When I mentioned yesterday that Elon Musk was an example of Artificial Intelligence, I meant nothing derogatory. He was present because he champions Artificial Intelligence, and I wanted to point out that, as a human, and especially a human in a modern individual culture, he was in fact a special kind of artificial intelligence himself, which is to say a biological artifice, evolved in response to the intelligence of its environment. To that artifice has been added his social self — the one that can propose building a colony on Mars. It too lives within a long-evolving social intelligence, or environment. The point was to remove intelligence from discussions of social value or class — to acknowledge that Einstein and the Yakama women serving beer and burgers in the burger shack in Toppenish, Washington are all equally intelligent. They differ only in terms of the artifices given to them and which have set within them due to their formative experiences. We are malleable stuff. My unfolding argument is that intelligence belongs to the earth, and that artificial intelligence (AI) is not solely a function of copying a certain set of skills at a certain type of logical manipulation and applying them in technical environments. I find it hurtful to think that people are being judged on such social constructions, and subjected to such dominations of class and capital. I find it dangerous as well to consider that AI is currently being developed as an extension of such constructions, although the field is wide open and many other artifices can, and should, be made. I believe that ones that are especially promising are ones that integrate human artifice with true intelligence: the Earth. This conversation will be expanding intermittently over the next few weeks, but for today I’d like to add the point that as an artifice working within artifices, AI is dependent upon the system in which it is embedded. It is, in fact, a response to that system, and a part of it. If the system were removed, AI would flounder and die. In other words, without the intelligence of its environment, AI would have no life (just as without the Earth, humans would have none either.) To me, that’s a red flag. It signals that “intelligence” as a kind of logical or creative reasoning is not quite the independent thing it is advertised as. This observation should give us all hope. Athough it does illustrate clearly just how much power the creator of a dominant artifice has, it also illustrates not only the weaknesses of the artifice but also some avenues that can be used to dominate it. In other words, we need not be slaves to AI. Here in the Plateau, powerful AI has been used for many thousands of years. The tech is often ignored, because its workings have been sorely mis-read, but it remains available to us, as do thousands of other possibilities. For you to contemplate, as we move forward with confidence as free humans, I offer you Buffalo Eddy, on the Snake River.
Soon we’re going to have to talk about slavery, but right now let’s honour the Nez Perce, who saw even the glaciers come and go.