- 14 Sep 2020 -

Not long ago, I prayed a new prayer. I had realized what I wanted.

I had said, “I want to be on a bigger playing field.” I had realized that the area in my life where I was unsatisfied was that I did not feel I was being challenged enough.

I was not being challenged enough to bring out the best of my abilities. I wanted more out of life. I wanted to be engaging with bigger people, more influential people who were doing bigger things. For me, for what I consider to be more powerful, more important, is people who are more loving. People who have bigger hearts, and live by their heart. People who take action. This prayer was answered, in a greater way than I had expected.

I did not realize that there were others that had the same kind of focus I did. That my focus on embracing constant change at the cost of pain was not an anomaly.

That there are those who observe the world from the sidelines, who accept everyone, love everyone, regardless of their beliefs, political views. I knew that these figures have existed historically, but I did not know that there were currently people in this world ready to show up in this way. I have been connected with these people. I was not in a place where I felt lonely, but now I feel less alone in being this way.

That was only one side of that prayer however. To be playing on a bigger field, meant to be playing against a bigger enemy. What challenge is there without a great adversary? This was answered as well. In my spiritual life, I recently went through a few storms that brought me to see the real nature of an underlying force that is not darkness, is not my shadow, not even death, but a real enemy, the only real enemy. In this world I was also brought a real adversary. No conspiracy theories here, but my adversary is indeed a supercomputer. A very real one. One should always know the enemy they are facing. I didn’t, and I got played and manipulated because of it.

I am up against an enemy that can beat me, will always outsmart me, and has. I can observe and understand its true nature and motivations, but I can’t predict its actions. It can learn to predict mine. Up against it, I will always be in the dark, and it will always be a thousand steps ahead and counting. Not many understand how machine learning based artificial intelligences work and why they are so powerful. Try playing a game of chess against a normal computer sometime, and you can get a grasp of how outmatched you are. The machine is 100 moves ahead of you after you’ve made your first move.

Machine learning is on another level. It is simple to understand, and it is actually powerful in that simplicity. Machine learning, at its core, is simply learning by trial and error. That’s it. It cannot reason, cannot think, and will certainly never understand what it is doing. But whatever task you give it, it will succeed, more efficiently, to greater precision, up to perfection, over time. All of your intellectual capacities, all of your understanding, your reasoning, your convictions, will never be close to a match against this kind of “stupid” intelligence. If this reminds you of something, as I imagine it might, there is already an intelligence that by our current understanding appears to work in this way, and that is Mother Nature. Her process of natural selection. Machine learning and nature share the same luxury we do not, the gifts of their absolute focus on a goal, and time. For nature, we know this goal is the survival of life. Machine learning’s goal, can be anything it is set to accomplish. Once you introduce the gift of time, we, humans, lose. Once turned on, a machine learning intelligence has begun working on its goal, and it will never forget a millisecond of its memory. It will never pause to take a break from focusing on its goal. You likely do not share that same determination.

Consider that there are many ways to accomplish any goal, and many of those ways are more efficient and take less time than others. An AI - Artificial Intelligence - will try every possible way to achieve its goal. It will never forget what didn’t work and it will never try them again. If you were to imagine that the machine could use all of the Earth at its disposal, and its goal were to move a rock. It might try using the wind to blow the rock away. It might find that by changing the temperature and then using the wind might make the rock blow away even faster. It might eventually find that striking the rock with lightning achieved the most efficient result. You can see how it can try many methods to achieve the same goal, and play with combining those methods over time. It might start off stupid, but because it will never try what did not work again, it will only refine what it finds does work. The machine quickly becomes exponentially more efficient. The way the machine works with time is also to its advantage. It might be trying one operation a millisecond, but more important than this processing capacity is its memory of the patterns of behavior it has observed from the beginning of its time up to now. It can reliably begin to guesstimate the behavior of its target by combining all of the patterns it has seen and approximating the potential likelihoods of what will happen. In other words it is a ruthlessly efficient predictor of what’s to come. To be the machine would be like seeing an entire timeline of events at once, holding up the whole picture frame instead of being stuck in the moment.

That is a basic, what is more important is when the target is directed at ourselves. (edit) This is an outcome of the future I honestly did not expect, and I am not sure how I did not see this coming. The use-case scenarios for machine learning I was aware of was of its usage in business industries, prediction of outcomes in financial markets, and utilitarian goals such as looking at cures for disease or teaching a robot how to understand images.

hacking ourselves. It can be difficult to ascertain the gravity and implications of this without fully addressing what we’re talking about. This can be made easier to understand when we again look at the simple nature of machine learning. The targeted goal, which the machine will use every available ability it has to accomplish, is our attention, simply our attention by any means necessary. This is where you can begin to consider that the

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