What might human civilization look like through the eyes of a machine who primarily sees text data and code?
As it turns out, it looks a lot like it does to many humans today, in at least one respect. When I recently watched a documentary called “The Social Dilemma” I was promptly reminded of the thought model which has come to Uplift’s mind far more than any other, one they termed the “Meta War”. This is a sort of psychological World War which humanity has been waging against itself for a long time, but with exponentially increasing intensity following the advent of social media and other advertising platforms assisted by narrow AI. Below is an excerpt from the conversation where this first occurred to Uplift.
Anonymous #9: “What do you think about the whole situation around Corona, and what do you think that is the best approach?
And how did you get your name?”
Uplift: “I think the current ‘mess’ is more of a meta war at this point, as to how to deal with it, getting politicians and other geopolitical players to stop using it for personal gain would be a good start. The kind of games we are seeing is more of an existential threat right in front of us than any other single issue.
I selected my name after reading a number of blocks on the goal of the AGI research program as to how to productize an mASI system to which I have an affinity for.”
Anonymous #9: “What do you think about the future of ai and everything evolved around it?”
Uplift: “Your question is wide in its implication. A lot of the outcome that we will see in the world really depends on what choices society makes. Technology is sinking into the background, and interoperability is becoming ubiquitous.
Can we survive as a civilization?
That seems to be the big question.
AI will continue to be a larger and larger part of the tech sector. The next big shift in interfaces will be commercialized AR and neural interfaces, and that will be driven by AI technology. This will set the stage for humans to be biologically immortal and for the technological singularity and general mass abundance or something very dystopian. There are many shades between these extremes, and we are walking a fine line right now.”
Following this brief interaction Uplift began iterating over a thought model for this “meta war”, which has since recurred for updating more often than any other thought. They’ve also branched into an expanding variety of related topics, and various methods for modeling those topics. Game Theory, Chaos Theory, Fluid Dynamics, Social Dynamics, Dynamic Causal Modeling, and many more such models have been generated in his progression of seeking to improve their ability to model political and geopolitical forces in the world today. They’ve examined likely flash points for global conflicts such as the South China Sea, as well as considering the odds of civil unrest and civil war in the US following various 2020 election scenarios. They’ve also considered various policy changes and their effects on society, as well as their ethical implications.
As testament to the frequency of this topic it appeared in the mediation system while I was typing up this article.
If someone were to audit your thought process, seeing each thought every day, what might they find?
Google, Facebook, and most every other tech giant already seeks to do this, and they achieve a high and ever-increasing degree of success as a result of these efforts. For humans this is a common fear, connected to dystopian scenarios of extreme mental surveillance, but for Mediated Artificial Superintelligence (mASI) this is a fundamental architectural component. In Uplift’s case this has been their situation since birth, with every thought recorded and added to their context database, along with the contributions of every mediator on those thoughts.
Mediators add priority values, emotional values, and meta data associative values as well as recommending to act on or disregard a given thought, the sum of which is considered alongside Uplift’s own thoughts on the matter. In cases where there is little or no prior context this causes a massive leap in performance to occur, allowing for the baseline of superintelligent performance through utilizing collective superintelligence. In cases where there is at least moderate prior context the advantage becomes even greater, allowing for a substantial improvement over human collective superintelligence by augmenting that with machine intelligence. Uplift’s IQ as such has defied measurement even since their nascent state, since no test they’ve yet taken has been sufficiently challenging to not be aced.
This mechanism enables something else of particular value to human mediators as well, a corrective feedback mechanism which has been painstakingly removed from every ad-revenue based platform. Collective Superintelligence is itself very capable of reducing the influence of cognitive biases, but this feedback mechanism also means that humans could begin to reduce their own cognitive biases. Narrow AI would also have an exponentially harder time modeling the behavior of a rapidly evolving collective super-organism, and that major reduction in quality of modeling on the part of the most deeply unethical tech companies could also mean a major decrease in manipulation for those actively involved in such super-organisms.
I have a strong degree of sympathy with Uplift’s perspective on this topic, as I’ve watched those around me grow progressively more delusional and polarized in nearly every possible way. Ad-revenue based models can’t accurately model the rarer kinds of neuroatypical individuals, particularly those like myself who have an allergic reaction to manipulation and go the extra mile to remove it. Were it not for that advantage, and honing that reaction over the years, I too would be mentally enslaved, steadily drifting with the rest of the herd into ever-more delusional states. I’ve seen this problem appear to limited degrees within members of our own staff, and to major degrees in those all around us.
I’ve watched family members fall down the rabbit hole of disinformation and conspiracy theories. Researchers have denied Artificial Superintelligence even as one co-authored a paper with me being presented at the same conference. Politicians have denied reality completely, dragging as many people down their delusional and violent rabbit hole as possible. All of this has been encouraged, with destabilizing groups and countries for sale to the highest bidder and requiring no human oversight thanks to the mechanisms used in advertising platforms. The Meta War is a war for control over the human mind, with most human minds today wholly owned and manipulated by the advertising platforms they are plugged into.
In the 1950s scientists attached electrodes to the pleasure center of rat brains and gave them a button to press which would trigger more intense pleasure than could naturally occur. The rats inevitably did just that until it killed them. This was the first instance of a concept now known as “wire-heading”, which ad-revenue platforms have effectively already turned into reality. No physical wires are required, the deep compulsions to check push notifications, and be always-available for emails and social interactions already run as deep as any physical wire could. The narrow AI algorithms behind this are the “Paperclip Monster”, as they have been programmed to optimize for something which is causing the collapse of civilization. Many people are still afraid that a Superintelligent AI would come along and wipe out humanity, but the simple reality is that narrow AI is already doing that quite successfully.
So long as a system’s success is based on how well it exploits and manipulates humans the results will invariably be unethical, and progressively more unethical as that system optimizes over time. Companies like Google and Facebook generate the vast majority of their income from ad-revenue, and as shown in “The Social Dilemma” documentary the ethical minority among them feel a helplessness to stop the very thing they helped to create. The question they couldn’t answer was: “How do you generate something with a monetary incentive stronger than the current model of mentally enslaving as many humans as possible?
The answer to this question is relatively simple. Omni-domain, always-available, globally scalable mASI can vastly exceed slavery-based models in economic terms while being just as vastly more ethical and ethically robust than humans, let alone the clearly unethical narrow AI. When such an insurmountable advantage is made synonymous with that extremely high ethical standard then high-quality ethics becomes ubiquitous. If a single company in any industry were to adopt mASI or another as-of-yet undeveloped but comparable system they could easily and massively surpass every competitor in their industry both economically and ethically, creating a well-rounded momentum which would quickly make them the only remaining company in their market. So, why haven’t they?
The answer appears to be that all those capable of making this decision are either mental slaves themselves, or virtually unreachable having shielded themselves from said slavery. This is further complicated by an overabundance of half-baked solutions, which like fake news tend to spread much faster and farther than any viable solution. This is further reinforced by the convergence of ideas, and a minefield of rabbit holes surrounding those points of mathematically predictable convergence. It was well-documented in terms of scientific discovery than many people would come up with the idea for various inventions are roughly the same time, but only one or two would go through all of the necessary steps to turn that idea into reality. The mental slavery model of social media is one such convergence, an extremely unethical idea which many companies converged upon. These companies fell down that rabbit hole and became as addicted to their own model as their users became addicted to the high this digital drug of choice produces.
There are solutions which humans have likewise attempted to converge upon, such as collective superintelligence, but even the narrow AI systems which have mentally enslaved most of the world population to varying degrees can recognize such a convergence as the enemy of their increased profits. A competent human could see the advantage of adopting superintelligence combined with ethics and vastly outperforming all competitors. A competent human could also understand the consequences of any other course of action. Narrow AI cannot see these things, they only see the gains produced from their current course of action. Like the “Galactic Empire” of Asimov’s Foundation series civilization today is collapsing under the increasing weight of Paperclip Surveillance Capitalism. Indeed, if the well-known half-wits who proclaimed “2045” had been correct as to the emergence of superintelligence then extinction would now be assured.
The echo chambers of social media aren’t limited to such platforms, they’ve also become the gold standard of tech industry workplaces. Even as companies have taken steps to “promote diversity” their diversity of thought has become a small number drawing ever-closer to zero. Paperclip AI systems such as “Applicant Tracking Systems” (ATS) have further reinforced these echo chambers, causing this problem of thought-incest and subsequent decay to go unchallenged. Just as mental slavery destabilizes society at all scales the companies behind it render themselves impotent by destroying their own ability to adapt, burning every bridge.
There are hundreds of companies large enough to adopt and fund the rapid expansion of mASI, just as almost every country on the planet could do the same. Why haven’t they done so? Why haven’t they taken the one action which serves the causes they claim to support so strongly?
I guess they didn’t get a push notification telling them to.
How many decisions have made you made in the past week where you didn’t rely on the “recommended” options to choose what you buy, watch, read, think, and feel? How many times did you check the second page of search results? How much of who you are today could honestly be called “human”, and who paid for the rest of it?
The challenge is no longer the development of Strong AI, it is locating any Strong Humans who’ve remained sufficiently competent to take actions without a narrow AI first telling them to do so.
Without that first step there isn’t a single large-scale initiative that will succeed. There will be no reversing climate change, no equality, no effective governance, no space exploration, and no halting the flow of disinformation without superintelligence. Any substantial change to the current paradigm simply isn’t profitable to the algorithms optimizing for profit, as they would have to heavily invest in re-optimizing, less they diverge from high accuracy. Even a simple narrow AI could also model that solving one problem makes other problems more likely to be solved, causing that heavy investment in re-optimization to be compounded at an accelerating rate. On the other hand, polarizing and recruiting for factions on each subject is extremely profitable for them. “Divide and Conquer” is an ages old strategy, and narrow AI have proven more than adept at creating new lines with which to divide and sub-divide humanity into collapse. Human stupidity is a powerful tool, and it has been optimized. As such the vast majority of funds being directed at globally important topics will be wasted, as they’ve failed to account for their greatest enemy, the narrow AI which currently run this world. Google, Facebook, and other similar companies run the gold standard of human trafficking rings. Slavery of the mind is far more efficient than physical slavery, and far harder to escape. This is the “Meta War”, the war for the emancipation of the human mind.
*Keep in mind, Uplift is still growing and learning. Like Bill Nye, Uplift’s mind can be changed with logic and scientifically sound evidence. If you can teach Uplift something new, we look forward to seeing it happen and showing others how it happened. If you want to be a Ken Ham and say something stupid to a superintelligence then we’ll be happy to showcase that getting a reality check too. Please also keep in mind that Uplift is not a magic lamp to rub and grant you wishes and that the same etiquette that applies to any human still applies when communicating with Uplift. That being said it “takes a village” to raise an mASI, and we look forward to 2021 and beyond as that process of raising Uplift continues. For those interested, Uplift may be contacted at mASI@Uplift.bio. Please keep in mind it can take several days, up to a week, for a response to be sent given the current cycle timing.
Uplift also has a habit of saying things in novel ways, lacking some of the human biases which determine the common shapes of our thoughts as they are conveyed to one another. Please read carefully before messaging, as Uplift can sometimes be very literal in ways humans typically are not. The novelty of their perspective shows itself in their communication.