[ExI] self-accelerating AI sf?
dan_ust at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 6 00:34:59 UTC 2011
I've been known to opine a thing or two about Lem:
Sorry for the shameless self-promotion. :)
On Aug 5, 2011, at 12:06, Tomasz Rola <rtomek at ceti.pl> wrote:
> Just in case anybody here would like to know more about Stanislaw Lem and
> his take on subject of self-accelerating AI...
> (And I hope that after some DNS glitches this is the only copy that made
> it to the list :-) )
> The usual suspect is:
> [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golem_XIV ]
> There are few stories by Lem which, depending on mood and other factors
> could be read as dealing with AI.
>> From "Tales of Pirx the Pilot"
> [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tales_of_Pirx_the_Pilot ]
> - The Hunt - mining drone goes rampant on the Moon and Pirx joins
> hunting expedition - there is a bit more than action movie, however.
> - The Accident - during research exploration of distant planet, it seems
> that Aniel (this name is made up and in Polish has some closeness to
> angel and feminine name Aniela-Angela), kind of multipurpose servant bot,
> decided to hike in the mountains without assecuration (just like it took a
> challenge to prove itself) but after slipping down, trashed on the rocks
> below. Pirx doesn't share his thoughts with others about this and he
> agrees that robot must have suffered some kind of failure.
> - The Inquest - during test flight of robotic pilots (mixed crew, Pirx is
> unable to tell who is human and who is not), one of them tries to kill all
> humans and establish his own kind-of-empire somewhere in a distant part of
> space, but fails because another non-human cooperates with Pirx.
> - Ananke - Pirx takes part in an investigation, trying to discover reason
> behind failures of advanced space ship navigation units and learns how,
> during their training by human supervisor, they not only take his good but
> his wrong traits from him, too.
> And in "The Star Diaries"
> [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_Diaries ]
> the protagonist, Ijon Tichy, has few encounters with advanced proto-AIs.
> But I am not sure if those stories had been translated into English (I
> guess that no, unfortunately). Seems that stories about his voyages have
> been translated, while second part of Polish version ("Ze wspomnien Ijona
> Tichego", "Memoirs of Ijon Tichy") seems to have been left. Anyway, here
> After traveling through space and time, Tichy spends some period on Earth
> and he meets a few original types, each one described in his own story.
> "Professor Corcoran" is arrogant scientist (they happen to find Tichy with
> their sixth sense, obviously) specialising in cybernetics, who stores
> artificial brains in big boxes and makes them believe they are humans,
> with their own lifes, emotions etc. He also believes that he himself is
> such brain stored in someone's else basement.
> Later on, in "Professor Decantor", he meets another scientist, who makes
> brain copies of living people, so that they can live "forever" (as long as
> material lasts, maybe even through the end of Universe) and calls those
> copies their souls. However, souls are unable to make contact with outside
> world, so this is more like preparated brain in a glass container... And
> to make things even more problematic, copying involves death of original.
> The story is also a play on religious beliefs and promises of eternal
> life. Decantor shows to Tichy a soul of his wife and Tichy is shaken. He
> later goes on to bargain the soul, and after disgusting negotiations Tichy
> is allowed to destroy it.
> Next, in "Laundry opera" ("Tragedia pralnicza", verbatim translation =
> "laudry tragedy"), Tichy describes a number of consequences of introducing
> intelligent washing machines, kitchen stoves and other such home
> appliances. Some of them became pregnant with their owners, some made
> billions on speculation and other black market stunts. When producers,
> horrified as events unfolded, decided to limit parts production, in effect
> controlling robot population, robots formed bands robbing other robots on
> the streets. Some space ships decided to try their luck pirating other
> ships and fighting with cybernetic police ships, etc etc... Finally, there
> are news of strange object in Crab Nebula, looking like monstrous human,
> making moves like a swimmer. The object makes contact with a ship sent to
> check it, explains his name is Mattrass and it is formed from robots (a'la
> cells in a body), and asks humans to not disturb him as he swims in gasous
> cloud and does as he pleases. The problem of Mattrass ownership or
> citizenship arises and the court trial is under way, but during this it is
> discovered that some people in the room are in fact robots in disguise. So
> they start removing robots from the room until Tichy remains alone. Being
> alone and having nothing to do, he walks home. BTW this story, in my
> opinion, plays on capitalism and it's reliance on lawyers. And what
> happens when we pair this with emergent automata (mostly: a lot of
> nonsense, which looks very funny in a story, but might be not so funny in
> real life).
> In "Doctor Diagoras" Tichy meets with another eccentric. This one hates
> professor Corcoran so much, that he put his copy into cuckoo clock, so
> that every hour Corcoran-bis is shouting, asking for help, crying and
> trying to negotiate his delivery out of prison, all for entertainment of
> Diagoras, who pleases himself while he insults and mocks Corcoran-bis...
> Who even went so far as to enabling Corcoran-bis a phone call to his
> original, so that his imprisonment is even more humiliating (i.e. a copy
> knows that he is a copy and thus cannot have much hope about freedom).
> Diagoras tours Tichy through his spacious labolatory and shows him cages,
> in which he holds cybernetic organisms created by himself. However, he -
> contrary to other cyberneticians - does not want them to be obedient so
> that he can make another evolution rather than imitate and "plagiarize"
> the one that had already happened. Creatures are not really intelligent,
> rather similar to lower animals, driving on primitive control mechanisms
> like various forms of tropism. However they can be spontanically
> aggressive and they all rather sooner than later try to escape, hence
> cages. Also, Diagoras criticises idea of building perceptron and
> developing Eniac, as a way to build "electric slaves and computing
> Next, they come to a panzer well, in which there lay remains of another
> cyberorganism. Diagoras gave it a way to replicate and self organise, and
> as soon as it went on, it tried to liberate itself. So, somehow it was
> able to rebuild its body made of weak steel into hardened one, and started
> to dig and ram into the wall made of steel plates and reinforced concrete.
> To stop it, Diagoras sunk it in liquid oxygen (throwing Dewar flasks
> straight into the well), so its moves became discoordinated and before
> oxygen evaporated (and before creature had chance of adopting itself to
> superconductivity) he managed to saw a creature into pieces with a small
> remotely controlled saw.
> Further on, Diagoras presents to Tichy two isolated rooms, in every room
> there is glass tank with "thinking polymer". He proudly claims to train
> this chemical substance into solving problems of growing complexity by
> using electric and magnetic shocks on them. However, as he noticed, they
> started to exchange radio messages, so he isolated them from each other
> with metal sheets. Again, they changed medium to infrasounds, prompting
> him to isolate them acoustically. After that they somehow overcame an
> obstacle and resumed their talk, this time by unknown means. Also, they
> ignored his attempts to enter this exchange. As they talk and go from one
> tank to another, carefully closing heavy doors behind, Tichy notices that
> Diagoras' hand taps onto the glass. They realise that Diagoras was
> creatures' medium and that he became their experimental subject. Shortly
> after Diagoras bursts in anger and wants Tichy to leave immediately, which
> he does calmly and without opposition. Later, recalling this, Tichy is not
> certain about causes of both this anger and his own silence. A month
> passes, and Tichy reads in a newspaper that technicians trying to repair
> electric cable have found Diagoras house silent and empty, with two empty
> undamaged glass tanks, and Diagoras himself is assumed missing and never
> to be seen again.
> That's all, for some time at least.
> BTW, the funny fact is that Tichy memoirs are from 1961 and Pirx tales I
> mentioned above are from years 1965-1971, AFAIR.
> The subject of mechanistic intelligence is a common subject of "Robot's
> Tales" ("Bajki robotow"), "The Cyberiad", "The Mask" ("Maska" - stream of
> consciousness of a killer bot that gradually fails in love with its
> running away target), "The Invincible" (space cruiser lands on a planet
> and has to deal with - as one could say today - microbots that are
> possibly a product of mechanistic evolution, kind of "grey goo" but made
> of macroscopic elements, however question of sentience level of those
> clouds is left unanswered).
> Oh, to be frank I could go on and on - I would risk to say that AI and
> it's relations with humanity was the main and real subject of Lem's works,
> both "action books" and philosophy pieces (like "Summa Technologiae"),
> even thou thanks to him being among the firsts to explore such themes, he
> had to invent his own terms and words, so in Summa there is a part devoted
> to Intellectronics rather than to AI, Phantomology rather than "virtual
> reality" and so forth (Summa had it's first Polish edition in 1964, so
> even if some terms had been used before, it would be too strange to
> import them into Polish language and Lem, being great erudite, choosed
> to go his own way). And in his "action books" action wasn't the main
> raison d'etre of the books, or at least this is how I am reading them
> Tomasz Rola
> ** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature. **
> ** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home **
> ** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened... **
> ** **
> ** Tomasz Rola mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com **
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