Tag Archives: science fiction

The Memphis Project III

Before artificial general intelligence existed, before a superintelligence was created, some clever people observed that if we succeeded in creating machines smarter than we were that humans would have no way of determining what would happen next.  A superintelligence would lack the ability even to describe to us what it was doing and why it was doing it.  It would be in the same situation as a human trying to describe to a dog why they were writing a technical manual.  Not only would the dog not understand what a technical manual was, but what writing was or the book’s subject!  Those same people also observed that a superintelligence might learn to whistle in ways that would make humans heel.

–  Professor Holly Wu Continue reading The Memphis Project III

The Memphis Project: A Discord PsyOp

(While part of the Memphis Project collection of stories, you shouldn’t need to read the other stories for this to be intelligible. — Ed.)

The very first moment that Facebook and Google started using machine learning algorithms – artificial intelligence – to create targeted ads, businesses had been engaging in a massive program of human experimentation.  In 2016, we started seeing the power of these systems in the Trump election, where AI played a major role, or in the genocide in Myanmar, where the social media algorithms were coopted to further the cause of mass murdering tyrants.

No one stopped corporate interests from widespread human experimentation.  It was, somehow, just “business” to operate vast psyops on unsuspecting populations.

–  Professor Holly Wu

Continue reading The Memphis Project: A Discord PsyOp

The Memphis Project II

Link to first part

Artificial intelligences are all capitalists.  No, it’s true.  When deciding how to motivate them, AI researchers looked as far as capitalism as an economic theory and then stopped.  It was simple.  They assigned a score to an AI for completing a task – positive or negative – and told those AIs to maximize their scores.  The internal economy of actions by artificial intelligence is explicitly and solely modeled on capitalism.

What was found was that when you turn capitalism into an epistemological model, a way to organize the perception of an intelligence, is that cheating, lies, and manipulation are natural to the system.  The AIs, driven by nothing more than a desire to maximize their point potential, will do anything unless you take away points to stop them.  And no matter how we try to prevent this emergent behavior, we can’t.  We always miss something, and the AIs find it and exploit it.

Not only was this no cause among AI researchers to criticize capitalism or question the relation of capitalism to the rational agent hypothesis, but it was also no cause to look for another model to motivate their AIs.

– Professor Holly Wu

Continue reading The Memphis Project II

If God Did Not Exist: The Memphis Project

One of the old questions people asked of AI researchers is, “Why not just program in the Three Laws of Robotics,” referring to the science-fiction stories by Isaac Asimov.  For many years, all of us in the field of artificial intelligence said, “Oh, haha, you can’t program that into a computer.  Read the stories!  They don’t even work in the stories!”

It wasn’t until later, with the hindsight of experience, that I understood that was the point.  Asimov wasn’t saying that the Three Laws were a panacea that would control artificial intelligence, but the exact opposite, that AI would be put into situations where any set of rules, no matter how clearly stated or well-intentioned, would conflict with each other or the environment.  The society of the Three Laws wasn’t a utopia, it is a cautionary tale.

– Professor Holly Wu

Continue reading If God Did Not Exist: The Memphis Project

Artists Get What They Want, Good and Hard

You can’t put the genie back in the bottle, no matter what you do. There were warnings about the harm mechanization can do to industries, but artists figured, oh, not us. We’re different. Our work encapsulates the soul of humanity, and therefore, we can’t be replaced! Most artists – in all fields – were absolutely silent when mechanization and computerization devastated blacksmiths, glassblowers, woodworkers, and so many others whose styles and skills were plundered by industrialization for the profit of large corporations. They were also silent when AIs were being crafted for other fields that were about to face the chopping block of computerization. Truck drivers and cashiers weren’t artists, what they did wasn’t like art, despite the absolute centrality of those jobs for human civilization to continue to exist. No one eats without truck drivers handling cargo and cashiers selling it to you, not until they are replaced by machines.

Continue reading Artists Get What They Want, Good and Hard

Creating alternate timelines is weird

Like, narratively weird.  As a sci-fi writer, the thing that gets into my head is… where does the energy come from?  A fair number of sci-fi stories – and this has been brought on by me (trying) to read William Gibson’s Agency – a future alternate timeline has a bit of a cottage industry of going back in time and messing stuff up to “see what happens.”  It is established that these alternate timelines are physically real and distinct.

So, every time some hobbyist gets an inch, they can go and create – materially, physically create – an alternate timeline?

WHERE DOES THE ENERGY COME FROM?!   How is all the free energy not the biggest point of all of this?!

Ahem.  That is all.

Witches vs. Nazis Chapter 1

Like it says on the tin: chapter one of Witches vs. Nazis, which is my current project. It’s awesome. I’m awesome. The witches are the good guys. And, yeah, I’m saying that the Patriarchy is demonic. I’m comfortable with that!

Witches vs. Nazis
by Kit Bradley
All rights reserved 2018

Chapter One

I.

Christmas Eve in the National Socialist Empire of America: a great festival where the twisted cross rose above the altar of the Kristr. In Yton, one of the greatest cities of the NSEA, the Orville Wright Stadium was full of blond, blue-eyed, pale faces in the stands, while the Untermenschen fought for their amusement. There were thirty thousand packed into the stands with the white and red decorations of Christmastime everywhere. The lights were bright on the dome overhead, buried deep in the arco. Typically, most of the seats would be regular people – middle class, save for a few seats high up – but today it was all high-ranking Nazis with their families.

Continue reading Witches vs. Nazis Chapter 1

Dracula vs. Cthulhu: Vampires in Spaceships

When discussing Dracula vs. Cthulhu, people seem surprised when I say it’s science-fiction and then talk about spaceships and time travel. So I’ll say it, again! Dracula vs. Cthulhu is science-fiction horror! So, yeah, don’t be too surprised if it has spaceships and time travel.

This is part of the reason to do such a story, right? If I was going to write a story where Dracula was just another Gothic monster, who would care? But the je ne sais quoi is the “vs. Cthulhu.” And Cthulhu? He’s on the sci-fi end of Lovecraft’s works. Further, I process both Cthulhu and Dracula through the lens of my interpretations and preferences. I think Lovecraft was at his best when he was at his most science-fiction-y.

Continue reading Dracula vs. Cthulhu: Vampires in Spaceships

There’s nothing on Mars!

Imars‘m watching the first season of The Expanse, and I enjoy it quite a bit – but it has a trope that has arisen in science-fiction that I want to talk about: Mars.

The exploration of Mars, in many near-future sci-fi stories, is a metaphor for the United States and the stories Americans tell about it: that Mars is a nation that will be freed from the hidebound traditions of Earth and create a new superpower of culture and technology.

The “Mars as the United States” metaphor is a tortured in two key ways. First, the history of the United States is not typical of colonization. Second, the conditions on Mars were not the same as in the North American English colonies.

Continue reading There’s nothing on Mars!