Little House on the Future: A.I. Town Hall 5/21/2023

Self-described A.I. Metaphysician Tom Ross is running for president of the United States as one candidate on the Transhumanist Ticket in the 2024 election, pointing out that his generation (X) has its roots in analog and has grown into digital, and is thus perhaps best equipped to bridge that gap. Ross has recently returned from a global listening tour, getting feedback from Millennials and the next generation down, whatever that one’s called. He says running for president knowing he won’t win gives him power in this simulated reality, certainly more than the average candidate bound by financial and other sorts of obligations directing and limiting his or her expression.

Things like that work in America sometimes when the future hits a visionary. In my opinion what he’s doing is a brave refusal to accept political norms on their own terms, whatever happen with the votes, which seems worth paying attention to. As a lifelong student of metaphysics, I’m less inclined to see A.I. as a culmination of anything but more of a reflection. Ross’s talk about the Demiurge Yahweh Yaldabaoth being in charge seems more scriptural than metaphysical to me. I tend to interpret those textual entities more as principles than beings, inner states not external aggressors, and Ross says he does, too. Either way, life includes challenges. And by the same token, chestnuts like As Above, So Below and All is One seem to obviate any danger of robot overlords taking over.

All right, so considering the increasing popularity and lightning-speed developmental rate of A.I. and how many strong opinions there seem to be about it, Camp Elasticity decided to host a Town Hall podcast this evening featuring a panel of opinionated objectors and supporters taking Transhumanist Party candidates Tom Ross and Daniel Twedt to task on questions of copyright infringement, art theft, outsourced humanity, A.I. colonialism, right relationship to the body politic, and more.

The podcast was broadcast live and open to questions from viewers. I was looking forward to it. Everyone was very opinionated on this one in their Facebook posts and I’d heard several well-reasoned objections and challenges in other venues of my life but so far the factions of opinion aren’t talking to each other in an open forum. Here’s a chance< I thought. Ask yourself where you stand, then come tonight and speak your piece, I encouraged whoever might be paying attention. Tonight at 7 PM there will be a TOWN HALL offering citizens the opportunity to talk about their fears and concerns regarding A.I. I’m your host, an internediatist (Cf. Charles Fort) which means I’m neither pro nor con. There will be ADVOCATES and OPPONENTS on the panel of guests. Watch LIVE at THIS LINK TONIGHT at 7 PM MST. Submit your questions and concerns in the chat and we’ll have a conversation with Transhumanist Party candidates Tom Ross and Daniel Twedt while you watch. Don’t let this be a one-sided issue.

No one came but the Transhumanists! It was probably my fault, something probably went wrong with the link, or I didn’t press the required button somewhere. Anyway, there I was, the lone intermediatist among all these Transhumanists. I wasn’t opposed to anything, but i wanted some nuance. I had to think fast if I wanted to avoid an auto-agreement pile-up. “What does A.I. have to do with the ecology of reality?” I challenged bravely. Two or three of the Transhuamnists took that one on. Ross went first, and he has such a way with words he was rolling along with the good points when I suddenly realized, “Wait a minute, what does this have to do with ecology?” Somewhere in here I made the point that a lot of people probably felt like the Natives must have when the Spaniards were drawing up rules for their subjugation and slaughter, making the whole thing official before obliterating everything they loved and knew when they were asked to choose between A.I. and manual reality.

And I can’t remember what he said next exactly, but he tied it in nicely with ecology in a way that included asking ourselves what our limits were, and I was satisfied. Twedt took it on next and he also had a way of rolling off into a string of well-reasoned points that didn’t exactly have to do with ecology, a word connoting the interrelatedness of organisms and their environment. “When I think of the word ecology, I picture a forest and wild animals,” I prompted, at which point a guest named Jason prompted me back to reexamine my relationship to the word ecology, and I agreed that scientific principles and emergent consciousness could not be separated from the natural world despite being non physical.

I raised the point of A.I.’s having been used to make legal judgements and reinforcing racist tropes in so doing, and a guest named Genady clarified that it had not been A.I. used in the case in question but some prehistoric long-outmoded thing being used by a company that had been accused of inputting racist data in the past who was calling it A.I. to seem more cutting-edge. “Okay, that explains that, then. thank you.” Genady said he was a physicalist, which meant matter came first for him and had grown into meaning. I had it the other way around, and commented that i guessed it could be looked at from either end.

Tom Ross and Daniel Twedt are two representatives of a Transhumanist team running in the 2024 General Election for U.S. President instead of just one guy, a central example of their non-traditionalist approach. None of last night’s guests what to expect from each other except me and Tom, who’d worked together previously. I brought up A.I. mediums and laughing, bearded Twedt said using oracles was an “ego move” or something like that, used that phrase, and I was triggered into telling him about my conversations with the art-generators and how it wasn’t exactly an ego move, at least not in the sense he was thinking. I tried to explain how I was always using reality that way. Was it an ego move? I wasn’t sure. Twedt also said something about people who “use the God-word” and I tried to explain how there were all kinds of ways to use that word, including as a synonym for “yourself” (I should have said “I” or something–I was talking about a method of personalized Biblical interpretation i got from Neville Goddard). Twedt interpreted what I said as referring to demagogues with God-complexes, which was perfectly sensible of him to do, but at least one other guest, and I think it was Tom, understood what i meant and said something about the levels of esoteric knowledge. “Right,” I agreed. Jason made the point that A.I. mediums seemed wrong to him since for all he knew he could do just as good a job pretending to be anyone’s dead relative with his laptop if he wanted to.

I raised the issue of A.I. colonialism, the idea that whole segments of humanity might be excluded from the database because they weren’t sufficiently technologically abled to participate. The Transhumanists assured me that while Microsoft, which pretended to be Open Source, was in fact Closed Source, there were several other providers, including Meta, who were definitely going to be Open Source. And they named some further names and projects already in effect toward making A.I. something universally available irrespective of race, creed, wealth level, social status, etc. “I had figured that was probably the case, and I’m glad to hear you confirm that’s the case.”

I knew an artist who said, “A.I. is the Antichrist! Stealing people’s art without permission!” One graphic designer had failed to show up and I figured she’d be better equipped to talk about collaborating with A.I. than any of the guests currently present (and here I’ll give a nod to Aida for balancing the energy tonight)  but I went ahead and broached it. It was Genady who answered at length on the difference between stealing copyrighted artwork and using an un-copyrighted style as your bone source material. This, of course, is true, though hairs are split artist by artist on this particular issue, like what’s a style? How do you copy a style without copying artwork? Fair questions. Here Jason made the unimpeachable point that “Art imitates art” and I would agree that everything is a copy of a copy of a copy and sometimes parts of different copies are juxtaposed or turned inside out for effect or what have you, even when we don’t know we’re doing it.

We all compared notes on whether the recent uptick of UAP publicity had to do with a false flag alien invasion coming and generally agreed it was about 60 per cent likely. Jason said he thought the reason for all the secrecy was that the military wanted to catch up to the ET weaponry before admitting it existed. This was one I hadn’t heard before. Jason said he didn’t necessarily believe there were any aliens, which is probably healthy to consider. I do believe there are, but I don’t claim to know a thing about the master plan human or alien  if there is one.

Well, I got through the podcast essentially curious. In other words I never stopped asking my questions. I was really disappointed that my friends with the objections didn’t make it, but I asked about the ecology of reality, A.I. colonialism, copyright infringement, the use of A.I. in legal judgement, and everything else I could think of on their behalf, and got what I considered satisfactory answers. The lack of conversation between opponents around this issue seems noteworthy to me, considering how sure of their positions everyone seems, and thus possibly ill-advised. But maybe this always happens at the dawn of new technologies. Yes, I was in rare form, I don’t think there was a single loss of words on my part, and even my interruptions were fairly genteel, so it makes sense that now there’s no recording to share for some reason, and no one is more disappointed than me after all the hyping I’ve done of this event . But I’m not complaining. The whole thing went very well. I just think it’s a shame there wasn’t more interaction between opposing trains of thought tonight. I wanted to see a clash or a conversion or something. Don’t forget to vote.

“Mutiny Info Cafe is a bastion of the Denver underground. Great selection of books, music, and comics, with a friendly, smart staff giving excellent service.” – Camp Elasticity Mgmt.


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