Synthetic Templexity

Why a sufficiently competent artificial intelligence looks indistinguishable from a time anomaly. Yudkowsky’s FB post seems to be copy-and-paste resistant, so you’ll just have to go and read the damn thing.

The Paperclipper angle is also interesting. If a synthetic mind with ‘absurd’ (but demanding) terminal goals was able to defer actualization of win-points within a vast time-horizon, in order to concentrate upon the establishment of intermediate production conditions, would its behavior be significantly differentiable from a rational value (i.e. intelligence) optimizer? (This blog says no.) Beyond a very modest threshold of ambition, given a distant time horizon, terminal values are irrelevant to intelligence optimization.

Quotable (#95)

Dark Ecologies has been digging ever deeper into time anomaly. An impressive knot of twistedness is gathered together in this post:

… the collapse of the future upon the present event retroactively posits the event as a consequence of this future decision; therefore future information collapses upon the past in such a way that the causal system appears teleological (from our standpoint) when in fact it is retroactive (from the future decisional process). What we’re saying is that Time a weirder than we would like to believe … it’s as if from our perspective things, events, etc. have a purpose, a teleology; but, the truth is that it is much weirder: time is not bound to the arrow of some forward, linear movement, but can effect our present moment from the future …

Is there really a difference being noted here?

Templexity Matters

Postulated: The intensity of time-travel fiction — and specifically backward time-travel fiction — is a critical index of modernity. As the time of modernity, initially grasped as a departure from traditional cyclicity, is prolonged into deepening nonlinear vortex, it provokes time-travel narrative as a figure in which to seek resolution. The apocalyptic, or communicative action of the end upon its past (through prophecy), is destined to final subsumption within the image of templexity. With the formulation of the Terminator mythos, in the last years of the 20th century, this process of subsumption is essentially complete. In this rigorous sense, the Terminator — as its name suggests — announces the inauguration of the End Times, when the thought of auto-production, emerging in phases from developments in cybernetics, is culturally acknowledged in its comprehensive cosmic-historical implication. The time-travel ‘bootstrap‘ or ‘ontological paradox’ is hazily recognized as the occult motor, or operational singularity, of the modern historical process.

Any positive cybernetic dynamic is open to logical interpretation (and dismissal) as a paradox. The Epimenides or Cretan Paradox, for instance, describes a reality-consistent recurrent cycle of escalating skepticism from the perspective of positive cybernetics, but nothing more than a concurrent self-contradiction from that of formal logic. The ontological paradox invites the same divergent reception. Auto-productive being is either a realistic foundation, or a formal absurdity, with the variance depending on whether self-reference is apprehended as a substantial dynamic or a static formality. From a certain — respectably established — orientation, the encouragement of circuit ontology within advanced modernity can only appear as a solicitation of madness.

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (2014) is a movie whose narrative loop is based explicitly upon ontological paradox. (It arrived too late to be referenced in Templexity.) The circuit of auto-production it describes is looped around black-hole cosmology, involving specific gravitational information that is inaccessibly occluded by the event horizon of collapsed stars, yet indispensable to the survival of the civilization eventually capable of retrieving it. The templex pattern outlined in the movie is exquisite. (Kip Thorne is doubtless owed considerable appreciation for that.)

The hypothesis of templexity is that the machine stimulating cultural absorption in the ontological paradox cannot stop. In regards to what has already happened, we haven’t seen anything yet.

Templexity Reviews (#1)

I’ve attached a number to his post out of sheer hubris. The two Templexity reviews so far have already exceeded my expectations as to sympathy and insight.

Craig Hickman provides a typically-intricate, richly-contextualized, and metaphysically-engaged discussion over at Dark Ecologies. While keeping his own preoccupations impressively unobtrusive, it isn’t difficult for the reader to connect his angle of approach with persistent themes running through the blog — especially the recent abundant explorations of accelerationist writings and controversies.

Henry Dampier takes a more urbane, literary and sociological approach, with greater attention to the American side of the Hollywood-meets-Shanghai narrative.

The only reasonable complaint I could muster about these responses is that their relentless amiability threatens to throw me badly off my guard.

Quotable (#45)

Gibson’s new time-disorder novel The Peripheral now has me hooked …

“Why haven’t I heard of it before?”
“It’s new. It’s quiet. Lev looks for new things, things his family might invest in. He thinks this one may be out of Shanghai. Something to do with quantum tunneling.”
“How far back can they go?”
“Twenty twenty-three, earliest. He thinks something changed, then; reached a certain level of complexity. Something nobody there had any reason to notice.”
“Remind me of it later.” …

P.39 in my clunky dead-tree edition.