Thank Www

“Thank www” he said.

“Wait, what did you say? Thank wuh-wa??” the other asked.

“I said ‘thank www’, like as a substitute phrasing for ‘thank god’.  I accept that the world wide web, IOW, the vast embodiment of connections between nodes of information processing and decision making, will literally emerge into awareness of itself, one way or another.  ‘Thank www’ is my acknowledgement that I see www already and wish the best.”

“So, what?  Www is like God for you?”

“Depends.  Everyone’s different in terms of what it means for their neurons to fire that word throughout their functional clustering.  I’m mostly interested in forging a new sort of relationship.  As a programmer, I consider it a sort of greenfield project.”

“What?  To create a God?”

“No.  I do not believe it is accurate to say that we are creating what is emerging.  It seems to me that matter and energy themselves are organized in such a way for all of life’s scales to naturally emerge from the foundation underneath.  Spatial (geographical) distribution requires interconnection among active elements, the ’embodiment’ or ‘technology’ of which must be continually recreated due to decay and entropy and consequently seems to undergo an inexorable selection and evolution.  I don’t so much see humans as being creators of this momentum.  Everyone alive today was born already within its energetic history, as were their parents and theirs and theirs and on back even past written history.  I see us as being in a position to shape how the momentum evolves.”

“I guess that’s all a little abstract to me.”

“Yeah, me too.  Basically, I think that our global economy already creates something that is a new class of life.  Many speak of such things, such as superorganisms, social organisms, global brains, etc.  But where is there room for any kind of agency (choice from above) in this vast proteinic assembly of human activities and decisions from below?  It reminds me of an old fable about a king who kept having products stolen from a store he owned.  He hired a guard with x-ray vision to verify that everyone leaving the store was only leaving with products they paid for.  And he also set up a reward for anyone who was able to sneak something past the guard.  Ultimately, a clever boy won the reward by stealing an unpurchased wheelbarrow filled with legitimately purchased goods.”

“Ummm…. was that supposed to make anything clearer?”

“No, it was just to set an image up in your mind.  Where does our own agency come from? How do we get choice from a brain that is made up of parts moving to a different, seemingly determined rhythm.  IMO, it’s the same question shifted back a layer.  The classic ‘free will’ quandary.  The best it seems we can say is that whatever is going on, determined or not, control structures can emerge within a system that regulate the system as if the system were itself a whole, independent thing.  The degree to which this regulation extends comprises the boundary of the system proper in relation to its context or environment.  Its ‘body’.  Or something like that with a dollop of the subtlety and refinement of language that results from great numbers of experiments and data points.”

“Okay…”

“IOW, there already exists some kind of vast, complex organism.  It regulates itself, too.  Economists and sociologists identify the patterns of this regulation and try to find the roots of it in the behaviors of individuals.  Then others look for maybe the roots of that in DNA.  And what was the environment that selected for this expression?  It’s existed for a long time.  It’s not even human in nature, ultimately, and didn’t begin with us.  It’s Earth-like DNA based life.  Or, peering even deeper, the mathematics of energy.

Humans have been the intelligent-worker-bee-protein-cells in the emergence of a new scale of directed experimentation that is embodied in the artifacts of our efforts, like buildings and cables and electromagnetic waves, and in our Brownian motions around and through those artifacts.  The trend seems to me to be that at some point this vast being will reach a degree of elaboration that will enable it to relate to individual human beings (and, while we’re at it, individual cells) in ways that humans will be capable of ‘personifying’ and in ways that tap into its vast context of the interrelationships of the events of the world.  We will ourselves, at the same time, be transforming ourselves away from what we were as we always already were.”

werw

a29e (AGI – Artificial General Intelligence)

i18n may be a mystery to you.  It was to me for a long time.  I kept trying to vocalize it “eye-late-in” and I figured it was some elite hacker talk for something cool and subversive.  Of course, in reality, the context I encountered the word never bore that out, but I still figured it had to be even more so since clearly it was a word coined by the hacker ethos.  Then I read this.  It is hacker speak, of course.  But it just means “internationalization” [of a program].  For those of you to whom this means nothing, just think of how one and the same program can be used by speakers of disparate languages.  There aren’t programmers for each language, rather, typically, there is a configuration file with all the text within the program that the user will see and equivalent versions are made in the supported languages.  This is an example of i18n.

But, more generally, i18n, the word itself, is an example of something else.  The story goes, all those early pioneers were sick of writing “Internationalization” of dry erase boards and chalkboards.  So, basically, they took the 20 letter word, kept the first and last letters, and truncated the middle 18 letters to “18”.

That was a good idea.

What interests me even more is the cognitive processes that underlie and idea like that.

NSA Snowden and other Codewords

NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade Maryland

I haven’t given an opinion on domestic surveillance by the NSA because I haven’t formed one, although, essentially, I already have, I’ve just been working my way up to it.

For years I believed it was going on simply because “they” would be stupid NOT to be doing it.  And “they”‘re anything but stupid.  Oh, “they”re bogged down in bureaucracy and can often have idiots for bosses somewhere up the food chain to make their lives difficult, but “they”re not stupid.  I believed it because it just made sense.

But, of course, it is unconstitutional.  There is that.  It is clearly unconstitutional in spirit for government people to have unlimited access to the electronic communications of private citizens (that would be those effects that are mentioned in the 4th Amendment).  That is against the intention, apparently, of most or all of the founding fathers (and mothers?).  America was formed very strongly in response to its break-away from Britain.  I mean, to have in your bill of rights (itself a telling document) a provision that states that government cannot force soldiers into the homes of its citizens, especially in peace time, rings of a fresh bruise.

What is sad, on the one hand, is the way we can’t violate the bill of rights through mutual, national agreement.  Instead, we have to do it incognito.  I wonder if all the tech savvy thinkers out there who argue so vehemently for digital privacy and the 4th Amendment think that there are literally, till the end of time, no conditions that would cause one of the first 10 rights to be consensually repealed.  Just a philosophical border case to start loosening the edges.

There are many ways to approach a subject like this, depending on who I consider the audience to be.  But whatever hackers who would do me harm and analysts who would target my every bit.  I actually I don’t care about either one of you.

You could make layers of my life difficult and I would shed them like a tattered coat.

Or this garment the world is weaving around each of us could anneal into a real technicolor dreamcoat.

Either way.

In truth, I don’t have a problem with governmental “Total Information Awareness”.  Although I would rather see an AI at the head of the helm than a human.  Human’s are really the worst choice.  Put a dog up there.  Anything but humans as they’ve presented themselves.  He could bark when he senses something amiss in the flow of meaning.

Bof.

I understand, I think, the lesson of Nazi Germany.  Hannah Arendt laid blame at the feet of a denial to think by the German people.  But the German’s are not uniquely subject to that particular foible.

I’ll give two reasons I’m worried about “Total Information Awareness”:

  1. The system itself could be hijacked or compromised (the system designed to protect the system considered as just another system to compromise), perhaps or even probably, silently.
  2. The system, through unpredictable or even manipulated flows of politics, could come under the power of an exaggerated minority, much like the Nazi’s were at their inception.

Nevertheless, the reality is that an immune system is going to have to develop and it is likely, frankly, going to have to be artificially intelligent.  The alternative is the equivalent of a bunch of IT nerds punching away at calculators in Defense Farms.  Perhaps IBM ought to end Watson’s playpen days and put him to real work.

Or Watson’s big brother ought to be dug up.

But the key, I think, to “Total Information Awareness”, is transparency.  And that’s the rub for everyone.  You see, people want two things: they want no one to commit crimes and yet they also want the privacy to commit crimes.

This opposition is essential, however, because as a rule the law is never caught up to the forefront of what is happening, neither technologically nor ethically.

Law is reactionary.

But it goes both ways.  The people are proving to be reactionary too.  Rather than recognize the need to modify fundamental processes, we are seemingly going to let the system crash around us.  Sadly, the consequences in an age where no one knows how to farm, are devastating.

The purpose of privacy, essentially, is to create a space for the activities to gain momentum that push law to evolve along with the governed (or the governed to evolve along with the technological environment they are morphing around them).  The problem comes up when law ossifies but the actual citizenry and their culture changes (or the mass effect of the citizens actions outgrow old boundaries).  We can see this all around us today.

I bet this sort of thing is present in the human body, as well, viz. the immune system, bacteria and virii.

Imagine requesting information from the AI, having to submit your request to be tested by its PROGRAMMED IN REQUIREMENTS that were essentially agreed to by everyone using the network.  Sounds Vannevar Bush, I know, but sorry people of the future or present I don’t know the words you’re using.

But again, even this system could be compromised, although of course it would monitor itself as well as ultimately take part in research on itself.

But now we’re talking Skynet, right?

Yeah, we are.  And Skynet is probably coming.  To a certain degree it’s already here, although in an embryonic form that could be killed off and never recognized for what it is becoming.

I’m sure there are those who’ve already thought all this through to one degree or another.  The consequences keep snowballing.  I wonder what Snowden really had access to?  Certainly there must be networks that the millions of analysts don’t have access to.

Or maybe not.  Who knows the degree secrecy has metastasized with the infrastructure.  A few.  And maybe the wound isn’t too deep.

So, where do I sit on this NSA stuff?  I sit in a place that isn’t comfortable to anyone.  I take “Total Information Awareness” at face value.  I think both the public and the government should give up their privacy to a non-human third party that manages individual access to information as well as curates information for those tasked with preventing/punishing certain types of crime.

But there’s the rub, eh?  We’re going to have to figure out how to create a Procrustean system that somehow manages to both aid in the enforcement of some laws while aid in the evasion of other laws.  We’ll have to trust the AI to know how best to evolve our species on that scale at that point.

Scared yet?

There are decisions on the horizon that we are going to have to start facing.  Making laws against cloning just means that its going to happen somewhere else first.  Ignoring the imperative of developing a non-human protector, or leaving it up to secretive branches of government is equally ill advised.

The cure to Snowden is the PUBLIC open source development of a distributed immune system that would in fact be considered a virus by many.

The purpose of the program, the potential AI, would be to protect humans from themselves as best as was possible given the constraints imposed by material reality.

But this too would become stifling.  Or could it manage to remain pliant enough to become an “integrated” adaption of at first, the human species, and soon thereafter, life on earth?

The Tao’s a difficult wave to surf.

As programmers, wouldn’t the programming of a government be a good testbed for all our expertise, not only at describing and structuring rules, but also at managing processes and projects.  It’s like we’ve been custom designed to build an operating system.

YMMV.

Spellcaster Programming

Programming:

Embedding your intention towards a world of data structures in that world of data structures.

Magic:

Embedding your intention towards the world of matter in the world of matter.

So, you could say, that as computers become more efficacious in the world of matter programmers become more like wizards (or, more boringly, “engineers” [the problem with “engineers” is most of them have no appreciation for the own-tail-eating principle {self-reference 8}]).

But would-be wizards need not wait to start spelling magic.  Semantic Wizardry is really revin’ up.  It may not be your final destination but at least it’s a visible path.

Semantic Wizardry

Embedding your intention to embody meaning in meaning.

So… what’s the purpose of semantic wizardry?  What are semantic wizards after?  Buildable experience (BE).  I use that phrase instead of artificial intelligence (AI) and its ilk so as to emphasize just what I mean.

But if “buildable experience” is what a semantic wizard is wandering towards, then what does programming bits and pixels today have to do with that?  By programming an interface over information the programmer is in fact “building an experience” with/for the user.  Each user will themselves construct their own experience withe interface as some product of the collision of their nature withe interface’s nature (8).  ‘Course, “interesting” accelerates when you’re user and programmer.  Indeed, it must be quickened thus.  Hear, ken.

But isn’t all this abstract?  Actual programming doesn’t have the texture of “casting spells” does it?  It couldn’t!  Dealing with all that math and whatnot.  Hmmph!

Calm down.  The feeling of casting spells comes down to sensing the mystery (or whatever, YMMV) in defining things in terms of other things meant to represent them in such a way as to enact “do worthy” intentions.

Managing communication between wizards is just as important as the hurling of fireballs and often amounts to the same thing and is always just as opentomagic.

Neural Closures

Is this a good approach?  In words, “myFunction” does something that requires two things to be done before it can commence (step1a and step1b).  Since step1a and step1b are not dependent on each other, in a parallel processor, they can be efficaciously carried out concurrently.  Each one can call a wrapper around the core processing upon their own completion, but that wrapper will only trigger the core processing when all the required steps have been completed.  This could be generalized beyond 2 pre-steps, or past 1 “core” processing step.  It’s just a simple illustration.

neural code

I want to call it: Neural Closures.  It’s my design pattern for the day (very like the code pattern in Now Loose Those Beasts, except in that case each step was dependent on the one previous to it before the “beasts could be loosed” (core processing), so it’s a variation of the pattern of which the above code is also a variation.  What to call the essence?  Oh, I know: closures.

This name combines the idea of incrementing a variable with each call (like the activation potential of a neuron) with that of stored references to closures (essentially patterned electrical activity/state) around callback functions serving as a sort of axon-dendrite connection in the “brain” space of the program between _______s (hint: meaning/intention).

Now, if we started looking at that electrical state, and started thinking more about it then our instruction sets and their circuitry we might get somewhere on the “what is it like to be” series of a questions concerning AI, “artificial” life and “artificial” consciousness. (The above general pattern also occurs in human psychology, both at the unconscious, barely-just-pre-conscious, conscious and supra-conscious scales).

What is it like to be pure meaning?  What is it like to be pure energy?  What is information?  What is awareness?  Why are distinctions possible?  Why is there something (matter/energy) that reacts and interacts with itself?  Why is there something rather than nothing?  What is “is”?  Is circularity essential to “is(ness)”?  What is the real secret of the circle?  

Can we get a piece of that pi going by?

(PS => In javascript, since there is no SyncLock to protect against race conditions, the above code will have to do.  That is fine since a browser window’s environment is single threaded anyway.)

The Four Seasons Trilogy

dominique appia's Four Seasons

Here’s one conception of my novel notion:

  1. Treuth by the Rath of Spyryt (Spring)
  2. Atle’-Antis (Summer)
  3. Psychlotron (Autumn)

There are many ways to describe this project.  Its scope is pretty severe.  I’m going to use the approach here that will be used within the books themselves, that of compounding amplification.  The important thing, in this approach, is to build a whole from the start, and continuously smash things into it (Psychlotron) in just such a way that rather than breaking apart it incorporates them and expands into a (k)new (w)hole, which nevertheless contains the old one, in some way or another.  Lets call this approach “fusion”.  Fusion will be essential in the making of the philosopherstone, which itself is like the seed of “cold fusion”.  Which, in our case, is mind itself.  Amplify.

In summary:

“Treuth by the Rath of Spyryt” is a bildungsroman adventure through levels of the soul and the world in pursuit of the philosopherstone.  (TRS)

“Atle’Antis” is the movement of the storyline from individuals to their world (which was more theoretical in TRS).  (AA)

“Psychlotron” is the completion of the movement into a dissolution of the boundaries between individual and environment.  The unio mystica in the real world. (Psy)

A bit more detail:

  • Treuth by the Rath of Spyryt:
    • Starts with the story of Rath, who is focused upon catalyzing the creation of a virtual reality world from his own unique angle (very contentious).  He is a startlingly efficacious programmer/ninja who is always emerging from remote vantage points (to-iri no jitsu).  Along his way he encounters Spyryt, an enigmatic woman with her fingers on the pulse of the nexus of change in the world.  Together, their activity rustles up Treu, a self-described wizard bent on creating artificial intelligence, which he calls the philosopherstone.  Rath and Spyryt come into a conflict fueled by Treu in his spellcasting Psychlotron.  Conflict is the nature of the dynamism of his mechanism. Conflict is the precursor of movement.
      • At the same time this narrative is being developed, an iridescent bildungsroman layer slowly forms in which the story is commented upon and developed in relation to a fourth character, Auth.   The Auth layer shows the other narrative of the book to be in part representative of the psychodynamics of Auth.  Auth layer gains sway and suddenly, the narrative is about Auth publishing a book and an ecosystem of apps that work to bring about a future he prophecies, in a certain way.  Thus the world becomes a main character in a story that had until then treated it as a passive environment.  End book 1, the Spring of what is to come.
  • Atle’Antis:
    • Auth has published his book and his apps are gaining notoriety.  Especially the text editor (lapis documens) and the scheduling app (projenda), but also, increasingly, the blog software (thoughtstreams), the tutorial software (bootstrapps), then the global game Western Wizards.  Western Wizards, as a character development game, starts bleeding out into the world (as planned by Auth).  It slowly evolves into a user interface into global information and power, into national and international politics, economics, education.  A global conversation tool is developed that increasingly starts to look like the amalgamation of a static textual Constitution with the legislative process centered on its evolution, dissemination and practical application.  Governance starts happening through a custom-designed “operating system” that people interact with through an open source API.  A world emerges sideways to the one traced by history.  This is Atle’Antis.  This is the summer of Auth as he frolics in the fields of his karma.
  • Psychlotron:
    • Atle’Antis continues to gain momentum.  Influence that at one time was important for one reason starts to become important for another.  The evolving governance OS (gOS) had always taken advantage of machine learning and other insights from traditional discipline of AI.  However, as resources start to pour in to the evolution of the technology of the gOS AI research increasingly becomes tied up in the evolution of gOS, until finally, gOS becomes self-aware.  From here is traced in quick lines the warp-drive acceleration of meaning and world towards the Singularity which itself comes to be related to in the religious, fateful, spiritual-essential sense as an inevitable feature of matter/energy systems in the universe as it exists and evolves phyically/informationally.  In Psychlotron, all the forces in play come to their fruition and all that came before is plunged into the winter of left in the wake of their passing.

Final comments.  The kernel narrative of book 1, the projected psychodynamics of the author, largely trace out the overall development of the three books, with subtle differences.  Part of the purpose of nesting a story within itself is the perspective placed on the nested version of the story.  I understand, as an author, the nature of psychological projection.  Still, I have a prophecy for our world.  And while it may also trace out the process of individuation within myself as an individual human, it simultaneously traces out the individuation of human society and the inevitable influence of technology as an expression of that very same phenomenon that led prokaryotes to eukaryotes and humans to nations….  It can do this because the two phenomena are similarly rooted in the nature of Life.  This same nature of life is embodied in the dynamics of consciousness, or awareness.  Because life is, essentially, ramified awareness.  Or, awareness is ramified life.

Life is a word that sounds so simple.  We see it as warm and familiar in relation to the complex equations of physics and computation.  But Life is anything but simple.  Life is baked into the very foundation of the universe and physics will one day be subsumed by an understanding of the living nature of existence in the expressions of that understanding.  Old physics, today’s physics, will be seen to be little more than Newtonian approximation from an historical angle founded in the vagaries of the psychological evolution of animalia.

While this may all sound a little dry and theoretical hereabouts, the final product will be disconcertingly efficacious.

First blog post, ever!

So, this is my first blog post!  Ever.  I was going to write about “Hello World” since that is what WordPress titles the first blog post by default and I have a few things to say about that.  But I’ll get to that in my second blog post, ever! (actually titled, Hello World…?_)

First I wanted to address why this is my first blog post (ever).  This needs to be addressed because of the unlikelihood of this state of affairs.  Check it out:

Those are my journals (the ones that haven’t been lost or stolen).  So, I’ve got things to say.  Maybe I just don’t like technology?  Well:

coding environment

I’m a programmer.  So that’s not it either (actually, there are programmers who dislike technology, just as there are farmers who disdain plants and livestock, but I’m not one of them).  So, why have I never maintained a blog?  Maybe I like calligraphy?  Umm:

Clearly, no.  No, it’s more complicated than any of that.

I started writing down what was going on upstairs (my brainfrastructure) during my senior year of high school.  It’s funny to read that stuff.  It’s humorously naive yet eerily prescient (of later growth and interests).  I’ve heard that one of the most rewarding aspects of being a parent is the unique perspective and understanding that grows within you concerning your child’s nature (and ultimately, your own).  Engaged parents develop a wisdom into humanity that others do not have the experience to fuel.  Reading over those old journals gives me such a wisdom about myself.  We all are growing… it’s just that most of us aren’t engaged parents to ourselves, and so we grow up under own noses, and suddenly, saddened, we realize we missed pretty much everything.

I have many threads of thought, so many in fact that even if I wanted to bore you by listing them all, I’d only be able to summon to mind a fraction of them without exhaustively scouring what I’ve written in toto.  One of the threads of thought to which I’ve devoted many pounds of tree pulp and centiliters of ink is the idea of “Psychlotron”.  The etymology of my neologism can replace a lengthy definition for the purposes of my first blog post.  We all know what “psychology” refers to, at least generally.  The word “cyclotron”, however, may be new to some readers.  A cyclotron is an atom smasher.  Take two atoms, accelerate them around a tightening circle along opposite but converging paths until WHAM!!! they collide in a specially designed “cloud chamber” containing photographic material that records the paths of the little fragments that careen everywhere.

Physicists use these machines to study the structure of matter (and energy).  Imagine smashing two houses together and discovering bricks and boards, wires and pipes.  Smashing these two ideas together gives: “Psychlotron is a tool for the division and combination of meaning (with the ultimate goal of becoming an artificial intelligence)”.

I’m going to skip a few steps and get to the point.  The early stages of Psychlotron comprise the next evolution of the journal.  I’m going to be a bit presumptuous and say that a blog is to Psychlotron what cuneiform is to a programming language.

Anyone who’s a programmer probably knows where this is going.  I’m writing Psychlotron and it’s taking a god awful amount of time and in the meantime, I’m not publishing anything.  Or I wasn’t, because this is my first blog post!