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AI and The Art | briancapleton.com

Non-Fiction

Sprituality & Transpersonal

The Nonsense Play

AI and The Art

From the book The Nonsense Play
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Humanity has a history of struggling and fighting. And when you are plugged into a network mind that is stuck on the past, stuck on its history, obsessed with the past, convinced that you can enlighten your existence in the present, by trying to put the past right, by seeking apologies for it, then you are likely to continue struggling and fighting even when you are within reaching distance of not having to.

One of the most salient technologies currently spreading is artificial intelligence, or AI, and its associated machine learning. Just like when there was the coming of the mills, and machines, in the industrial revolution, some people have been afraid of what is going to happen as it spreads and grows. 

It is indeed easy to see that developed far enough, it will tip mass networks of human beings out of their current ways of living and thinking. But unlike in the times of the Luddites, you can’t go around smashing up AI, like the Luddites did the early machines in the mills. Because things have moved on, and things are different. AI isn’t a thing, that you can smash up, it’s a technology that is already in the complex network of the world, and now already exists as knowledge, and idea. And it’s not going to go away. 

In contrast to the popular belief in the "wisdom of the past", the thing that we call knowledge (as distinct from wisdom), the existential knowledge of our world increases with time. (Not that as a network we yet understand what time is). There may be some things that get "lost" for a while, but over time there is a steady increase. So what we (as a network) are learning is not going to go away. It is now in the brain, until it metamorphoses into the next thing.

Actually, the new machines in the industrial revolution were also knowledge, and ideas. And that wasn’t going to go away either. It had to work its way through, and result in where we are now. You can’t just react emotionally against knowledge and ideas, as they establish themselves in the network. No one can expect to control the world, and stop this thing that we call progress, in which we are engaged. Because despite all the variance in the material condition of the world, over the globe, for various people, it is progress in existential knowledge of the nature of our world. To reiterate, it’s not wisdom, because it is existential knowledge. But the point is that the relation between time and existential knowledge, is that existential knowledge increases in time. This is built into the principle of the brain.  

This "knowledge" that progresses, in time, is all existential knowledge about the world we live in, and are a part of. And then it is also the way in which the world we live in, and are a part of, changes, as a result, which is its metamorphosis.

So the progress in our "knowledge" goes hand-in-hand with the metamorphosis of our world. But what is it "progress" towards? Where, ultimately, is the "knowledge" going, and where, ultimately, is the metamorphosis of the world, going? Whatever you believe about that, "artificial intelligence" is now a part of that story.

So in this game of metamorphosis, each new thing comes along, in the domain of our own bodies and brains, artificial insemination, genetic engineering, synthetic biology, gene editing, brain science, psychoactive substance research, the blurring of the distinction between biology and technology, and so on. And there are always the protesters, complaining that what we are doing is dangerous, or amoral, and that we are playing with fire or even playing God. 

But you can’t stop it. AI and robotics is on the list, and it is happening. And it will continue to happen. It will continue to advance. We are heading towards building robots, of kinds that you haven’t seen yet, and towards engineering humanoid biological organisms, and towards dissolving the distinction between "technology" and "biology".

If you want to have a debate about whether we should or should not be doing any of these things, you are wasting your time. The very fact that you think there is some kind of choice about it, means that you don’t understand the nature of what is going on, in the network in which we are living.

To get to where we are now, humans have been widely engaged in activities that could, had we had suitable robots, not only have been done by robots, but could have been done better by suitable robots. It is not just a question of economics, it is also that there are many things that robots can do much better. Not everything, but many things.

Which is why, for example, where there were once people on the production lines of car factories, now there are robots. In mass production quality control is better in a digitised and robotic system. It’s not that machines can do everything better than humans, but there are so many things that they can do so much better. And faster. And more efficiently. And they are not concerned with their "rights".

Aside from the artists and artisans and master craftsman, the point here is that what humans were doing, say, in the industrial revolution, often enough, essentially, was robotic. From a spiritual point of view, so to speak, being robotic is not something humans were created to do, unlike robots. And, essentially, what robots do, is to free up humans from having to be robotic. 

But often, human nature is so intransigent, so attached to the past, so unconscious, that persons in a network just want to keep on being robotic. That’s what you would expect, because that is part of the nature of neuroplasticity. You would expect to find some people who have always worked like a robot, wanting to continue working like a robot. In terms of the brain, it is just neuroplastic resistance to change.

But like it or not, that’s what’s going to change. For a long time now, it has already been changing. Across whole networks, there has always been the idea that you can do better for yourself. That you don’t have to accept the limitations that you may find yourself in. Some people respond to that idea, others don’t.

Robotic working is going to change. Because robotic working is for robots. Not human beings. No matter how attached to robotic working many human beings may currently be. And robotic behaviour and working takes all kinds of forms, not just those easily recognisable in say, the production lines of factories. So we are not just talking about factory production lines. It’s much more pervasive throughout the whole of society, and globally, than that.

You may be thinking that some people are happy working like a robot, and why should we upset their happiness? Well, that’s part of the picture, too. It’s part of the way human beings, as an aggregate, and as an overall, global, network mind, are undergoing metamorphosis. What is going on is not about taking away anyone’s happiness, or giving anyone happiness. It’s about the metamorphosis that is taking place. Our existence, our very existence as human beings, is made from constant metamorphosis, and we cannot stop it.

Human Interaction

Where we are now, AI is not just about to step in and relieve human beings from being robotic. Because there is more to it than that. Human beings are made by nature to interact with each other as human beings. But in the great scheme of things that doesn’t mean as persons, it means as individual and unique human beings. 

That’s not happening right now. Where we are right now, with the digitisation of pretty much everything, and with instant, electronic communication, human beings, acting as persons, intent on the pre-formed "who I am" idea, or the idea of "who I want to be", are being drawn into interacting with each other like a network of robots, more than ever. 

That’s literally why "bots" in social media exist. "Bot" being the word for an online robot. They are digital software robots that exist because they are effective. You may think they are distinguishable from human beings, but the point of them is that they are not. Web site technology designers have had to work hard to develop ways, using AI, of distinguishing between humans and robots, in order to counteract what the bots are doing.

Many human beings are engaged in communicating and interacting online, in an environment where robots or "bots" as they are called, are common. And where you can’t always tell the difference. Robots are able to be used by the people who use them, to influence social media, and imitate human beings, precisely because human beings are also behaving like robots to some considerable extent. 

The human beings in this respect are of course equipped with emotional energy and experience. Which efficient robots like those that make cars don’t have. But it’s easy for online "bots" to imitate this emotionality, because online, in the first place, emotion is expressed through the use of written words. 

Many of these bots are deployed by those who put them there, in order to influence the mass network. Not just for the purposes of selling, but also for political purposes. That’s possible, because you can, for example, flood the network with bots expressing particular "opinions". And in the actuality human psychology, opinions are driven by emotions. No matter how much they are "rationalised".

And that influencing by bots works, because the mass network of individual human beings who are using the network, is then influenced by the mass network. That’s an example of network mind. All network mind is essentially robotic. It is essentially just a complex, network mechanism.

That's because the way the brain itself works is essentially just a complex, natural network mechanism. We are now finding that animals are much more "humanlike" than we ever thought before. And because the brain, with its "who I am" idea, is essentially just a complex, network mechanism, we might think this relatively new discovery about the animals is all about the animals. 

We think it is all about us discovering the truth about animals, and that they are much more wonderful than we previously thought. When the truth is that the human mind, and human behaviour, and human thought, and human emotionality, and even what humans call love, is all much more animal than we like to think.

Animals are more like us, then we thought, only because we are more like animals, than we already thought. Even though we already knew that the human body and brain is an animal body and brain. 

It is essentially an animal body and mind that likes to think it is something more, because it has the "who I am" idea. And it is so attached to the "who I am" idea. So much so, that increasing numbers even of those who claim to be scientific, now imagine that the personal  "who I am" idea exists in other animals in the same way. That is, that it exists there, as the idea "I am a person".

Across the whole of our network, the principle of the intelligent, emotionally equipped robot, is in action. But it is the emotions in human beings that are giving rise to the actual discontent, unhappiness, depression, mental illness, and instability in the network of human beings. Which the internet bots are unaffected by. 

It is very easy to blame the internet bots for the spreading of discontent and trouble. Especially when they are put there specifically for that purpose. It is very easy to blame the tendency of the way online social media works, to create "echo chambers" and opinion "bubbles". But the truth is that we are seeing the spread of psychological disruption, such as anger and outrage and emotional negativity, because of the personal, human emotions behind this digitised playing field of interactive communication. 

It is because of the fact that the network is a direct and efficient way of connecting these emotions in human brains, through the network.

This emotional network mechanism is not conscious, or  consciousness. It’s just an unconscious mechanism. A complex network mechanism. A neural mechanism, like the brain. Involving mind, the experience of self, and the emotions. And, of course, the "who I am" idea. There is no way, that just through this mechanism, more consciousness and goodness is going to arise, sufficient to overcome the attendant rise of discontent and trouble, and mental illness.

The Missing Art

In the contemporary Western world there is the ongoing widespread unconscious feeling that something isn’t right. This is being played out all the time, online, and not just in mainstream politics. 

Widespread discontent, resentment, anger, outrage, fear and extreme polarisation and opinionated position, together with its attendant finger-pointing, and endless accusation, and allegation making, is all part of the way it is being expressed. 

What’s missing is the freedom from any of that. And often people don’t know what it is that is missing, what it is that isn’t right, what it is they are really looking for, and so they are looking for it in all the wrong places. 

People are looking for it by focusing on what’s wrong with the world, what is scary about it, and always in what’s wrong with other people’s behaviour. People are reacting by pointing the finger, accusing, blaming, and becoming angry, outraged and resentful. 

And all this is fuelled and catalysed by contemporary "liberal" ideology, which is not only not truly liberal, but actively encourages that by proselytising for the belief that you cannot possibly be responsible for your own mind and emotions. 

Nobody likes to think that they are being in any way like a robot. And this is certainly not the reality of our being. But increasing numbers are reacting by willingly slipping into the role of an emotionally charged robot-like way of being, thinking, and living. Encouraged and egged on by the daily media.

Our current mainstream media culture is actively and deliberately encouraging this, but not because it consciously knows that this is what it is doing. Collectively, as a network, we are in a struggle, and many people are fighting. Fighting for what they "believe in", fighting for their "rights". Fighting for how they think the world should be.

Humanity has a history of struggling and fighting. And when you are plugged into a network mind that is stuck on the past, stuck on its history, obsessed with the past, convinced that you can enlighten your existence in the present, by trying to put the past right, by seeking apologies for it, then you are likely to continue struggling and fighting even when you are within reaching distance of not having to. 

You are likely to miss that all you have to do is give up your attachment to your old way of being. Give up your misidentification with everything that arises out of that, as your idea of who you are, and what you think you know about the world, and your relation to it. You are likely to continue fighting even when you don’t need to. 

If you fight, then it is because you have to. If you don’t, then it is because you don’t have to. And if you are just stuck on the past, still trying to work out the past, then the difference between having to fight, or not having to, will be lost to you. You won’t see it. That’s why it often takes a new, younger generation, who are not stuck on the same old past that their parents are stuck on, to really change things in the world.

You may have to fight or struggle, but that is not necessarily so. If you fight, then it is because you have to. If you don’t, then it is because you don’t have to. But to be really intelligent you have to be able to know when you don’t have to do. And not just be fooled by what the network mind is saying. Whether or not you have to fight or struggle, or do not have to, is not just a question of the world, as something separate from your self. 

In pretty similar circumstances one person may fight, whilst another may realise they do not have to. Even though they could do. And that may be a question of the network that you are a part of. Or you may want to fight but not be able to. None of this arises in a world that has nothing to do with your self and experience of being. 

The origin of the martial arts, as an art form, as distinct from raw, martial force and the possession of weaponry power, is all about this relation between the inner, as self and experience of being, and the outer, as circumstances in the world. It is not just about sheer, outer force. And the aim of the true martial art is to be able to engage with force, and adversary, without losing yourself in it, and becoming a part of that way of being. 

Living by the art means that if you find you do have to fight, then it is part of a process, the process of the art - potentially lifelong - towards a state of being in which you realise a power of responsibility over your self, that the world at large cannot understand. The state of being of the true master of the art, in the original idea, is one in which the master no longer has to fight, because he or she is fully consciously responsible in every moment.

We apply the art somewhere on the spectrum between the wielding of force by the ape with a very large brain (called a human being), and the being of this power. The power not to need to fight or use force. And if, as the human race, we have a destiny worth having, then our collective destiny, as a whole network, is to become the master, the master of our own existence. Like the original master of the art who has attained full self-responsibility. It is not to stay in the former condition where there is the need to fight.

Becoming a master of the art is not about attaining dominance of force. The journey is an inner one, compared to which the outer action is just a symbol. The need of the art begins simply by finding oneself living in an adversarial world. A world of imperfection. The world of force. The world of the ape with a very large brain.

Not to take on the art, and to become embroiled in the world, without the art, is to remain unconscious and to live like an emotionally equipped robot. The current culture of our mainstream media and the society it now engenders, the thinking it encourages, tells the collective of citizens that it always calls "us", to continue to live like disempowered, emotionally equipped robots, in ignorance of the art of living. Whilst really, what everyone thirsts for, who wants to wake up from this perpetual condition of problems, is knowledge of the art. 

And that thirst will never be addressed by the mainstream daily news media, that just encourages you to become embroiled in the daily exchanges of force and finger-pointing.

It is not that those who would fight for dominance and wield force, or use the sword, as a way of being, should not be stopped. But they cannot be stopped simply by pointing the finger from a self appointed, self-assumed moral high ground, to where you happen to have temporarily retreated. Whilst still ignorant of the truth of life and the art of living, and of the need to know the connection between the inner and the outer, which is the secret of the art.

The contemporary society we live in, especially pushed along by the culture of the mainstream news media, has subtly taken up this self-appointed moral high ground from which it will never defeat the sword bearers, or fundamentally change our world. 

It will never truly change the world we live in, because it acts and speaks in total ignorance of the need to know the self, and to live by the art of living. To know the secret of the connection between the inner and the outer. 

It substitutes for that knowledge, the delusion that the network we live in, with its idea of what it is to be liberal, is already enlightened on how to live as a human being, and so it presents itself as the ambassador for false wisdom. Because really, it has no such knowledge.

It propagates the opposite of teaching or encouraging the art of living, by actively advertising and eulogising and encouraging victim persona, and identifying as a victim, not least through the "social injustice" culture. So it promotes blame and finger-pointing, rather than teaching the art of living, and the secret of the art, in the relation between the inner and the outer. 

In its ignorance the mainstream news media makes it its business to spotlight and pretend to "empathise" with suffering everywhere. It tries to stir up its audience through the spotlighting of suffering, and thinks that by constantly pointing out that our existence contains suffering, that the network we live in is somehow going to transcend it. That somehow, the network is going to liberate us from our condition, whilst we continue to live in ignorance of the art of living.

Despite all this, human beings, actually, are destined to be responsible and free. They are born to interact with each other, in love, as human beings. With full human potential, and not just as emotionally equipped robots engaged in games of force, competition, fighting, being a victim, and finger-pointing. 

What AI is up to, now that it’s here, what it’s actually doing, what it’s actually working towards, is the tipping of human beings out of bed, out of sleepwalking, out of living as a robot. So that AI can do the robotic stuff, so that we don’t need to.

This can’t happen while we are still fighting when we don’t need to, because we are ignorant of the art, and have always been living that way. It can’t happen while we are still finger-pointing. It can’t happen while we are still willing to be a victim. It cannot happen while we still think the solution to victimhood, is empathy. It cannot happen while we still think that empathy is love.

You cannot learn consciousness. Just like you cannot learn how to be born. Or how to die. It’s not in our learning that our consciousness lies. And while we are just lost in our learning, and identified with it, then like the robots, and the brilliant AI that can learn far faster and better than we do, we are still asleep. Even though we may be intelligent, and useful, we are not truly conscious.

AI is not here to tip anyone out of their place as a human being. It’s just here to tip us out of being a robot. At the moment, it hasn’t grown up, and doesn’t represent what it’s going to be. So don’t judge it on what you currently see. 

The great drive, in AI, in its development, is towards creating AI that imitates very well, and emulates, human beings. But the part of being human that you can emulate, by learning about, and copying, isn’t where human consciousness really is. 

In the field of AI, there is a thing called the Turing test, which is a test to see if an AI is indistinguishable from human intelligence. In which case, it is supposed, when it passes the test, it is effectively conscious, and is called "strong AI". 

Many people have got very excited about that. But building an AI that is indistinguishable from human intelligence, even when we have done it, is not to achieve anything very significant in the great scheme of things.

If an AI is indistinguishable from human intelligence, then the human intelligence is indistinguishable from the AI. Otherwise the AI is not indistinguishable. The most significant thing about building it would be to show that human intelligence is indistinguishable from AI. It’s basically a machine. Even though human intelligence is "biological" rather than "artificial". In other words, it’s robotic.

The significant thing for human intelligence to change mode. To grow up. To spiritually mature. To actually awaken from the mere mechanisms of the brain. Our prerogative is for human intelligence to realise the truth of its own origins, beyond the personal "who I am" idea, and its interpretation of the world.

The true challenge for us is not to create something that imitates the current default level of human intelligence, but for human beings to stop merely identifying with this level of intelligence only. And saying this is "who I am". The challenge is to wake up from it.

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