Sunday, 22 August 2010


Yesterday was among one of my more exhausting days, basically summed up as doing groceries, swimming 1 kilometer, shopping, fixing my older brother's PC and watching the new move The Expendables. I didn't go to bed until 1 AM and basically fell asleep before my head even hit the pillow. Naturally I did wake up 6.45 sharp as usual thanks to my internal and unrelenting alarm. I'm feeling a bit dazed still, so excuse any glitches in my writing or worse.

Starting last week I decided to try doing some real swimming when we're at the pool instead of just fooling around a bit. My first goal is to be able to swim 1 kilometer with relative ease. After the first time I was sore for three days, I'll see how sore I'll be after yesterday's successful attempt. I must say that it does feel good to do some real exercise. I also got some swimming goggles today, to make things even easier. It's no fun to get pool water into one's eyes all the time, and straining to keep one's head relatively dry isn't fun either :)

So anyway, I went to the cinema together with Pieter and a couple of his friends at close to 10 PM, meaning that by the time the movie was over it was well past midnight. The movie itself was... okay. The Expendables is basically an excuse to get some big names in action movies together in one movie, including Schwarzenegger, Stallone and many more. The plot is flimsy and uninteresting, there's zero character development and most of the main characters get about ten seconds worth of exposure tops in the entire movie. It's just something to watch when you want to see these big name actors blow up stuff and mow down enemy soldiers. It's amusing, but don't expect substance.

On a sidenote, while at the cinema I had this annoying couple sitting next to me, with the guy loudly proclaiming his lack of basic intelligence, and the girl her shallowness. The latter was rude enough to push her feet against the seat in front of her after the movie had ended and we were trying to leave. It took her a few seconds to realize that I wanted to walk past her, and that she was blocking my way. This couple and a few of their friends also kept talking during the beginning of the movie. It was really quite annoying. I'm pretty sure that watching a movie at home with friends is still the way to go.

In my previous post I mentioned the need to get the TileWars game finished rapidly. I can now give a brief status update: by the end of next week we'll have a basic skeleton of the game ready in a semi-playable state. This will be the scaffolding for the more decorative game elements like textures, fully modelled and textured avatars, background music and SFX. Things will become a lot easier after this.

A short while ago I had Hedgehog commenting on my post Solitude, in relation to the things I had written about AI. Hedgehog stated the question of why we would want to replicate or improve upon the functionality of the human brain. Why indeed would we want to do this? Just because we can?

In my probably not so humble opinion, it is essential that we learn to create an AI which is as good as or preferably better than human intelligence. It is the best way through which we can learn to better understand ourselves, and to possibly provide a way to the next stage in human evolution: transhumanism, in which humans will move from these frail biological bodies to a more technologically advanced and less haphazard state.

I have always been very frank about my view of human intelligence in general. I consider most humans to be completely uninteresting from an AI perspective, as they seem to be lacking in even the most basic cognitive skills, show a limited ability to learn and essentially only provide material for a study on failure modes in the development of human intelligence. Humans decidedly aren't equal. The problem in figuring out why this is is extremely difficult due to the complexity of biological systems, systems for which no documentation was provided so we're stuck reverse-engineering them.

In essence human-level AI or better is required because they'll be plain better. They can work faster, better, more accurately, don't have all this legacy fluff embedded into them, don't need to sleep or eat or waste hours every day thinking about procreation, or other things biological creatures waste time with. As a bonus, they will also come with a standard backup feature; even if an AI gets destroyed, a copy maybe a day or less old can be restored.

Many articles have been written about the rise of the machines, so to speak, in which we create intelligent machines which turn out to be smarter and stronger than we frail humans are. This is one of these fears which has deeply embedded itself into the human psyche, and which I deem to be completely irrational. After all, why would we create such machines if we could become these machines ourselves with the same ease? Humans revision 2.0, in a nutshell.

So why do this? Simple, for the same reason humans have advanced each time: because change is the only way to exist. If our cavemen ancestors hadn't bothered to invent the wheel, create fire and weapons, we'd probably have been extinct for quite a few millennia already. Similarly transhumanism is the only way the human race can continue to exist. I'm not one to believe in destiny or fate, but I do trust in the patterns one can discern in a larger system.

Will it be easy? Of course not, but the only thing which is truly easy is to sit back and do absolutely nothing. I like to think that we evolved this brain for a good reason, which doesn't include watching MTV and getting drunk every Friday night.


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