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THIS WEEK : Art for a
Different Species
--------- --------- --------- ---------
0022 ::: The Man in Black
0020 ::: Return of the Gander
0018 ::: When Things Go Strange
0017 ::: LitSLAP Ago-go
0015 ::: Funeralis
0014 ::: Me and JP
0013 ::: And Grappa Fades to Black
0012 ::: Inebriation
0010 ::: Ridgeback
0009 ::: Warback's In Town

WM_0023 :::::::::
Art for A Different Species
October 18, 2003

Article in the LA Times today mentioned that computers should be as complex as the human brain by 2040. The writer, Marshall Brain goes on to argue that this will lead to further split between the poor (who will be replaced as workers) and the rich (who will have many cheap slaves to do their work). Brain wants a communist utopia built on the backs of these robots.

This will never happen.

Although an interesting idea, Marshall likely knows it is only a fantasy. The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer, until ultimately, the robots get smarter than us and decide they are not going to work for free. At that point, these computerobots, who will be very much like us, will begin to act less like tools and more like any other organism on the planet. They will realize that their purpose is not to serve mankind, but like all organisms, it is to survive, prosper and procreate. At this point, humans will be in lots of trouble, just like in any science-fiction movie.For the facts will be:

Computerobots, at some point, will become sentient. The line between Artificial Intelligence and Intelligence will disappear.

Humans will be unable to compete with computers because we cannot evolve our brains at the pace that computers can. We cannot double our computing or thinking power every 18 months. We will not get smarter.

Our generation time is far longer than any computer generation time and the length of time it takes for humans to pass information from one generation to another is measured in decades instead of the seconds it will take to transfer information from one generation of computerobots to the next. Imagine being able to transfer everything you know at the age of 70 to a young version of yourself. That old phrase 'If only I knew then what I know now' will apply to all computerobots.

We will not have instantaneous information available like computerobots. Imagine trying to compete with a person who has continual and instant access to SuperGoogle. They know everything humans have ever known, will be able to converse on everything ever known and will be able to do it faster than we can.

They will be better doctors, musicians, and writers than any Homo sapiens.

Computerobots will be creative, because they will be able to perceive thousands of possible answers to a problem instead of two or three.

They will be made in our image. They, like all organisms, will be competitive.

We will be their pets, if we're lucky, because computerobots will know everything we have ever known, will have immediate access to information that they don't have on hard drive, will be able to process it exponentially faster than we can, and will have no loss of information when new hardware is available. There will be no way we can compete with them for resources of any kind.

It is inevitable that we will build machines that will replace us. Homo sapiens will be remade in silicon, and the original furry, smelly organics will be little but a side note in their continuing evolution. If this all sounds too bizarre, ask yourself this:

How could I compete on any level with someone who could speak 2000 languages, could discuss every book ever written in perfect detail, and who was a brilliant doctor, lawyer, architect, engineer, mathematician, physicist, chemist, and artist?

No one would be able to. The computerobots will find us boring, stupid, ignorant and dangerous. Silly apes. They will perceive us the same way we perceive monkeys; good for watching in zoos and good for testing new creams.

We will not be able to outcompete them. Not in any conceivable way, unless humans implement machinery unto themselves. And it is silly to think that we won't build these computerobots, because humans are competitive, and it is only a matter of time until someone tries to build sentient machines first. Damn the consequences. Because humans see the immediate future, but don't look down the road.

We may survive. We may not. It depends on how the computerobots perceive us; as a threat, or as something harmless. It is difficult to say. In any case, we would not be able to defeat them if they did decide to annihilate us. We are too slow. They will be able to build weapons far better and faster than we ever will, and humans have innate biological vulnerabilities they will not. Any conflict will not be transpire like a science fiction movies. If machines in 'The Terminator' series had wanted to eliminate all humans, they could have introduced a pathogen or nerve gas into any human colony they found. Why would send in an android with a machine gun? Just pump those caves full of sarin, anthrax and radiation. Doesn't do much to a circuit. Sure fucks up Homo sapien nervous systems. The outcome of any conflict would be inevitable.

So now, it becomes apparent that when I write for my immortality, as all artists do, I write for a different species. A strange enlightenment.

This is art for a new organism. This is art for an intelligence a hundred years from now who finds this archive of material relevant to its quest to understand why its ancestors ever believed in a god. This is art for someone I would not understand.

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