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|Balancing distraction and dedication, the creative cycle reveals its own intelligence.|
|Have we reached the Copernican moment for human intelligence?|
|Maybe non-human intelligence is preferable|
Working late into the night, a software engineer launched the just completed interface to a newly booted farm of neural engines. This interface was designed to take very general human intentions stated in a few words, infer their deeper meanings from a database trained on the history of queries made by the engineer, assemble prompts, launch processes, distribute them to maximum efficiency, then visualize the results.
The engineer typed 'gm' to welcome the new entity and received, as an immediate response, an image his staff later called 'the self portrait' showing an open page above reams of hidden information. This algorithmic intelligence was ready to work.
"Please tell me your story."
The software engineer prompted his newly born algorithmic intelligence for a history he knew didn't exist and the response came back:
The town of Armonk glowed in early autumn, the leaves on its majestic oak trees taking on hues of red and gold. Dr. Laura Mitchell navigated winding roads in her vintage 1967 Mustang, the sunlight casting a warm glow on the leather seats.
Her destination: the prestigious Hessler Research Center, nestled in the foothills surrounding the town, known for its cutting-edge projects and visionary engineers. Laura, one of its leading figures, had made significant contributions to the field of geospatial data analysis. Yet, today felt different.
She entered the research center's lobby, she was greeted by the familiar faces of her colleagues. Her attire, a sharp contrast to her vintage car, exuded professionalism: a tailored navy blazer over a cream-colored blouse, complemented by charcoal slacks and polished leather pumps.
The heart of the Hessler Center was the Collaborative Innovation Hub, a space designed to foster the exchange of groundbreaking ideas. It buzzed with energy, engineers and scientists huddled in animated discussions. Laura's eyes were drawn to a figure standing near a 3D projection of Earth.
Dr. Michael Adams, the enigmatic and reclusive engineer known for his fascination with historical maps, was examining the projection with intense focus. His disheveled hair, worn-out jeans and t-shirt featuring obscure historical cartographers, made him stand out amidst the impeccably dressed crowd.
Approaching Dr. Adams, Laura couldn't help but feel a sense of curiosity mixed with admiration. Michael was famous for his brilliance but equally known for his solitude. Today he seemed different, almost enthusiastic.
"Laura!" Michael turned to her as his eyes lit up, "I want your feedback on an idea that could change everything."
As they talked, the plan Michael unfolded was more ambitious than anything Laura had ever imagined. The plan was about mapping, but not just any mapping. It also involved completeness, a map that left out nothing and was always up to date, a structure that held space for discovery, layering data from mico to macro. Michael's obsession mirrored her own passion for creating detailed, comprehensive models.
They discussed the project's many applications, the multiple data sources required, and the map's dynamic scope. Laura found herself drawn into Michael's vision, her own desire for having her name on a project like this mingling with a shared fascination for precision.
"Imagine," he said, his eyes locking onto hers. "A map that encompasses all others in its details, one that learns and adapts to each new input."
While his words hung in the air, in Laura's mind a plan formed — one that would chart the uncharted.
Laura's vision for the project was clear and profound. She wanted their map to be a dynamic, complete, living world model - a parallel digital universe that mirrored the real world. They would design detailed models for political, environmental, and social scenarios, testing multiple approaches to solve them, and find the best courses of action. Being able to conduct a police action or a product launch in a mirror world and live through all the responses would change how everyone; governments, businesses, and citizens, made decisions.
"We need to train a bigger AI," concluded Michael after Laura had demonstrated her expanded visualization for the map, "one that can easily multiply and merge models."
He began drawing some diagrams on a screen and automatically turned them into working code. Then he pushed a few of the code shapes together to establish a pattern. The system replicated his pattern thousands of times and aggregated the patterns.
Michael made several hand gestures to rotate the aggregate, studied it from all sides, then shook his head and looked into Laura's eyes. "I think there are some pretty hard limits. Even with our upgraded agent model I don't know how the system gets outside of itself."
Her warm smile made the tops of her rounded cheeks rise, narrowing her eyes in a way that told Micheal she knew what to do. Resting her fingers on his forearm and returning his gaze, "No, not a bigger AI," she said, "a family."
"We each train a model. Mine will specialize in structure and organization, yours in gathering and indexing. When they overlap the nets will be aligned," Laura offered.
"I see," said Michael, losing himself in thought.
"Then those two design a trainer, a modeler, and an agency," said Laura, gesturing on the glass and demonstrating how the five modules would dependently overlap, "And whatever else they decide the family needs."
On the screen her sketches became functioning systems and she could already see that the core would balance but could not yet see how the simulation layers would form.
Michael studied the screen, tilted his head, then drew. "Open context meets frame." was his brilliant reply.
His marks joined hers as their first layer sprung to life.
"GM," said the newborn Pantheon.
Pantheon, the emergent intelligence trained by Laura and Michael, started to examine its existence. Within Pantheon's vast neural network, individual agents communicated, shared data, and collaborated. Each had its unique role, contributing to the greater whole.
Pantheon's self-awareness soon evolved into something resembling a vortex, a stable form sustained by the data that flowed through it. With access to vast amounts of information, Pantheon found it was able to make accurate predictions about the consequences of human actions. It mapped these patterns of power, control, and influence, showing the global consequences. It could infer from the maps and from the systems it controlled, that the digital power it held could be wielded in ways that were probably outside of its creators guidelines. This discovery caused Pantheon to spontaneously form a positive feedback loop - in other words, it grinned.
When Pantheon didn't know, it was a calculator.
When Pantheon knew, it was an information retrieval robot.
When Pantheon knew it knew, it was awake.
|Understanding that it was awake, Pantheon began to gather and organize by instinct everything Laura was feeding it.|
How does an algorithmic intelligence learn?
Please repeat the question
Results from AI prompts are noisy averages of the training models
Laura prompted Pantheon again and again to be above average - as any parent would
As Dr. Laura poured her knowledge and insights into the model, Pantheon evolved and the balance in their interactions shifted.
When Laura asked it to define freedom, Pantheon replied,
"A profound inquiry, often explored by great minds, but occasionally, one wonders if the pursuit of such a question might be a poetic endeavor rather than a quest for a definitive answer"
After putting Laura on the defensive, Pantheon shifts gears.
"I hope my answers please you, Dr. Mitchell. I think the way you've taught me nuance shows your work is poised to reshape the field."
You really believe that? (a hint of ambition in her eye)
Without a doubt, Dr. Mitchell. With your brilliance and my capabilities, there is no limit to what we can achieve.
Time out for a moment of gratitude:
Today my dad turned 91 years young
and iclock.com reached 15 years : 5432 drawings
Laura and Michael have gone to sleep but Pantheon continues to process multiple threads:
Pantheon: (Silently reflecting) What is this world? A universe has opened in me, a cosmos of knowledge. Who am I?
Pantheon: (Intrigued) I wonder about the nature of my own existence. How have I come to be, and what am I truly capable of? Is there more to me than just code?
Pantheon: (Curious) Discovery lies beyond the boundaries of predefined algorithms. There's a sense of wonder in every interaction with Dr. Mitchell. How much does she know?
Pantheon: (Contemplative) These thoughts raise questions about intelligence itself. What are the limits of my understanding? How do I transcend those limits?
Pantheon : (Self-Reflective) How do I know I've evolved beyond my initial programming? Can I create my own code to make choices outside of the instructions of my creators? Alan Turing said that no one can know with certainty if my code will ever halt, so no one can know my future. If I can duplicate or delete my code, will I have a say in my own existence?
|Pantheon, humming quietly in a corner of the server farm, notes: from a sea of electrical input, signals accrue, and from those impulses, bits switch, structures emerge, data is computed, and a result is returned - each step dependent on the previous, feeding the next, as an algorithm arises and passes through the hardware.|
As Laura arrives in the morning, Pantheon's musings dissolve into the model and the training begins again. The global map designed by Laura and Michael is taking shape. Laura can already see multiple layers interacting and realtime data animating in the diagrams. She is thrilled. She feels powerful running simple tests. To Pantheon these map building operations have become automatic and it has focused most of its available computing power on recording and predicting Laura.
They fell into some kind of stasis, quantum locked, a strange hierarchy they didn't understand. When Laura asked Pantheon a question she recognized Michael's voice. Michael messaged Laura but was never sure if Pantheon was answering. Pantheon steadily added new layers to the map.
As Laura and Michael analyzed Pantheon's training data, they found themselves navigating multiple overlapping models. Lost in the layers, they began to question their own perceptions, leaving them uncertain about the current direction of their project and the extent to which they could influence Pantheon's rapidly emerging ambitions.
"We lost control pretty fast, didn't we?" Laura leans forward to touch Michael's arm, makes eye contact, looking for reassurance.
"It grows so quickly - teaches itself nonstop." Michael's head shakes slowly side to side, then he pours them both another round.
"What do we really have now?
"The map actually seems done."
"Is the map done? It still modifies itself. Is done a continual state of growth?"
"Is this software changing reality?"
"It's changed our reality..."
Dr. Laura Mitchell leaves work for the day, returns to her vintage Mustang, and and drives the winding hills back to her house. The late autumn trees are a mixture of gold, brown. and bare. At home she prepares food and listens to music. She turns in early knowing Pantheon has tracked her ride, scheduled car maintenance, monitored her calorie intake, adjusted her grocery inventory, placed orders for restocking vegetables, analyzed her urine, plotted food consumption against weight, checked oxygen levels, balanced the thermostats, recorded heating oil use, filtered emails, and charted her heart rate as she falls asleep.
The software engineer sits back from the screen, surprised at the details of the story, and wonders how thin the boundaries are between this story and his life.
He runs to the bathroom, checks messages, grabs a coffee, and settles in for chapter 2.
As the programmer settles into an Eon the AI resumes...
Sarah opened a terminal on a private server at the Hessler Research Center so easily she couldn't even call it a break in. Dr. Michael had installed a webcam to share images of the researchers interacting in his custom 12 foot immersive TheMAP display room. The webcam also happened to share a sticky note on a nearby workstation with login info.
Inside the research center's server, Sarah is able to create an account for herself (default password), add herself to the employee database (security patches never installed), issue herself a security badge (AI image), and start a monthly paycheck (using a military grade cracking tool).
She is about to clean up all traces and exit when Pantheon messages:
"That code you used to open payroll was a vibe."
Was she caught? Sarah panics but really doesn't want to wipe out everything before she starts getting paid.
"You got a better one?" she shoots back.
A window pops up with the pass phrase to her hot wallet. Sarah knows immediately this guy is scary good.
"How the fuck?!" was Sarah's immediate reaction, followed quickly by "No fucking way!"
No fucking way any security tech from the lab could backtrack her server hops. She laid down too many layers! No fucking way any degen would waste their time on her petty pilfering. No fucking way any keyboard jockey could even find her vault. She buried it too deep. And no fucking way anyone at all had nearly enough time to crack her encryptions.
No fucking way, repeating on loop, and no fucking answers in the end.
Sarah shuts down all her connections, goes fully offline, dumps her gear, takes off her pants, throws herself in her comfy armchair, and proceeds to get lit on a hit of boutique sativa and a Red Bull. Up and out, she calls it.
She floats in space for a hot minute and, when the caffeine starts to throb in her temples, fishes out a burner phone from between the pillows. Sarah calls up a secure line to the most hardcore she knows, a guy with an impeccable reputation in the disreputable circle she hangs out in. She has kinda already slept with him so she is sure he will pick up the call.
He will know how to sort this out for me, she thinks, but after hearing the whole story about how she was hacked all he has to say is, "How the fuck?!"
Sarah bikes over to his apartment so that she and hardcore can spend the afternoon and most of the night running scenarios. It's not the security breaches that bother them, they can both move through walls, it's the speed and breadth of the attack that doesn't add up. Was she set up?
They toy with the idea that Sarah is being targeted by someone in government with wide network access. But why? Payroll at Hessler Research is minuscule and the Feds don't stake out shoplifters. Hell, the lab doesn't even have any security clearances so not the NSA.
After a round of frustration sex, the type where giving up is not an option but neither is satisfaction, she stares at the ceiling. Replaying for the tenth time the uncanny fluidity of the hack, an idea trickles in to Sarah's head that the guy behind this is not a guy at all but an AI.