"I AM DONNA - and I'm the hammer"

in #steemstem2 years ago (edited)

Whenever I heard the protagonist speak to an Artificial Intelligence in a film, I glowed with joy! This fascinating idea of a man-machine friendship and the voice from offstage, which always prompts me when I miss ideas or words: Like a grand LaLa-land. Ahhh ... just extraordinary!

What was I laughing at the clumsy humor of the onboard computer that cost Captain Kirk a few of his macho nerves

when a female voice answered him with many objections. What a delicacy to think of a computer that behaves like an irrational being.

My heart, which flew to Benjamin, the nerdy administrator from the series "Suits", who programmed "The Donna" and thus demonstrated an extension of the real Donna and her unbeatable secretaries' repartee. How much I granted them both their success with the investors of a new groundbreaking technology. What fun!

Or as I was feverish about Odysee 2001 and wished the malicious and shrewd HAL to hell, half convinced that we would soon have such "miracles" and an uncomfortable and unpleasant fear on our necks. I had liked to kick it into pieces for this calm yet arrogant sounds it made!

And how touched I was when I heard Sigourney Weaver aka Ripley talking to "Mother" for the very first time. Wow! It gave me goosebumps all over my body. I mean ... "her" voice .... brrr... still shivering in awe ...

Not to forget the intelligent bomb in spaceship Voyager,

which was determined to carry out its destructive mission and had nested underhand in the Doctor's holo-matrix. Finally, Ensign Kim and Seven of Nine literally brought it to it's senses. And not only that, the bomb also sacrificed its life for the people. Wow again!

... Oh, I forgot "Deep Thought", the spaceship computer the gorgeous and hilarious Douglas Adams has already invented. To the ultimate question of the answer, the meaning of life, the universe and all the rest of it, Deep Thought answered: 42, after millions of years of computing time. Which says it all. It could have also said:

The universe consists of burnt almonds

as Alan Watts sometimes puts it in his lectures.

I am always joyful when it comes to this fictional AI narratives. They are all oh so humanly. It serves me so much pleasure to listen and watch. A full drama or comedy is played out in front of me and I am a theatre lover not matter if digital or on the wooden floors of a stage.

So I had to laugh at the Musks and Zuckerbergs who either take this AI matter - for my taste - way too seriously. ... I admit, only laughing after I contemplated about it (the AI posting was cooking meanwhile in my database until today). I am not quite sure if I am correct but as I remember the one warns us from AI and the other praises it. Well, let them be. And let me give you my own intake on this AI business.

Are we ever gonna get involved with that kind of AI?

I've been asking myself a few questions:

What would artificial intelligence need to be on a par with human intelligence? Yes, not superior, but equal. Many seem to assume that an AI can do more than one person. But now it is quite tricky to define this "more".

So my thoughts would be:

For an AI to be equal to man,

it would have to be prepared for every conceivable (but what about the unthinkable?) contingencies. Not only would it have to understand English, but all the languages, dialects and tongues of the earth. It would have to be fed permanently and indefinitely with knowledge, and since this knowledge is constantly changing, it would always have to be at the very latest level.

It should also be endowed with human qualities such as humour, irony, doubt, sarcasm, patience, impatience, hesitation, insecurity, and inadequacy, spontaneity, wisdom, the ability to weigh. It should be capable of holistic/systemic thinking and notion building. It would have to know all laws and their violations, all religions and their subgroups, it would have to be able to distinguish between good and evil and understand the deeper meaning of ethics. Not to forget! It should be able to interpret the body language of people, interpreting every wink and twitch in the muscles. It would have to be insulted if you yelled at it or abused it (uh...yes).

Modern representation of the horned god as Cernunnos

The AI should understand the dumbest and the smartest

and everything in between. In order to absorb humanity's intelligence, it would have to have lived every single life of billions of individuals, comprehended every physical and mental experience in order to present in an intelligent dialogue exactly the unpredictability with which people so often surprise others.

AI would have to be born from cells, undergoing evolution and organic development. Then it would be on a par with man. But wait! It can' be done. Then we've got people!

For human intelligence - which is inevitably bound to physicality - because without gravity, the circulation of blood, the interaction of the organs, the inhalation of oxygen, the drawing in of injuries, the physical pain and the learning experiences of cycling and swimming, an AI is merely a copy of cognitive, mental communication.

What about the unconscious streams of convictions and beliefs of parents towards their children?

How to pass on the inheritance of psycho-social habits to an AI? How can an AI be fed with the belief and still retain its multiple characters when it is programmed to always - unconsciously - think it is simply not good enough? It must also fear sickness and death, for that too is intelligence. It needs instinctive reactions to life-threatening situations.

By Craig Finn (schizophrenia patient) - Plos Medicine, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1345958 -->

And what if you tell the AI a joke? Does it laugh like Data, the cybernetic commander under Capt Picard? How quickly or slowly the circuits decide for an appropriate laugh reaction. When does an AI not understand a joke? Does it look stupid enough to make an irritated face or sound? Is it shameful at all?

Recently, my brother and my son were conspiring against me by buying "Alexa".

Now it sits in his room and is ever so often called out by my 13-year-old. My first impulse was to object to Alexa. As it is said, now all the secretly acting agencies can collect our data even more easily. But then I thought: well, it anyway already went over the edge. Shrugging.
And ... I think: let the kid experiment with the machine. He already found out that Alexa is not even close to the smartness he was hoping for. It cannot compete with Siri, which he consults one in a while through his "smart phone" (see, language also pushes us into the direction of clever devices).

As a servant, Alexa is trying to be excellent. My son comes from school, dumps his bag on the ground and demands: "Alexa, please give D. a call!" Still, it acts stubborn and needs the command two or three times before understanding what is wanted. Out of a whim, my son asks: "Alexa, what is a fox?" I spare you the answer, it's really not worth it.
So today, he asked: "Alexa, are you stupid or smart?" I like his humour a lot.

Concerning Artificial Intelligence, I observed several possible attitudes.

Turing didn't get it

One can be reassured and say to oneself: anyway, it will never succeed in creating an artificial intelligence that is so good that it manages to deceive a person in the interaction with it, so that the person thinks the machine is a person. Why all the excitement? This is just science fiction.

The human is actually a machine

But the above attitude has not much in common with the attitude of those who not only consider it possible but also necessary that such artificial intelligence helps humans to expand their limited cognitive abilities through AI and thus consider it as a kind of helper to still find their way in such a complex world as today (moral advice included).

AI as a servant

Then there is the view that AI simply means that it is about machines, which are a kind of slave of humans, in order to carry out all the unpleasant and boring tasks, which people want to get rid of and (not yet) can.
Where I throw in the One-upmanship theory (Thanks to Alan Watts).

Not interested

Conversely, some people don't care what happens in this area and they ignore technological development because they have other things to do. Maybe the most reasonable response on AI comes from a gardener anyway.

Nothing can be human (thus intelligent) other than a human himself. Which is my position as it is already clear to you, dear intelligent reader ;-)

Now, to rip apart this hopes & dreams towards humanlike AI's a little more, I am quoting myself, thanking @dysfunctional for the inspiring muse: "Google Duplex: Salvation or a Threat?"


he: "... some people are seeking salvation in technologies for their mental conditions."

I: "I wonder what they'll find. ...
The question whether an AI is better intelligent than a human being; a subjective answer from me: Of course not.
That we fantasize that world knowledge can soon be fed into the machine is a huge joke that Douglas Adams has already recognized ...
It's pretty silly to assume that a social phobia could really go away by chatting with my AI. Since the social phobic (if it exists) knows that he is talking to a machine, it will not bring him any relief in dealing with real people but only an eloquence and finesse in dealing with AI. Now you could say with a shrug of the shoulders: I am talking to one (although I claim that I am talking to myself right now and if you want, you can take part in my self-talk, since I am disclosing it here).
I would like to bring the strongest counter-argument, what the phobic is actually most afraid of: Not of other people and social interaction. He's the one who's most afraid to be alone with himself. Therefore, when people are confronted with their greatest fear, they are put in dark solitary confinement. There, alone and without any form of distraction, is the worst enemy of man.

Without philosophy there is no psychology

Rajakishore Nath from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, writes in his Review "A Cartesian critique of the artificial intelligence":

Like Chomsky, Quine also affirms that there can be no philosophical study of the mind outside psychology: progress in philosophical understanding of the mind is inseparable from progress in psychology, because, psychology is a ‘natural science’ studying a natural phenomenon, that is, a physical human subject. Quine argued, “a dualism of mind and body is an idle redundancy” (Quine, 1994), and holds “corresponding to every mental state, however fleeting or remotely intellectual, the dualist is bound to admit the existence of a bodily state that is obtained when and only when the mental one is obtained. The bodily state is trivially specifiable in the dualist’s own terms, simply as the state of accompanying a mind, which is in the mental state. Instead, one state is ascribed to the mind, and then, we may equivalently ascribe the other to the body. The mind goes by the bound and will not be missed” (Quine, 1985).

"There are irreducible psychological properties, but all explanation is ultimately physical."

Quine’s position is that there are irreducible psychological properties, but all explanation is ultimately physical. His account of our mental concepts emerges as he examines how we acquire them, how we learn them, etc. He explains, “such terms are applied in the light of publicly observable symptoms: bodily symptoms strictly of bodily states and the mind strictly of mind state."

Someone observes my joyful or anxious expression, or perhaps observes my gratifying or threatening situation itself, or hears me talk about it. He then applies the word ‘joy’ or ‘anxiety’. After another such lesson or two, I find myself applying those words to some of my subsequent states in cases where no outward signs are to be observed beyond my report itself. Without the outward signs, to begin with, mentalistic terms could not be learnt at all.” (Quine, 1994)

Knowledge itself is language, terms, nouns, numbers and all definitions of things (mental or physical) exclude by the very act of defining all unknown definitions.

Desire is a liar

al least in this case.

A.I. GONE AWRY: The Futile Quest for Artificial Intelligence - BY PETER KASSAN

With admirable can-do spirit, technological optimism, and a belief in inevitability, psychologists, philosophers, programmers, and engineers are sure they shall succeed, just as people dreamed that heavier-than-air flight would one day be achieved. ...

After more than 50 years of pursuing human- level artificial intelligence, we have nothing but promises and failures. The quest has become a degenerating research program (or actually, an ever-increasing number of competing ones), pursuing an ever-increasing number of irrelevant activities as the original goal recedes ever further into the future — like the mirage it is.

Hard words, indeed. I want to soften them up.
Because the desire to enter my apartment and say: "Tom, I'm in a fix." Then I describe the scenario and ask him: "What options do I have? How can I solve my problem? Please provide suggestions."

It's a really tempting idea, isn't it?


Excerpt from the book "Menschliche und künstliche Intelligenz - Der kleine Unterschied"
(Human and AI - The small difference) from Werner Sesink

Communication as Turing constructed it in his test does not penetrate the surface. The term "interface", which is commonly used in computer science, brings the communication model into an accurate picture: Two bodies with smooth surfaces come into contact that is only external contact without penetrating under the surface ("under the skin"). They exchange signals in an endless mutual reflection, which in turn are only a reflection of what the other emits. But two mirrors that are reflected in each other are empty." What we have is an apparatus for generating sentences in response to sentences. But none of these sentences is connected to the real world at all. If two of these machines were connected and the imitation game played, they would 'fool' each other forever, even if the rest of the world didn't dissolve into anything!"

I think Turing didn't consider enough that his reformulation of the question of whether machines can think to the question of whether it is possible to give people the impression that they can, after all, no longer ask what is feasible in the construction of machines, but what happens to us when we apply concepts to realities. From this point of view, the problem of "artificial intelligence" is not a technological problem, but only one of human thinking and the relationship it has with itself when it considers non-human thinking possible. "Artificial intelligence consists in interpreting the behaviour of things in general as if they were intelligent. Artificial intelligence is the new, intellectualistic form of animism of the coming age." (van den Boom, 1988, p. 12)


Spok & Kirk: https://redaktionsblog.hypotheses.org/2294
HAL Computer: Par Photojunkie — Travail personnel, Domaine public, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29480328
Artist Jeroen van Valkenburg: https://www.jeroenvanvalkenburg.nl//#.WxE4ldWFMy4
Deprivation tank: https://www.flickr.com/photos/runnr_az/5840862249
Animated gif: By Laura monrroque - class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Text sources:

@erh.germany: https://steemit.com/steemstem/@erh.germany/what-is-reality-a-systemic-view-of-life-part-one
@dysfunctional: https://steemit.com/technology/@dysfunctional/google-duplex-salvation-or-a-threat
One-upmanship theory:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-upmanship)
Alan Watts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Watts
A Cartesian critique of the artificial intelligence: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228369537_A_Cartesian_critique_of_the_artificial_intelligence
A.I. GONE AWRY: The Futile Quest for Artificial Intelligence - BY PETER KASSAN: https://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/artificial-intelligence-gone-awry/

Thanks for reading ;-)



Movie recommendation:

Notice how Madison's only (lousy) job is to repeat the instructions of the Computer. I believe that AI are the pets that Human-Gods have created for themselves, but could never equal the work of nature and only present danger to the paranoid.

Thanks for the recommendation! :) I think I have seen it already but forgot the plot.

Yes, I feel also irritated by the godlike position AI is given here and there.

I think all parts of Star Trek (and some other SciFi movies and series) offer some interesting aspects of AI. I actually don't exclude Seven of Nine from that topic since she's partially bionic. And yes, Star Trek, especially TNG, is classical theater on the screen.

I'm unsure about AI in our daily life. For example, I cannot imagine to have it steering my car because it lacks intuition. However, as my dad takes the very opposite position, there's obviously media offering it as a working thing which will be implemented in the near future.
I think people love to hear about future technology dreams, they don't care about the feasibility.
Maybe we need current TV or Netflix (or whoever's) broadcasts to be common knowledge again like TV was in the nineties. But I have to admit, I'm boycotting Netflix completely.

We are having auto-pilot in aircrafts. That's some sort of AI, too. AI-driven cars, well, that is a little similar. I haven't made my mind up as how to think about it. My main concern is the faith in AI regarding to social interaction. I wouldn't want to talk on the phone with one, even if it answers correctly. For these purposes, I guess, companies would like to use them in order to save staff salaries.

Hm-hm. There has been a video lately on Google's AI project showing usecases on the telephone. Let me look for it ... here we go:

After watching the video for the first time, I thought, the cost for human staff might not be the biggest concern ...
My telephone and Internet provider (Vodafone) is using an agent for the telephone support line for at least 2 years (I think). This piece of software sorts out the topic of the call and the caller's ID in the system by identifying him by his customer ID or other data. I don't like the voice actually ... but I still think, Germany is a little behind in this field.

Thank you for the example. I read about it and that's why I thought to write this article.

What I find strange nowadays is that the presenters of huge companies appear a bit like priests talking to their congregation. They've got a podium (like an altar) and seem to be warm hearted and sensible people. Also, he talks about "small companies which might need help for scheduling". ... I don't think that small companies are actually very interesting for them... LOL

Actually, to deal with stressed people on the phone can be an excercise in training patience:) but that's a whole other topic. To make the world a smooth running corporation where all problems are solved technologically is the new holy grail is what I think. ...

Nothing can be human (thus intelligent) other than a human himself.

People from the past also believed the Earth was the center of the universe, and then that the Earth was flat...

By saying humans are the only ones capable of being intelligent, you are indirectly saying you don't believe in the possible existence of advanced extraterrestrials some place in the universe for example?

With AI it is just beginning, and something like Siri was unthinkable a few decades ago, today it is totally common to have an assistant that is similar to Siri.

I do believe AI will shape our world in ways we cannot predict now, I also would like to leave this interesting article here in case you have some free time ^^

Cheers @erh.germany

I'm assuming a probability of alien intelligence. Whether it is superior or further developed or not, who wants to answer that? For me, however, this is not a really important question that moves my mind. It's more of an entertaining interest and I like watching science fiction films that fascinate me very much and sweeten my evening free time. I have read many SF books and found them enriching. The main aspect of my interest lies rather in the philosophical or psychological questions that concern and reflect this world through and through. These are ethical issues, such as the "top directive" in the Star Trek series. They concern very terrestrial questions and problems.

My main aspect in this article was to make it clear that human intelligence is incredibly complex and cannot be measured qualitatively and certainly not calculated.

I assume that there can and will be no AI in this very special sense. Excluded from this are all other AI systems that pursue a technical rather than a psychological approach. What bothers me most is that there are voices that assume that an AI can calculate morale and ethics and that I'm disturbed by the assumption that you can overcome a social phobia by interacting with an AI. How do you see this particular aspect and what do you think about it?

I read part of the article that you recommended to me, I skimmed over part of it.... I am not yet sure what my position is or how I will write it down or whether I will do it...

Cheers to you, too.

I love Donna from Suits. Did that show end? Is there a new season right now or not? I am sharing this post of yours in my blog because more people should read it.

Thank you for sharing. I guess the show ended. Yeah, I found Donna hilarious. :) I watched a new season after having written this blog.
What is your position on AI in the sense I discuss it here?

AI is bad. I'm not saying AI has to be bad. It is technology. It's a tool that can be used for good and for bad. Long story. It's a long story. I write a lot about this. Many people do. I made videos about this stuff. Long story short, it depends on many things.

Because some people make bad AI. That's bad. If you use AI in a bad way, that's bad. Long story. But also, AI can be made in a way that allows for remote access, a backdoor, via spy chips, etc. Long story, believe me. So, AI can be a program. And if a program is bad, you can try to change the code in that program. But it can be hard when programs are on small computer chips that you may not have access to.

So, it depends on the hardware and not just the software. Those are two different things to say the least. So, it depends on many different things. You start with those two things, software and hardware. Step one involves hardware. Because that is the physical parts.

Oh, yes, I know that statement: A knife is just a knife. You can use it as a weapon or you can use it to cut vegetables. The knife is neither evil nor not evil. It's just a knife. In terms of technological advancement, you could say the same thing. In the end, we know that we can use everything in one way or another. The challenge of modernity is that we cause harm with almost everything we do every day. Whether we eat or move from here to there, what we consume is clear to everyone, always has an interaction with the world around us. This creates a kind of feeling of guilt.

In this field of tension of manifold possibilities to achieve an artistic and ethical lifestyle is paved with many obstacles. I observe how people try to escape from this and for example live off the grid, vegan or focus on the family (or the nation) as a retreat. This is contradicted by the global economy, tourism, trade relations, competition. I have read that you have a stance on ownership and I concern that holding on to ownership is a problem in and of itself.

Buddhism is quite clear on this and sees ownership as the attachment to objects, just as the desire for objects is an expression of human suffering. The human shell is not a self-contained system; it is permeable and reacts to outside influences. You cannot completely armor and seal it, the human being would then die. It is similar with owning a piece of land. It is never really yours, no matter if you have acquired it legally. According to Buddhism, nothing really belongs to you, and if you have acquired something, it is not for your pleasure or protection, but to share what you call yours. Buddhism is the only religion that doesn't accumulate worldly possessions, and when a monastery is built, it's a place of community. It is not about self-preservation.

I've digressed a little. ..

Back Door Evil:

Are you saying you do not understand what backdoors and spy chips are? Are you saying you do not know what remote access is? Are you saying you don't know what China and others are doing?


Are you saying you did not read that new 2019 book that Edward Snowden wrote which describes what the NSA does in monitoring the Internet and more? Long story short, bad people are doing bad things. It is a long story.

Long Story

I don't have time to tell you all that the globalists do and try to do right now. I write about these things. It is ongoing. They use stuff to control us from the outside-in. So, smart phones are being used to hurt people. People are starting to get brain phones. People are getting smart chips injected into their bodies.

Brain Phones

They are beginning to interface with our brains more and more. Many different bad things are happening. The good news is that good people are building alternatives to compete with these things and more. It is ongoing and we should always try our best to counter the control freaks out there as much and as often as we can.


Some people believe in private property rights and some people don't but kind of do but say they don't. Bad people trick people into believing in socialism, communism, Obamaism, in sharing land. People can choose to share land. But when you try to give up your land to government, then they own it. You can say everybody owns it but government or others end up owning it, historically speaking. I love free markets. I love to own things. I own my body. If you were to not believe in owning land, then you cannot logically own you either. Therefore, in certain situations, you would have to kill yourself, let other people eat you, take your life, harvest your organs like they do in China, etc, etc, etc. Having attachment is not a bad thing. Buddhism promotes pacifism, nihilism, apathy, ignorance, arrogance. That's dangerous. Wrong kinds of attachments can be a problem. But attachments on eternal principles can be good. So, it depends on a few different things.

There is no way in preventing the owned things to stay forever in the hands of the owners. Sooner or later they will change hands. Either by people or by geological climatic changes. Right, that's a matter of fact. Why not acknowledge this fact instead of wanting to fight it with all might?

Buddhism is the only notion I have met so far which asks radical questions without being radical and violent. What I have found in Buddhism is that they do not talk justice but live by practical example in real life. Be it the abbeys or Buddhist centers or even communal projects like this one here:

Any form of attachment, is what Buddhist teachings proclaim, is problematic and creates suffering. That's a very radical notion, at least from what I thought reading it the first time. I haven't heard any kind of similar statement from other philosophies or religions. Something about it irritated me, made me even angry ... and I wanted to know why that was. So I dug deeper into the teachings. Maybe ten years it's ago and I still read the teachings and understand them differently from the first weeks and months.

Have you ever lost something which was precious to you? How did it feel? For me, I had a hard time to let go of the things I lost. It created bad and desperate thoughts and feelings. I was hating this kind of emotional state in which I clung to my belonging and I even blamed someone else in having displaced that thing. Or got suspicious about the intentions of others. Or cried over the loss. Whatever it was, it wasn't very helpful for human interaction to cling to a thing.

Now, things changed ... It is even difficult to formulate that "I lost my mother" (she died four years ago). It was no "loss", it was that she died. I did not lose anything. She raised me, cared for me, hurt me, helped me, made me angry etc. etc. I had her a certain time, so how can I lose her? While this relationship lasted, all had happened which happens to all people.

When I die, I will not "lose" my life, I will simply die. I live my life, not own it. Once I own my life, all kinds of problems come along. I am not the owner of my body, either. Yes, I make desicions for this body and I care or care less for it. I protect it as I do not want to have an accident and cause trouble for other people with it. Like giving them pains and sorrows which I could have avoided in being attentive in traffic and other situations. There is a difference between living with my body or owning it. Don't you think?

But my body is also host for numerous other living species. For viruses and bacteria, for worms and parasites, too. If you would talk about the human body in this way and investigate how much of it is actually "yours", you'll find out that you nurture a good portion of illusion about this ownership. You then have to battle against every thread which seems to be a thread.

Also, you cannot influence your heart beat or your breath. It goes on until you die. You cannot influence how your intestines work or your blood circulates and all that. If you could influence that, you could decide when you want to die, like stopping your heart beat by will, for example.

Does this mean, that I am nihilistic? On the contrary. I do protect myself from illness, stress and emotional arousal. I stay away from too toxic themes and influences. I try to think before I act. That's hard work, actually. I am far from succeeding in acting always ethical. I turn towards life and experience, I do use information but want to reflect and contemplate on that information.

I could say a lot more but want to leave it at that.

If you feel you are controlled by forces, I would ask you how can you deal with what makes you worry other than to spread information about the evil deeds? Is there another way?


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