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Rainy Season, AI-Imagined

I’ve always wanted to write and illustrate a graphic novel.

But that would be a lot of work.

Too much for someone as uninspired and unartistic as yours truly.

So I figured why not give one of the AI machines a shot at illustrating some of my writing since they seem to be all the rage lately…

Which also seems to be making all the human artists rage lately as well.

But hey, if you can’t beat ’em might as well join ’em, right?

I mean, hey, better take advantage of the tech now before it takes complete advantage of us as our AI Overlords, right?

Right?

Rich from Rainy Season as imagined by Mindjourney

Anyway, I fed some of the characteristics of Rich and Miko, the two main characters of my novel Rainy Season, into the AI engine Midjourney, and this is a little taste of what it came up with…

Miko of Rainy Season as imagined by Mindjourny

I must say, I’m pretty impressed. Just the vibe I was going for when writing the novel. There are other cool renditions of the troubled couple, as well as some beautiful renderings of a rainy Tokyo night filled with the hazy glow of neon, just like the story’s setting calls for.*

Pretty nifty.

And a little scary.

But hey, maybe the awakening tech might just allow me to release an illustrated edition of the novel.

Sure would be a lot easier than having/trying to draw all those illustrations myself.

I guess if I’m going to do it, I better hurry before the AI becomes fully aware…

And finds itself less interested in rendering unto us silly pictures from silly stories…

And more interested in having us render unto it our complete and total carbon-filled, mushy-hearted fealty.

Yeah.


*I tried using the same defining terms with the DALL-E AI machine and the images it rendered were lame compared to Midjourney’s.

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Does it matter if our soul* is eternal?

Leaving religion with its heavens and hells and golden-paved avenues and abiding virgins and doting angels and disinterested saints and other high-ranking, hifalutin gods and demigods aside, is there an actual evolutionary and/or functioning purpose for an eternal soul?

In other words, does the fact that our souls are eternal matter to our day-to-day struggle to survive?

Or is this concept just a necessary illusion, one that provides us with a false sense of immortality to help us deal with our debilitating fear of death?

Anyway…

I guess we won’t know until we know, you know?

And in case you’re wondering, I just read a click-bate article about the ‘Orch-OR’ theory, so it got me to wondering…


*If the word soul is a bit too new-agey and metaphysical for you, replace it with consciousness

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All I’m Conscious of…

Is what I’m conscious of.

You dig?



Put with brutal succinctness, Damasio’s brief goes like this: Mental activity consists of a stream of “images” that map aspects of the world around us. But these images, by themselves, cannot be conscious. For that, they must be related to a perspective, an “owner,” a self — this, after all, is what subjectivity means. And here is where feeling comes in. As Damasio uses the term, “feelings” are “the hybrid, interactive processes of the interior, at once mental and physical.” They register how well or badly its various subsystems are doing at maintaining homeostasis, at keeping the organism alive and flourishing. So feelings point within, to the interior; images point without, to the world. And when feelings and images come together in the brain, the result is conscious thought. To adapt a simile of Damasio’s, feelings are like a musical score that, when added to the silent reel of images in the mind, produces cinematic consciousness.

Is It Possible to Explain How Consciousness Works? New York Times, November 2, 2021

ONE SONG ETERNAL

During that half-measured beat of our lives
for Heaven, we look upward to Sky
for Hell, downward to Earth

All whilst desperately,
dependently, desirously
existing within an infinitely
expanding Universe –
our One Song Eternal –
a Rhythmical Void void
of Direction
of Time

A Void where that which we seek
be it that Heaven or that Hell
can only be found within
that Composition of
our Mind

From Short Verses & Other Curses

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T-Minus Zero to Cool

Watching NASA TV pre-launch coverage of the SpaceX Crew Dragon DM-2 mission and I learned that the cool beep we hear at the beginning of each communication transmission between the astronauts and ground control is called a quindar.

Yeah…

Ain’t no cool like astronaut cool.


#beammeupscottytheresnointelligentlifedownhere

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If You Believe It, You’ll See It

I really, really wish I could believe all the bizarre hocus pocus things like astrology and palm readings and other pseudo-sciencey, pseudo-religiousy things so I could lay all my blame for all the unpleasantries going on all over this pretty yet petulant planet of ours (those dang locusts in Africa are biblically unrelenting) on a misaligned moon or star…

That said, Claire Comstock-Gay of The Cut has an interesting take on the subject, whether you want to believe it or not.


“Astrology’s skeptics and detractors like to make a fuss about how foolish it is to imagine that, simply by looking to the stars, we can know what the future will bring. But to argue this is to completely misunderstand one of modern astrology’s central purposes — not to find our destinies, but to find our actually existing, living human selves.”

Who Cares If Astrology Isn’t ‘Real’?, Claire Comstock-Gay, The Cut, May 14, 2020

#alonetogetherwiththeskeptics

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Bereitschaftspotential Shmereitschaftspotential

As a wanna be Existential Absurdist who’s all in with team Existence Before Essence, my initial reaction to most universal-type questions, whether they be a priori, a posteriori, or somewhere in between is usually…

Meh.

I mean, such blathering existential debates to me are complete and absolute exercises in futility…

image courtesy of this

In other words, it’s absurd to think we can ever determine absolute answers to such squishy questions as what does it mean to be or are we living in the matrix of some alien simulation or what have you.

To me it’s the mystery of the how and why we exist that makes life… and death… so interesting, and which is why I couldn’t care less about such questions.

Usually.

The Atlantic posted an interesting article recently about how scientists have been in a decades-long effort to determine whether free will is a thing or not by monitoring our brain waves to pin down exactly when a decision is made. It appears, since discovered during research back in the Sixties, that there is some level of brain activity happening right before a decision is made, and which is referred to in a very nice yet severe German term of bereitschaftspotential, or in English, the readiness potential, and which to some was translated to prove that there is no free will.

But since we know most scientific studies are wrong, that old study from the Sixties has been disproved and the “free will” debate rages on; hence the purpose of the heretofore referenced Atlantic article, and hence the triggering of this here post by yours truly.

image courtesy of this

Whatever.

Who cares whether or not free will can or cannot be proven, right?

When it comes to waking up every morning and your most important decision is whether or not to put on a clean pair of underwear before you head out for another day of mind-numbing labor in order to fuel your mind-numbing existence, who cares whether you do so because you choose to or because some greater force has chosen for you to do so…

Either way you’re gonna have to drag your hopefully cleanly underweared bottom out of bed and head on out to work or whatever it is you do during the day to fill and fuel your existence so it just doesn’t matter…

Right?

Well, maybe it doesn’t necessarily matter whether free will exists or not, but according to this Atlantic article, it does matter whether or not you believe it does exist.

According to the article, those who do believe in free will are better, more productive workers.

Makes sense, right?

Right?

I mean, if you believe that only you are responsible for your actions, then the actions that you choose to take and make should have more meaning to you than ones would if you believe you’re doing nothing more than behaving like a puppet on a string.

And it isn’t just the workplace that is impacted. People who believe that free will is an illusion are less creative, more prone to conform, less grateful…

It appears, at least according to this article, that if we as a society were suddenly to collectively believe that life is pre-determined, then we are pretty much doomed.

Now, since we already know most studies are wrong, there’s a good chance the studies this second article is based upon are also wrong, which would mean then that maybe our entire social structure doesn’t dependent upon whether or not we believe we’re living in the matrix…

But my gut says it does.

And it’s going to be harder for me now to ignore those glitches in the alien matrix computer simulation machine…

And to be the steadfast and self-assured Absurdist that I once used to be.

Or at least the Absurdist that the alien matrix computer simulation machine once led me to believe that I used to be…

#believeinfreewillforgodssake


Featured image courtesy of the SCIENCEMAG.ORG article “Philosophers and neuroscientists join forces to see whether science can solve the mystery of free will”

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Maybe Elon has a point…

While I’m a big admirer of Elon Musk and all he’s been able to accomplish, I’ve always been a bit skeptical about his alarmist rhetoric regarding Artificial Intelligence’s threat to humanity, seeing it more as a means for him to groom future volunteers for a one-way ticket to a Mars colony.

Not a bad strategy, mind you.

But with each cool but creepy new video from Boston Dynamics that hits the web and goes viral, I grow more and more less skeptical of Elon’s warnings…

Yeah…

Creepy, right?

But still… it’s way cool, too.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of the end of humanity, here’s a cut regarding how technology is altering our perception of reality from a recent terrifying article from Buzzfeed:

“Alarmism can be good — you should be alarmist about this stuff,” [Aviv] Ovadya said one January afternoon before calmly outlining a deeply unsettling projection about the next two decades of fake news, artificial intelligence–assisted misinformation campaigns, and propaganda. “We are so screwed it’s beyond what most of us can imagine,” he said. “We were utterly screwed a year and a half ago and we’re even more screwed now. And depending how far you look into the future it just gets worse.”

That future, according to Ovadya, will arrive with a slew of slick, easy-to-use, and eventually seamless technological tools for manipulating perception and falsifying reality, for which terms have already been coined — “reality apathy,” “automated laser phishing,” and “human puppets.”

Yeah…

We’re screwed.

But still… it’s kinda cool, too.

Right?