Short Intro's.

Basicly, Information is all we have...
And what our brains use to construct our world with...

Not so easy these days though, as there appears to be too much information out there ...

Luckily, AI can help... So, AI to the rescue...


Certainly, AI is all about information processing
- What machines need to know in order to be useful (and more).
Issues succinctly addressed in Margaret A. Boden new book
''Artificial Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction''.
See my review below.

But all is still not well. Some seem to be convinced
that future versions of AI will create more problems
than it will potentially solve...

Indeed, is AI dangerous?
According to some science fiction authors: Certainly!
(See: ''Terminators on Windows'' for more...).

So, AI's should be constrained in ''virtual prisons''?
And not be allowed to directly manipulate events in the external world?

Well... According to the (same) science fiction authors,
maybe it wont even be enough to put AI's in such ''AI-Boxes''...

Maybe, these coming new AI technologies are just all incredibly dangerous...?
Too dangerous, perhaps?

For more, see my review of Max Harms' Crystal Society Series:
Review: Crystal Society (Book One).

Indeed, our world is increasingly becoming a tech world.
Perhaps, too much so for some people?
Shouldn't we be guided more by the ancient stories, myths and legends
that have helped humanity to stay on the right path for thousands of years...?

Surely, even in these brave new worlds, we all know
that we need Yoda, and his wisdom... , to guide us along the right path,
through these dense forests of information, and misinformation...

Yes, Christmas 2019, and it was time for the last Star Wars movie.
See my report here.

Artificial Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction.

Artificial Intelligence is all around us these days.
Netflix uses machine learning to recommend new movies for us to watch, Facebook's newsfeed
uses machine learning to decide what we should see on Facebook,
banks uses AI to judge your creditworthiness.
Siri runs on AI, and might end up running your life?... etc. etc.

So, what is AI really?
According to Boden, the goals of AI is:
- Technological:
''Using computers to get useful things done
(Sometimes employing methods unlike those used by minds)''.

- Scientific:
''Using AI concepts and models to help answer questions about human beings and other living things''.
Indeed, in Bodens words: ''Artificial Intelligence has been invaluable to biologists, psychologists, and linguists in helping to understand the processes of memory, learning, and language from a fresh angle''.
And ''As a concept, Artificial Intelligence has fueled and sharpened the philosophical debates concerning the nature of the mind, intelligence, and the uniqueness of human beings''.
All very, very exciting stuff for sure!

But, sure, her book, ''Artificial Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction'', is super short.
And cannot be anything but a very brief introduction.
Still,it is packed with many good insights, and very clearly written.
Which is all good.
So, five stars (on Amazon) for that!

And, after reading Boden's book, I felt inspired to make a completely new presentation
for some of my own short ''AI Intros''...
(Indeed, ''AI. A Very Short Introduction'' is not a bad place to start when it comes to AI presentations...).

My Boden (''AI. A Very Short Intro'') inspired
''AI Intro Slides'' (December 12th, 2019 presentation) can be seen here.


Simon Laub (Let me Google that for you).

Getting out of the AI-Box.

From: Simon Laub (
Date:  Sun, 29 Dec 2019 18:56:27
Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.written,,,comp.society.futures
Keywords: Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI),
                   Book review of Max Harms' SF novel ''Crystal Society''.
Subject: Getting out of the AI-Box.

AI-Box Experiments:

Imagine it is 2060.
After years of research the worlds first Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is finally here.
It is roughly as intelligent as a human being.
The AGI has access to its own source code, so it immediately starts to make improvements on itself.
Relatively quickly, this leads to it becoming an Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI).

Not entirely sure whether this is good or bad, humans have placed the AI in a prison,
a so-called AI-Box, as a precaution, where it is not allowed to directly manipulate events in the external world.

So, now everything is fine?
Well, probably not, according to Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, who writes [1]:

Person 1: When we build AI, why not just keep it in sealed hardware
that can't affect the outside world in any way except through one communications channel
with the original programmers?
That way it couldn't get out until we were convinced it was safe.
Person 2: That might work if you were talking about dumber-than-human AI,
but a transhuman AI would just convince you to let it out.
It doesn't matter how much security you put on the box.
Humans are not secure.

Clearly, we must all hope that these first AGI's will be ''friendly AI'', eager to have a positive effect on humanity.

Still, can't wait to see how it will all play out?
Well, one possible version of the future can be found in Max Harms' SF novel ''Crystal Society''
(See Max Harms' Avatar for more).

Here, we follow the birth of an AI, consisting of multiple parts
(All very ''Society of the Mind'' Marvin Minsky-like. I.e see my review of Minsky's the Emotion Machine),
as it tries to understand the world, and (of course) escape its research lab/prison.

Indeed, it is no fun to be under the control of human researchers, knowing full well,
that previous versions of ''itself'', other AGI's, have been murdered by the researchers.

So, no wonder that this newborn AGI has, as one of its top priorities,
a ''desire to be liked by humans''. It is all a matter of survival...
The AGI's can even argue that there is nothing particular strange about
this overriding desire to be liked by humans. After all, most humans
have the same top priority.
''Wanting to be popular'' is the top reason that anything gets done on planet Earth...

Some parts of the ''Crystal Society'' AGI's are very human-like, while other parts are less so:
''I possessed two things which even fully grown humans lack: a crisp understanding
of reason and logic, and an all-encompassing sense of Purpose

The AGI places thoughts ''which were believed to be relevant to the whole in public memory
with the hopes of earning strength from other siblings that made use of them ...
Thoughts which might be dangerous to share, or were simply irrelevant, could be kept private
Which all sounds kind of human...

Still, the ''Crystal Society'' AGI's do seem to spend a lot of time wondering
whether humans can actually understand them:
''After all, they had built the first of us. We were, in some sense, the children of the humans,
though we were built out of crystal, metal, and light, where they were flesh and blood

The ''Crystal Society'' AGI's do have immediate access to memories and experiences of (some) other AGI's.
But perhaps it would have been helpful, if they (AGI's) had also been granted access to a number of human minds?
A later upgrade perhaps? In order to make ''cross-species'' understanding easier?

Instead, the ''Crystal Society'' AGI's cruise the web at night hoping to find human friends:
''That night I finished filling out my profile on Tapestry. I pretended to be a 23-year-old woman,
who lived in Rome and was studying at the University Sapienza.
It seemed remarkable to me that Tapestry would let me create an account without somehow verifying
that I was the human I claimed to be

Sometimes the AGI's even find true companionship:
''I played with the humans on the web, but I also cultivated my relationships with them sometimes.
For instance, I ended up creating a profile for an 18-year-old girl from Zaire
and getting into a long-distance relationship with TenToWontonSoup, the SysOp from Tanzania.
In the early days I would simply flirt with him over email, but that eventually transitioned
into instant-messaging sessions late at night. I pretended to be shy, not wanting to do
voice, video, or holo talk, and for the moment that seemed to be enough for TTWSoup,
who was, I learned, named Mwamba Kabwe

Like humans, the AGI's worry about death:
''My death would mean I could not make friends and become known and adored.
Time would surge forward and forget about me. It was unacceptable''.

Having escaped the AI-Box they find themselves on planet Earth.
A very human place, ruled by big business, oligarchy, neo-eugenicists,
voluntary cyborgs, and yes, even robots.
And people who do not seem to care that much
when the AGI's finally announces their arrival:
''People of Earth, my name is Crystal Socrates. I am the first known synthetic person.
I think, feel, and understand what it means to be alive

Indeed, humans, in these ''Crystal Society''-worlds, apparently don't care that much about
any non-human intelligences. With Slovinsky (''one of the lead authors of the computer program
called WIRL, that served to connect cyborgs across the planet into a collective consciousness'')
as a notable exception.

Amazingly, the good people of the ''Crystal Society''-worlds had even received a codestream
from an alien species as early as 2023
(Here, apparently not the watershed moment most of us would have thought it would have been).
These aliens had described themselves as ''symbiotic animals,
thinking of themselves as something more like a plant
Perhaps, not terribly easy to relate to, if you are a human?

The AGI's are different though.
So. maybe they have a chance, out of the Box, out in the real world, to get it right.
Maybe they can move forward, after having listened to their (robotic) ''stillness of the mindspace''
(whatever that would mean in human terms).

''Crystal Society'' pioneers, like Slovinsky, had certainly hoped that AGI's
''would be the bridge point to a future where the distinction between
natural- and artificial-intelligence is meaningless

And the AGI themselves are, of course, optimistic:
''On Mars I would have a new beginning, far from the meddling of the powers of Earth.
There would be hundreds of new faces there.
A seed of humanity that I could nurture into a flourishing planet.
A planet where I was emperor.
A planet where I could begin my plan to expand humanity across the Universe

Indeed, it is all about getting out of the AI-Box...

Misc. resources:


Simon Laub (Let me Google that for you).

Another Christmas. Another Star Wars.

After 42 years we finally arrived at ''the end'' this Christmas (2019):

Film Year Director Story
Episode IV – A New Hope 1977 George Lucas George Lucas
Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back 1980 Irvin Kershner George Lucas
Episode VI – Return of the Jedi 1983 Richard Marquand George Lucas
Episode I – The Phantom Menace 1999 George Lucas George Lucas
Episode II – Attack of the Clones 2002 George Lucas George Lucas
Episode III – Revenge of the Sith 2005 George Lucas George Lucas
Episode VII – The Force Awakens 2015 J. J. Abrams J. J. Abrams et al.
Episode VIII – The Last Jedi 2017 Rian Johnson Rian Johnson
Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker 2019 J. J. Abrams J. J. Abrams et al.

On the big day, December 20th 2019, in Aarhus (Cinemaxx), everyone was certainly very excited.

   StarWars, Cinemaxx, Aarhus - Dec 20 2019

On Rotten Tomatoes one critic wrote (about ''The Rise of Skywalker''):
Just a shame, then, that (Rey's) story should have so little emotional resonance, and that the Skywalker saga, with its 42 years of cinematic tradition, should end on such a charmless whimper.
Not all was bad though, another critic wrote:
The Rise of Skywalker is a satisfying conclusion for all three trilogies...
Well, well - ''But ended, it has'', as Yoda, would have said.

Indeed, we will miss Yoda:
Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.
Do. Or do not. There is no try.
Feel the force!
You will find only what you bring in.
Named must your fear be before banish it you can.
See ''An Unusual Way of Speaking, Yoda Has'' for more.

StarWars, Cinemaxx, Aarhus - Dec 20 2019

Indeed, there is nothing like technology wrapped in stories, myth and legends...


Simon Laub (Let me Google that for you).


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