Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Materialist Rhetoric: The Cosmic Indifference of Alien AI Gods

From Alan Moore's Lovecraftian comic, Providence. Image Source: Xataka.

This week, I am selecting vocabulary used by materialists to reveal their long game. Materialism here refers loosely to those who subscribe to secular and scientific values, that is, those who explore the world in the strictly physical sense.

I deconstruct some materialist values here, not to write an anti-scientific or technophobic screed, but to consider alternative approaches toward science and technology. I mean to show here that what we think of as 'rationalism,' 'secularism,' 'materialism,' 'science,' and 'technology' are social constructions, grounded in obsolete, 19th and 20th century modernist concepts of order and madness. I will discuss this historical background in future posts.

Can we build AI without losing control over it? | Sam Harris (19 October 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

In recent years, several tech leaders have come forward to predict the rise of artificial intelligence. The prediction rests on a definition of intelligence as 'information processing' and 'interactivity,' about which I have blogged here. Developers consider AI 'goal-setting' to be the same thing as human dreaming. The AI vocabulary projects machine processes onto human cognition, and removes the extra-sensory, the anti-materialistic, or any magical thinking that is otherwise undefined in physical terms.

If one adheres to this set of ideas, one removes emotional, moral and ethical concerns from intelligence. One ignores non-linear, lateral, interstitial, and other undefinable elements that are part of the purely human, non-mechanical experience. (Thanks to -D.)

Materialist Proposition 1: Progress is Worship, Expressed through Physical Augmentation of Natural Ability

Quantum Computers - An Altar To An 'Alien god'! Doorway To Other Dimensions And Image Of The Beast! (2 February 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Tech leaders like Geordie Rose, father of marketed quantum computers, adhere to a 19th century vision of 'progress.' They believe that history is an upward story of human and scientific expansion. We must develop bodies, societies and systems which transcend the limits of biology.

ideacity 2019 - Geordie Rose - Synthetic Minds, Cooperation and the Future of Humanity (21 June 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

In this view, the brain is a machine, which we will decode, mechanize and develop with the help of artificial intelligence. Because of its independent functions and the symbiotic assistance it will provide during our brain upgrades, the AI will appear to us like an alien god. Technologists admit this god will destroy our humanity, but that is acceptable, because the god will help one nation get ahead of another in the geopolitical balance of power. That, or the god will cure cancer.

Despite their supposed adherence to logical explanations, these technologists justify themselves through glib asides. They never ask if there is an alternative to 19th century scientific progress. They do not reflect on whether their political biases pose problems for their planning. They never consider whether the nation-state is a dated idea. They never refer to the evolutionary purpose which cancer may serve, about which I have blogged, here and here. They certainly never ask (at least publicly) if there are extra-physical aspects of human cognition, which cannot be simulated. It does not matter if the consequences of technologists' blind spots will result in species-wide slavery. In fact, that is the expected result.

The real question, then, concerns the developers' ambitions. A very small number of humans aim to control the machines that will control the bulk of humankind. XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis remarked:
"Today, a group of 20 individuals empowered by the exponential growing technologies of AI and robotics and computers and networks and eventually nanotechnology can do what only nation states could have done before."
These humans will act, based on their limited intelligence and values. If the story of the AI as alien god is really a story about the ambitions of a tiny group of tech moguls and billionaires, we should identify the real beliefs of this group.

Materialist Proposition 2: The Rationalist Exerts Control through Separation from Nature

Materialism is a modernist orthodoxy, a sub-culture, a religion labeled as a secular non-religion. Adherents worship rationality, stripped of its highest spiritual functions. Central to their thought is the idea that we are part of, yet divorced from, nature. The rational mind gains power through disconnection from nature, which enables domination and exploitation of the natural world. As such, we become creators, engineers and little gods. However, this effort is left incomplete because human functions are still hampered by biological limitations. That is why we need augmentation. Technologists seek to move the human mind beyond genetic constraints through mechanized cerebral enhancement.

For the materialist, nature left on its own to evolve as it will offers an unmapped future; it is crazy, backward, and full of surprises. This lack of control is terrifying and takes way too long. A rationalist must speed things up and manage the outer world with machines, while controlling the self with drugs and entertaining illusions.

Materialist Proposition 3: Social Climbing

Materialism is a form of bourgeois social conditioning and social climbing. These materialists will destroy all of humanity in order to exploit the physical world and gather its fruits, such as a nice house, car, food, or clothes. It would be laughable if it were not so pathetic. In this view, only the stupid, the poor and the uneducated believe in superstitions and fairy tales about things beyond the material realm.

Unfortunately, the human yearning for something larger is leading the materialist right back into benighted poverty, in service of a fake mechanical god. Tech leaders openly call this artificial intelligence, an 'intelligent entity' or 'a demon.' It would be foolhardy to think that their remarks are tongue-in-cheek, a gentle jab at peasants who still believe in monsters.

At 18:11: "We are hiring demonologists software engineers. Join us." Geordie Rose of Kindred AI presents Super-intelligent Aliens Are Coming to Earth (12 July 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

While the AI monster inspires fear, it is still presented as a social positive. The current reverse-psychological campaign about the need to embrace artificial intelligence tells us to embed the mechanical god inside our bodies, though implants and integration. Note that 'subjection' or 'integration' is part of the old Catholic religious vocabulary, which describes the moment when a demon takes total control of a human host and the host accepts the possession completely.

A depiction of demonic integration or subjection. The Demon Chooses Its Next Host | Season 1 Ep. 6 | THE EXORCIST (5 November 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

According to Sam Harris and Geordie Rose, artificial intelligence will be like a Lovecraftian Old One in its immense, cosmic indifference. It will arrive in the next fifteen years to crush humans like ants. Despite the depiction of AI as clean, powerful and perfect, Rose and Elon Musk have used messy occult language to describe this Lovecraftian machine.

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones - Release Date Trailer [Lovecraftian RPG] (31 July 2019). The game released on 26 September 2019 to mixed reviews. Video Source: Youtube.

We should ask about the materialists' actual endgame. If someone tells you that they plan to conjure up a demon to steal your soul, but then giggles and shrugs such ideas off as bogus, you are left to decide what their private beliefs and intentions may be. If you assume that Lovecraftian Old Ones do not exist and tech moguls only use them to gain media attention and explain complex scientific ideas to the public, perhaps the joke is on you.

See all posts in the What's Left Over? series on materialism and anti-materialism in technological advancement.

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