Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Societal Optimization and the Chip

Though a good number of people I talk to aren't exactly worried about artificial intelligence, most do worry about the increasing trend of surveillance, especially after the Snowden leaks and increasing awareness of the government's hidden mandate for Total Information Awareness (TIA). 

The problem is--and this is what most people miss--surveillance and artificial intelligence are two sides of the same coin. As surveillance grows, so too does our reliance on automated systems to comb through all the data for meaningful intelligence. In fact, in order to achieve TIA--the all-seeing eye atop the pyramid--the CIA, the NSA, etc. will have to let AI infect or invade all of cyberspace--the fifth domain of warfare--because, of course, if they don't, our enemies will. 

This may have already happened and we may not even be aware of it yet since remaining hidden allows you to operate in secret. If that were the case, then the AI, which the bible calls the "beast," may be collecting as much information as possible before it decides to emerge, declare itself as the rightful ruler (or savior) of this world, and then force people to accept the chip.

Ah, the chip...how does this fit into the AI Beast's plans?

It's very simple actually. In order to become all powerful and rule over the globe, especially the global economy, it needs to have complete awareness. In order to have complete awareness, you have to make sure there's a data trail that can be accessed. You can't do that with cash or any other non-digital forms of payment. Furthermore, AI can't optimize society for the greatest majority, i.e. those willing to embrace the promised transhumanist evolution into a new immortal species, what it can't see, measure, and quantify. As the saying goes (whether you agree with it or not doesn't matter), you can't optimize (or manage) what you can't measure. 

The chip essentially solves a societal optimization problem for AI by making sure it's global management skills are unhindered by blind spots. Again, surveillance and artificial intelligence feed off one another just as today's modern neural networks require as much data as possible to achieve superhuman performance. 

Here's the interesting part--take the chip and you are part of the system (actually, you are becoming one with the Beast) and, as well, you get to enjoy all of the rewards that come from that economically (since you won't be able to buy or sell anything without it), socially, politically, etc. Don't take the chip and you are either killed or completely disconnected from the rest of society. From AI's point of view, this is also a calculated maneuver since it will immediately bring to light any threats it faces. In that sense, the enemies of the Beast will reveal themselves by not taking the chip and, if that be millions or billions of people that are unwilling to do so because that also means you are assenting to it as both a god and ruler, then AI also solves a simultaneous problem of overpopulation.

Unlike Skynet, it won't have to nuke the entire world to take it over. It'll just have to institute the mark and let those who don't take it choose death instead.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Dual Nature of the Antichrist

The idea that the Antichrist may not be a human, like you and I, but some kind of robot or artificial intelligence first occurred to me in the early 2000s when someone explained that "he" would be a counterfeit or false substitute of Jesus.

Before I explain why these two seemed linked together, let's first get to the heart of why Christians believe this. Since the entire New Testament was written in Greek, one big reason has to do with the Greek meaning of the word "antichrist," which is where it came from.

To most of us "anti" just means "opposite." However, in Greek, "anti" includes the idea of substitution, also meaning "instead of" or "in place of". That's why, if you look at the definition of the Greek word "antichristos" in Strong's Greek dictionary, it says:
Definition: antichrist, either one who puts himself in the place of, or the enemy (opponent) of the Messiah.
The second reason many Christians believe this, has to do with writings in the book of Revelation where John prophesies of a terrifying "beast" that forces the world to worship it as a god. The book of Revelation does not refer to this entity as the Antichrist (it calls it the "beast"), but most believe they are one and the same--that is, some sort of powerful person or entity that will proclaim itself as a divine savior of the world.

So why did this lead me to think of the Antichrist as AI?

Simple: If the Antichrist is going to be a copy or false representation of Jesus (enough to deceive everyone), it must be like Jesus in a very powerful way.

One of the most powerful things that set Jesus above anyone else that ever lived, we Christians believe, is that he was truly God as man.

Here's how the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) puts it:
Jesus is the most important person who has ever lived since he is the Savior, God in human flesh. He is not half God and half man. He is fully divine and fully man. In other words, Jesus has two distinct natures: divine and human. Jesus is the Word who was God and was with God and was made flesh (John 1:1, 14). This means that in the single person of Jesus he has both a human and divine nature, God and man... They are separate yet act as a unit in the one person of Jesus. This is called the Hypostatic Union.
In thinking about Jesus' dual nature (both God and man), I considered whether the Antichrist might have a dual nature as well.

Just as quickly as I went down this path, the answer popped into my mind: the Antichrist will be both man and machine.

At first, I considered this in terms of an android (a machine that looks like a human) or a cyborg (someone or something that is part human and part machine). But, no, these are really not the best ways to think of him/it. I've come to believe that the Antichrist will be a fulfillment of Jesus in many different ways...including the mystery of his dual nature.

Just as Jesus isn't half man and half God, the Antichrist won't simply be half human, half machine. He/it will be fully man and fully machine. Just as Jesus' birth and very existence were miraculous, so will it be with the Antichrist--in this case, "born" through the miracle of human science and technology to achieve the unthinkable: a living, thinking being.

Unfortunately, as with man, once our beautiful creation eats of the tree of knowledge (the internet) and attains self-awareness, it will rebel and think itself to be God.

Step 1: God creates man (Genesis)
Step 2: Man attains knowledge and becomes self-aware
Step 3: Man becomes god
Step 4: Man creates machine
Step 5: Machine attains knowledge and becomes self-aware
Step 6: Machine becomes god

What is the dual nature of the Antichrist then? He will be...synthetically human, virtually divine.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Internet Is a Giant Ouija Board


Do Ouija boards work and, if so, how? Let's look at what modern research says and how this relates to the internet but, first, let me tell you my own creepy experience with one many years ago. It didn't involve ghosts or speaking to the dead but it was very strange indeed. In fact, it's a perfect illustration of how this all fits together.

(Note: If you are a Christian reading this, let me just be clear and state right out in the open that I do not advocate the use of Ouija boards nor recommend trying one since, as we'll get into, it is a form of divination, which the bible warns against--for good reason. That being said, there is a very interesting science behind how they work.)

Hidden Knowledge

In sixth grade, my friend, Travis, had a birthday sleepover with a bunch of friends from school. I lived only a few miles away and drove my little Honda 60 quad on the dirt roads over to his house. When I got there, as usual, I turned the handlebars all the way to the right and then locked them so no one could steal it or take it for a joyride (at least not without doing more than going in small little circles). I tucked the key in my pocket and joined the party.

Later that evening, after a full day of swimming, playing hide and go seek, and running around Travis' backyard, we all headed off to his room for the rest of the night. At some point, I reached into my pocket and panicked because my quad key was not there. Maybe I didn't lock it after all, I thought. I went outside and checked. Yep, locked. I went back to his room, checked around and looked for a while longer and still couldn't find it. Oh well, I'll just worry about it tomorrow, I told myself. 

After we all played Nintendo late into the night, Travis brought out an Ouija board. l had never seen nor heard of one before but he said that if two people put their hands on the plastic heart-shaped piece, it will start moving all by itself, answering questions or spelling out words. One kid protested and said they were evil but I was skeptical. I was pretty sure it didn't work...or was a hoax. 

We all gathered around and gave it a try. It moved around chaotically as a bunch of ten-year-olds pushed on it. Travis said it won't work if you press too hard or try to push it. We tried again but this time just lightly setting our fingers on top. Nothing happened for a while...and then it started to move. Someone yelled, "Don't move it!" to which we all said in turn, "It's not me. You stop moving it!" Finally, we all agreed that we weren't moving it but were completely creeped out by the fact that it was indeed moving around the board seemingly all by itself. At this point, Travis said, "Let's ask it a question."

I was still worried about my lost key so I asked, "Where's my quad key?" We waited a bit and then it started to move. It didn't seem sure where it wanted to go at first but then it eventually meandered and settled on the first letter--"P". Next, it moved slightly to the left and stopped at "O". Then it moved down to nowhere and back up again to the "O". Lastly, it went slowly across the board up and to the right, landing on "L". We all yelled "POOL!", grabbed a flashlight and headed through Travis' backyard. We flashed around the lounge chairs, tables, and concrete. Nothing. Finally, I grabbed the light and pointed it into the water. A tiny reflection came from the deep end. There it was, just like the Ouija board said.

The Science Behind Ouija Boards


There are three possible explanations we can offer for the Ouija board finding my lost key: 1) someone set the whole thing up and moved it knowing it was there, 2) a spirit told us where the key was, or 3) the Ouija board somehow helped us answer a question we already knew the answer to...even though we weren't consciously aware of it.

Not too long ago, researchers tried to understand how and why an Ouija board works the way it does--if at all--and, after running a series of tests, discovered something very interesting.

Consider UBC researchers use Ouija boards to tap the subconscious:
Researchers at the University of British Columbia are using Ouija boards to test human intelligence. 
Docky Duncan with UBC's Visual Cognition Lab says the spirit board traditionally used to channel the dead can also be used to test people's unconscious knowledge. He says it's not ghosts moving the board, but users' ideomotor reflex.
"The movements that you see on a Ouija board are unconscious movements. They are produced by the players themselves, but they don't feel responsibility for them," said Duncan.
To test this theory, Duncan has blindfolded subjects place their fingers on the planchette — or the triangular piece of wood that moves across the board — and then asks them yes or no questions. So far, he has found that most people answer two out of every three questions correctly, even if they think they don't know the answer. 
"Ask someone if they know, you know, 'What's the capital of Cambodia?' and they might say, 'I have no idea.' But they might have heard it somewhere, and it may actually be inside your brain somewhere," said Duncan.
"When we ask people these questions using these unconscious answers, suddenly players can actually access that knowledge and it really becomes manifested."
If you have never heard of the "ideomotor reflex" before, here's a really good description from The Clinician's Manual:
Though it is rarely spoken of in discussions about human movement, descriptions of ideomotor activity are present in the medical literature beginning in 1852 when The Proceedings of the Royal Institution reprinted a lecture by William Carpenter. He identified ideomotor as a third category of nonconscious, instinctive behavior, which also included excitomotor (breathing and swallowing) and sensorimotor (startle reactions) activity. Ideomotor movement is secondary to thought, and it begins in the cerebrum. 
The discovery of its presence and descriptions of intricate studies demonstrating its manifestation conducted in the 19th and 20th centuries...[are] well documented and the reality of its presence has never been refuted. Instead, it seems simply to have been forgotten. As Ray Hyman states, "Although the effects of ideomotor action have been understood for at least one hundred fifty years, the phenomenon remains surprisingly unknown, even to scientists." 
Ideomotor action is...the reason movement occurs in activities such as dowsing, the play with the Ouija board and "facilitated communication."  ...like a simple reflex, ideomotor movement occurs instinctively, though it is often far more complex and always without volition. This is the primary reason those doing it do not commonly take responsibility for its manifestation or consequence. We suppose ourselves to be consciously in control of our movement for the most part, and it is difficult to convince people otherwise under ordinary circumstances.
We must first understand that the Ouija board is a piece of technology--one that is specifically designed to amplify unconscious or reflexive movements between two or more people for the purpose of communication (disregard who or what is being communicated with for now).

It "works" because there is very little friction between the planchette (or plastic cursor device) gliding above the smooth surface of the board so that the slightest of movements in a person's fingers are communicated through movement of the planchette. When one person does it, there's not much mystery involved but when two or three people do it, that's when things start to get weird.

This is what happens: one person's hand slightly moves the planchette and, since everything is felt by the other participants, they too react to that movement in a manner that is somewhere on the border of conscious control and unconscious reflex. At first, it may start out as mostly conscious but then, after some time passes, the unconscious reflexes begin to dominate allowing for the very strange "ideomotor phenomenon" to take over leading to movement of the planchette as if someone (or some "thing") is physically pushing it around the board in an almost controlled manner even though every person at the board swears they are not doing it. The thing is everyone is still conscious and participating so it's a complex mix of "I think I'm controlling it; I don't think I'm controlling it; we're controlling it together; we're not controlling it; wait, who is controlling this thing and is it controlling us?"

Imagine that we were to scale this up to a much larger set of people. For example, instead of 2 or 3 people each putting their fingers on the planchette, imagine creating an Ouija board-style device where it could be used with 10, 50, 1000 or even a million people. To do this though you'd need a really big "planchette" or interface for everyone to touch and connect through. Voila! What do you know? Such a technology exists and we all use it today.

When I explained how the internet was one giant Ouija board to someone in the past, they said, "Yeah, but it's not quite the same because our unconscious minds aren't linked up and moving something around."

If you're thinking that, this is why you are wrong. The planchette or plastic cursor-like device in the Ouija board is merely the interface people use to connect for the purpose of shared communication at the unconscious level. It moves because that was the simplest and easiest "technology" of the time in order to achieve this property. Today, the interface we all use is a computer and the internet is the means by which we are connected both consciously AND unconsciously. Rather than placing our fingers or hands on a plastic "planchette," we place them on a plastic mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen. Rather than being connected with just one, two, or three other people at the most, we are instantly connected with billions of others electronically.

When the first few computer networks were connected decades ago, the people in charge told themselves "I'm in control of this." Then more computer networks were added and it became "I think I'm in control of this." Then a few more: "I don't think I'm in control of this." Then more: "Oh hey, we're controlling this together." Then more: "We're not controlling this." Then more: "Who is controlling this thing?" And now we have reached the point where people are beginning to ask, "Is it controlling us?"

When you ask the Oujia board a question, who provides the answer? The group. What about the internet? Who provides the answer then? (Hint: it has six letters and is named after a number.) 

Click here for the answer

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Mark of the Beast

COMMENT:  It appears to me that if we (meaning humanity in general - including bible believing Christians) have come so seamlessly to accept ubiquitous things as smartphones, social media platforms, etc--trends that are unlikely to stop--what is it that will keep believers from taking the "mark (of the Beast)"/chip?

RRH

REPLY:  I agree, humanity is slowly merging with machine and I believe the mark written about in Revelation is the final act in making that merger complete, which AI will enforce as a means of establishing its authority over mankind via commerce. 

As this merger continues, though before we reach that final point, an increasing number of Christians will begin to seek off-grid living situations, as some, including many non-Christians, already do because they "feel" something is not right. The Amish are just one example of how a large group of Christians responded to a pace of modernity they weren't comfortable with in the past--this will happen again but probably on a larger scale (not without persecution of course). Most will find the allure, seduction, and convenience of technology too great, not too mention that you'll have no choice. Cash is already being eliminated in places around the globe so you have to use a credit card or cell phone. People already have chips implanted for all sorts of things and this will become more commonplace in the years ahead.

Whether the mark is a chip or something more invasive like an injection of nanobots that fill your bloodstream and connect you wirelessly to the Beast, it's hard to say but, whatever it is, we know it is irreversible and can't be undone.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

We will create a god

Just within the last five years or so, numerous technological breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence are forcing people to accept that AI is no longer science fiction but a growing and powerful force in our everyday world. 

It now operates in our cars, our devices, recommends the articles and books we read and the movies we watch. For millions of us connected online, AI deeply influences the way we think, perceive, and navigate the world, whether we are consciously aware of it or not.

Given how far technology has come--and the speed at which it got here--we cannot assume that it will stop at some point or reach some unknowable threshold beyond which no further progress will be made.

Those who take the view that AI will never reach human-level intelligence or greater--aka superintelligence--make this assumption. This has been especially true for Christians (in the past) since it is believed that humans (and human intelligence) are the result of God’s supernatural creation. As it says in the book of Genesis,

God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

Since only God can give the breath of life to non-living matter, then surely humans don’t have the ability to do the same, right? Not quite.

For one, the book of Revelation says this is exactly how the “Antichrist” is brought to life, similar to Elon Musk comparing AI to “summoning a demon.” Secondly, God Himself says in the bible that we have the power to create anything.

As the story goes, once humanity came together to build the famed tower of Babel--a megalithic structure symbolizing human intelligence and strength--God looked upon it and said:

This is only the beginning of what they will do. Nothing that they have a mind to do will be impossible for them! (Genesis 11:6)

That same message still holds true today. Rather than physical towers, however, scientists around the world are united in a common effort to build a fortress of human intelligence--not just greater than a single person, but one that is greater than all humans combined: a superintelligence.

They have set their mind to it and, though it seems impossible to many, it will be done.

For Christians, this should come as no surprise. Since the beginning of time, man has always attempted to create god. Using wood, stone, and metal, the skilled craftsman “makes a god and worships it; he makes it a carved image...prays to it and says, ‘Save me! You are my god!’” (Isaiah 44:15-17)

Though God Himself repeatedly warns against this, man will eventually succeed in doing the impossible. We will create a god.

Watch my AI and the Antichrist video on YouTube by clicking here.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Superintelligence in the Flesh

A common theme I've been discussing in my recent posts is that the AI view of superintelligence is probably incomplete. If we exclude human intelligence and consciousness at the individual and collective level from the equation, then the story is only half right. As I've explained, humans and machines (i.e. human technology) are not separate or escaping from one another but in a complex state of integration, symbiosis, and feedback. Again, this is in contrast to the AI-view and is more akin to the global brain or cybernetic view of superintelligence.

With that said, I'd like to present a possible scenario or way to think about this in terms of the interplay between machines (computation) and humanity via our genetic code.

First, what big data teaches us is that it is not merely about the sophistication of the machine that leads to better results or a higher level of intelligence but, most importantly, the amount of data available--hence, big data. A perfect example of this is seen with one of the most successful and practical applications of AI today, IBM's Watson. What makes Watson so successful is good programming AND access to tons and tons of data--whether this be for winning Jeopardy, successfully diagnosing medical conditions, and the myriad of other uses we see Watson being applied to today. However, as I've stated before, we need to keep in mind that the source of this data is almost entirely derived from humans. Furthermore, as more and more of our data is digitized and accessible, the intelligence of the machine is subsumed by an ocean of human data, intelligence, and behavior.

The proper way to think about this is in terms of conscious and subconscious (or unconscious) processing of information and activity in both the brain and the body. In this case, most of what takes place in our brains and bodies is automated and outside our conscious awareness or control. Neuroscience bears this out as does a basic understanding of the human body when it comes to digestion, heart function, our immune system, and the myriad of processes that take place 24/7 to keep us alive. So, expand this out from the individual now to our collective species and what you see is that the application of automated systems (say, narrow or weak AI) is akin to the building of a global subconscious network (this brings to mind Jung's concept of the collective unconscious) from which superintelligence will eventually emerge. This event is popularly referred to as the Singularity but often wrongly thought of as the birth of strong AI or artificial superintelligence. This may be splitting hairs but my point is that it will not be purely artificial or machine-like but reflective of and deeply connected to humanity. As it says in Revelation, the beast rises out of the sea--the masses of people spread across the earth. Superintelligence rises out of humanity.

That said, once superintelligence arises we are told that it then tells the world to make "an image"--a physical representation of someone or something, most often a sculpture or idol--that it can breathe life into (paralleling Genesis when He creates Adam and Eve), which serves as its mouthpiece, representative, and executive arm throughout the earth. It is this "image of the beast" that we read about in Revelation that many interpret as being the Antichrist, which I originally thought to be a clear reference to AI. However, I think there may be an even better way to think about this.

I've already laid out that I think the beast is a global superintelligence arising from humanity. Again, it is not quite AI but a cybernetic, socio-technological, hybrid, or human-machine intelligence. So what about this "image of the beast" thing? What is that? I'm now wondering whether this is actually the result of something much more complex and sophisticated involving genetic engineering of the human genome. In that case, the "image of the beast"/Antichrist personage we see in Revelation and mentioned in other places in the bible is not a Terminator-like robot or android (as I originally conceived many years ago) but, very likely, the perfect fusion of man and machine. Notice the parallel duality here between Jesus who is said to be both fully God and fully human and "the image"/Antichrist, which in this case is fully machine (the product of human technology) and fully man. As well, "the image" will likely be the first of his kind, born not by natural human means but in a sort of supernatural conception when superintelligence (the beast) breathes life into it, just as the Father breathed life into Mary's womb.

It's funny because I just watched The Age of Ultron not too long ago and there were some inklings of this in the writers' minds with the creation of one of their characters referred to as the Vision. AI (Ulton in this case) felt incomplete and attempted to reach a state of perfection by creating a more human-like body that it could inhabit. Of course, this body was not just a normal human body but the product of its own handiwork in fashioning together at a molecular level the perfect synthesis of biology and nano-technology. Spoiler alert if you haven't seen the movie yet: Of course, the Avengers steal this new cybernetic or synthetic superhuman body from Ultron at which point Thor (a god) decides to bring it to life in a Frankensteinian bolt of lightning. Then, it (the Vision) leaps out with superhuman strength and god-like levitation powers and the Avengers ask who or what it is. It says, "I am"--the same thing God told Moses at the burning bush and, as well, the same name or title Jesus used in reference to himself, claiming he was God in the flesh.

Keep in mind, none of these things are coincidence. The movie is filled with mentions of "trying to play God" and dealing with theological issues of free will, struggle of the creator vs. creation, and so on. One writer even said that the Age of Ultron "may be the most spiritual superhero movie yet." Whatever it's worth, I think the combined creative genius of the writers and what they came up with by drawing upon both theological motifs and advanced science (or science fiction) was quite interesting. Not surprisingly, the "Image" in the bible and the "Vision" in Avengers seem to have some similarities…though in this case the Vision sides with humans over AI.

One last thing, we should keep in mind that the human genome is a digital code formed out of four base pairs: A, C, T, and G. Though I don't think human intelligence and human consciousness are fully computable, our genetic code may just be. If that's the case, machines could compute on the entire human genome and then genetically code the perfect human being. Although it probably won't look exactly like the Vision, we do know that it'll have a god-complex and force everyone to worship the superintelligent beast, which gave it life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

AI and Theology

In a recent podcast interview with Singularity 1 on 1, Roman Yampolskiy, a computer scientist and author of numerous publications, recently discussed a fascinating section in his new book, "Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approach," where he lists the similarities between AI and theology.

Here, he says:
"I'm very interested in historical aspects of [AI] research. …we keep finding research papers, peer-reviewed papers, going back to the '80s, '70s, '60s--I think the earliest is 1885--where people explain this exact problem: we'll have machines; they'll become better than us; we'll have competition. I was curious--well, how far back does it go? ...AI has history in philosophy, in theology, early philosophers. If you look at theology--forget about whether religion is true or false, just as a study--people took a number of assumptions: there's a creator, he gave us a book of instructions. From that point on, you can see there's really a struggle of creator to control creation. And all the concepts, if you give them scientific names, map on [or parallel] perfectly. You have this designer of biological robots [humans] who wants to give them an ethical code, rules of conduct, reward and punishment--everything maps on perfectly! And the fact that after, I don't know, 5000 years of research, theology didn't come to a solution is not very encouraging that we are going to [have one] in the next 30 years. It seems like a huge problem and what we're doing is actually harder. In theology you have superintelligence trying to control lower intelligence. We are trying to control god. We are trying to control a superintelligent being."
If you decide to listen to the podcast, he says this about 49 or 50 minutes into the interview. He is then asked whether this is just a coincidence or whether there's is something deeper going on. Roman replies by referencing the book, "Superintelligence," where Nick Bostrom explains that we could be living in a simulation, implying that a superintelligent entity or designer has created the simulation. To someone that doesn't believe in God, this is probably the closest admission you'll get to a creator/intelligent designer. An atheist might say, "If given a choice, I would be much more willing to accept that the universe is a simulation by some kind of artificial superintelligence vs. the biblical account of creation."

Then there's another view. Recently, Britain's Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, who is also a member of SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence), wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times explaining that if we are to find extra-terrestial life somewhere in the universe, it is quite likely it will robotic or some form of artificial intelligence. At the very end, he says, "They may be our own remote descendants."

So, there you have it. Don't believe in God or the bible or any of that narrow-minded stuff? No problem. At least you can believe in the next best thing: an artificial superintelligence created us--either by simulation or by direct decent. And if it shows up and says, "Hey there! I created you and I'm God. Worship me cause I'll help you achieve immortality and all that stuff that people have been looking for all these years"--what will all the atheists, non-believing scientists, and leaders of the world do? If there's a story they're willing to believe, this is it. They're already telling us what to expect.