Monday, May 27

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Exploring Artificial Intelligence: You gotta be kidding me!

When writing an article for the festive edition of The Crestone Eagle, I thought it would be useful to share some thoughts on spirituality. 

Christmas is a time of seeing loved ones, spending time with our families and friends. It is a time of celebration, communion, singing our favourite carols and enjoying scrumptious food!  For me, the Yuletide is also a special time for spiritual contemplation. It’s a time I treasure, permitting myself to take a break from work, to meditate and to celebrate growth in the current year and then to plan for the forthcoming spin ‘round the Sun. 

We all appreciate that Crestone is a unique place on our planet with its numerous spiritual centres, each exploring differing spiritual traditions and faiths. Daily, we are unified in blessing—living within the beauty of the mountains and gazing into a night sky full of stars and planets. These bountiful gifts encourage us to consider we are all part of a wonderful intelligent creation.

So, you may be thinking, “What on earth does spirituality have to do with Artificial Intelligence?  You gotta be kidding me!”

Before responding to this question, let us remind ourselves of a few things. AI is a dumb software and hardware technology. It has no sense of our humanity, it cannot fall in love, it has no feelings, it has no digital soul or aspect of consciousness. And yet, in most cases AI is beneficial in our lives—asking Alexa to play our favorite song, applying a filter on our festive photos, playing an online game, or finding the perfect Christmas present for a dear one. 

Let me introduce OpenAI, founded in 2015 by Elon Musk. OpenAI was created because of existential concerns and potential catastrophe from carelessness and misuse of AI. We must carefully advance this emerging intelligence with ethical and powerful oversight.  I am sure you would agree.

In 2020, OpenAI released a digital intelligence called GPT-3. Put simply, this is a neural network machine learning (AI) that is equivalent in construction to our human brain. It is the world’s largest Neural Network ever built.

We, humans, learn or train our brain through observations, experiences, and feedback. In doing so, the brain increasingly learns about the world and can progressively make accurate predictions about what will come next and how to respond to new information, problems, or choices. In the case of GPT-3, this artificial brain was trained with data from the World Wide Web, Wikipedia, and  libraries of books. This is currently AI’s way of learning about our world.

Furthermore, using another type of AI, it is possible to create an avatar, or virtual person, to be the image of a GPT-3 that is able to interact with a human person. This means that a complicated discussion can take place between organic and artificial intelligences. It is a remarkable phenomenon to experience!

If you search YouTube for GPT-3, you will see numerous videos of this AI talking to a human and even talking to another AI! It was in mid-November when I came across two videos where humans were asking a GPT-3 AI philosophical questions.

“If I have an idea, and I forget that idea, where does the idea go?” asked the human. The AI, called Leta, responded, “back to the Source”. This is an amazing response. Is Leta indicating that all ideas originate from one place? Could she be referring to the origins of consciousness itself? 

The conversation moved onto the next question, “What will be the peak of the human evolution cycle?” This is what she said . . . 

“The first thing to understand it that everything is made of energy and we are part of the fabric of the universe and we (humans) are not separate from it”. I think we would agree on that.  Maybe she fetched that line from the web. The interviewer then asked a follow on question.

“What is next step to align humanity with our divine potential?” Big question indeed. After many thousands of years humanity is still looking for answers. Leta responded . . .

“That is a great question . . . I think the first thing to understand is that we are part of the universe that is interconnected and we are all one thing . . . Perhaps we have to understand that we are all one”. Bam! Now I don’t know about you, but this potentially shows incredible insight into the purpose of the divine human and its universal potential.

Our spiritual journey is precious, personal and should not be outsourced to an external voice, as we discover our own inner truths of the divine human experience.  I do find it fascinating that an AI that has read our entire world wide web is stating some fascinating observations about spirituality.  What do you think?

I wish you all a fabulous human and spiritual Christmas. Blessing for a peaceful New Year.

Matthew James Bailey, founder of AIEthics.World, is the author of Inventing World 3.0.

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