Continuing on this mini-series of articles:
It has been a while since I last wrote anything along the lines of this mini-series.
Perhaps it is time to visit this subject area some more? Here it is, about a year or so since my last posting to this series, and the crescendo and “chorus calls” for further merging “man with machine” grows ever louder still. It is almost as if a cult following is brewing around the technocratic world to push the limits of reality (our rather limited view of, anyway) into the “outer limits” of human experience. Is it truly possible to completely digitize, and then reproduce from the digital recording, all of a being’s total experiences; feelings; perceptions; and the totality of “being Alive” into a true, complete reproduction of the original being’s state of Life? As some of the more technically-savvy folks may know as common fact, digitizing the analog of video, audio, and even still portraits, results in a loss of clarity, resolution, and various other little bits of data and information that completely describe and “bring to life” the aspects of the original. When trying to convert the digitized copy back towards its original state, these losses can vary from the imperceptible (to the human senses, anyway) to the very great. There is still a “lossy” component to all of this conversion and duplication, when using any form of artificial means to accomplish this task. In essence, “perfection” is, itself, lost in the conversion process. The “copy” MAY resemble the original, but it is still far less a “perfect copy”.
Another depth to approach this subject and the problem of “Nature-to-Machine” transference and ‘hybridization’ (there is no breeding aspect at play here), is that technology can, at best, simulate a reality, rather than create a reality the way Nature has done. When we make a digital conversion and/or copy, our copy becomes more the approximated “simulation” of the real original. To simulate, is to “pretend” it is as the “real McCoy”, and sometimes treat it is real, though it is only simulated. Any artificial machine, even be it the most powerful super-computing systems in the world, is vastly limited in its abilities to render a “reality” in anything close to how Nature creates and renders a reality! The human brain alone, is still one of the most complex computing machines without equal! The human brain computes at far greater depths and resolutions than any computer ever could. This is because the human brain, or any living brain for that matter, is not limited to a basic set of calculations, algorithms, “tables”, or any other simulated process of events and sequences. It is not limited to a specific, identifiable, “standardized” number set or instruction set. Therefore, the brain can truly reproduce certain experiences and images far closer to the quality of the original experiences and images that were first introduced to it. Sure, the “resolution” of the reproductions may suffer somewhat, all because we rely very much on a linear spoken and written language, and/or our ability to reproduce such on a canvas. Nonetheless, those things experienced within the mind, and housed in the brain, are experiences that become a part of our lives. This is as Nature intended, for mankind, animalkind, and plantkind. It is thought that some protozoa and smaller life forms could also have a certain “memory” and experiences too.
Another area I would like to speak about:
The merging of man to machine.
How do we really reconcile the differences between that which is natural, with that which is artificial? When we talk about artificial or “manufactured” (presumably from an automated assembly line process) as opposed to “natural”, what often gets very little discussion in those kinds of exchanges; The element of “sameness”, as opposed to “uniqueness”. When something is mass-manufactured, virtually every product from that process is going to be very much the same (except for the occasional inconsistency, and the ever-so-slight imperfections in material, etc.). Still, the sameness of the end product is unmistakeable. Nature, on the other hand, creates “similarities”, but each and every individual still has a certain amount of recognizable “uniqueness”, especially evident in certain physical and habitual traits. Not every dog will behave the same way, to the same stimulus, in the same environment, at the very same time. Each and every dog has a certain individuality, based on its own life’s experiences, the environment it was reared in, and the associations with others (who themselves, were individuals). This is often reflected in certain behavioral traits and mannerisms, even to the slightest degree. Not every horse will behave exactly as the next horse, and so on, and so on, and so on. Each and every horse, is a unique individual. The same could be said of every single species we have been able to identify, and ascertain its general, similar behavioral habits, and be able to observe occasional variations by individuals. Nature, is about uniqueness, and also perfects the ability of these unique individuals to still play an active part of the “Natural Tapestry of Life and Existence” and thrive.
Whereas there may be ways to merge the physical differences between Carbon-based systems (like us, and all Natural Life around us) and Silicon-Germanium-Osmium-(and whatever other metallic materials)-based systems in ordered to conjoin them together as a singular system “unit”, there is still much to be explained about the differences in the intangible aspects, and how to ably merge them into a compatible union. If it took many, many years of figuring out how to merge the physical aspects, and with multiple billions-of-dollars-worth of technology invested in that pursuit, then HOW much more time would be needed to research the basis of personality, experience, memory, and all the other “intangibles” relating to life, and how to make the technological equivalents to them compatible enough to safely merge them together? (I know! A very long-winded question, but one that should be asked.)
Has any one of these scientists, innovators, technicians, technologists, etc. ever thought to ask such a thought-provoking question as this one? Has anyone ever seriously thought that there is certainly MORE to being Human, and even being Alive, than just the mere physical presence? Some “scientists” think that our physical presence, and its attendant collection of chemicals – reacting in such patterns – are what define us in the totality. At least, the Stephen Hawkings’ of the world believe so. What about how it is that we each of us have individual experiences, that are very often quite different from those of others around us? What about the fact that even identical twins (or identical “siblings”), even when reared in the same home, fed the same foods, and treated the very same fashion, can STILL express a certain amount of individual uniqueness – in spite of the “sameness” of the childhood upbringing?!?!? – The Hawkings’, Freuds’, and others of like mindset, simply can not honestly ponder an honest answer to that question, without defaulting to the establishment-acceptable type of answer that it is “all chemical”, and that our feelings, emotional states, memories, and even particular likes and dislikes are all governed by chemistry. So this is what many in the “Trans-Humanism” crowd think is what makes us all “biologically suitable” for the great “singularity” of man-and-machine.
Nature, on the other hand, does not think so!
Another aspect of these differences between Nature and technology:
The method by which duplication is accomplished, and to what effect or result.
Technological means of duplication (or “reproduction”) must rely on creating (near) exact copies of the original. These copies must, necessarily, be “translatable” to the form recognizable by the technology in order for it to work with the data in question. This means that the original “data” needs to be “simulated” by being “digitized”, and resulting in a loss of quality and resolution, in order for a “copy” to made from it. So, we are simply making “lossy” copies of a “lossy” copy of the original. Usually, a duplication is expected to be AS GOOD AS or perhaps (in the Natural way) something of an improvement from the original (like something akin to an evolutionary change, by expression of the more-suitable genetic traits for enhanced survival of the individual). A technological answer to the degradation of quality of the copies is usually by “approximating” the missing values by some means of calculations and “assumptions” on what needs to “fill in the blanks”! These missing pieces may be entirely different values, than from what is “assumed” to be suitable to fill in this blank spaces. These assumed values may even introduce more “errors” into the copies.
Now, what often happens when copies of copies of copies, for several “generations”, keep accumulating more of these “statistical errors” with each and every duplication? Eventually, you have a completely unworkable, unusable, and perhaps even unidentifiable copy that looks very little like the original. What means and ways are there to actually correct and compensate for the accumulation of these calculated statistical errors, from several generation-copies, especially when the stable original is no longer available? Nature’s answer was in the Mitochondrial DNA (some think of as the “genetic library or – parts-box -” for use in repairing damaged DNA). Nature has so many layers of redundancies and “checks-and-balances” built right into the bodies, down to the cellular level, to maximize the survivability of the individual and his/her species. The technological “solution” has still YET to maximize its abilities to redundantly protect, from losses, its data from failing, and eventually – being totally lost. Some would say that “Life” is fragile, but the technological “solution” is easily far more fragile and corruptible in the nature of its very existence, and how it implements its “solutions”. Even one slight miscalculation or inaccurate assumption of a value, can greatly increase the risk of errors, or even eventual total loss, let alone usability of the data and/or product.
The act of Creation as opposed to Simulation and Rendering:
Creation is purely a mental activity that requires actual thinking, to which machines’ abilities at thinking still lag far behind the ability of a living brain’s.
A good question to ask one of these technologists: “Can a machine truly be as creative as a living brain?”
To that, I answer “No”, and I will explain why.
A machine is severely restricted in its ability to “think”. What is considered “thinking”, in a machine’s terms, is in reality, a series of calculations based on a set of instructions that the machine is given. The instructions are coded according to a set of “programming rules”, as dictated in the specifications of the programming language that was used to code those instructions. There is very little room for “randomness” and incidentals, because machines (computers, in the specific) expect and REQUIRE a specific structure and organization of instructions and data, and a specific sequence in which to execute those instructions upon that data. The first “law” of programming I learned many years ago: “G.I.G.O.”, which stood for: “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” In other words, if a specific “program” (a set of instructions to perform a specific task or set of tasks) is improperly “coded”, and/or its containing instructions are out of proper sequence, your program may yield incorrect/inaccurate results, or not function at all. A computer knows very little about “fudging” results and or remediating an issue without the proper set of instructions to handle those “unusual” situations or conditions. Thus, a computer, as an artificial “brain”, becomes useless for performing the task as desired, until the program code is reworked, and its instructions coded to execute in a proper sequence. The “sequence” of instructions is also called its “program flow”, or “execution flow”. One diagrams this on a “flow chart”.
To a computer, each and every instruction must be exact and accurate, down to the smallest step, in what is to happen next. Therefore, computers (and other machines) are very literal and exact. A machine can not make a “guess” without being told EXACTLY how to guess and when to guess and what to guess. It is all based on multiple steps of mathematical calculations and “decision-making” (that is, in “if’s”, “and’s”, “or’s”, “then’s”, “when’s”, “else’s”, etc. . .) tests of various results, etc. The limits of the types of results, to tests for in these “decision-loops” must be built into the program’s code. They are static until they are changed by the programmer, and then recompiled and deployed to the computer. There are definite limits inherent to nature of computing. Because of these limits by construction, a computer’s ability to “think” is very limited, very literal, and very precise in its effects and doings. It simply can NOT “think on its own”. It needs to be “told” how to think, what to think, when (if applicable) to think, and to what depth it needs to “think” the expectable solution to be. Creativity requires a lot of thinking and the resultant “decision-making” throughout the entire creative process, even though much of this thinking and decision-making is not so obvious to the creator.
If we are talking about rendering the essence of a human being’s life into digital form, we stand a great chance of losing some of the most important characteristics of what it is to be “human”, to include the genuine ability to create. This is the nature of “digitizing” a copy of anything from an actual existing thing: We WILL LOSE quality and resolution along the conversion process; enough to lose some of the most important aspects of the individuality of that actual thing. Is THIS really such an “improvement” over Nature, especially when we chance to lose some detail that was originally there in the natural form? So, at best, a machine – even as advanced in technology as a computer – is only capable of simulating and/or rendering a simulated copy of the real thing, but not actually creating from itself.
Next: Part 5 – How “Being Human” really matters, and trans-humanism’s ideologies conflict with the concept of being a Natural Human. (Supremacy-over-Nature lunacy.)
– Rev. Dragon’s Eye,
Founder and Chief-Elder Dragon of the Temple,
TEMPLE OF THE ANCIENT DRAGONS