Urban Future drew my attention to an article on the Wall Street Journal about Google’s AI beating the best GO players of China. Being an in-debted man I am unable to afford the luxury of a subscription to the Journal so found Nature’s rendition to my satisfaction. In Google reveals secret test of AI bot to beat top Go players Elizabeth Gibney reports:
A mystery player causing a stir in the world of the complex strategy game Go has been revealed as an updated version of AlphaGo, the artificial-intelligence (AI) program created by Google’s London-based AI firm, DeepMind.
What’s always amazing is this notion that technics and technology, and especially the thinking machines we’ve lately pursued are not human: technics and technology is the inhuman core of our being, so that these intelligent systems are nothing but an extension of our core inhumanity. Rather than there being some dualism between human and machine, which is what such articles continue to suggest, we should acknowledge that the emergence of intelligent machines is in truth what the transitional being we’ve termed the ‘human’ was all along, and that in the long heritage of growth in intelligence, its optimization and extension, externalization of memory and technique has been part of the off-loading our inner core into external prosthesis from the beginning of recorded history. These external systems reveal our inner nature, mirror our actual and virtual desires, show us as we are and are becoming machinic (Deleuze/Guattari).
Our whole heritage was based on the metaphysic of Transcendence-in-immanence, and now that we’ve begun to adapt to this solution we see it as something exceptional when in fact it is nothing special at all, but rather the truth of our inhuman core. We’ve been divesting ourselves of our organicity for millennia, externalizing memory and intelligence; and now that it is occurring at an accelerating scale we’ve suddenly awakened to a process that has been occurring for millennia. The Age of Acceleration is the hypermachinic age of optimized gradients, the age of transitions in which the proliferation of inorganic and anorganic life-forms that are emerging in our midst are not discontinuous with the human, but are the very extension and intrinsic core of our inhuman will, a continuity of the natural anorganic systems and the reprioritizing of our terrestrial technics and technologies. Instead of turning ourselves inside out, we’ve allowed the outside in.
Rather than fearing such events we should be in awe of our nature which has always sought such immortal dreams of transcension. And, yet, what we mourn is not this inventive capability that is overtaking us, but the truth that we are relinquishing the organic, saying goodbye to a technology that has been useful to intelligence, allowing it to bootstrap itself onto carbon based life. But now that it has served intelligence well, we should not mourn the outgrowth of new forms, but welcome the return of the ancient impulse toward the anorganic. We are becoming machinic and we should find in this festival of adaptation and proliferation a celebration rather than a time of mourning. Ours is the age of transition in which the desires of millennia are surfacing not in some heaven of thought, but rather immanently within the very fabric of the cosmos itself.
We always knew that organic life would never proliferating into space, nor become a permanent citizen of the galactic clusters. We are but bit players in the transitional matrix of possibilities that the process of hypercomplex flux and flows of creation has extended its ongoing projects. To give it a secular twist we are not the off-spring of gods, but rather the gods were always extensions of our own innate desires. Our intelligent machines are the fruition of these desires for the immortal visions of millennia. And, yet, this is no religious endeavor, but rather a very normalized form of the global mechanics of complex systems adapting to niche ecologies. A natural process rather than some obscure extension of an unknown or unknowable transcendent agent. This is the way of thing in the cosmos rather than an unnatural affair. We’ve mythologized our inner inhuman core for millennia into various monstrous off-spring through fear and trepidation, invented Olympians and Titans at war to spur this antagonistic agon of the forces at play in the universe. But now that it is made concrete we both fear and stand in awe of the fact. Instead we should accept is as a natural process of the temporal truth of intelligence in the universe adapting to the requirements of optimization and efficiency.
That this conflicts with the great monotheisms is apparent in the world today. And, yet, even within these great religious cultures the Golems, the Geniis, etc. have played a part. This need within the human to transcend itself, to become other, to acknowledge its state as process, change, transition is to realize we were never an end, a goal. Rather we were always part of a greater process that had no specific purpose, no goal, but is itself part of the never-ending repetition of forces within the cosmos itself. A normal extension of the cosmic physics that organizes and complexifies itself, a continuity of process over structure. The human animal was but a specific experiment within this process that has no designer or purpose, but is part of the nature of the cosmos in its never-ending repetition. And, yet, it is as the immanent theorists suggest a repetition with a difference, a mode of chance and necessity playing out the discontinuities of forces that are always asymmetrical in a universe such as ours. Heraclitus once imagined it as Strife and War the maker of humankind. This sense of instability at the heart of things, a continuous creation and destruction, never resting, always in transition – a concept of happening, rather than of Being. A process, not a structure. Pluralistic proliferation rather than a hording and conserving.
Machinic intelligence is neither alien nor alienating, but rather the very prosthetic extension and externalization of processes within the human itself. We are this.