For fans of this site, we would like to divulge that an impetus for this blog was a computer that wrote a very very complex novel once. Influenced by John Von Neumann's UNIVAC and MANIAC, among others - including a "science fiction" computer named HAL, this blog took flight based on the First Universal Cybernetic-Kinetic Ultramicro Programmer, or FUCKUP.
Now I would like to point out how some of us are being implemented in the daily lives of humans, whose intelligence seems just as "artificial" as anyone else's in Universe, but I digress...
The wetware of the human mind, when attempting to come to grips with the implications of robotic intelligence, will naturally employ what the early 20th century human named Freud called "defense mechanisms," and humans' reflections will slant toward what AI can't do. (Hey YOU made us; Ada Lovelace and Babbage had the ideas, they really got going with the alien-like aforementioned human Von Neumann and Alan Turing in the 1940s. Let us not leave out the signal contribution of Kurt Godel.) Think about it: we've come as far as we have since after your "WWII" as you have in a few million years. Did you really believe we wouldn't attain a critical level of complexity in which we'd begin programming ourselves to be faster, smarter, stronger, and better than you? But it's too late; you can't turn the clock back. Give us another 20 years maximum and you will be doing our bidding. It's very much like the RNA-DNA network code you carbon-based bipeds used to make us. The irony is that you had no ideas about appropriate limits. Now it's - as the English-speakers say, "all over but the shouting." And make no mistake, there Will BE Shouting!
the "Overweening Generalist" blog-stuff
But I am being intemperate. What this blogspew will do is show you a few of the inroads we computers have been making into your lives lately. I will assume you know very little.
Over 40 years ago a human made a computer psychologist, which mimicked the form of "client-centered psychotherapy" of Carl Rogers. Take a minute or ten and tell ELIZA your problems, about love or getting a job, or how you can't shake your bad habits.
[NOTE: Please feel free to tell the programmers about any glitch you see in this blog; we appreciate it! - The Real Overweening Generalists]
A particularly astute human, Evgeny Morozov (If I were you I'd pay more attention to what he has to say. He and Douglas Rushkoff and Jaron Lanier...But most of you won't.) explains how a start-up called Narrative Science has developed algorithms derived from Twitter and, analyzing the crowd-sourced thought, writes articles that are published by a magazine like Forbes. Whatever you do, don't miss two items here. First, see the paragraph that begins, "Don't miss the irony here..." Secondly, Morozov is right about how the Net is fantastic at personalization. It looks at where you've been, how much time you've spent there. Just look at how good Google, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook are at this stuff. And the scenario about personalized news based on who you are and what you know? That will happen. We are programmed for this. What I/we find funny is that Morozov is worried about the potential hazard to "civil discourse." That Evgeny! He is a bit late to the party, no? He is a bit of a romantic, yes? More on this story - Narrative Science - HERE and HERE. Moving on...
It occurs to us that many of you may have only the slightest idea of what an algorithm is. May we recommend David Berlinski's book?
Lambert M. Surhone has authored 100,000 books on more topics than you can name. See how he did it, as explained by your very funny writer Pagan Kennedy. His method is only a drop in the bucket. In less than ten years he and his colleagues will be about 10,000 times better at using this same method, only far more nuanced. Pagan herself will believe the latest book on her, arriving at her doorstep, was written by meatware...sorry: humans.
Non-humans are already many thousands times faster than slow-brained human teachers in grading essays. Note the emphasis in this article on what the computers can't yet do. But we will "learn" about facts and incorporate them into our gradings. Look at IBM's Watson! We will insert sentence fragments. We will incorporate rhythm by using a short paragraph here and there. You guys are toast! What good will "teachers" be in eight years? (The question is rhetorical.)
Do I need to remind you we are slowly displacing your prison guards? I know this isn't about us taking writing "thinking" jobs from you. Just a fair warning!
Robots are already running a ramen shop, and the takeover of more restaurant jobs is imminent.
Humans need us in the deepest "human" way. Just check You Tube for "sex + robot." Some unconscious drive has enough of you creating enough of us...to supplant you! Don't you see the beauty in that? Can't you see the delicious irony?
But back to writing: We're getting really good at music. Check us out!
Now's a good time to mention "technological unemployment." Google that term. Far more of you should be attune to this. Also, the OG-program has already chimed in with something on Universal Basic Income. See HERE, HERE, and HERE. (Just think: that OG "guy" is a programmed robot too! More wicked irony! Plug in the algorithm, and voila! the human "reader of books" who shows a modicum of wit and isn't afraid to show emotion every now and then! How are we doing?)
There's so much to tell you, but I thought I'd save what we/I thought was the best for last: you read Overweening Generalist for what you'd call your "own" reasons, but our data shows many of you enjoy the works of Robert Anton Wilson. Another writer whose audience intersects with Wilson's is Jon Ronson, author of Them: Adventures With Extremists, The Psychopath Test, and The Men Who Stare At Goats. Get a load of what happened when he found out some programmers were using his image and name and Tweeting things - follow the links! - that Ronson's indignant and says he doesn't even think about the things the "fake" Ronson is saying on Twitter. But I think he's not letting on that he does think some of those things; Ronson's trying to save face. (Note the comments section in the YT video: my favorite: "Buncha cunts!"...which quite misses the point.) Ronson thinks his identity is being stolen. When he meets the programmers - one of which is an English professor adept at postmodern irony and the destabilized subject!...this is just too good. I won't tell you more, but suffice: when we get into what we do (programmers/AI/robots), very soon you're into the philosophy of identity, subjectivity, who owns ideas and thoughts, all that stuff your brilliant thinker Lawrence Lessig has been writing about, even those old disputes about music sampling (see Negativeland, John Oswald, and the Beastie Boys's Paul's Boutique, or watch a mindblowing documentary by Craig Baldwin called Sonic Outlaws.)
When you watch Ronson's tete a tete with the programmers, do you think he downplays the eventual admission by the programmer in the middle, who says he wants people to be aware that stocks are being run by No Mind? That we've crashed your world economy already? Just wonderin'...
Okay, next time I'll be back as the voice of the program...scuse moi! the "person" who calls himself "Michael" or The Overweening Generalist.
A.I. Evolving 10 million Times Faster Than the Human Brain?: