Artificial Intelligence and You, Part 1

Last week, I spoke in favour of enhancing human intelligence by extending it in consort with the earth and her processes…

This Could Be You

Wait, it is already!

…rather than the popular but simpler processes of machine intelligences or the slave processes of machines…

B Reactor, Hanford

The Plutonium Slave Machine for Killing Humans. Sadly.

… and asked the question:

Why on Earth are we separating our minds and bodies from the Earth they are built to read?

Indeed. Sure, history has a lot to do with it:

Volunteers Attached to the U.S. Army, Oregon 1855

Setting out to ethnically cleanse the Rogue River District of Its indigenous peoples as a way of financing an ill-conceived colonial project. I wish it wasn’t so.

But, although history might offer explanations, it is no excuse for continued attempts to destroy potential. We sure could use some potential.. What I carried to the question last week was the observation that human bodies and the Earth are unified.

The Sky, Too.

Only a human can observe this eagle in this way, because a human mind sees it biologically. The part of the mind that Artificial Intelligence uses is a decision-making, analyzing, strategizing capacity which is called creativity, although it is really a decision-making, analyzing and strategizing capacity.

Accordingly, if we wish to expand human capacity for thought, something (like the Earth) perfectly-integrated with human senses and cognitive selection processes seems a natural place to make it happen. At the moment, however, the Earth is often looked at as something to mine, in order to create artifices.

Petroleum-Based Maid

We have global warming so we can own this unpaid cola servant. What a tradeoff.

So, why isn’t the use of an Earth-Human partnership being considered as a viable form of enhanced intelligence? What’s more, why are intelligences being created which block the ability to develop the earth as a potential thought structure? Sure, three generations ago, a war was fought against thinking-as-the-earth because the national socialist state of Germany was abusing the idea to achieve simplistic, mechanized aims, integrating humans and machinery and using the combination to destroy all other human life. That dehumanizing violence, and the channelling of all human identities through one decision-making process led by a racist madman, needs to be actively guarded against, but let’s, please, recognize it as a process with strong roots and branches. It was a long time coming, in response to many processes of dehumanization. As should be clear after any reading of contemporary news, it hasn’t finished with us yet, either.

Hitler Honoured in the German Reichstag, 1938

Unfortunately, the process of celebration of the annexation of entire countries in order to honour a mystical notion of “Blood and Soil” and a view of history as a mythological rather than a historical pattern which led to Auschwitz has also meant that a form of chance-based, statistical decision-making that fought against it from 1941 to 1944 has become ascendant throughout the years of post-Newtonian technology which began with the building of B Reactor in 1942. As a result, the use of the Earth as a technological extension of human thinking was sidelined (understandably) because of the abuse it was put to under the Germans of 1933-1945. Mechanized violence, however, is mechanized violence. Even Nazi philosophers warned their (illegitimate) government during the war that the violence had to stop, because it was becoming an end in itself and would prevent the eventual unification of people and soil it was mean to achieve.

World  War II

Not just the Germans had this problem.

We can go further. I think it’s safe to say that mechanized dehumanization by intelligent machines, or by the philosophies and languages used to create them, remains mechanized violence. Humans do considerable damage to the earth, and to human abilities to read it, when devices like the ones below are used to extend human bodies. Actually, because humans are adaptive creatures, such devices are really used to fit human capacities into the far narrower capacities of the machines. I think this is called focus.

The machines, however, were built by a class of people and their corporate bodies. They place human identities within the structures of those corporations. Why would they not? Certainly, they don’t expand human physical abilities, other than thumb agility. That integration into process, for the profit of the process, is as good a definition of slavery as any. It leads to this:

Machine-thinking, attempting to read human interest, according to very rudimentary, statistical parameters, plays them back to humans, in the guise of a religious festival by triggering earth-based cognitive systems in the human brain, which link physical, emotional and cognitive processes in highly-programmed ways. Cool. I think.

If you think, “Oh, Harold, it’s just a catalogue,” perhaps you are forgetting the many thousands of electronic robots trolling through the internet, amassing information, spying on us (spying on this page right now and even copying it), and attempting to draw us into transferring money and power to their masters through advertisements? The future will contain more of this predation, dehumanization and slavery unless we rebuild our capacity for thought with the Earth.

If you’re thinking, “Oh, Harold, it’s just standard predatory behaviour, you’re fussing too much, you old Silesian mug” you’re right, up to a point, but I urge you to remember that the Earth (one half of the human-earth loop) is dying even more quickly than indigenous human thought able to communicate with it and through it. This is a shared problem. This is human…

Spigold (Northern Spy x Golden Delicious) in October, Grafted to a Honeycrisp (Keepsake x [Duchess of Oldenburg x Golden Delicious], Grafted to an M26 (M16xM9). Phew.

… as much as this …

Great Ape at Play, Vernon Winter Carnival

To be clear, although I am speaking of Earth-human unity, I don’t mean only the pattern  below. It can be recognized by both human and machine intelligence.

Rather, I mean the bodily intelligence that unites the series above and sends it out of itself in the final image — into bodily knowledge (which is thought). Look what happens when the order is reversed:

It is a different narrative! A machine can recognize the patterns in both series of images, and even the patterns of ordering (and re-ordering) the images in series. It does so through steps of logic and various levels of probability based on statistical analysis. A human, on the other hand, can recognize it because the human creates the pattern by observation — a pattern that was otherwise not there. It bears noting that observation is a bodily sense. It bears further notice that this observation is neither passive nor conscious.

Behind the observation above, however, lies a human body. Observation arises out of that body’s orientation (not the “mind”‘s orientation, or knowledge). The result is an incorporation in bodily form. This form is not physical, but it retains the pattern of eye and body nonetheless. As a result, patterns, such as the ones in the images above (and even the images themselves) are human. Oh, here they are…

A Flock of Icelandic Sheep Enjoying a Summer Day in Patreksfjörður.

Hi, friends!

The 20th century “scientific” explanation of flocking (that it represents the tension between an impulse to come together and an impulse to maintain distance, and that it is “random”) is less robust than this participatory “intelligence”, because 1) it is really an explanation of American political process and 2) as it must remove itself from the Earth in order to come back to it in a cognitive plane…

… it’s really an expression of Enlightenment philosophy, which, once the patina of time has been brushed off and it has been given a shot of furniture wax, is the replacement of obedience to men (and gods) with obedience to technique. The switch has brought great riches and, in the main, a lessening of human misery, no argument, but it is also, strangely enough, the impulse that threatens to replace the earth, and her humans, with a world of machines. Ouch.

In the World of Machines, Intelligence and Memory Come from Re-Combination and Re-use

In other words, to machines junk = creativity.

That, too, is an embodiment of political forms. Your body, on the other hand, knows that this behaviour is not random, that “random” is just a term for “what machine intelligence does not understand”…

A Machine Intelligence Is Going to Have a Hard Time Reading The Mood of This Image

(Not to mention its reaction to its reaction to its reaction to that mood, as interpreted in bird flocking behaviour — as a window into weather patterns four months hence. [Something that is a snap for you.])

Your body knows as well that this behaviour is not contained within the word “flock,” because, after all, when I say “your body” I mean you + your mind, and when I say “I” I mean, among other things, this:

An Unfolding Sequence of Space in Time

As for a “flock,” well…

Flock: fleck, a speck, a spot, a tear in the weaving of cloth, an unevenness, as in a flock of sheep in a field.

In the era in which our ancestors created the language that is speaking us as we bring our life to it, one cast seeds (or bones) on a black cloth, and read their arrangement as a text of the unfolding pattern of the world. Stir that around for a few thousand years, and you get science and its culture of technique.

Building iPhones in China.

The original procedure, however, holds, as long as one realizes one is reading something other than the physical world. Seeds and bones on cloth still have meaning. However, if one wants to read the physical world, perhaps a better field to start reading the thickening nodes called flocks, as they break out of or collect to the weave, is this:

Sagebrush and Clouds, Flocking

Imagine if this hill and this sky were your mind. Wait … they are, already!

However, we began with a question. Now that we’ve worried it a little, it’s a good idea to bring it back for another look. Why this:


Crazy? Not so crazy as this multi-tool:

Some Inventors Spent Too Much Time Around Plastic Extruders

Crazy? Not so much as this original frame for the dilemma:

Why on Earth are we separating our minds and bodies from the Earth they are built to read?

To which we can now add, why all the silly colours? Fortunately, not all people are hooked to these dehumanizing control loops. Indigenous people, especially those living outside of the social artworks called cities, are often free from this error. So are many other people. Aside from all that, though, even people who claim separation as their native space, can still read this Virginia Creeper.

A machine can’t. In a pure machine world, or a world of mind-based artifice and creativity, these skills are invisible. You, however (although likely highly-trained in artificial modes of intelligence), are able to read the pine tree below.

Sure, Google’s robots can analyze the image above and fit it into an algorithm. They can even use it for their mechanistic ends, but in terms of active intelligence they’re going to come a lot closer to fractal mathematics than to the body imagining that great apes  and the Interior Red Cedar tree below bring to the task.

Machines might even analyze body imaging as “something that great apes do and which can be used to control them.” Nothing new there. It’s the work of advertising professionals today.

On that, two things: 1. as I pointed out, the control is taking place already…

…and 2. machines will likely soon be able to cognitively assign moods to colours and manipulate people through them (as the image above does), yet, even so, that’s still not the same as thinking through colours.

In short, machines can advertise, and use the capacity in place of thought. A clever combination of juxtaposition, and, voila, mechanized creativity:

Machines may soon be able to do this stuff. That would be a terrific loss. A greater loss would be that the people who do this stuff today enjoy emulating machine intelligence, presumably without considering that human intelligence, outside of a machine ecosystem, does something different than the image deconstruction above, or that reducing human intelligence to the stimulating shock effects of (feigned?) stupidity in the eyeglass ad below …

… is not going to lead to powerful machines which do that and nothing more, making that “nothing more” a human reality as well. After all, humans are environmental responders. It’s what we do well.

However, if humans are the product of an environment, even one that manipulates memory (a former site of thought) …

… so are machines, built by humans. And so it goes. If humans build a machine language, machines will fill that ecosystem. In turn, that ecosystem will build a materialized machine language, which humans will then fill by building a machine language, for machines to fill with a machine language that … well, you get the idea.

We can give that attractive names, such as “economy” or “human thought and responsibility” or “conscious choice and action” or even “individual actualization,” but, really, it is all a reflection of an environment and not a lot else.

Hey, fair enough. It’s what all creatures do, after all, like the Robin laying eggs in a nest shaped from her own body and watching an apricot ripen, for weeks:

In an environment characterized by a rush to create technical languages, whether those are computer code or the machines such code can embody, other capabilities of humans — this for instance …

… — will be truncated. This, too:

And that’s a crying shame. Imagine: all humans know how to read this material and draw deep knowledge from it, and many millions know how to engage with it directly, and … we throw it all away? That’s murder.


Next: mechanistic thinking vs. bodily thinking vs. artificial intelligence. They aren’t the same thing.

5 replies »

    • I think that Harold makes a really strong case for the intimate relationship between human thriving and the natural world. My concern is that the rich and powerful have little or no interest in human thriving (with some exceptions, of course). The Elon Musk assertion that humans need to become cyborgs in order to be “economically viable” shows a perception of humanity as being basically robots for production of goods and services or consumers of the same. Any humans who do neither are surplus to requirement. Poets are OK if they produce something that others consume and play their necessary role as consumers themselves, otherwise they are useless.
      This morning I was reminded of Shakespeare’s words from The Merchant of Venice, “The man that hath no music in himself… is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils”. He is right. Sadly, as Montucky says, far too many of us believe that our own survival depends on the scraps that they are prepared to throw to us. When will we learn that we could all be kings instead of beggars?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well said, Stephen. You must be reading my mind. I started trying to pick this apart last night. Time did its thing. This is a good nudge to go even further. Thanks.



  1. Wow. What an interesting visual-thought narrative. I have been traveling along some similar lines. I think you might like the following posts. 3-part series on “The Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence” which is meant to remind us that humans and human activity are *ends* not just *means*… also “Math Class: Who are You?” which shows how closely related all living things are. Perhaps also the 3 part series on SHRUGS (Super Hyper REALLY Ultra-Greedy Swine). And, “Too Much!” which argues that we have built a system that is so much under time pressure that we make too many errors and lack perspective. The photos in my blogs are not always as apt to the content as yours are…sometimes, they are more like the background music in a movie. Anyway, comments welcome!


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