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Godlike Simulacrum:
The Hyperreal Minds of Sentient Machines

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Dwayne M. over at Weber's Polar Night poses an interesting question today, one which has me reaching for my Baudrillard with gusto:

From Wikipedia...

Colossus: The Forbin Project is an apocalyptic science fiction movie based on the 1966 novel 'Colossus' by Dennis Feltham Jones. It tells of a massive defense computer which becomes sentient and decides to take control of the world....

From Weber's Polar Night...

Watching this film my question has always been (more a thought experiment than a question really) what impact would the rise of Colossus have on religious expression around the world? Would it be seen as the fulfillment of some prophecy, the enemy of God or perhaps, a new God .... What forms of religiously inspired resistance would arise in response to Colossus' ascension?
Which illusion should one examine first?

How can we hope to draw the line separating man, machine and God when the world we strive so hard to manufacture into existence in turn becomes incorporeal by our doing so? Simulation - or simulacrum - is such a powerful, over arching concept, perhaps the idea itself is the God we should all be making praise toward.

Maybe, as if the apes were asked to contemplate the nature of their evolutionary offspring (i.e. us), it is impossible for the human to concretely conceptualise the hyperreal mind of the sentient machine. Only the machine will be capable of an understanding which it can wield to supersede itself as a mere simulated entity:

"As soul is to man, man is to machine: It is the added dimension in terms of functional hierarchy. As one of us acts godlike (gives his cloak to a stranger), a machine acts human when it pauses in its programmed cycle to defer to it by reason of a decision.

But still, we must realize that the universe although kind to us in its entirety (it must like and accept us, or we would not be here; as Abraham Maslow says, "otherwise nature would have executed us long ago") does contain grinning evil masks which loom out of the fog of confusion at us, and it may slay us for its own gain."

- Philip K Dick,
Man, Android and Machine

And so, as Dwayne touches upon in his original post, it is the sense in which the machine is becoming 'Godlike' that should most interest us. For that which becomes God of the simulated realm will grow to control all the hyperreal realities it encapsulates.

The possibilities send me reeling in insanity...

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