The Double Void of Artificial Intelligence

My regular readers are likely to be split on me discussing Artificial Intelligence. For some, you are doubtlessly curious or at least hope to see me be entertainlgy sarcastic. For others you’re just tired of hearing about “AI,” a concern I share. Don’t worry, it’s well within my usual discussions of mysticism, psychology, and religion.

As I write this in 2024, many a person is glad to sing the praises of AI. They also want to shoehorn it into every product and technology available. This desire to raise stock prices while creating bad will and endless security problems is painful, but the claims are also grating. It’s obvious to anyone with some understanding that so-called AI is essentially complex probabilistic systems that produce what (on the surface) seems to be “real.” Well, real except for being told to eat poisonous plants or presenting pictures with inordinate numbers of fingers.

Fortunately this age of faux AI also has people asking “what is intelligence?” One of the things that pops up again and again is that “intelligence is a process.” Intelligence is not something we can hold on to or grasp (or put in a box), but is a thing that occurs, it is an action. Intelligence is not something activated and shut down, but an ongoing activity.

If you’ve ever done studies of meditation, religion, and so on, this is going to sound quite familiar. Many a Buddist practitioner knows that moment where you can’t find a solid self, just a whirling thing. Taoist Meditators may speak of the entangled complexities that create the everyday mind, and the hope to see through them to a kind of spontaneous Celestial Mind. Practitioners of energetics experience mind and body as wheels and swirls and flows of energy, without solidity..

In my own meditations and experiments, I’ve experienced moments where I realize there is no me, there are just these processes. Yes the goal of many meditations is to refine oneself or see through illusion or however you want to put it – but you do learn a lot about your mind. If you practiced any form of meditation, I’m sure you’ve had those moments where you’re there but you’re not there because the you there isn’t a solid thing at all.

You’re a constant process. Evaluating. Thinking. Feeling. Modeling. Adjusting. You’re not going to be duplicated by some language toys, though your employer might try so be careful.

Now I’m not saying that “Ancient Wisdom” explains everything or predicts AI. I am saying that thousands of years of meditators, breath practitioners, and people asking “what does this mushroom taste like” will have accumulated a lot of insights in time. When you’re there looking into the self – and intelligence – you’re going to learn things.

And one thing I’d say is screamingly obvious from all these psychonauts is we’re processes so intelligence clearly is. This also is yet another reason to disregard AI as any form of actual intelligence. It’s not a process, just a bunch of triggered code and data using some complex math.

Kindly respect that your fellow humans are processes, void of any solidity whatsoever.