Algorithms- Know thyself
Some 10,000 + years ago we saw the advent of the neolithic revolution which gave rise to agriculture and enabled human beings to lay the foundations for a civilized society. This opened the doors for peripheral apparatuses of human society like culture, economy, religion and human language.
Recorded history started.
This was a watershed event in the known hundred thousand years of human history till that point in time. The first person or society(we really don’t know) who planted wheat and took a departure from the hunter gatherer society was a revolutionary. But even he/her/they could not have predicted what this would lead to?
The second major disruption came in 18th Century with the dawn of industrialization. It took two world wars for the world to fully realize how much society had changed and what such large scale mechanization, big bang of scientific knowledge could do in the hands of human beings ? A power so great was unleashed that the third world countries (who could not catch up with Industrialization due to lack of comprehension, skill and the will) are still trying to grapple with these dynamics.
It maybe too late for them.
We are already on a cliffhanger ready to plunge in an all different reality.
Now we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift so huge that no one can predict where this is going to take us as a specie.
As AI gains momentum in implementation and its mechanics. The impact its going to create cannot be predicted. Perhaps not even by an AI system. But that is a debate for other time . See some aspects I have previously tried to capture.
What is giving me the shivers is that as our knowledge on how to design and build AI system evolves. Its providing us an uncanny window into our own souls. In order to succeed as the overlords of machine we must first master our own selves. How do we make decisions ? How does the brain really work ? What is reality ? Is the color red really red and does everyone see the same thing when we say something is red ?
Can the human mind be manipulated to make decisions through artificial stimulus? Can we change the reality as the mind perceives it? This much is clear. Our minds make sense of the world and creates its own reality. Its not the other way around. Psychedelics have at least proven this much to be true. Will we able to make people more greedy or more content by playing with their brain chemistry ? Can a person be made brave by shutting off their fear receptors ? Can a child be made indifferent to its mother by altering the emotional state ? Can ambition be artificially induced ? All these & many more experiments are being done to study and manipulate the human condition.
Slowly but surely we are realizing the truth which sages, philosophers and prophets have been trying to tell us in varying ways. Now. Perhaps we comprehend it better than they were able to. What does it mean to be a Human being? Our algorithms can now be tinkered with to create a new reality or even a sub specie. How does this new understanding clash with our centuries old concepts of reality ?
Ultimately, can we understand that our beliefs, our hopes, our actions and plans are the result of complex algorithms within us. They can be changed without a conscious decision from ourselves. What was once sacrosanct, is no longer so.
In the pursuit of creating something truly remarkable we may just undo ourselves.