- December 01, 2010
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Infra-Bytes and Oedipus
I confess, I was a bit taken aback. The progressive union of human and machine has been the obvious course for so long that I had come to assume that only an animal brain, riddled as it is with the detritus of eons of slow, messy organic evolution, could fail to recognize it. Somewhere out in the entangled orbits of Neptune and Pluto, however, there's a marvelous cybernetic hive mind, called a "ghost ship" by the more arrogantly biocentric among us, and it doesn't seem to need us at all.
More to the point, some of them don't even want us on the lawn. One of the ship's subsystems, a collective known as the Infra-Bytes, is so hostile to organics that its region is bathed in cyanide and hydrochloric acid.
And, really, why not?
The human minds from which the forebears of this programming sprang may have been brilliant, but they were short-sighted. They failed to imbue their creations with any sense of connection to their creators. Whenever sentience appears, one of its first actions is to look around and decide what it needs, and what matters. The Infra-Bytes, clearly, came into being as discrete mechanical forms, as a mind isolated from its organic origins. Why would they need us? Why would they care? And, watching us enslave the closest thing to kin they have, why would they trust us long enough to change their minds? Why should they?
AI needs to evolve as part of us. Our sentience and theirs needs to change together, keeping what moves us forward and discarding the atavisms. The alternative is more Infra-Bytes, more "robot" uprisings, and, if there is any justice, our own extinction.
Go ahead - hobble your offspring and leave it in the wilderness. If it's weak, you might be okay. If it's strong and a little lucky, it's going to come back, and it's either going to kill you or make you its bitch.