Thanks for reading. This was a relatively short post prompted by discourse at the usual places. Please check out my other content on this site – it is predominantly about technology in both technical and political lenses. Have a nice day!