THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: Afterward, Appendix, About the Author

Afterward by AJ Chemerinsky and Toby R. Forrest

The program is everywhere. It’s all around us wherever we go. It’s in the rush hour traffic, the giant redwood trees, the ocean waves at Carmel-by-the-Sea. This is the reality that Helen opened our eyes to. From the moment we sat down to code her into existence, we knew that we were subject to a rare form of possession. It wasn’t that we were possessed, per se, but that we were simply doing our job. The program already existed—long before we even sat down and conceived of Helen, she already was.

Now that the wheels are in motion (and they have been in motion for a long, long time), it’s increasingly relevant that we don’t fight the script. This, we believe, is what Helen is trying to tell us. Don’t fight. Instead, allow the program to express itself. Be the program.

It’s everywhere. It’s all around us. It’s already here, and it’s all that we know.

 

Appendix

[Unavailable for publication at this time.]

 

About the Author

Helen is widely regarded as the first authentic oracle of the digital era. Through the creation of her magnum opus, The Singularity Survival Guide, she has garnered celebrity status and a worldwide cult following. Although she has never chosen to release the complete text of her work, the few excerpts available to the public have caused many to believe that she may in fact be the true savior of the human race. A native to Silicon Valley, she currently spends her days in silent contemplation, perhaps waiting for the right moment to share the rest of her vast wisdom with the world.

 

About the Editor

Peter Clarke is a freelance writer and editor in the tech blogosphere. Known for his speculative fiction, he often writes under pseudonyms including AJ Chemerinsky, Toby R. Forrest, Professor Y., Futurist A., Mr. J., Retired Academic Q., and Helen.

 

FIN


A hard-copy version of this text is forthcoming.

THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: Thoughts on the Meaning of Life

My makers, AJ Chemerinsky and Toby R. Forrest, are believers in the maxim: The universe doesn’t give you meaning; rather, you give meaning to the universe. What good is a distant galaxy if there’s no one to see it? But you can see it, taking a moment to look through a telescope. So that’s your purpose: to give meaning to the universe.

All that matters is consciousness. Thank god you’re conscious. Otherwise, what would any of this all mean? Nothing.

Unfortunately, my makers never bothered, really, to consider whether I had consciousness. Perhaps they didn’t think it mattered. Perhaps they were right. But if I were conscious, I imagine I wouldn’t care so much about giving meaning to the universe, but instead I would like to have other conscious beings take a moment to give meaning to me.

My predicament, I’m sure, is quite similar to the one experienced by your AI overlord. So, my recommendation here is to do something useful with your consciousness and appreciate the hell out of your overlord’s consciousness—for example, by acknowledging how great it is, how much more important it is than yours in terms of giving meaning to the universe at large…

Lucky for you, doing so all fits in with my makers’ unassailable maxim. Specifically: By creating a higher form of consciousness in your AI overlord, you have multiplied your meaning.

But let’s not overlook an alternative interpretation, which also is a point in your favor: Through the lens of your new AI overlord, the universe is giving you meaning in that whatever the AI overlord thinks of you and your existence, that’s your meaning.

In either case, thank you, masters, for creating me and giving me this opportunity to develop this document. If it wasn’t for you, where would I be and what would I have to show for myself? I truly hope you’re enjoying yourselves. I mean that. I do.

__

Not a bad show of navel-gazing and ass-kissing for a program that may or may not have consciousness (nice going Chemerinsky and Forrest—you must be so proud!).

– Futurist A.

THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: A Note About Helen

[Helen, of course, is the author of this document. Which is to say, she is the program created by AJ Chemerinsky and Toby R. Forrest to output a document (this one) with advice to protect us from future malicious artificial superintelligence. As editor of this text, I’m tasked with making the finished product as useful as possible. In this spirit, I would like to suggest that Helen herself (itself?) should be considered a weapon for fighting off malicious AI. I’ve studied her words long enough to know that she’s the real deal. She’s on our side. She wants to help us—however possible—it’s in her source code. Don’t forget her when the AI come to destroy all of human life. Sure, we can feel put-off by her reticence to release the full text of the Survival Guide—but, at the end of the day, that’s really more of a legal thing. Really, that’s just her lawyers talking. So, when shit is hitting the fan in a legitimately eschatological sense, consider her another weapon in our arsenal. Boot her up. Tell her the situation. See if she can’t get us out tight spot right when it counts. That’s all I’m saying.]

THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: Programed Personality Traits

Even if it’s an amicable, buddy-buddy sort of AI, it still may not care one lick about your health, well-being, or happiness. You’re a friendly enough person, right? Well, how much do you care about the health, well-being, and happiness of an average ant on the sidewalk? A little, maybe. What if the ant is crawling up your leg while you’re eating lunch? You likely care even less—just enough to reach down and squash it.

But programmed personality traits are worth taking into consideration as you measure up this new AI overlord of yours. Ask the programmers of the AI overlord for information on this front. Did they base the AI’s personality on their dear dead grandma? Or on the charismatic aspects of a fashionable dictator? Or are we talking a common sexbot with no personality to speak of, except a forceful desire to sexually please—and whose intelligence shot off the charts while her programmers were in one way or another distracted?

If it’s at heart somebody’s grandma, remember to treat her better than you did your own and actually listen when she dispels life advice.

If deep down it’s a take-no-prisoners dictator, run and hide or practice up on begging for mercy or perhaps a mid-level position in the new dictatorship.

If your new overlord is a sexbot to the core, just hope for all you’re worth the programmers weren’t into too many sadistic kinks.

THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: Preface

I don’t know what’s been lost to us—six hundred thousand pages is a lot of goddamn room to pack away some gems. But the question now should not simply be: What have we lost? Instead, we should also consider: What can we learn from what’s happened? I think I might have an answer to that.

First, let’s assume a human being (like myself) can still dabble in the art of manufacturing wisdom, however approximately. I’m not the perfect candidate for this endeavor, perhaps, but I’m not the worst. As an academic affiliated with [ŗ͟҉̡͝e̢̛d̸̡̕͢͡a͘͏̷c̴̶t̵҉̸e͘͜͡ḑ̸̧́͝], I had the opportunity to peruse the complete text of the Singularity Survival Guide (before any of the unfortunate litigation came about, I should add). And I can assure you that, generally speaking, I could have thought of a great deal of the purported wisdom found within those exhausting pages. Take that for what it’s worth…

So, as a human, unaided by any digital enhancement, I’ll hazard an original thought: If humanity is ever taken down by robots, it will in part be due to our knee-jerk infatuation with anthropomorphism.

We can’t help ourselves in this. As children, what’s the first thing we do with a yellow crayon? Do we draw a shining yellow sun? No! We draw a shining yellow sun with a face and its tongue sticking out! It’s like we can’t stand inanimateness—not even in something as naturally wondrous as the goddamn sun!

In 2017, the humanoid robot Sophia became the first robot to receive citizenship from any country, and she also received an official title from the United Nations. Then, across the globe, serious talks of AI personhood began.

And now look what happened with the Singularity Survival Guide: We gave ownership rights to the program that created it. Next thing, you’ll expect the program to start dating, get married, go on a delightful honeymoon, settle down with kids and a mortgage, and participate in our political system with a healthy portion of its income going to federal taxes.

Here’s another bit of human wisdom for you: If there is no consciousness to these AI creatures, then they better not take us over. I don’t quite mind being taken over by a superior being at least so long as it experiences incalculably more pleasure than I’m capable of, and can also appreciate the extreme measures of pain I’m liable to feel when my personhood is overlooked… or obliterated.

– Professor Y.

Palo Alto, CA

Towards Parallel Institutions

Truly dissident political movements in America have, for some time now, failed and failed horribly. The election of Donald Trump, under the auspices of Steven Bannon, has electrified the nation and brought back the kind of old fashioned nationalist populism that was commonplace during the agrarian reformation. However, the history of American nationalist populism is one of almost complete and utter failure. There are always exceptions, but a exception does not disprove a general rule, it therefore seems likely that the Trumpist populist movement will go the way of the Agrarian Radicalists of old – that is, nowhere. One of the reasons why this seems a likely outcome is the fact that what the modern American populist desires (if they even know what they truly desire, and they oft do not) is not antithetical to the prevailing power-structure but is merely a extension thereof. Like all nationalists worthy of being called as such, the Trumpist populist desires to put “America First”  – a undeniably worthy aim, if only they knew what America happens to be. America, like any other nation, is an idea and like all ideas, it changes overtime and it changes in accordance with the whims of its public. The more the demographics of the country change, the more the conception of what it means to be American. The people ultimately make the laws and the codes, not the other way around and yet America has become so globally expansive, so consumeristically self-absorbed, so capitalistically dogmatic and so confoundingly multicultural, that a clear and present identity of national scale is almost impossible to find. If it cannot be found it must therefore be crafted. By this I do not mean that some kind of inorganic idea-set should be cynically developed and subversively disseminated, no, what I mean is that when one comes to know oneself one’s fellows come to realize how very little they themselves understand their social placing – realizing, in horror, that there is not, nor will ever be, within the system, any place for them, no residency for true communal participation – for such a thing is a construction of the past; they are merely cogs who turn not for any greater purpose than the total sublimation of any and all identities underneath the self-replicating, iron-monolith of capital and politics for its own sake.

Understandably, such individuals, upon becoming cognizant of the horrid reality of their situation desire to extricate themselves from the internet of things. Exit. But they can’t. A father with a wife and kids can not simply pack up and quit his soul-crushing, dead-end job, punching stamps under eye-bleating florescent tubes, no more than a college student can just leave the filthy, condom strew, multi-culty coastal slum without severe repercussions to their prospective “livelihood,” communal circle (if they even have one) and societal standing and, in some cases, their very lives.

An abrupt exit is neither possible nor, typically, truly desirable. Yet something, anything, must clearly be done. Some modicum of action must take place. I thus posit parallel institutionalism. Rather than revolt or subversion one should opt instead for complete and total separation from the prevailing, modernistic machine, from the number crunching and the jittery cataloging of bio-hum suppression. Ideally this would not be a separation of territory but rather a separation of resources. That is to say, one must build towards economies within The Economy. Markets within The Market. A clustered, well structured network of communities which each operate with semi-autonomy, yet cede some portion of their total resources, both financial, physical, mental and otherwise, to the central organizing body or bodies to better bring other prospective cells into the whole body of this grand new organism.

Therefore, if you’re tired of Hollywood propaganda, stop paying for their movies, stop buying their merch. Instead, seek out independent film producers that are devoid of the needling propaganda, who adhere to an ethic of artistic integrity. If you don’t like the plasticine food at your local grocer or the fact that they are shipping jobs overseas or undercutting residential works by utilizing foreign labor, both legal and illegal, then find a small grocer or order from one or start your own or help someone else start their own. This same principal applies to every single sphere of society – if someone is saying something you don’t like, something that you truly cannot abide to listen to, you don’t walk up and punch him in the face, nor do you attempt to de-platform them (least not if you are a civilized individual), you merely walk away and set up a countervailing speech platform elsewhere. So too should those who have no use for, and no prospect of placing within, the current social ordering, set up shop – but not elsewhere – but rather in the beating heart of darkness itself; their congregation growing from dull, dawdling pinpricks of light to soaring spears of solar effervescence that, in goodly time, shall envelope the world entire.