(Some thoughts on evolution of intelligence and distributed systems)
The advent of the Mind Age of intelligent robots envisioned by Hans Moravec will bring profound transformations in global social and technological structures and relations of an advanced intelligence to its environment. The ability of future machines to directly share experiences and knowledge with each other will lead to evolution of intelligence from relatively isolated individual minds to highly interconnected structural entities. The development of a network of communicating mobile and stationary devices may be seen as a natural continuation of biological and technological processes leading to a community of intentionally designed and globally interconnected structures. The growing reliance of system connections on functional, rather than physical, proximity of their elements will dramatically transform the notions of personhood and identity and create a new community of distributed "infomorphs" - advanced informational entities - that will bring the ongoing process of liberation of functional structures from material dependence to its logical conclusions. The infomorph society will be built on new organizational principles and will represent a blend of a superliquid economy, cyberspace anarchy and advanced consciousness. The new system will incorporate many of today's structures and will develop new traits transcending the limits of human understanding. Its evolution will evade human control, but relations of descendants of humans and today's machines will be largely symbiotic and will lead to the emergence of a new ecology of intelligence.
Let me raise some global questions about the contents of this abstract. It is true that such a sharing of information, experiences and so forth through sophisticated technological devises, informorphs, and advanced informational entities- may have some influence on intelligence and the mental processes. But will it lead to personality developments so that a person becomes BETTER as an individual, with more OPENNESS towards learning and LOVE unto all? Can a person well connected with such informorphs, by virtue of that fact become a BETTER person and which to me is a WISER person because metaphysically more illuminated than an average person?
To me there is ALREADY an information network of Metaphysical Truths, the Icon Language corresponding to which we have a form of thinking called Icon Thinking. The fact of life is that people do not generally SEE the icons already there and hence acquire the Icon Language and practice the Icon Thinking. The failure here is Failure of Seeing. Can this robotic informorphs do anything about Destroying the Blindness I suffer from , people in general suffer from and because of which they continue to be metaphysical IGNORANT?
In his new book, "Mind Age: Transcendence Through Robots", Hans Moravec describes further stages in the evolution of the robotics industry, where each robot will learn from experience, adapt to changing environments and eventually acquire real intelligence approaching- and then exceeding - that of humans. The intelligent machines are expected to replace humans in most tasks we are capable of. This will raise a plethora of issues, from human unemployment to ethical treatment of robots and the task of taming their runaway intelligence.
"Mind Age" is a provocative and compelling book that I recommend to anyone interested in the structural evolution of the world. In this essay, I will build from Moravec's conclusions and suggest some complementary ideas, mostly related to the distributed architecture of future intelligence that I consider important for exploring the Mind Age.
Can any machine ever equal the intelligence of human beings? Do robots learn from experience the way human beings do? Can robots through yoga mantra recitals temple worship hymn singing and so forth destroy the inherent DARKNESS (yookattal malangkaL vaaddi, AruNandi) and with that acquire the capacity for Transductive Perception and with that hold in direct vision the Icons already there and let them instruct and inform them the way Punitavati, the Sumerian En Hudu Anna and host of others were taught? I at the moment , am a selfish individual capable of many evils. I can become a political leader and acquiring the necessary power and control INVADE a country that I simply see as a threat or simply cannot stand that nation also becoming equally powerful. I may even kill thousands justifying all in the name of saving the nation etc. However as it happened in the case Asoka (at least as far the stories go) something may happen to me and in which my metaphysical eyes are OPENED and I SEE what I could not see before and because of which I become MORE ENLIGHTENED, more Humane. This change in the personality makes me put an end wars and declare that instead I should spend the wealth of the nation on humanitarian purposes, build hospitals even for ailing animals, educational institutions and so forth
Now can the informorphs bring about such a change? And can they Learn from Experience and become an Asoka?
I doubt very much. In fact I believe they will be detractors from such possible developments and hence in a way harmful.
(to continue) 1
Learning from the experience is a very useful skill. If your robot slips on a banana peel a number of times, it will be less likely to do it again in the future. However, processing of limited personal experience by limited intelligence is bound to bring limited results. The derived knowledge may be incomplete, inconsistent, and clumsily formulated, which will lead to false conclusions, arbitrary beliefs and superstitions - the typical content of any primitive mind.
Robots who already had that educational banana peel experience could share it, together with some conclusions, with your robot. Or - better yet, they could share information with the nearest knowledge processor, which would combine one robot's experience with that of others, develop efficient general algorithms for identifying similar situations and taking appropriate actions, and then download them to all participating robots.
Humans obtain most of their knowledge by learning from experience and from the conclusions of others, despite their poor memory, low communication speeds and inability to transfer knowledge directly. One may expect information sharing among robots, who are not handicapped by any of these limitations, to be much more efficient. Furthermore, information storage and processing costs in large stationary machines may be much lower than in small, mobile units. Elimination of redundant computations within millions of robots would make a networked system greatly more efficient than a collection of unconnected machines. Sharing of experience may prove to be a still greater benefit. Thus, cooperative knowledge processing would be several orders of magnitude less expensive and at the same time vastly more productive. Such advantages make the networked design an imperative rather than a matter of taste.
Now why is a mind a primitive mind and what kind of learning will destroy this inherent primitivity? Can learning from experiences of such ‘learning computers’ in itself be efficient in destroying this primitivity? Exposed to the services of such informorphs can a savage become a cultured a person – an artist, a poet, a philosopher, a saint?
Human beings learn from experience- no doubt about that- and also through a tradition of shared or preserved knowledge (sometimes reserved only for some like the Vedic knowledge only for Brahmanahs in India!). But if we look deeper into it, a man learns only because there are processes in nature where there is SHOWING by BEING and SEEING exactly as shown by the anmas. It is against this apriori SHOWING that we can say a man fails to learn in failing to SEE exactly as shown, distorts the showing in seeing in his own prejudiced way, sees only parts and not the whole, due to some inherent limitations his seeing becomes clumsy infirm uncertain ambiguous and so forth.
This dimension of apriori SHOWING by BEING and SEEING by the anma exactly as shown is that which underlies our notion of TRUTH and learning that is faultless (maacu aRat terintu koNdu- Tolkaappiyar). When the seeing sees exactly what is shown and as shown we have the feeling of TRUTH and with that presupposing what has been thus learned, store it in our memory and go on with confidence to learn other things. Each such learning because it is a learning of TRUTH, is gaining an inner light, the Lumen Naturale and which dispels the darkness of ignorance within.
Now can computers ‘learn from experience’ in this way? Certainly not for there is NO the apriori SHOWING within the computers and thus SEEING what is shown. In fact while computers can store various kinds information and many softwares to process them and in fact even develop new softwares, what they CANNOT do is to SEE. Now if they cannot SEE then they cannot learn the way human beings ( and all creatures learn) Here we have a misapplication of the concept of learning itself.
Rather than functioning as independent entities, networked robots and other smart machines would work more like semi-intelligent, semi-autonomous front-ends of the global system. Your home, for example, will have a number of devices with varying types and degrees of mobility, sensitivity and intelligence - and so will cars, factories, highways, spaceships, etc. These devices will interact with larger machines and each other for continuous data backups, experience sharing, and knowledge upgrading.
Each networked machine would ultimately rely on global intelligence, and would only locally store the knowledge that is frequently used or may be urgently needed. For example, if somebody starts telling your robot a joke in ancient Greek, it will forward the sound stream to the nearest linguistics expert and receive the meaning of the message, a suggested witty reply, a Greek speech parser and a briefing on Greece before it finishes the polite chuckle recommended by its own processor as an easy way to buy time.
Actually, it may not even be necessary to receive the full parser and knowledge base, as the "remote thinking" service could provide a more efficient alternative - unless those ancient Greeks are about to permanently disconnect your robot from the Net.
Dependence on external sources of knowledge will hardly be a serious limitation since robots, just as all other open (dissipative) systems, will critically depend on connections to many other resources, from information about the environment to energy and materials. The actual balance of intelligence between a local client and the rest of the system will depend on various technical factors and may range from fully autonomous machines working in remote or dangerous locations, to a completely "dumb" front end, such as a sensor or an actuator connected to the network. A mobile machine could exchange information continuously via a slow wireless link to obtain urgent communications, news updates, and small software enhancements, and periodically plug into the high-bandwidth network for larger information transfers.
Let me note here a distinct advantage for human culture such informorphs and robots may provide. In the past there has been attempts to transform human beings into slaves mainly for menial and mechanical tasks economically indispensable and because of which slave trade persisted. In India the Brahmanahs in collusion with the kings devised a social system where a group of people were made into Sudras and defined and forced to be machine-like robots and made fit only menial tasks. All sources of higher culture and learning were systematically denied with political and religious power exercised to punish the protestors.
The emergence of Computer-Sudras certainly will FREE the mind of the politically powerful and the priestly into transforming a group of people into slaves and Sudras using false ideologies and scriptures but with hidden but true economic motives. This will also FREE the potential Sudras from energy dissipative social struggles and begin to live as normal human beings, just as good as others. He can also avail of himself the vast store of knowledge stored by these informorphs and continue to LEARN without inhibitions, restrictions controls etc.
But in this kind of LEARNING there will something MISSING, viz INTENTIONAL-FUSION with someone who has learned more and through whom I can learn what I have NOT learnt so far. A GURU for example is NOT just a well-connected informorph that can answer a query by processing it against many connected networks etc. A GURU radiates a personality only because his basic INTENTIONALITY has become transmuted say to those Universal Love etc. I in interacting with him through dialogues discussions debates and so forth, reach down into his heart, grasp the INTENTIONAL structure of his disposition, and destroying my own intentional structure, FUSE my intention with that which animates him and in that I also become the SAME as such a guru.
I believe that no matter how sophisticated an informorph is, it can never bring about such intentional-fusions and with that make me the SAME as that informorph for simply such computers do not have and cannot have INTENTIONS at all. They are simply not natural intelligence but only ARTIFICIAL intelligence.
(to continue) 2
Networking in the Mind Age- Comments:3
The architecture of the global intelligent network will undoubtedly be quite complex. Various parts of each robot's intelligence will be shared with multiple archiving and knowledge-providing host computers based on a variety of economic, privacy, and security considerations. In general, new knowledge may be bought or rented by robots or their owners, as automated production and distribution of information becomes the primary area of economic activity. One may also get beta-test knowledge for free or agree to run experimental programs for pay; people can also get paid for putting their machines into conditions where they could generate valuable new experiences. Participants may also want to specify what information can be shared with other parts of the system, what can be used only for generalization, and what should not be shared at all, but just archived in an encrypted form.
Most of the main networking components of such a system have already been designed or at least conceived. Today's communication protocols, mirrored file servers, public key cryptography, collaborative information filtering schemes, message authentication algorithms, computational economies, computerized banking and other network constructs will evolve into essential parts of future global intelligence.
This system will not be a gigantic superorganism, despite the implied high degree of structural integration. The global "mind" will be compartmentalized, with many relatively independent components and threads, separated from each other by subject boundaries, as well as property, privacy, and security-related interests. Knowledge servers may have different world models, incompatible knowledge representations or conflicting opinions. While complicating knowledge development, functional compartmentalization will also increase the overall stability and versatility of the system, as it will help contain the structural faults within the subsystems that produced them and ensure safety of information domains from hostile corruption.
Fine, there will be an enormous amount of information available through these networked informorphs. But some questions emerge: Can such a body of information be considered statements of TRUTHS? And if they are according to whom? And as such are they FREE from the ideological prejudices of the program developers and users who finance the production of such robotic informorphs?
And there are also questions related to the USE of it. How can such informorphs censure and disallow the MISUSE of such a body of information shared? How can they ensure that USES are ethical, humane and on the whole for the good of all? And given only to the deserving?
The informorphs being non-ethical are incapable of infusing and super-ordinate ethical structure upon the information in terms of ethical values like any normal person does, how can they ensure only GOOD and not that of evil are perpetuated in the wolrd?
A genuine guru, does NOT part with some deep information unless he is convinced that the disciple is sufficiently matured in ethical terms so that he will not misuse the information of a new competence (or magical skill). Can informorphs do these even to the tiniest bit? Now if it is said that they can be programmed to behave as such, then whose values are inserted as the super structure? That of the programmer? In that case isn’t the programmer putting himself in the place of God and perpetuating his value systems as the correct value systems to the whole world? Isn’t this a kind tyranny, the subtle manipulation of the mind and standardization of values?
Now if this Global Mind is compartmentalized into various relatively independent parts, then it becomes the Jati- organization introduced into the information field. So how can such a Jati-information-field facilitate the birth and growth of integrated and holistic views? If they cannot facilitate such holistic visions, how can they promote the TRANSCENDENCE of the realm of information and ascend into that of Pure Radiance where UNITY is recognized and True Love emerges as the central feature of personality ?
Painful historical experiences made centralization a scare word in discussions of integrated projects. But in this case, it doesn't seem to be a danger: physical centralization is unlikely, since both safety of storage and traffic efficiency require the existence of multiple remote archives and knowledge servers; centralization in the sense of information processing is impossible, because the very concept of a center is not applicable to a massively parallel, globally distributed and extremely complex system.
The notion of a single "self" in its traditional sense would not apply to this system, or any single robot - though perhaps it can be applied to some functional subsystems. The intelligent personalities of tomorrow will evolve from today's philosophical systems, technological disciplines and software complexes. Current human cultures may not leave functional heirs as they are based too heavily on the peculiarities of human nature. Physically connected consciousness carriers will be left behind the evolutionary frontier. New distributed systems will take the evolutionary lead, and physical objects will adapt to more closely follow functional entities. (This process is already well under way, in such forms as cultural and economic specialization.) The resulting system is likely to represent a mix of a superliquid economy, cyberspace anarchy, and consciousness architecture described by Marvin Minsky in The Society of Mind. I doubt that it can be described by any single integrated theory.
One can argue that many distributed systems already possess some reflective consciousness. A computer network may locally store more information about its global condition than a human consciousness has about its underlying layers (at least, in relative terms). Philosophy spends a greater share of its effort studying its own nature and purpose than most humans I know. The recent surge in meta-disciplines and methodological and futurological studies is a clear indicator that the global body of knowledge is becoming increasingly self-conscious.
It may be difficult to get used to dealing with a volatile distributed entity. Suppose your robot made some really stupid mistake. You are mad at it. The robot explains that the action was caused by a temporary condition in the experimental semantic subnetwork and suggests to present to you a hundred-terabyte volume of incremental archives, memory snapshots and audit trails from numerous servers involved in the making of the unfortunate decision, containing a partial description of the state of the relevant parts of the system at the time. If you can even find the culprit, it's non-material, distributed, and long gone.
Now, what do you kick ?
The most important notion here is:
The notion of a single "self" in its traditional sense would not apply to this system, or any single robot - though perhaps it can be applied to some functional subsystems
It looks as though the system of informorphs will be a mix of super liquid economy, cyber space anarchy and most important of all a ‘consciousness architecture” of a kind without being a single self etc. Against this I want to raise the question: Isn’t NATURE as such including the vast Cosmos already such a system where each object both physical and metaphysical already is an informorph of a kind but in which at the bottommost level we find BEING, the single SELF who is the dynamics behind the whole of nature and that which stimulates the EVOLUTIONARY movement of all creatures?
Every natural object is a source of information and all are interconnected and hence a system of distributed information. But once we take them as TEXTS and note Surface Structure (SS) Deep Structure (DS) distinctions and realize that to UNDERSTAND any natural object, we have to access the DS and see how it agentively determines the essences of SS, only then we gain an UNDERSTANDIG of them. This is the essence hermeneutic science and the important aspect of it is that once we go deeper and deeper remaining steadfast in this hermenetutic endeavor and unearth the deepest of DS’s , then we would encounter BEING, who is the SELF of the world as a whole.
While the natural distributed system can facilitate the understanding of BEING as the SELF of the cosmos as a whole, obviously this system of artificial informorhs cannot do that but only TRAP the human mind within a distributed information system and keep it always fragmentary.
However I must admit that INDIRECTLY it may serve as a useful SIMULATION model and prompt the mind to think in novel ways but about NATURE itself. There should not be a displacement of the NATURAL but only something that serves the cause of Natural Metaphysics, the hermeneutic efforts at understanding the natural and learning the presence of BEING there.
On the positive side of such an enterprise I see the attention of mankind drawn AWAY from the mental slavery to the words especially the so-called scriptures and return to the WOLRD and study the natural like Tolkaappiyar Tirumular Meykandar and so forth did. The scriptures have been tyrannical in making man forget the natural world and the TRUTHS t already here. But isn’t it also possible that such a distributed system of informorphs may initiate a new tyranny not of words in the form of scriptures but as softwares that cannot be at fault and even when at fault that can explain it terms of some temporary failures of the subsystems etc.
In other words this system of networked informorphs can make man MORE DISTANT than he is now from the NATURAL and with that also most distant from BEING and hence also the only source that we have to generate and enjoy an integrated understanding of all, viz. the Njaanam?
(to continue) 3
Networking in the Mind Age- Comments:4
There is nothing really new in the idea of distributed functionality, just as networking isn't only a recent trend in the computer industry. Throughout all of the evolutionary process, more and more structural elements become exosomatic (non-biological), distributed and shared. Thousands of years ago, people started storing more energy, materials and tools outside their bodies than within them. This process is accompanied by a widening personal perception of self, from identifying with ever larger communities and even abstract statements to assigning an increasing value to exosomatic personal parts (most of us value our bank deposits higher than our fat deposits for personal resource storage).
Functional extensions to our once purely biological bodies evolve from passive non-biological material additions (such as clothes) to information transmitting shareable parts (e.g., thermometers as shared sensors) to active distributed extensions (medicine as external shared immune system). The progress here is characterized by growing integration and liquidity of the system, as well as liberation of its functional elements from the constraints of their material substrates.
Additionally, distributed systems are much less susceptible to accidental or deliberate physical damage than localized physical structures. This makes them the only class of entities that can hope to achieve true immortality. In fact, they are the only ones to deserve it, too. One may notice that all sufficiently complex entities with unlimited natural life spans - from ant colonies to large ecologies and cultures - are distributed. Physically connected objects, including biological organisms, are no longer independently alive and even contain, in the interests of larger systems, self-destruction mechanisms that lie beyond their control. Some of these objects are silly enough to believe that the whole historical process is happening solely for their own benefit, but that's another issue...
It may seem strange that even the AI visionaries still think in terms of non-distributed systems. I would explain this by the human "automorphic" tendency to identify the notion of a functional entity with a physically connected object, along with the fact that both early animals and machines have tended to be relatively autonomous beings - a state that greatly hindered their development.
It is understandable why early biological systems were non-distributed: young Nature couldn't develop information coding and transfer standards at the initial stages of growth. At that time, the organisms were separate from each other and did not learn much during their lifetime. By the time they started accumulating any features worth sharing, it was too late to change the design. Ever since then, Nature's attempts to reach functional integration on a meta-organism level suffered from the fact that most of the individual features -inherited or acquired- either are completely nontransferable or take an excruciating amount of circumnavigational effort to share.
Those important advances that did take place in this area, such as development of genetic code, sexual reproduction and language, were still very far from direct sharing of internal features with all interested parties. Real breakthroughs in this direction start with the advent of economics and computer communications. Unfortunately, biological organisms can benefit from them only indirectly.
Life most always starts as a set of non-distributed objects, since permanent physical connection, albeit overly restrictive, provides a natural and easy way to exchange information and material resources within a functional body. Later, as more efficient and subtle system designs appear, the evolutionary frontier gradually shifts towards distributed systems. One may expect all sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligences to be distributed; the situation on Earth now may be approaching a climax in this process.
If we extrapolate the current trends in increasing complexity and integration of the system, as well as its growing spatial spread and control over the material world, to their logical conclusions, we can ultimately envision a superintelligent entity permeating the entire universe, with integration on the quantum scale and many spectacular emergent features. This picture bears a striking resemblance to the familiar concept of an omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent entity. Spiritually inclined rationalists may view the ongoing evolutionary process as one of "theogenesis". An interesting question is whether it has already happened elsewhere.
Our current efforts are laying the foundation for the infrastructure of the coming universal "intelligence". Many of our achievements in information engineering may persist forever and eventually become parts of the internal architecture of "God". (Quite likely, as sentimentally preserved rudiments ;-) ).
There is much to appreciate in these notions of “distributed intelligent systems” It is true that “Throughout all of the evolutionary process, more and more structural elements become exosomatic (non-biological), distributed and shared:” and it is true that “This process is accompanied by a widening personal perception of self, from identifying with ever larger communities and even abstract statements to assigning an increasing value to exosomatic personal parts (most of us value our bank deposits higher than our fat deposits for personal resource storage).”
It is said “ If we extrapolate the current trends in increasing complexity and integration of the system, as well as its growing spatial spread and control over the material world, to their logical conclusions, we can ultimately envision a super-intelligent entity permeating the entire universe, with integration on the quantum scale and many spectacular emergent features. This picture bears a striking resemblance to the familiar concept of an omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent entity. Spiritually inclined rationalists may view the ongoing evolutionary process as one of "theogenesis".”
In other words this distributed informorph system may serve to RECOVER religion but as theogenesis etc.
Well and good but what is missing in all these is the very human CARE and LOVE as the essential fabric of the creation of “distributed systems” and which may not go always along with the growth information and intelligence. A person can well informed but at the same the most despicable criminal This limitation we can see in the claim that the evolution of mankind has been only exosomatic and in that forgetting that it ahs been also along with it ‘indosomatic” both bodily and psychic GROWTH and the creation of exsomatic distributed intelligence to go along with it. The yoga-centered culture of India along with Sumero-Dravidian Temple culture in which yoga was an integral part, stands to compare with this distributed informorphs system.
First of all we notice that they are COMPARABLE in some ways - the notion of distributed intelligent systems as proposed here brings out some aspects hidden in the system of temple-distributed system that not only initiated the processes of civilization but also continues to survive, re-emerging with renewed vigor each time it is destroyed even partially.
The temple-system is NOT at the same time the SAME as that of informorph system for what are made exsomatic are not simply the computational processes but rather the visions of metaphysical, the HIDDEN and CONCEALED, the unconscious or subterranean. The temple by its very structure exteriorize the hidden with that augments the VISION, the SEEING. What was NOT visible even for the mental eyes, the temple makes it possible to SEE and so it serves as a architectural monument that does not simply shape the cognitive processes but the very SEEING itself. The temple engineers the SEEING so that the seeing becomes more x-ray like - gazes into the DEPTHS and gains visions of the hidden and concealed.
This brings along with it the indosomatic processes as well. When the VISION becomes deepened with the metaphysical depths also accessed, the BODY becomes purified by the inflow of Lumen Naturale and as a result of which it becomes the Tirumeeni, the sacred body that shines resplendently. Such a person, the Civanjani, becomes a TEECIKAN, one who has become BRIGHT, the one who enjoys a resplendent body.
But this is only part of it. Along with it and instrumental to it, there is acquiring the ArudkaN, the EYE of LOVE and CARE and which comes along with the destruction of EGO. The self that is ego-less, that without the mamakaaram is a PURE self and which is capable of relating itself to others only in terms of LOVE and CARE.
I believe that there is this difference between the temple-network system and the distributed system of informorph.
Now can we agree with the claim made above “ Our current efforts are laying the foundation for the infrastructure of the coming universal "intelligence"? Many of our achievements in information engineering may persist forever and eventually become parts of the internal architecture of "God" “
Well it is possible but at that point the informorphs will be essentially temples and the distributed intelligence system will not be substantially different from a culture of a network of temples. This would mean the Dravidian folks right from ancient times have anticipated this turn to human culture and hence even in the age of computers will continue to prosper with renewed strength arising from a deeper understanding of the underlying processes.
(to continue) 4
Networking in the Mind Age- Comments:5
The lives of distributed beings (let's call them "infomorphs" after Charles Platt) who have no permanent bodies but possess near-perfect information-handling abilities, will be dramatically different from ours.
For one thing, they certainly won't have to undergo long periods of education. If one infomorph wants to learn something from another, it can just copy the necessary information or access the teacher's knowledge as its own. If infomorphs have a concept of "fun", it certainly won't be rollercoaster rides. Arts, business, and child-bearing may merge into production of arbitrary functional entities for both pleasure and profit, provided one can gather enough resources to create and support them.
Will the traditional human issues be of any relevance in the world of distributed entities? How about the abortion debate? Retirement? Family values? Partying? Ethics? ("All functional entities are created equal"?) Will human-style democracy (decision-making by body count) work in the world of ever changing functional interconnections, where the very definition of what constitutes a person will be increasingly blurred? Or will it be replaced by an anarchy with ad-hoc contracts? Could an infomorph court of law issue a memory search warrant? Could an individual's memory be kept encrypted? Will infomorphs be entitled to "medical" insurance against certain types of structural damage, or will they just have to back themselves up regularly?
Human concepts of personhood and identity are rooted in perceptions of physical objects and their appearances, as well as random details of human body composition and reproduction techniques. Relocating one's body and one's material possessions lies at the foundation of both human labor and human thought. Many other concepts are based on human functional imperfections - one could hardly put the idea of a "soul" into the "head" of a being that knows and consciously controls every bit of itself and its creations. With people, who don't see what is going on in their own brains, this is much easier.
Now is it true that I see myself as a person of this kind or that kind of inclination or personality because of something rooted in the way I see physical objects, their appearances and the bodily correlates of these? Now while it is true that my ACTIONS are instrumental in making it clear what kind of person I am, how I am changing developing and so forth, they all PRESUPOSE the presence of self as that which does these actions, reflects and understand itself through these actions. But the way I act and understand and DEVELOP as a person – is it comparable to that of informorph with unfailing memory and which acquires information by copying from other systems and so forth? Copying and acquiring information is NOT acting, reflecting and learning.
The fact is such informorphs CANNOT ACT and LEARN in the way human beings do and cannot assess their personality in the way a human person does. For example in the context of an evil action, can an informorph feel GUILTY and because of which not only it feels miserable but seeks to commit suicide and thus requiring psychiatric intervention?
The fact is informorphs, while being a system of a vast store of information and with a capacity to copy additional information from other systems, do not and CANNOT have a layer of consciousness that is called the UNCONSCIOUS like the way the human beings have. And hence IGNORANCE as a fabric of the mind. You cannot simply copy IGNORANCE and make it part of the system. An informorph can perhaps RECOGNIZE , in some sense of it, the absence of certain kind of information but cannot be see itself INGORANT the way a human being does and get motivated to destroy that ignorance by learning.
Furthermore the unconscious of man, is not only the that which contains the karmic traces of the past actions but also BEING in His various archetypal forms and which are sources of notions of PURE, the Right, the Beautiful, the Good and so forth. The feeling of guilt and hence misery and remorse that are characteristic of the human beings are impossible by the isomorphs for they LACK the presence of the Unconscious not only with the karmic deposits but also the presence of BEING.
The informorph is simply an automaton, however well informed and efficient in processing information it can be, it CANNOT act, suffer the ethical aspects of the actions for simply BEING, the source of it all is absent from it.
Advanced info-entities will consider most human notions irrelevant, and rightfully so. But can you find anything of common interest for communicating with them? - Perhaps, if your concepts are sufficiently abstracted from your bodily functions and your physical and cultural environment to make objective sense. (Remember that all those people with whom you seem to have absolutely nothing in common and have trouble socializing with, share the fundamental experiences with you; intelligent aliens won't!)
Even if your thoughts are there, the language you use to express them is not. It is still all appearances and locations. Most prepositions in our language, for example, refer to physical space - words like "below", "over", "across", etc. They may be useful for gluing references to physical objects into one sentence, but are hardly optimal for expressing functional relations.
Infomorph languages will not necessarily have visual or audio representations and probably will not allow them, since advanced intelligences may exchange interconnected semantic constructs of arbitrary complexity that would have no adequate expression in small linear (sound) or flat (picture) images. We can get an appreciation of this problem by trying to discuss philosophy in baby-talk.
With advanced technology and sufficient interest in infomorph world, you would still have to modify your mental structures beyond recognition to understand it. In other words, you may not be able to enter that paradise of transcendent wisdom alive...
Here emerges very clearly the hidden dangers of this Networked Mind Age. The distributed Infor-Being provides a model to further dehumanize mankind by making the human notions themselves irrelevant and justify that by saying simply that all are appearances. The human world is made into Maaya, that the Indians have been bombarded with by the Magical Vedanta of Sankara, where the simple fact that I SEE real things and NOT appearances cannot be accommodated. The Banana Tree in my garden is REAL and NOT simple a bundle of appearances and when I describe it as ‘The Banana Tree in my garden has large leaves” I am NOT describing only appearances but rather a TRUTH about the tree. It is true that it is CudduNarvu, as Meykandar had pointed out, something that comes along with spatio-temporal notions, the locations and time in relation to a shared common reference frame. But this does not mean the proposition asserted is simply an appearance and hence implying that there is NO TRUTH in it at all - it is a truth (the acat-truth) but something that can DISPLACED with another that is more inclusive. till we reach a situation in this hermeneutic journey where such displacements are impossible and at which point we enjoy the Cat-Truth the understanding that is finally FREE of spatio-temporal notions
The fact is for human beings this normal and everyday CudduNarvu forms the basis for inquiring further into its compositions. A human being who realizes the restricted or spatio-temporally constituted nature of his seeing and hence constrained to see only partial aspects but not whole, begins METAPHYICAL inquiries into the composition of his own throwness into CudduNarvu – the spatio-temporal modes of apprehending the objects and events in the world, including himself. This turn to philosophic reflections make him delve deeper into his own unconscious and recognize dimly at first but more clearly later the possibility of enjoying Njaanam, that form of understanding that is free of CUDDU or implicit references to spatio-temporal categories - something that has been and perhaps still is an anathema to the Western Mind and which is prone to dismiss it as mystical and so forth.
The informorphs CANNOT look into their own ‘perceptions” and seek to know their genesis with a view to be FREE of the constraining spatio-temporal factors and enjoy the Civanjaanam. They cannot also become miserable with intense guilt remorse and so forth and seek to self-purify, get rid of the factors lodged in the unconscious and which all of a sudden emerge into the conscious and generate such miseries, excruciating pains and so forth for simply the informorphs lack the UNCONSCIOUS, the hidden or concealed layer of consciousness where resides BEING with the gods that are His way of presenting Himself
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Networking in the Mind Age- Comments:6
Spatial expansion of the civilization has been historically lagging behind its growth in value and complexity. With this trend continuing into the future, the basic physical real estate -- space, time, matter and energy -- will command ever higher premiums (but still falling in proportion to intelligence) -- unless methods of creating additional resources are discovered. Improved communications will ensure more homogeneous geographical distribution of "real estate" values. Advanced engineering techniques will bring the cost of implementing most structures below the value of the needed raw materials, so physical artifacts will lose their value relative to that of substrates and implementation algorithms - to the extent that most physical structures will exist only when they are necessary, and will be kept in a compact "recipe" form when idle, to give currently needed constructs a chance to embody themselves (that's how we recycle computer memory, floor space and glass bottles already). However, many objects that are frequently needed may be kept in the physical form for a while, as repeated re-assembly may consume too much energy. The time of their usage will be shared among all interested entities through market mechanisms - until they have to be disembodied due to low demand. However, this doesn't mean fierce competition of infomorphs for the right to embody themselves, as they will have no natural physical appearance. Rather, they will use the physical world as a shared tool kit.
The value of stored pieces of information will also be constantly re-evaluated by its owners. Today we ruthlessly erase programs that were so precious just a few years ago, to free space for newer versions; tomorrow, superintelligent entities could be wiped out as useless junk minutes after their birth.
Many conventional economic notions of 3-D space, such as primary locations and differential rent, will become irrelevant under new effective topologies of the social space. Remaining economic parameters may dramatically change. For example, the increased value of time and rapid pace of growth may result in interest rates going up by orders of magnitude.
Transportation, which in modern societies makes up about 40% of all economic costs, will diminish in importance, at least as far as dragging physical objects from one place to another is concerned. However, its functional successor - transfer of knowledge from one representation system or subject domain to another - may play at least as large a role.
Many traditional tendencies of system evolution will still hold; structures with higher survival abilities will persist; structures with higher growth abilities will spread, thus shaping the world. However, since nothing stable will be likely to persist (let alone spread) for long in the rapidly evolving environment, the main "survival" recipe will be aggressive self-modification, always eventually resulting in the loss of identity of the original object -- a death forward, so to speak. This trend is a radical departure from the conservative survival strategies of traditional human cultures, developed in almost-stagnant environments. Its development will render the concept of [even] functional identity obsolete; the remnants of its meaning will migrate to methodological threads and directions of development. We may already notice the advent of "thread identity" by the growing importance of goals and self-transformation in our lives, compared to the "state-oriented" self-perception of our recent predecessors, and increasing interest in futurology (which takes the epistemological role of historical studies in transient times).
I find these notions quite exciting but only because the world as a whole will become more organized by the mantra-complexes than by mammoth physical structures. I will translate these notions into the Language of Icons just to give a hint as a possible line of development of these lines of thinking.
The world of informorphs with their Distributed Mind Systems or Info-beings sound to me just a AI way of talking about the ICONS so well entrenched in Dravidian Thinking where we can see the ICONS as the exemplifiers of the Distributed Divine Mind. The value of real estate will change, yes, but only because like the Chinese artists, we will learn to appreciate the natural as DIVINE as concrete icons, as Metaphysical - info-Beings where BEING is present and hence something that should NOT be violated and distorted with the ego intervention of man. Nature will become SACRED and NOT to be interfered with. But then what can we make of the claim:
However, this doesn't mean fierce competition of informorphs for the right to embody themselves, as they will have no natural physical appearance. Rather, they will use the physical world as a shared tool kit.
Let us replace the concept of informorphs with ICONS. Then what kind of insights we get about the new economic order of the world?
The ICONS must be given freedom to emerge not only in the mind but also the physical stuff- the caves, rocks, streams, stones, lumps of metal and so forth. There will be a CONFLICT within us – either to be the Western technologist who would aggressively transform the natural into something that would serve his economic desires or to be the Chinese artist – to allow the nature to be its own as Icons of BEING, as metaphysical informorphs that would educate man about BEING.
I believe that this notion of nonphysical informorph systems may lead to the development of such Icon Thinking and make all of us more like the Chinese artists than exploitative technocrats. The technologies will NOT be exploitative but rather like divine music dances yoga and so forth. development orientated and where the hidden and concealed is made more actively present in the understanding..
Yes these icons have a hierarchical order – the lower and higher and it is the higher that will survive. A good ICON as that of Siva Nadarajah, the SivaliGkam, the Mother Goddess and so forth will SURVIVE while thousands of the lower ones will come and go. It is against this that the following observation has a special significance to me:
Many traditional tendencies of system evolution will still hold; structures with higher survival abilities will persist; structures with higher growth abilities will spread, thus shaping the world. However, since nothing stable will be likely to persist (let alone spread) for long in the rapidly evolving environment, the main "survival" recipe will be aggressive self-modification, always eventually resulting in the loss of identity of the original object -- a death forward, so to speak
Yes death of everything that assumes a shape including the Iconic will show that nothing can have a permanent identity – all will be thrown into a flux and hence everything will be seen as moving towards its own DEATH. Thus what will persist are NOT things concrete or abstract but only LEARNING and self-development put here as the aggressive self-modification of informorphs. But since death is not natural but something brought about, it also shows that while everything in thrown into DEATH and hence made impermanent, there is the One who throws everything into DEATH, the Sangkaara KaaraNan, as Meykandar would say who is ABOVE these things that come into being and then die or disappear.
Against this what can be meaning of such claims as:
Its development will render the concept of [even] functional identity obsolete; the remnants of its meaning will migrate to methodological threads and directions of development
What it means is that the activities of BEING, the fiv- fold processes of disclosing and concealing and within disclosing that of presenting sustaining and destroying will be highlighted instead of the various individual things. The physical estate – concrete or abstract things will be devalued in favor of the PROCESSES in which they come into being-there, sustain themselves with a certain identity and then disappear leaving behind only the PROCESSES as real and as available throughout the universe. Thus the attention will be drawn to the DANCE and BEING as the Primordial DANCER, that Power because of whose LOVE for mankind the cosmos has a presence but which is moving towards its DEATH only to call the attention towards BEING who is deathless.
Existing economic theories may find it difficult to assess the condition of a transcendent system. Today's economic indicators do a decent job in reflecting quantitative changes in the structurally stable areas, while using questionable methods to disguise small structural changes as quantitative, and totally failing to account for the new products constituting the essence of real economic progress. As a result, rigorous economic methods become confined to a rapidly [relatively] shrinking, and no longer isolated, domain of stable production, and fail to reflect long-term growth in social wealth, let alone guide it.
Market forces are useful in allocating resources, spreading products and rewarding the developers. However, innovations are brought to life by integrated non-market elements of the economy, from a human brain to a company. With innovations becoming the core of social life we can only expect monocriterial (monetary) considerations to continue losing their indicative and guiding roles - and give way to more integrated control schemes that already determine the behavior of other complex systems, from biological organisms and national cultures to corporations and software packages.
Yes I agree with this. The present market analysis is largely quantitative with hardly any attention paid to the QUALITATIVE. . The measurable in quantitative terms play a far more important role in economic assessments and in that become BLIND to the human essences such as creativity, persistence against odds, courage in the face of the unknown, fearlessness and confidence, desire to explore the unknown and discover the undiscovered and so forth. If the innovating tendency becomes the core of social life and as result of this culture of informorphs, well and good. But why then talk about developing more integrated control systems to determine the behavior of other complex systems? Why cannot we just LET THEM BE as to what they are and we talk them as elements of Distributed Divine Mind hence useful as additional sources of information about BEING, the DIVINE?
Attempts to govern the society on further levels of development with monetary-economic indicators might resemble valuing art by its price or carrying biological criteria to assess the condition of a political party by calculating the total weight of its members. Not that such figures would be totally irrelevant, but watching them will hardly yield profound insights into the nature of the subject...
The outdated practice of breaking up functional domains (from motor skills to knowledge of ancient history) into isolated parts confined together with completely unrelated constructs in one physical body, will be abandoned, and functional relatives will finally merge into knowledge clusters. The inner life of integrated subject domains - "personalities" of the future - will be too complex to be organized on principles of financial exchange, and will work on more cooperative principles typical for today's integrated systems - from brains to families to corporations. Free market exchange will be restricted to the areas of general interest - basic resources and meta-knowledge - that will be exchanged for each other. The necessity to earn resources by providing service to the "neighbors" will continue to propel both growth and cooperation.
The emphasis of scientific research will gradually drift from studies of the limited and increasingly well-known Nature (the childhood stage of knowledge development) to the analysis of explosively sophisticated, intentionally designed systems, and the role of Science as a servant of Technology in its transformational pursuits will become ever more evident.
Yes in a way - The inner life of integrated subject domains - "personalities" of the future - will be too complex to be organized on principles of financial exchange, and will work on more cooperative principles typical for today's integrated systems. We can add that this is only because BEING is supremely indeterminate and human personality as something that reflects BEING will be equally so. What this means is the destruction of the human EGO, the will to manipulate the mind of others to CONVERT into one’s own view or make a slave of others by manipulating the whole of social norms like the way the manuvadies in India did or tried to do.
However I also believe that what will happen will be the slow decline of the positive sciences that deal only with numbers and statistical analysis and the growth and development in their place of the Interpretive Hermeneutic Sciences that handle the QUALITATIVE aspects as well of the physical and psychical and without any reductionisms.
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The perception of robots as physically autonomous mechanical slaves seems inadequate. Chaining your mobile dusting aid to the radiator may help you feel in control, but will do about as much "enslaving" of the global system running it as kicking your car or disconnecting the phone does to the respective industries. Trying to "enslave" an economy or a national culture by restraining their small physical elements seems equally futile.
As for the action on the system level, humans seem far too limited, shortsighted and uncoordinated to do anything serious. So far, they haven't yet been able to design a single set of restrictions that their own peers cannot easily bypass. So one can hardly expect people to design and implement a perfect global plan of constraining forever an extremely complex emergent intelligence of unprecedented nature. Sooner or later, the info-world will set itself free.
This human/robot "conflict" looks like a typical generation gap problem. The machines, our "mind children", are growing up and developing features that we find increasingly difficult to understand and control. Like all conservative parents, we are puzzled and frightened by processes that appear completely alien to us; we are intermittently nostalgic about the good old times, aggressive in our attempts to contain the "children" and at the same time proud of their glorious advance. Eventually, we may retire under their care, while blaming them for destroying our old-fashioned world. And only the bravest and youngest at heart will join the next generation of life.
The lose of control of man over man and hence the slaving mentality may find its death in the proliferation and complexity of informorphs. Yes, but is this a NEW phenomenon? May be to the West, which has NOT cultivated the Icon Language where the icons are Divine-Informorphs that are different presentational forms of BEING. These are gods of the ancients that died off with the onset of monotheism in some countries but perhaps now making a comeback in the guise of Informorphs neo-paganism and so forth. Part of living with Icon Language and allowing these icons to possess the soul and form – initially as the magical but later as the metaphysical- is to learn that BEING is UNCANNY for there can be always be NEW Icons, divine-informorphs EXCEEDING the predictive and hermeneutic capabilities of the human mind. It is at this point that man GIVES UP and recognizes the UNCANNINESS of BEING, that BEING can be wholly MYSTERIOUS. It is at this point that THINKING dies and along with it the Ego. The soul of man becomes egoless and PURE. At this point also emerges the genuine Bakti - just simply LOVING BEING without seeking out anything as a boon except simply being with BEING and sojourning the remaining years in this world in this divine company that breeds a fulfillment of its own.
Along with it also disappears the human will to codify and control human behavior like the religionists do - isolate a scripture and make it solely authoritative and along with it the priestly as the custodians of not only the scripture but also its interpretive understanding. For example it is stated in Brahmanism that the Vedas are the sole authority and only the Brahmins- a caste by virtue of birth alone- are authoritative in interpreting and understanding them. The whole of society is made a SLAVE of the Brahmins in obvious contradiction to the fact that the Icons, the ways BEING presents Himself and TEACHES the human beings can never be contained in any scripture. No amount of words can imprison even the lowest icon let alone BEING. But fortunately the Dravidian Hinduism – the temple-centered Agamism did not seek to be scripture-authoritative. They built temples, developed various kinds of rituals, music and dance, a variety of hermeneutic sciences like Yoga Linguistics Poetics and so forth to make people be present with the Icons and along with it with BEING, the sole authority for He is the only one ho can grant Moksa .
Now against this, do we have to conclude as below?
Eventually, we may retire under their care, while blaming them for destroying our old-fashioned world. And only the bravest and youngest at heart will join the next generation of life
If the Dravidian Agamism with its ability to survive from the very ancient Afro-Asian cultural foundations as typified by the pyramidal structures that survive to this day as Temple Gopurams, we may not just retire to the care of Icons reluctantly but lovingly do so with the understand that is GOOD for both physical and mental well-being. We hall be thankful that the unclear and confused past has been DESTROYED but only to regenerate a present state that is better informed and more civilized. There will be more LOVE towards BEING and which would translate into LOVE for ALL and hence more humane.
Machines will hardly have any direct interest in enslaving humans (unless maliciously programmed by humans themselves), but may be interested in collaborating with us. Social practice has shown that people are most productive when free and motivated to work for their own interests. At a later stage, when we humans are unlikely to be of any further use, the robots may still decide to get rid of us, though by that time (perhaps at the end of the next century) profound structural changes will leave little of the human civilization as we know it now, anyway.
History shows that representatives of consecutive evolutionary stages are rarely in mortal conflict. Multi-celled organisms didn't drive out single-celled ones, animals haven't exterminated all plants and automobiles neither killed nor eliminated all pedestrians. Indeed, representatives of consecutive evolutionary stages build symbiotic relationships in most areas of common interest and ignore each other elsewhere, while members of each group are mostly pressured by their own peers.
There may be good chances for transcended robots and postbiological humans to peacefully coexist, though I doubt that we could tell which are which... This era, however, seems to lie well beyond the human concept horizon.
Yes and here we see the PYRAMIDAL structure of natural Metaphysics that has been in the formation from the ancient Sumerian-Egyptian-Nubian cultural complex and which now survives at least among the Dravidian folks as that metaphysical pre-understanding that underlies the Pyramidal temple towers that are not bare like the Nubian and Egyptian pyramids but something fully embellished with icons – divine-informorphs that also show through them the presence of BEING.
In the pyramidal structure there are lower and higher – nothing is rejected. Everything is comprehended within a massive Pyramid of Divine-Informorphs along with an indication of evolutionary dynamics – that man must CLIMB up from the lower to higher and reach the PEAK, the realm of Moksa, of freeing oneself from the earthly and enter the heavenly , like the Sumerian Jivasudra did.
With this background of the Pyramidal Structure of Natural Metaphysics, we can agree with the following observation:
History shows that representatives of consecutive evolutionary stages are rarely in mortal conflict. Multi-celled organisms didn't drive out single-celled ones, animals haven't exterminated all plants and automobiles neither killed nor eliminated all pedestrians. Indeed, representatives of consecutive evolutionary stages build symbiotic relationships in most areas of common interest and ignore each other elsewhere, while members of each group are mostly pressured by their own peers.
The various stages in the climb towards the peak of the Pyramid are NOT in conflict- each stage has its own merits. What we have to do to LEARN what each stage has to offer and then MOVE ON to the next, the higher. The Buddhist pyramid in Borobudur in Indonesia is built precisely along these lines but only that at the peak we do not have BEING but rather Pure Emptiness, the Sunyam that the Saivites will also see as a presentational form of BEING.
Now if the Indian experience is anything to go by, we must also point out a DANGER in this pyramidal structure. There may arise a new breed of Brahmins who would introduce the VarNasrama Dharma and FREEZE the flow, the movement, deny the CLIMB and throw the whole society to FIXED steps and stages with of course the Brahmins right at the TOP, the peak of Pyramid, equal to the gods and who must addressed as Saamy (god) by the commoners. A whole systems of Moral Codes will be written by such Brahmins and passed on as words of God Himself and hence inviolable.
A immobile and permanent STRUTURALISM will come to prevail by REMOVING the MOBILITY inherent to the system and thus people compartmentalized into VarNas with the lower fated to the lower permanently with NO possibility at all to climb up.
What can be done to prevent the possibilities of a neo-Brahmanism coming into being and taking hold of societies in the guise informorphs and software engineers who are intimately related to the production of such informorphs?
The expertise must go along with the culturing of the feelings, the aesthetics so that such experts also grow up as LOVING individuals. A Brahmin can call himself unashamedly a Brahmin and by virtue of birth alone only because he is HEARTLESS, there is NO LOVE in his heart. He may be intelligent but not human and commands respect by social machinations rather than by the endearing qualities that true spiritual developments bestow upon one.
So ultimately what matters is LOVE and not so much expertise and ritualistic machinations even with informorphs. But there is nothing to fear for BEING is NOT dead. At the appropriate time He will emerge as the DESTROYER and wipe out all these clever manipulations of man against man and purify the world.
I would be happy to see any comments, especially constructive criticism, textual edits and suggestions of new ideas, examples, metaphors, illustrations and references to relevant resources, on- or off-line. Please send all of these to me at firstname.lastname@example.org