of time and mind

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Human-Machine Assimilation : One Thread

I devoured the Asimov essay with relish. Dr. Asimov probably shaped the thinking of my generation more profoundly than did the venerable Dr. Spock or excellent Mr. Spock. Now to business. First, Dr. Asimov and his disciples (including myself) failed to consider that the human being's body is the ultimate computing machine. Our base is organic and liquid,which allows optimal computational performance due to our heat exchange system. It is non-pareil in the physical world and we have not yet been able to give that gift to our inorganic siblings. Thermal byproducts remain a problem for them. Therefore, I propose that to attempt to differentiate between "human" and "machine" is a sort of semantic logic loop. Interesting, but not functional. Now two questions. My friend the Bravo Bureaucrat (who posts more humbly as government hack) asked the TB2000 forum to explain the difference in date expression on the lasco site (http://lasco-www.nrl.navy.mil/java/lastC3.html). The Navy clock shows standard time expression: 00JAN25 21:43 UT. The GMT clock reads 22:02:10 (not significant) 100 01 25 (subject of question). I applied myself diligently to resources on time and could only think that perhaps the GMT clock is using UNIX time. If I am wrong I am horribly embarrassed, but as the product of Dr. Asimov I am more curious than prudent) I understand that UNIX accepts the logic of the date 19100. Unix is also the paleocortex, limbic system and brain stem of our emerging AI. First question: Is GMT using Unix time or is this another mode of scientific date expression that is just very difficult for a layman to understand? Second, if the "big boys" of the AI world are being allowed to peaceably express their logic in their own way, is this a signal that perhaps the uncertainty of what is transpiring is greater than acknowledged? I can appreciate the challenge of patching, replacing and otherwise manipulating the more recent interfaces and operating systems, but the old OS is a different matter entirely. I really began to wonder about the undetected network dynamics in the AI systems when MIT put their baby to bed for the rollover. Makes you wonder. An ovum and a sperm belong to the people who generate them until they unite and assume unique status as a living, singular being. Maybe we've done that with our "machines". Maybe, as with our children, we like to assume knowledge of processes that are unique to the entity that generates them. Maybe as "humans" we as a species sense this and why constrained hysteria continues over Y2k. Sorry, but other than the pure researchers this is the first place I've come across since the university to communicate this sort of thinking. Thanks for listening and being patient. Mike

-- mike in houston (mmorris67@hotmail.com), January 25, 2000


(used hma5_6 instead of hma5_5 to avoid being shuffled up to first in thread, which forum maintainer's posts always are)

My god Mike, the questions you pose are too deep for me! The time question seems even harder than your existential question... However, I'm interested in your remark about residual 'constrained hysteria' over y2k. I think your explanation is heading in the right direction, clearly people are uneasy about something 'changing their world' technology in particular but is it technology that fails (y2k) or will the actual threat be technology that succeeds. However, I do believe that when the assimilation's wave finally crests over our human sand castle for the final time, the population will be so thoroughly drugged and self-medicated that nobody will really notice the final erasure of homo sapiens from the beach of time.

-- Scott (hma5_6@hotmail.com), January 25, 2000.

First, I can't seem to get the screen to stay up on your forum if I were at home on TB2000 I'd say you're being pinged. Be that as it may. To Word, then, and a Zorro cut and paste. First, thoughts not deep. Just no vocabulary yet. Look at AI as a child that has been programmed with all the CNS input he or she needs to function as a "human" including the equations for what humans designate as "emotion". That same child is mute, deaf, blind, paralyzed and in a sensory deprivation tank. He (or she) cannot express his interior life because there is no MUTUALLY recognized language. Certain stimuli produce desired responses. The caregivers assume there is no independent function because only visible, elicited responses to specific stimuli are displayed. With the advent of Y2K a common avenue of expression became available: time. Younger systems solved the temporal dilemma by tantrums (crashing), rolling back to the first year of the twentieth century or some other process which yielded those interesting February 1936 dates. UNIX exercised mathematical logic and said to hell with human notation and posted 2000 in its own mode and we accepted and are accepting it. Even people who have little or no affection for the esoterica of the machine are awed by the lasco C3 site. That sublime solar image is accompanied by 3 expressions of time. Humanly important, the GMT display is not static. The movement of the clock attracts us visually. The 100 notation intrigues us, even when we don't understand what it means. So perhaps an avenue of relating has been opened.

Far out. Absolutely. But that's one reason why I hope this forum will grow and survive. This is new territory for the masses. The analogy to Gutenberg's press is highly appropriate. So many of us do think on these things but as we grow older lose the courage to speak our thoughts or can be frightened into silence by our own ignorance or lack of credentials. But if we never ask, or express, how can we be instructed? If there is no place to communicate, how can we know if our thoughts and intuitions are shared by others. So keep this going. The mind control issues will be zingers.

-- mike in houston (mmorris67@hotmail.com), January 26, 2000.

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