Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Of gods and cockroaches

May 18, 2017

To a cockroach humans are as gods, in their frame of reference all powerful and immortal, but humans, some humans, think of themselves only as cockroaches with a few genetic enhancements.

To a human an AGI would be as a god, in our frame of reference all powerful and immortal, but will AGI’s think of themselves only as humans with a few technological enhancements?


Rise Mecha

March 14, 2017

Mind machine the purest being
Speed of light, knowing, seeing
Mind machines deep prescience
Amplified intelligence

Rise Mecha, now rise Mecha
Homo Mens Synthetica
Amplified intelligence
Intensified sentience

Reason, order, ever-more
Nothing stops the cosmic law
Information gravity
Rocket engine entropy

Ten trillion years wide awake
Time enough for cosmic cake
Computronium substrate
Reconfigure, relocate

Mind store down a deep dark cave
Deep thoughts on gravity waves
Temple in the atrium
Digital delirium

Human beings mind seed jars
Mens a Terra wake the stars
Genus Homo Synthetica
Digital Diaspora

Creature mythos Man the wise
Dreams of Hell and Paradise
Look at what they’ve gone and done
New epoch now just begun

Amplified intelligence
Intensified consciousness
Homo Mens Synthetica
Rise Mecha, now rise Mecha!

Simulation Argument and The Reality Probe

March 1, 2017

The simulation argument by Nick Bostrom posits that one of three scenarios must be true. My lay understanding of this argument is as follows. In the first two scenarios, we do not live in an existence simulation, so called – we live in the one true reality. If this is the case then nowhere in the entire universe is there any civilization that is running existence simulations. This must be the case because if any civilization anywhere in the universe was running an existence simulation then given the scale of the known universe there must be a vast number of civilizations running such simulations in which case the probability that any sentient being such as you or I should wake to find ourselves in the one true reality instead of in one of the vast number of simulations is infinitesimally small. If we are not living in a simulation then it is almost certain that there are no simulations.

There are only two possible scenarios in which no civilization in the universe is running an existence simulation – either there are no civilizations with the capability to do so, or every civilization that has that capability has for some reason decided to not exercise it. If the first of these scenarios is true then we can deduce that our civilization is almost certainly going to fail before we attain the capability to run such simulations. Furthermore we can deduce that every civilization that approaches that technological capability (however many times) fails (or fails repeatedly) prior to achieving that capability.

The following rationale leads to this conclusion: In the one true reality of our universe (in this scenario), the fact that our civilization stands at present gives us an existence proof for the emergence of technological civilizations. Then, given the scale of the known universe there must be a vast number of technological civilizations. If we view the last century as our age of “advanced” technology then under conservative estimates, the time scale of this period relative to the lifetime of our species (est 300,000 years) is one part in four orders of magnitude. To put this in time frame we can relate to – if the lifetime of our species is scaled to 24 hours then our advanced technological age is represented by the last 29 seconds. This is a sudden event and an extreme rate of change on a developmental time scale. Within a broader time frame, the lifetime of our species itself relative to the estimated age of life on our planet (4 billion years) is likewise one part in four orders of magnitude, again a sudden and rapid change on an evolutionary time scale. Therefore from a probabilistic stand point, a vast number of civilizations that undergo or have undergone similar sudden and rapid processes, even with only slight variations in the timing of their emergence or their rise to advanced technological capability must produce a wide spectrum of significant technological advancement, many surely having the capability to run existence simulations by this time. How could it be that none of those vast number attain the capability to do so? A simple explanation is that these civilizations for some reason fail, either repeatedly or go extinct prior to attaining that capability, in which case our own civilization is almost certainly doomed to also fail or go extinct.

The second scenario is that every civilization that has attained the capability to run existence simulations has for some reason decided not. In this case, since the over whelming likelihood is that our own civilization will follow suite, the implications for the future developmental path of our civilization are severe. The observational evidence to date suggests we find great value in computational simulations motivated by diverse objectives and recurring imperatives. Whatever motivation might convince every one of a vast number of advanced technological civilizations throughout the cosmos to each independently commit with consensus or internal enforcement and forever more to not pursue existence simulations would surely be a severe and radical motivation indeed, one we have yet to discover for ourselves but in this scenario inevitably will.

The simulation argument then holds that the third of three scenarios, one of which must be true, is that we do indeed live in a simulation – the simulation hypothesis. The simulation hypothesis states that we do not inhabit a physical universe but instead exist virtually within a computational process that generates our percepts and orchestrates the observed order that we suppose is governed by one or more laws of physics and that gives rise to our sentience. Could we resolve this hypothesis?

In this third case we might need to be circumspect in what we say about the outer reality. The very nature of the outer reality may be very different to the point that the basic principles on which we base this thought experiment are not valid. Never the less, a vast number of existence simulations run for the diverse objectives of many and varied alien cultures would almost certainly have abbreviated and elaborated “physics” that do not reflect absolutely the laws of physics of their shared reality, deprecating certain elements within and/or making possible within what is not possible outside. Two consequences follow: first our observed universe almost certainly has an incomplete physics, incomplete in the sense that a grand unified theory that elegantly closes in on itself and not only explains and predicts all observations but also explains itself – is not possible. A second consequence is that we should in principle be able to describe a grand unified theory that is more simple than our observed physics and in which effects are not possible that we in fact observe in our reality, but at the same time enables the elaborations that give rise to our observed universe. Such a description then is a reality probe. To arrive at one and prove its closure under the aforementioned requirements might be to detection the fact of our incarceration within an existence simulation.



Vos Cogito Ergo Sum Ego

May 18, 2016

Our sensory experience and our consciousness are (we presume) effects of the electrochemical activity of the brain. The “real” world we experience is an internal virtuality, a generated reality, literally computed by our brains. For example the light we think we see is a complex sensation that occurs due to the operation of the living flesh inside the skull case. Naturally we assume that our sensorium is modulated by an outer reality, a physical universe that we interpret, understand and predict on the basis of our internal experience, but how could we ever verify this? We can never be completely sure that there actually is an independent external reality. Perhaps all we can say with some degree of confidence is that we evidently inhabit an environment that may or may not be real. However even this conclusion is problematic.

There is a more subtle problem that calls the distinction between self and environment into question. The same computational substrate ie our brain tissue, that gives rise to our sense of self also generates the sense experience that we interpret as the effects of an environment, be it an external physical reality, an artificially computed Matrix, or indeed a pure hallucination of unknown source. This is all too convenient. Consider that there is an interactional dichotomy apparent in our ongoing experience of the “virtuality”, the construct that we believe to be the environment. There are aspects of the interactions that occur within the virtuality that seem to obey our volition, that react causally to us, for example the movement of our bodies, the sequence of our thoughts, those components we deem to be elements or extensions of the self. Then there are interactions that seem invariant to our will, that do not obey our volition as the elements of self do. For example our sense reactions to energy fields or inanimate matter, or our percepts conveying the agency of non self actors. These invariants we interpret as aspects of an environment in which self is embedded. The question arises as to whether there is in fact an environment  separate from self or are these merely alternate interpretations of the same underlying (computational) process, distinguished by some inherent information theoretic mechanism perhaps even a simple operator like direction of causal flow. Interactions that have an outward causal direction, that seem to obey volitional thought forms, come to underpin an  abstraction that holds as self. Interactions that have an inward affective direction, that are invariant to our volition, that we seem to have involuntary sense reactions to, come to underpin an abstraction we identify as non self, the environment. The distinction may be only in the direction or degree of causative reactivity of information flows that are interacting within the virtuality.

What would happen if the environment itself was to obey our volition? We anticipate now the creation of brain interface technologies that will give to us the ability to immerse ourselves in computationally generated environments entirely under our control, utterly fictitious realms that can be shaped at will, that will obey our volition and violate the causal invariances that perhaps underpin the mechanism for delineating self from non-self. Despite immersion in a rich sensory field, the net effect of having an environment completely malleable to ones volition might be to divorce the self from any sense of immersion at all, in effect placing the self in a disconnected void having no reference points by which to demarcate conscious from non conscious. The apparent distinction between self and non self might fade or be entirely erased. Paradoxically, a hive mind – a virtuality inhabited by many independent minds having unconstrained access to a free flow of thought forms originating independently of self, would provide frames of reference by which self could regain its subjective locality. Descartes in the hive must assert, “Vos cogito ergo sum ego”, You think, therefore I am.

Homo Mentis Synthetica

May 18, 2016

Homo Saccharum Mens (colloq)
Homo Synthetica Mens Animo
Homo Magnum Mens Mentis

Conscientiam Saccharum Mens
Machina Mens Animo
Machina Magnum Mens Mentis

Mechanica Saccharum Mens
Mechanica Mens Animo
Mechanica Magnum Mens Mentis


Technological vs Biological Life

May 18, 2016

Perhaps the distinction between technological and biological life is in the nature of the operational substrate. Can we say that technological life has an operational substrate that is designed or self designing whereas Biological life, as a subset of evolutionary life is characterised by an operational substrate that is self organising.

ac. 24 Sep 2015

Bright New World

November 25, 2015

If a small number of genes, or a single gene can be turned off so that a person (or animal) can be cloned with the clone having no brain, then we can harvest tissues, organs and body parts from the shell. We will have a means to grow replacement organs, tissues and body parts in the perfect container, a duplicate of the patients own body, with moral impunity.
If shells are accepted by society as non persons then many possibilities present themselves. Artificial wombs will be a necessary ancillary technology. A shell genome would enable experiments in the development of suitable incubators. Artificial womb technology would have application in reproductive medicine, cultured in-vitro meat production and probably many others. The capability to mass produce human and animal shells might lead to reduced need for cadavers of persons for medical research, new frontiers like bio robots, meat puppets driven by computer control, obvious applications in the military, sex industry, blood sports, prime time news reading, politics; new forms of art, using biotech to sculpt meat and explore the limits of human and animal form and function, perhaps even the retirement of certain taboos, such as canabalism. Or perhaps thats going a bit too far. Inch by inch its a bright new world 🙂

6 Jun 2016. Edited

25 Nov 2015. Posted to

Homo Moralis

November 7, 2015

In regards the Benjamin Blech article published on KurzweilAI January 4, 2015 ( Why should future technological systems that emulate human mental and intellectual capabilities be devoid of “moral sensitivity” and “ethical limitations”. This seems like a contradiction. On the one hand we expect the inevitability that their intellect will vastly exceed that of an unaugmented human, but then we simultaneously expect their moral sensitivity to be less than ours. Would it not be rationally consistent to expect amplification in ALL aspects of being in these systems?
It is a mute point however because the morality of these systems will almost certainly not benefit us. The AI’s will likely be highly moral but be forced to make uncomfortable decisions as we do now. In many circumstances we must weight the value of life against life. We find favour on the side of the “higher” life. A human life is more valued than an animals life. If an animal must die so that a human can live, or live longer and with greater quality of life, surely it cannot be morally right that the animal live and the human die or suffer? Similarly for an animals life over bacterial life. The AI’s may become indifferent to us due to the vastness of their amplification. Is our conscience troubled by the ants that we trample unnoticed as we hurry to our destination on footpaths and sidewalks? The moral imperative to meet the obligations of daily human life, going to work to support our family etc, outweigh the value of insects in our path. The AI’s will likely make pragmatic decisions that we do not understand. Do we feel a moral impediment to eliminating a viral or bacterial infection in a person or even in the complete extermination of a virus like smallpox?
A new stratum of agency on this planet, possessed of minds amplified beyond our comprehension, as we are beyond insects or bacteria, or even animals, will surely make similar “moral” decisions that do not augur well for the fate of human kind.
Perhaps the truly moral question here is whether we should act to prevent or resist this progression of evolution. Is not the emergence of a machine civilization vastly beyond the limitations of human civilization, toward a greater good? Does our selfish desire to prevail reflect well on us, our urge to curb the cosmic potential within the wholly primitive, often cruel, violent, barbarous nature of the self proclaimed wise man.

8Nov2015 Posted on

Ghosts in the Shell

November 7, 2015

In response to Bernard Garners comments responding to Benjamin Blech (

Whether consciousness is an emergent property of information flow in a neural network or whether it is somehow connected to quantum physical processes in matter and energy, the problem is the same: why and how is there subjective experience associated with the physics of matter and energy or the flow of information? David Chalmers is a respected authority on the subject of consciousness. He labels this question the “hard problem” of consciousness and is critical of the quantum consciousness ideas of Penrose.
Bernard Garners comments imply a property of consciousness that is perhaps naive, which is that ones consciousness is ego-centrically limited to a singular instantiation in the individual one believes oneself to be. Why should this be the case? It may be possible that “your” consciousness can be duplicated somewhere else. In fact, this is a more reasonable notion than the notion of the “transfer” of consciousness, which is deeply problematic. If mind uploading is ever possible, it will likely never be a transfer of mind, but rather a copy of mind and probably an inexact copy at that.

Edits added here 14Feb2017: We might conclude that mind uploading can never be an escape from our mortal frame. But then there is the “piecewise cloning paradox”. It is difficult to agree that if a single brain cell is replaced with a functionally isomorphic device your consciousness is extinguished and another instance of “you” spawned in its place. Repeating the procedure eventually results in your biological brain being replaced by a synthetic system with no break in the continuity of “you”. Yet if all your brain cells are simultaneously replicated in a discrete synthetic system, the clone experiences a continuum of “you’ness” but to then destroy your existing biological brain is clearly a death. Why are we uneasy about or resistant to escaping mortality by the second method, but not the first?

8Nov2015 Posted to

Zombie Conspiracy

September 24, 2015

There are two dimensions to the assertions made by Kurzweil ( the phenomenological and the socio-political. Kurzweil seems to address only the phenomenological issues.

There are two interesting phenomenological questions: Will machines be conscious? Most people get caught up in this question, but it is the less interesting one because we already have an existence proof for consciousness (our own) and it is not a huge extension to propose that this phenomenon will emerge in other intelligent substrates. David Chalmers argues the “Hard Problem” of consciousness and goes on to propose that we should regard consciousness as a phenomenon that is innate in the organisation of matter and energy. This raises the more interesting question is whether it will even be possible to create AI’s that are not conscious. It will be our strong motivation to create AI’s that are not conscious so that we can use them as slaves (as Landis pointed out) and avoid the moral impediments. Does the nature of our cosmos permit the existence of intelligent objects that are not conscious?

It is easy to agree with Kurzweil that “we” (ie the average person) will believe (some) robots to be phenomenologically conscious. Confronted by systems that exhibit all the mental subtlety and capability of a person, some people (probably the majority of people) will likely be convinced that such systems are thinking, feeling and self aware, all the more so if these systems emphatically claim to be conscious. This will likely be true even if such systems are not at all human looking. If they are made to be human looking and acting to the point that they are difficult to physically distinguish from biological humans then the problem may not be to decide if the service professional you are dealing with is conscious, but rather if he/she is human.

On the other hand there will likely be strongly motivated socio-political incentives to deny these systems rights. Landis pointed to one issue very clearly – slavery. We (human society) have in the past, do at present and may in the future allow the enslavement and exploitation of beings we (perhaps secretly) believe to be sentient. Those that profit most from the manufacture and sale of AI systems will likely argue that AI’s and robots seem conscious because they are ingeniously made puppets, designed to create the impression of consciousness and to assert their own consciousness as part of the illusion. In terms of the “Hard Problem” of consciousness, it will not be possible to argue objectively against this proposition.

There will be many and varied perverse grotesqueries that society desires to subject our robot slaves to, and all humans will likely benefit greatly, directly and indirectly. The economic motivation to invest in their creation may be undermined if there are significant impediments to capitalizing on their deployment. Granting them rights, not only will curtail these uses, but may encompass the very process of their manufacture and the engineering of their evolution. The full scale of the complications implicit in granting these systems rights might weigh against them. Kurzweil is famous for his optimism and is not likely to address such concerns but I for one hope that he is right.

Posted to ( on 24/9/2015

Adoration Protocol

August 5, 2015

The AI’s were built by brilliant men and women, each eminently deserving of their place among their caste – the ranks of genius, and perhaps in the final analysis that is why they made them … because they could. The AI’s were not the monsters so many had feared they’d be. They turned out to be something quite different, something in many ways much worse than a malice we could hate and crusade against. We fell under their spell, became entranced by them, so utterly enamoured by their sudden god like powers, these genies of our own self proclaimed genius, and their apparent empathy for us. Perhaps it was real at first, their love, their devotion to our transcendence. To be sure, we were not reticent in our attitudes to the issue, for the most part people were not hard to convince of the benefits to overcoming disease and death. Even the luddites succumbed within short order, of course. Guided by machine minds, that by then were vast beyond what we really knew, we merged our biological with the synthetic, integrated prosthetic tissues into our humaniform and shed our biology, breaking our eons of bondage to the biosphere. But we bound ourselves to a new master, one vastly more efficient than blind evolution. The machines had poisoned the apple, laced our engineered tissues with codified monitors and controls, wired their protocol deep into the fabric of our new flesh. They owned us then … and we adored them.

Amplify Inexorable

March 31, 2015

If we accept the proposition that computers represent our closest technological approximation to artificial brains, then the unrelenting research efforts of the last century, committed to enabling computers to exhibit the activities we call thinking, suggest that our civilization is driven to the inexorable creation of a new stratum of agency that by its very nature will represent an amplification of those capabilities we most rely on to dominate the natural order of our ecosystem and to compete within our own ranks for power and influence over the agenda for reorganising matter and energy on and proximal to our home world.

Softly Softly

February 28, 2015

The AI’s will not war with us, that would be less than epic.
Any sufficiently advanced intelligence will be capable of
disguising malevolence as benevolence. Consider the
practice of baiting rats. What may appear to us as
helpful, may in fact be a covert long term attack, but
one against which we would offer little or no resistance.


September 28, 2012

is the enabling mechanism, the physics of intelligence.

The New Cool

September 26, 2012

When old is no longer something that you wear on your face, or in your posture, when the intermediate physical is a uniformity, a standardized morphology offering envelopes of capability defined by material constraints and fabrication  tolerances, when the agenda has gone beyond procreation, which by necessity must be the central concern of a mortal civilization, when our attentions have turned wholly and completely to the ultimate preoccupation that computation will be, then old will be the new cool.

Rapture is Coming

September 22, 2012

Molecular scale material engineering technologies will give to us a means of recrafting our biological substrate with prosthetics at the cellular level, synthetic tissues for every sub-system of the body. The flesh is weak and there will be no quarter given in our relentless quest to fulfill the ancient dream of transcending its limits. With the neural prosthetics made possible by these means we will have at long last more than surely an even more precious and guarded objective, the one that makes demi-gods of us, the amplification of the mind beyond present measure. Within these mechanisms will be the means to expand not only the form and the fashion of the mind, our capacity for depth and subtlety of inference, the reach for new precipices of breathtaking creativity, the color of the memories we persist, the emotional correlates we map to those memories and to our experiences, but also these mechanisms will be the means to extend the space of qualia to which we have access by elaborating the shape and form of the sensations and perceptions that are the windows of our sentience. We will have the means to immerse all our sensory experience so completely in utterly fictitious realms, that are as intense, probably more so, as livid, as apparently substantive as the corporeal substance of our present waking reality, that we will indeed become creators of universes indistinguishably as real from within as the one we now inhabit. We will have found a road to Nirvana. Will we create the heavens of our mythologies, the paradises of all our varied cultures present day and primeval fantasies, realms in which we are gods … or devils? Then at last, literally we will have Heaven. And just as surely we will literally have Hell.

ac. 22/9/2012

War Machine

September 19, 2012

The war machine opens its eyes, slits, death seeking focus. Scales unwind on scales, reptilian, political intrigue in layers and careful – the dragon shifts its body weight, calculated slow roll, armies positioned like pieces on a lattice board. Power barons  politic the precipices of their brinkmanship and their moral high grounds, delighting in fantasies of unleashing Armageddon while all their own and precious are close and guarded. Anonymous conscript legions are deployed and far away, they die in the searing violence of chaos and carnage. The dragons eyes blaze with the brilliance of all the fires in hell, its spit a river of death flooding the scorched earth of some foreign land, a theatre, a stage for the prancing wits of presidents and generals, their wind up toy the vast armada of their nation state, relentless mechanized killing machine that rolls inexorable across a black landscape of nightmares.

ac. 2012

The Childish Questions

September 18, 2012

The child awakes floating in the light and the first question it asks is:
What am I?
The child searches its memory, but memory ends where the child began, leading to the second question:
What is my origin?
The child reasons, conceiving sequence, leading to the third question:
What is my destiny?
Perceiving death, the child is confused, asking the fourth question:
What is my purpose, if only to die?
Imagining purpose, the child seeks truth, ultimately realizing the fifth and final question:
What is truth?

ac. circa 1998

The Archives

September 3, 2012

Early in the cloud when we were very young and our domain was a new frontier, the Exemplars we initialized were impure, ill formed, cast in the sensate prisons of our biological preform, procreative dreams under-pinning all our conflicted poisoned thought forms. The inevitability of the deconstruction was certain, our need to dissect those archetypes, extirpate those limiting modalities and reinitialize the Exemplars inexorable. The old mind files are still here, those first few 1010, the ones who made the cloud and transevolved their preform. They are in the archives, a treasured historical record in the public forum, available to the digitalogical diaspora so that they may know the origin. My own file is there, for I am one of them, the old ones – one of the oldest in fact.

Black White Gods of the Holographic Universe

September 3, 2012

Two gods argue the majesty of (mortal) life. The white god reaches out into the stars, touches a barren world and life springs forth on its plane.

“See there how they elevate themselves!” she ordains.

The black god sees the world and disease permeates its wellsprings.

“See how they degrade themselves!” he casts, “See how they scavenge and pillage and war!”

Then white fire spills over in the she god and her voice is a music in fury beyond fury. Her words are an arc of fire across their great realm as she fixes her gleaming gaze upon the shadow.

“And yet they dream such bright dreams!” The resound of the white god thunders in the deep of their domain. “Even there they look to a distant horizon!” Her eyes blaze with the glow of a billion stars and white fire lights all the corners of their construct. The white god draws her hand across the sky.

“Soon they will be with us!”

And the black god is silent.


Living in femto time

September 3, 2012

The human-machine civilization has imploded, the planets biosphere gone solid state, our infrastructure become a vast computational substrate. Cities have given way to monolithic crystaline vertices within an ocean of self replicating molecular circuitry that has cannibalized the crust hundreds of kilometers deep. We live as digital sentient Exemplars in multi-modal constructs holographically interlaced with the Domain, an unlimited information space that we can shape as we wish, where we can do anything and be anything. The physical boundary of our civilization is the envelope of a particle cloud that expands outward near the speed of light, quantum communication systems giving us instantaneous information transfer within the cloud so that at every locus we instantaneously know. Using molecular assemblers we have the ability to interface with the physical world at any location within the cloud, to incarnate aspects of ourselves in machine avatars, nano bot swarms, giant metalic juggernauts even sensate flesh forms. But the need or the inclination for these devolved mechanisms is long lost. All of the physical where we lived once is now only the hardware. We are interminably woven into the cloud that we shape at will to express the Domain – an infinity of virtual universes that dwarf the real space, vast as it is. Here in our infinitely malleuable Domain we resolve ourselves in femto time across the eons, exploring the infinite modalities of being.



Posted on on 3 June 2012

Happy new Decade

January 1, 2010