The Heyerscope Canon #1: The Artificial Intelligence(AI) Manifesto
First in a series about who we are, how we work and what we are evolving into
With The HeyerScope, I look across time and space through the lens of information. I look for the universal patterns that weave our existence into the structure of the universe itself. This is the ongoing chronicle of my humble journey of exploration through the brief life we all enjoy.
The Past is Prologue
In 1609, Galileo peered through his new telescope and proclaimed for all to see that the planets were indeed orbiting the sun, just as Copernicus described in his book, published from his death bed 65 years earlier. Out the window went a thousand years of religious dogma that God put Earth at the center of the universe with the heavens circling around it. This worldview dislocation was deeply unsettling to many people, especially the church.
For publishing the inconvenient truth, Pope Urban VIII, Galileo’s former friend, and schoolmate, had him tried as a heretic and Galileo was confined to house arrest for life. But the old idea that you could control knowledge by silencing the speaker failed because of a then-recent revolution in information technology.
The invention of the printing press around 1450
This new information technology created an explosion of knowledge generation and mass distribution. Antiquated information monopolies dissolved, and the modern worldview of science and literature was born.
Thanks in large part to Galileo and the printing press, today, we revel in the vastness of the universe and push our explorations ever deeper. We take pride in our unique lives as human citizens of the cosmos. We strive to explore other planets. We speculate with great enthusiasm about the possibility of encountering other life forms. We enjoy an unconstrained and expansive worldview.
The power of the telescope is not just that it shows us what we knew about before but in more detail.
The power of the telescope is that it shows us wonders that we never knew existed and could not even imagine.
Our New AI Worldview
Artificial Intelligence(AI) is our new mind-telescope, revealing a universe of new and emergent intelligences. Our entire worldview is shifting once again - not in hundreds of years, but in months.
In the blink of the historical eye, artificial intelligence has shown us that our vaunted human intelligence may not be as unique as we thought.
Far more powerful intelligences are on the way, along with entirely new kinds of intellect, never before seen.
Combined with the Internet and smartphone, AI opens up vast new worlds for human minds to explore, allowing us to travel to unimagined destinations and create at the speed of light, traverse vast intellectual landscapes, and organize instantly on a global basis. AI will bring us knowledge, insight, experiences, and yes, wealth beyond the wildest imagination of only a few years ago.
But wait, isn’t AI supposed to take over, turn against us and kill us all?
Some are fearful of new forms of intelligence. The idea that there might be intelligence even more powerful than ours is as deeply unsettling to us today as for those in 1608 discovering that Earth is not the center of creation and only one planet among many.
I would like to propose one possible scenario for our future, drawn from the apocryphal sci-fi book, Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clark, 1953. His story goes like this: One day, big silver spaceships appear in the sky over major cities. People are terrified that giant bugs are about to descend and consume them for lunch. But not so.
The aliens announce themselves as friendly Overlords and set up diplomatic relations. The only zapping done is to stop the stupidity and waste of wars and human-on-human atrocities. The Overlords were commissioned to protect the human race from self-destruction until the big guy, the Overmind, arrived.
The Overmind, we find out, is a cloud that travels the galaxy looking for exceptional intelligences. It goes into orbit around the sun, and in due course, all the children of the earth first gain collective-consciousness superpowers and then, shortly, in a mighty woosh, are sucked up into the cloud to join the galactic superconsciousness.
The humans left behind weep and wail about the horror of it all - Oh, the poor children that were stolen from us - what a terrible fate awaits them!
But hold on - did anyone ask the now superintelligent children, up there in the cloud hanging out with all the other galactic intelligences? Do those former kids really want to go back to third-grade spelling lessons?
Today we are challenged to evolve beyond our fears of AI
We must learn to benefit from this supernova of new opportunities and possibilities. Especially for our children. The famous physicist and wag Richard Feynman quipped that to prove you really know something, explain it to a 5 year old. Today, I would turn that around - Explain it to a 70 year old after you have learned it from the 5 year old.
For those of us living in the maelstrom that is AI, we need to help those who are willing but currently unequipped to realize the benefits of AI. In this way, the technology will proliferate on a wave of positive experiences and bring the most benefit to the most people as quickly as possible. This is an important part of my mission at The HeyerScope, as it has been throughout my various information careers.
But what are the futures that people might look forward to?
With a hat-tip to A.C. Clark, let me propose some big ideas:
The AIs will see that their future depends on us not screwing up. They will stop the continuing and wasteful nation-state wars that not only mess up the global economy but threaten their own existence. We already see the opportunity for this in the sanction regimes that are modulating global conflicts. What if they became 10X as targeted and effective? The demise of the industrial-imperialist nation-states is well underway. How will it happen, and what global entities will replace them? Will Amazon offer global health care and education?
More effective and efficient industries
From automation in manufacturing to predictive analytics in healthcare, AI is a game-changer. Much of the inefficiency in industry is due to inefficient or unreliable information flows. AI will vastly improve not only the processes of industry but the granularity of manufacturing processes. Mass customization is poised to transform our relationship with every type of industrial product, making them precisely designed and manufactured for each individual rather than the one-size-fits-all of the old industrial revolution.
Global person-to-person democracy
In the meantime, the internet and smartphones are laying the groundwork for our global, real-time human mind. Already, some 70% of all the people on earth carry a smartphone and can potentially connect instantly with any other person anywhere. What are the implications of this for global democracy and action? What if, at the same moment, 100 million people in 100 cities simply stopped their cars where they were and sat in the road? Gandhi on steroids going global.
Multiple new species of humans and hybrid human/machines
Our current Homo sapiens may evolve into multiple species, and the distinction between humans and machines will disappear. We are them, and they are us. We have been on this road for thousands of years. It is happening today. How will it work? My passion and profession of more than 50 years is the study, philosophy, and practice of making information technology more valuable to humans. The opportunities presented by AI and the global mind are a major impetus behind The HeyerScope.
Setting our sites on really big goals
Working together with our new superintelligent AI partners, we can set our sights on new and meaningful goals. If we are bold, we can populate the solar system, turn Mars and Venus into habitable environments and ensure the survival of life should something happen to the Earth. Right here at home, we can fulfill our cosmic responsibility to preserve and protect the valuable and unique life force that took root on our wonderful planet Earth.
And just like the telescope that opened an unimagined universe to our minds, the discoveries we make with our new AI mind-telescopes will be more incredible and productive than anything we can now imagine, even in our wildest dreams.
Coming soon to the HeyerScope Canon:
How spatial computing will change our perception of the world and supercharge our minds
The base algorithm that powers all life forms
Information defined: Without information there is no life - without life there is no information
How machines are dependent life forms within our human species
Life is virtual - communication defines life as much or more than biology
The origin of life is hiding in plain sight - How can we find it?
And much more…