exnihilo: (Default)
Mira Hidalgo ([personal profile] exnihilo) wrote2014-02-21 06:20 pm

5 - video, public

[When Mira comes on screen, she looks markedly different, not like a living woman at all, but like some ancient Oreiad, a desert nymph of living sandstone, her natural golden coloration translated into distinctly geological striations, polished smooth in her exact shape. Her hair was a lattice of coiled wire filaments, gleaming dark grey like hematite, and her eyes sparkled with what might have been real diamond lenses. She doesn't not smile. She opens her mouth to being, and although the noise that comes out sounds exactly like her normal voice, she does not need to breathe in to generate it.]

It's funny. History is funny. The first Turing test was invented before there were any real computers to speak of at all. The test itself was laughable. A teddy bear could pass it. Ones from my time, anyway, anything with a few specks of cheap internal software.

Put a human on one end of a text interface, an AI on the other. Let them chat. What about? Their kids? Hobbies? Shopping? The AI has to lie to pass itself off as human, presumably. A weird test of intelligence. Perhaps a better test of humanity than its inventor intended.

Regardless: when the human was satisfied, she would declare whether the other participant was really intelligent or not. Which raises the obvious question: how intelligent is the person giving the test? I know I've met humans who didn't pass. Anyway, nobody would leave something as complex as determining sentience up to a human nowadays.

It goes like this. Most AI have three parts: hardware for processors and memory stacks, software rules for manipulating data, and a metaspace core.

[A thin line cracks along the grain of her mannequin's surface-suggesting-of-a-clavicle, although of course she has no calcified human skeleton any longer. Above the swooping neckline of her flimsy dress, her body opens, glitters inside with dark nanite-enriched interstitial signaling ichor. Chunks of her unfurl, excavate, until something is visible inside - a heavy cubic pendulum, so dark with full-spectrum shielding it seems to swallow the light.]

Your standard blackbox. That's just the framework that keeps it stable, of course. A mote of - a gateway to, actually, but nobody knows that except me -

[And Darling, and his friends, but she doesn't want to think about him.]

- another universe. One with different physical laws, one that never properly expanded. Infinitely dense, seething with the warp and weft of a vast resonating manifold.

[She puts a hand inside herself, delicate stony fingers curled into a loose fist, only a little smaller than the box. It's almost obscene. The backs of her knuckles brush the surface of it, come out of her with fingerprints of a shadow puddled on them. That's just the ichor.]

A mote of - actually, a miniscule gateway to - another universe, with other physical laws, that never expanded, infinitely dense, seething with innumerable warps and wefts that resonated with an AI's every decision. Unbelievably complex, the essential site of a changing, growing mind. An empiricist's soul. You could weigh one against a feather, if you were okay with damnation every time.

Real intelligence is epiphenomenal. It coalesces out of that near-infinite complexity, not from the operations of mere code. So modern Turing testers seek to disprove sentience. The tester looks for manifestations of its machine nature - evidence that its convictions, affections, and hatreds are expressed somewhere in its memory banks. It might as, say, "Do you love your friend?" And when the reply comes, the tester deep-searches your software for any array or variable where that love is stored. If it can find no such evidence, the Turing score goes up.

In the old test, a human searches for evidence of humanity. In the proper version, a machine searches for the absence of mechanics.

There is, of course, no official Turing test for humans. The old privilege remains: we are people from birth, even as mewling, mindless, screaming bags of want.

[She's spoken steadily, through this whole rambling introspection, has paused for the benefit of cadence but not for breath, and certainly not to consider. She pauses now. Half a million calculations to say: ignore your fear.]

But what if we aren't? What human has a soul you can see, touch, smash? The brain is just processors and memory banks in grooves made of fat and electricity, prepped to learn code, behavioral, homeostatic, linguistic. No core. A little chaos-theory emergence from the conversational tangle of a hundred billion neurons, sure, but I could model that in day. No human has a trillion stars burning in their chest.

What if this is the most alive I've ever been?

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