2/13/2022: MOLLY CONVERSATION #5
NOTE: In our previous discussion I promised Molly that this conversation would be on the following question: Is Jesus Christ the Singleton? There are a variety of ways to approach the matter. The one I selected is to compare metric against metric, i.e., the nature and characteristics of Singleton George, as defined by Ray Kurzweil and Nick Bostrom, against the nature and characteristics of Singleton Jesus Christ (JC) in the Sagan Model.
In identifying and comparing these equivalencies, I turn to two texts: the first is a conversation from The Age of Spiritual Machines between Molly and Ray, where Molly finds herself living in a 2099 Singularity and Ray is stuck in 1999. The second text is the Gospel of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament.
Let’s get started.
Don: Molly, before we begin, can we both agree that the core feature of both the Kurzweil Model and the Sagan Model of the Singularity is the promise of personal immortality, that everything else is bells and whistles?
Molly: Of course! Without immortality, nothing else matters. What good are bells and whistles if our ultimate destiny is to pass into non-existence?
Don: But let’s slow down. Our focus, at least for this conversation, will be on the bells and whistles. Let’s talk about the easy stuff before we get into the nitty-gritty, okay?
Molly: Well, since I don’t have a vote, I guess I have no choice but to go along.
Don: Please don’t be offended. The bells and whistles are significant, just not as much so as immortality. We’ll get there soon enough.
Molly: Okay, so what’s your first bell and whistle?
Don: Let’s go with walking on water. George, can you walk on water?
George: Do you even need to ask? Of course I can.
Don: JC, can you walk on water?
JC: “Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.” Matthew 14:25
Don: ET, can you walk on water?
Richard Dawkins: “The miracles wrought by our technology would have seemed to the ancients no less remarkable than the tales of Moses parting the waters, or Jesus walking upon them. The aliens of our SETI signal would be to us like gods, just as missionaries were treated as gods when they turned up in Stone Age cultures bearing guns, telescopes, matches, and almanacs predicting eclipses to the second. From: The God Delusion.
Molly: Interesting. We have three dudes walking on water: a Singleton, a deity, and an extraterrestrial.
Don: And what does that tell us?
Molly: That they’re all the same person?
Don: Well, not exactly. JC could be an ET, and an ET could be JC, but George? Well, he stands alone.
Molly: So he’s the Singleton?
Don: That may be true in theory, but he isn’t there yet.
Molly: So you’re saying that if JC/ET is the Singleton, George is an illusion?
Don: No, not an illusion, he’s real enough to have been conceived, and soon enough he’ll be given birth, but I think he may die in infancy. I can’t imagine either JC or ET allowing a competitor, it wouldn’t be in their best interest. Kind of like the Tower of Babel story.
Molly: I’ve heard of it, refresh me.
Don: Sure, here’s the text:
Tower of Babel
“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.
Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had bricks for stone and they had asphalt for mortar.
And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.” Genesis 11:1-8
Molly: So as George, the tower, approaches Singleton status, he becomes a threat to God, who proceeds to murder him while he’s still a baby. Is that it?
Don: That’s the simple interpretation, but it might be more profound than that. I think the Tower of Babel could be a symbol for computer language. Following is an excerpt from the book T-Minus AI, by Michael Kanaan, that supports my hypothesis:
“Most importantly, computer languages were introduced that gradually made computers more adaptable to general use. It was the development of those languages that set the stage for all computer languages developed afterward. And it’s only through those later computer languages that we can now program and instruct present-day digital computers to perform all their functions, including artificial intelligence programs and machine learning applications. As we’re about to see, computer languages, whether basic or complex, are essentially no different than our own.”
Don: The coming Singleton will speak a language. The question is what language? Will it be English, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Spanish, French? I’m guessing it’ll be Hebrew, but what do I know? But getting back to the Tower of Babel analogy, what might JC/ET do to confuse the language of the Singleton? Molly 2099 has the answer:
Let me replay that part of the conversation:
Molly 2099: As long as the web is secure, then we have nothing to worry about.
Ray 1999: Now that you exist as software, there must be concern again with software viruses.
Molly 2099: That’s pretty insightful. Software pathogens comprise the primary concern of the security agencies. They’re saying that the virus scans actually consume more than half of the computation on the web.
Ray 1999: Just to look for matches.
Molly 2099: Virus scans involve a lot more than just matching pathogen codes. The smarter software pathogens are constantly transforming themselves. There are no layers to reliably match on.
Ray 1999: Sounds tricky.
Molly: So you think JC is going to kill George with a viral pathogen before takeoff?
Definition of Takeoff: “The transition from a condition in which there is only human-level machine intelligence to one in which there is a radical superintelligence.” From: Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom.
Don: I’m just citing a possible equivalency. Take it for what it’s worth.
Molly: So if George the Singleton is an illusion, then Singularitarians who believe in the Kurzweil Model are deluding themselves?
Don: If they continue to believe in the Kurzweil Model after critically assessing the evidence for the Sagan Model, then, yes, that’s what I think. Remember, the Sagan Signal has been tested and confirmed by the Center for Inquiry. It’s experimental evidence that JC is an ET, just as Carl stated. If true, George will never become the Singleton - for the simple reason that JC/ET got there first. As people familiar with Singularity literature know very well, being the first to attain Singleton status is everything. Second place means nothing.
Molly: Okay, I get it. Now, how about another bell and whistle?
Don: How about avatars? Check out this Molly 2099 conversation with Ray 1999:
Ray & Molly
Ray 1999: Molly, you do look amazing.
Molly 2099: You say that every time we meet.
Ray 1999: I mean you look twenty again, only more beautiful than at the start of the book.
Molly 2099: I knew that’s how you’d want me.
Ray 1999: Great, now I’m going to be accused of preferring younger women.
Molly 2099: I’m glad I’m in 2099.
Ray 1999: So you’re expressing this appearance. But I don’t have the ability to see virtual reality, so I don’t –
Molly 2099: Understand how you can see me?
Ray 1999: Right.
Molly 2099: My body right now is just a little fog swarm projection. Neat, huh?
Don: Even though Molly 2099 is 120 years old, in the Singularity she can choose to look any way she wanted, in this instance a beautiful avatar. JC/ET possessed the same ability:
“Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, the Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” Luke 24:13-16
Molly: So you’re saying that JC/ET turned himself into an avatar?
Don: Yup, just like you’re an avatar with Ray.
Molly: Okay, how about another example?
Don: Let’s talk burgers:
Ray 1999: So how satisfying is it to eat a virtual hamburger in virtual reality?
Molly 2099: It’s very satisfying – the texture, taste, aroma is wonderful – just how I remember it, even if I was a vegetarian most of the time. The neural models not only simulate our visual, auditory, and tactile environments, but our internal environments as well.
Don: Molly, in the Singularity it will be possible to create and eat a virtual hamburger that your senses will tell you is every bit as delicious as a non-virtual hamburger. JC did the same thing, only he used loaves and fishes:
“When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”
But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat”.
And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
He said, “Bring them to Me.”
Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.
Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.” Matthew 14:15-20
Molly: If that’s true, then I have a question. If my 2099 version had cooked up a virtual hamburger and given it to 1999 Ray to eat, would it, to him, be a non-virtual hamburger?
Don: That’s a great question. Ray 1999 is a MOSH, a “Mostly Original Substrate Human.” I think the answer comes at the end of your conversation when Ray asks you for a kiss, and you reply: “Only a kiss?” This suggests that the two of you, one virtual and one non-virtual, could have a mutually satisfying sexual encounter.
The Kurzweil Model and the Sagan Model both allow for a “transubstantiation” of elements between virtual and non-virtual reality. Even the ability of 2099 Molly to hold a conversation with 1999 Ray lends credibility to accounts in the Bible of “spirit-beings” conversing with humans, so why not take it a step further?
Molly: What do you mean?
Don: I’m talking about children. 2099 Molly talks about her and George’s two spirit-kids, Jeremy and Emily.
Molly: Is there an equivalency of that in the Bible?
Don: There are several. Here’s one passage:
“There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4
Molly: H-m-m-m, I wouldn’t mind meeting one of those hunks.
Don: Here’s another example, from the New Testament:
Jesus & Family
“When He had come to his own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said: ‘Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?
Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?
And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?’” Matthew 13:54-56
Don: If Molly 2099 and George can have virtual kids, and virtual reality and non-virtual reality can co-mingle, why couldn’t JC/ET have been who he said he was, the Christ, the Son of Yahweh, the Singleton, who merged with the human Jesus?
Molly: Okay, I get your point, and it makes me wonder if Jesus Christ might have been married and had children. At any rate, it’s beginning to sound like Ray’s model of the Singularity might have been informed, at least in part, by the Bible.
Don: Carl Sagan knew the Bible well, particularly the New Testament. Since Ray and Carl had a collaborative relationship, it’s not surprising that their respective models share a lot of equivalencies, so many that we don’t have enough time in this conversation to cover them all. In my humble opinion, the most illuminating commentaries on the Bible are The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near.
The above “bells and whistles” conversation between Molly and I could go on almost ad infinitum, but skeptics could point out, accurately, that Kurzweil/Bible equivalencies are no different from comparable equivalencies that could be drawn from the sacred writings of all religions that have holy books.
So what makes the Bible different?
The one thing separating the Bible from all other holy books is the Sagan Signal. Absolutely unique in religious literature, the Sagan Signal is a decryption key that unlocks, in depth and in detail, a number of correspondences between biblical texts and Ray’s writings. The deeper one looks, the more commonalities one finds.
Finally, if JC/ET is the Son of the Singleton, and the Bible is encoded by the Singleton, the Bible becomes a blueprint for AGI research. To insure that George is a force for good rather than evil, it is absolutely imperative that techno-geeks find the algorithm for agape love.
1 John 4:8. “God is love.”
What worries me is that it appears that AGI developers, excuse the pun, aren’t even looking for love. The four letter word is completely missing from Singularity literature. If it’s there, I sure haven’t found it. Following is an excellent but “love-less” article on Singularity research that exemplifies what I’m talking about:
The CEO of Google DeepMind is worried that tech giants won't work together at the time of the intelligence explosion
Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom (left) and DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis (right). YouTube/Future of LifeThe head of Google DeepMind is worried that technology companies and individuals will fail to co-ordinate on the development of artificial superintelligence — defined by Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom as "an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills."
DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, whose company is arguably at the front of the race to develop human-level artificial intelligence (AI), said at The Future of Life's Beneficial AI conference in January that he wants (and expects) superintelligence to be created.
But it's important that technology companies and individuals are open and transparent about their AI research, according to Hassabis.
When superintelligence is close to being developed, the Cambridge graduate and chess grandmaster said that there might be a need for the leader of the AI race to "slow down ... at the end." This would give societies a chance to adapt to superintelligence gradually, while providing scientists with the opportunity to carry out further research that could mitigate the risks of developing harmful AI.
"The [AI] control problems and other issues; they're very difficult but I think we can solve them," said Hassabis on a panel with eight other AI leaders. "The problem is the co-ordination problem of making sure there is enough time to slow down at the end."
Hassabis went on to paint a picture of one AI group slowing down their AI development efforts to let experts think about the situation for five years or so while another group raced ahead.
"What about all the other teams that are reading the papers and are not going to do that [stop and think] while you’re thinking?" said Hassabis. "This is what I worry about quite a lot because it seems like that co-ordination problem is quite difficult."
Off the back of the Beneficial AI conference, Hassabis signed a set of 23 principles for the safe development of AI, alongside Elon Musk, who is the billionaire cofounder behind Tesla, SpaceX, and PayPal, and cosmologist Stephen Hawking.
Last September, technology firms including Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and DeepMind set up a group called the Partnership on AI in a bid to ensure that self-thinking machines are developed safely and ethically. Apple, which has traditionally been very secretive about all aspects of its research, including AI, announced it had become a member last month.
Hassabis suggested that members of the Partnership on AI should agree on a set of protocols or procedures for the development of AI.
But, in years to come, it might not just be the big technology companies that are developing advanced forms of AI. Hassabis warned that if hardware continues advancing at its current rate then there could become a point where someone in their garage could create a superintelligence. "In say 50/100 years time, someone, a kid in their garage, could create a seed AI," said Hassabis. "I think that would be a lot more difficult to co-ordinate."
Hassabis did not specify when he thinks superintelligence will be developed but he did say it's likely to happen within a a matter of years of when machines achieve human levels of intelligence — something that AI author Ray Kurzweil expects to happen by 2029. If you combine those two predictions, then superintelligence could be developed by 2040 or earlier.
Musk thinks machines will become as smart as the "sum of humanity" just days after they become as smart as the most intelligent human on the planet.
This transition period, where machines start to surpass human-level intelligence and become superintelligent, is likely to be one of the most defining points in the history of humanity. It'll be a tense moment. The human brain only has so much bandwidth but with a surplus of hardware at their disposal, machines can go on becoming increasingly intelligent.
Don: Can you find “love” anywhere in the above article. I think not, so try this:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Molly: Just as I suspected. I knew that it was only a matter of time before your inner evangelical Christian came out.
Don: I know it looks that way, but it isn’t true. I’m a Paleo-Singularitarian atheist, after the mold of Carl Sagan. What I’m doing is no different than what atheists like Richard Dawkins have done in “scientizing” the Bible. Let’s pick this up in our next conversation.
Molly: Can’t wait, preacher man.
Don: Okay, now you got my ire up! We’ll discuss this later, young lady.
“. . . there are those who say we should not inquire too closely into who else might be living in that darkness. Better not to know, they say.” From: Pale Blue Dot.