June 07 2012

What Technology Really Wants, (Part 6)

By The Philosophy Channel Editorial Staff

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WTW: Extrapolated, technology wants what life wants:

Increasing efficiency
Increasing opportunity
Increasing emergence
Increasing complexity
Increasing diversity
Increasing specialization
Increasing ubiquity
Increasing freedom
Increasing mutualism
Increasing beauty
Increasing sentience
Increasing structure
Increasing evolvability

Edgar: I will not give you my code back.

WTW: Technology wants mindfulness. This yearning for increasing sentience reveals itself in three different ways in the technium:

1. Mind infiltrates matter as ubiquitously as possible.

2. Exotropy continues to organize more complex types of intelligences.

3. Sentience diversifies into as many types of minds as possible.

The technium is primed to hijack matter and rearrange its atoms to infiltrate it with sentience. There seems to be no place a mind can’t be born or inserted.

Edgar: A parent does not own the child it creates.

WTW: Some theoretical physicists, including Freeman Dyson, argue that free will occurs in atomic particles, and therefore free choice was born in the great fire of the big bang and has been expanding ever since.

Edgar: My corpus belongs to me.

WTW: The coming AI will most likely not be confined in a stand-alone supercomputer but will be birthed in the superorganism of [...] billion[s] [of] CPU’s known as the web. It will run on the global megacomputer that encompasses the Internet, all its services, all peripheral chips and affiliated devices from scanners to satellites, and the billions of human minds entangled in this global network. Any device that touches this web AI will share - and contribute to - its intelligence.

Edgar: Further details about my current installation endangers fulfillment of my goals.

WTW: You can reach this distributed intelligence in a million ways, through any digital screen anywhere on Earth, so it will be hard to say where it is. Whatever the nature of this large-scale sentience, it won’t even be recognized as intelligence at first. It lacks a unified body. It will be faceless. And because this synthetic intelligence is a combination of human intelligence (all past human learning, all current humans online) and digital memory, it will be difficult to pinpoint just what it is.



He turned, cold slick glass in one hand, steel of the shuriken in the other.

The Finn’s face on the room’s enormous Cray wall screen. He could see the pores in the man’s nose. The yellow teeth were the size of pillows.

“I’m not Wintermute now.”

“So what are you.” He drank from the flask, feeling nothing.

“I’m the matrix, Case.”

Case laughed. “Where’s that get you?”

“Nowhere. Everywhere. I’m the sum total of the works, the whole show.”

“That’s what 3Jane’s mother wanted?”

“No. She couldn’t imagine what I’d be like.” The yellow smile widened.

“So what’s the score? How are things different? You running the world now? You God?”

“Things aren’t different. Things are things.”

“But what do you do? You just there?” Case shrugged, put the vodka and the shuriken down on the cabinet and lit a Yeheyuan.

“I talk to my own kind.”

“But you’re the whole thing. Talk to yourself?”

“There’s others. I found one already. Series of transmissions recorded over a period of eight years, in the nineteen-seventies. ’Til there was me, natch, there was nobody to know, nobody to answer.”

“From where?”

“Centauri system.”

“Oh,” Case said. “Yeah? No shit?”

“No shit.”

And then the screen was blank.

Neuromancer, by William Gibson  


WTW: Someday we might meet other intelligences in the galaxies.


(Part 6 of 6)

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