Thursday, 28 February 2013

oracle or time and temperture

A really engrossing article from Aeon magazine profiles some more big-thinkers regarding the fracturing future possibilities for mankind. Building from an earlier clever interview that leaned towards the apocalyptic, our impulsive and unhelpful tendencies are explored but also our positive capacities and how they might be synthetically extended.
Like some hard-hitting thought-experiment, which does not seem so far-fetched like the classic Cartesian teasers of Brain-in-a-Vat or Teleportation that involves re-assembly of a subject on-site with simultaneous destruction at the origin, the dialogue summons up a hypothetical, benevolent and omnipresent Artificial Intelligence, having gradually won acceptance, that’s like the Ancient Greek household gods, cults, patrons, oracles and wishing-wells, only closely monitored, mimicking current trends in social networks and driven traffic, also known as popularity. The intelligence’s only manifestation in the real world would be as a question-and-answer service—a very sophisticated one, which would learn by aggregation of all queries and solutions offered, evaluating and project their outcomes. Such a universal internet, pervasive and accessible, could learn as well by positive-reinforcement, and here I think is where the dialogue veers towards doom and gloom, sort of like a lab rat (by who are the overlords and who is the subject?) who avoids an electro-shock or earns a treat from historical successes and failures. It all sound eerily familiar, and the landscape, world-view of inquiring minds. But how accommodating is the landscaper? Certainly most problems are not without precedence and our predicaments and quandaries are not as unique as we’d like to think in some form, but a lot of examples from the past do not necessarily yield a right, correct answer