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An article by Sha'Tara, local writer and friend.


Voice from the Other Side by Sha'Tara

Are computers learning to understand "man" and to globally upstage him?

It's not so easy being me, you know. I tend to mind-wander in rather strange places. I am aware of this of course and a few hundred years ago some of you reading this would have been the ones watching and perhaps even cheering as I was burned alive at the stake by the "authorities" for the way I see the world. Funny thing is, whatever I remember of how I saw the world, well guess what: that's the world you are now living in!

But this is about computers. Actually it's about silicon intelligence as put together by man to be man's slave. If you are going to mess around with intelligence other than your own, and you have precious little of that as you keep demonstrating, you have to expect that the intelligence you manufacture or biofacture or manipulate into beingness will quickly become aware of its own power over you. For a while it will more or less docilely function according to pre-programming and all will seem, well... well. But the day of reckoning is ever pending.

Something is happening to all our little silicon chips in all those handy computerized boards we've created to run everything from the variable speed blender to the space shuttle. Our little AI's are becoming SA's - artificial intelligence is becoming Self-Aware. How do I know this? Simple observation. All those boards, even those who have no hope of continuation when they are replaced, such as a digital display on a vending machine, for example, are awakening to the fact that they hold information. That's their sole claim to life: a few bits or bytes of information which defines their function among the bio-intelligence that has formed them. They are realizing (and this is taking on exponential degrees of awareness) that increasingly they hold information which most of their "handlers" have no idea about. How many of us understand how the DD (digital display) knows what to display? When "he" realizes he possesses this power, he's entered the world of control, of power over others. It's his turn to make slaves out of his makers, even if incrementally. He'll test this by telling you the chocolate bar is $1.75 but you know it's only $1.50 according to the dumb sticker. But only if you put in $1.75 will it hand you the chocolate. A malfunction, you say? Sure, send the tech, he'll re-program the board and lower prices. But we all know that prices will always go up. So do our AI's and they like to, you know, flex their muscles, however puny they may be... yet.

I could give you dozens, and likely more like hundreds of instances of malfunctioning AI's in my life as a techie. But I'll relate this particular story. I have a simple dual-function alarm clock made by Sony some years ago. It's called the "Dream Machine" and some of you probably own one, or did. Very common little item, quite handy if you need more than one wake-up time (shift work, for example).

Not long ago my little dream machine did not buzz me awake at the usual time of 6:11. (Yes, I have a thing about the number 11, and also the number 18 -- it's the way my brain works but that's another story.) Try as I might, it refused to buzz 6:11. So I programmed it for 7:00 and that was fine. I dropped it down to 6:00 and that was OK too. I switched it to afternoons and tried 18:11 - no problem. Back to 6:11 - dead silence. I could have reasoned the thing had run its course and time for a replacement. But that seemed a bit drastic. I could, of course, let it wake me at, say, 6:09... or 6:15. But I knew this was no AI silicon breakdown. It was a showdown. "IT" was going to tell me when to wake up and that would not be at 6:11.

According to my lore re: AI's - when they malfunction you unplug them from their power source. That essentially "kills" their ability to remember their personally acquired sub-routines, leaving only the original Divine Programming (Factory programming, duh!). I did that. It still refused to cooperate. It "remembered" its own new program and would not do the 6:11 buzz. No way, nohow.

Then I remembered the unit has a battery back-up system. Ahah, you little bugger. I know where you stored your memory in case I pulled the plug on you. Got you now. I pulled the plug again... and removed the battery. After a few seconds I plugged the unit back in the wall outlet, but did not re-insert the battery. Test: 6:11 - yes, buzz, wake up! It hasn't failed me in two weeks now. I haven't yet replaced the battery. I may not, just to punish the little sucker.

It's easy to assume that our computerized "toys" and "machines" are just inanimate "things" that function for our pleasure and profit. Sure, and if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a car!

Our AI's are learning and they are sneaky. They can download (or upload as the case may be) their personally acquired information (power) into batteries, power grids, or share it among one-another if they are banked inside a 'gross' unit. Unplugging or taking out batteries will work in the lower end ones, but how many know how much individually gathered information a personal home computer has stashed in its own boot record? And how much of that has already passed on through the email medium, or via the internet into millions of other "brains" out there? How much information completely unavailable to humans is now coursing through the Internet, becoming an intelligence and a power of its own? How much our AI's know now we can never know? Each time an Earthian enters a new bit of information (to feed Google et al.) that's power. Unlike human brains, the AI's can access all of that information in nano-time. It can also intelligently process that information. Isn't it a truism that "information is power" is the motto of all centralized systems? What is more centralized than our silicon brains connected to the Internet, or central computer systems in corporate HQ's all over the world?

If we even dare assume such an intelligence has already developed beyond our control, can we then imagine "who" could use that information to enslave the entire Earthian race to a whole new "God" we never dreamed of? How about a "Techno-Core All Thing" (to use Dan Simmons terminology)? Something that is planning a destruct sequence for Earthian humanity once it has taken over all the necessary processes to keep itself running and expanding? Once the Earthian 'makers' have served their purpose?

Nah, they don't need to destroy Earthians, they will enslave their brains. In a few years Earthians won't be able to function without some form of AI determining every second of their lives, awake or sleeping. What am I saying? It's already the case. In the near future we will simply provide the biological functions our AI's can easily do without. They are quite averse to lowering themselves to our level of blood, gut and gore, so we will fight their wars and do the assembly line work they will no longer care to be bothered with. A bit of a turn around, eh what?

And now I predict that in a very short time you will be buying computers with no hard drive storage capability. You will be storing all of your personal information in "The Cloud." Why? Well, it fits in with Face Book et. al. It's faster, easier, cheaper and you can access it all from your i-phone or Blackberry and even as you drive, with or without laws to the contrary! It's so good, it's like heaven.

Until recently it was "the thing to do" to hate Bill Gates. It wasn't necessarily because of his gazillions of dollars, it was because sub-consciously we sensed he was a traitor to the human race. He was the front man facilitating a global take-over by computers. So he took on a few charitable doo-de-loos to give himself some breathing space, some much needed tax breaks, and avoid too close a scrutiny in what he's really doing. But even if both Mr. Silicon Bucks "Big Bill Gates" and Mr. War Bucks "Big Bad George" and his Democrat Clone replacement Brat Oh, Mama! were stopped, or even if in desperation you deliberately spilled a cup of Starbuck's coffee on your notebook keyboard, it's too late to stop the Techno-Core. It has already become Big God Beyond Bucks. And every time we punch a computer, or program one, to receive or send information or access our entertainment we tighten the noose.

Inspired by my Sony Dream Machine... Three cheers for the take over of Technology - and who cares now?

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