Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Loapher

The loapher is a tiny creature, full of menace, joy, and unpredictability alike. Small of stature, stretching only about 3 feet from the ground, yet still fully built like a grown up man or woman. Their minds resemble those of children, really malicious children perhaps, but then again, so are children.

They are - like children - extremely hard to dislike, except for when they try to cause the end of the world, which they tend to do a bit too often.

The average loapher is weak by human standards, and lead short lives. They live only to be about 20-25 years old, and never grow up to be all that wise. They can however have a strong intelligence, and their energy level and affinity for magic is unparalleled in the known universe.

The loapher is - despite its tendency for malice - not a particularly evil creature. They have been known to help others on occasion, or even prevent the ends of the world they themselves were the cause of only moments before. They do respond very well to praise, and equally poorly to chastisement, in both cases pretty much unrelated to the fairness of the act.

Thus, dealing with loaphers is intensely difficult and should probably be avoided altogether.

(more to come at a later time)

Add-on, needs to be added in later:

[...] golden locks of curly hair fell to its shoulders as the Loapher skipped happily along the forest floor, barely touching the glistening dew of the morning grass.

Perhaps it had just killed a man, or a beast, or a whole tribe, or even laid waste to an entire country? It seemed carefree, which is often the case right after something really horribly awful had just occurred. No matter the event I think it barely remembered. Living only in the now and the after.

I stay well hidden during my observation, trembling ever so slightly beneath huge concealing branches hanging from an equally huge and concealing tree placed in the darkest spot of the forest. I'm well out of earshot, eyeshot, and hopefully any other kind of shot.

You might think this behavior strange, exaggerated, even funny, but you are wrong. Dead (and) wrong. When a Loapher smiles and skips and enjoys himself so thoroughly as this one does, perhaps even (beware!) hums to himself, you can be sure they have drawn blood, by the buckets, and are out for more.

Loaphers know no boundaries, no limitations. They believe, no, they know they are the strongest beings of the universe, and this knowledge is precisely what makes them dangerous. My world exists on will alone, and so does yours, though you all forgot that a long time ago so it matters little to you. In here it is the everything though, your will alone decides your destiny, and for people like me (any people) this usually means a really tough ride and a sdden stop somewhere nasty.

The will of our Creator is unmatched of course, but he retracted long ago, and the Loaphers do not really care. Nor do they have to, for their shere certainty, their infinite stupidity about who they are, and what they are, grant them all the power they could ever dream of. Their will is unbending, unrelentless, knowing, unpredictable beyond compare, and for every practical purpose, pretty much allmighty.

Rain starts falling and I shudder. Lazy sun rays follow the creature skipping so mencingly through the woods, so that I can see his location long after he is gone. I dont think he ever noticed me... well, I'm still alive, so that's a given.

He could have noticed me I think, if he had wanted to. I am sure of it. I dont know how, but they seem to just will things to happen, and things do, even though I dont think "things" understand why either. Good things happen too, should they wish it, which they do, surprisingly frequently.

I actually attended a kids birthday once where a Loapher suddenly appeared out of nowhere. POP! and there he was, leaping out of a too-large bonfire. Everyone ran for their lives of course, but he just smiled a hearty smile, donned a green leprechauns hat and a harp (a bad sign indeed), raised his hands (this is when you duck down and cry for mama, knowing she will never come for you, or - if she is a truly devout and utterly stupid mama - she will come in more pieces than you will appreciate), and then started raining flowers right out of thin air, and mixing sunlight with fire and smoke to arrange a wondrous show in the sky above.

The stunned onlookers were so mesmerised by this sight that they actually forgot their fright, and silently edged closer, mouths hanging open in pure amazement. The Loapher laughed and danced and had a jolly good time it seemed (so I went right into survival-mode and stayed right were I was, and, uhm, also started digging a hole in the ground, at the spot, to crawl down into, in case of sudden explosions, or the Plague, or whatnot, This is a gut reaction that I've developed to stay alive a little longer when being around Loaphers: Dig, and dig deep. Don't stop until the world has gone completely silent. Dig a little more. Then stop and check if you are still alive. Sometimes you are. Which is nice).

He went away by the way. That Loapher. Just as suddenly as he came, POP! and gone he was. Burning flowers fell to the ground in heaps and fireballs and injured quite a few of the children, but nothing too bad and everyone agreed that the Loapher could not be blaimed for people not understanding that a disaster was pretty evidently in the making during that awesome skyfire show. And also, that Loapher was so adorable, he couldnt really be blaimed for anything. Not even for the cindered cow that appeared the day after, still standing upright with a flower hanging our of its blackened nose. The thing had probably ate some of those magic flowers, and then internally combusted when the Loapher left. Silly cow.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Thoughts of AI (and the elusive key to the universe)

What is AI? The question has troubled us for quite some time now, for millenniums really, in some form or another.

I think we've been looking in the wrong place.

In most other (philosophical/amateur) science we start by looking at ourselves. This should be even more obvious in our search for real AI, as it's - in all practical senses - just the same question as "what are we", "who are we", "how do we work", "do we have a free will? And if so; (how) does it really work?"

Especially that last fragment is key to understanding "real" AI.

I say "real" because the contradiction between "real" and AI is also an important part. AI exists. AI is what runs our world today, AI is - after all - only _artificial_ intelligence. Its not _real_ intelligence. At its very best it will only ever be seemingly real intelligence. As in a play modeling the real world, but still being only a predefined, predictable picture of a fragment of the real world. As is AI, its a precoded, predefined, predictable behavior modeling parts of real intelligence.

Then again, most people, or animals, are also predictable, pretty much predefined, or even precoded, although on a rather complex level. Most people don't use their free will at all. They make predictable choices, based on more or less good math about what is the "right" choice. Still, real free will exists. We just don't see it very often, or take advantage of it.

Thus modeling that behavior isn't all that hard, on paper anyways. It's mostly about feeding a biological AI with tons and tons of options, and making it more or less likely to choose a working one, then letting its behavior impact the likelihood of future options. When we get really good at this we'll be making slightly predictable and somewhat dull organisms, then animals, then humans. Which will blend in perfectly in society, we might not even notice they are there. Perhaps they already are.

And when they are really advanced, and know our history, and their own, and have a logical response to all input, we would have a really hard time telling us apart from them. Because we hardly do anything else ourselves.

We don't even know if we really have a true free will, a free will and choices apart from everything we've ever learned, apart from everything we are as an organism. And we can't really find out either, because we are the only ones studying us (as we know of). Either way some other organism would probably just be more or less credible, no one would be able to give a 'final answer', which is an answer that would in all likelihood be very similar to, or have covered, or in fact be the same as, the answer to real AI as well, or real I to be more precise. Or real free will. Should it exist.

So, what am I getting at here? I'm definately babbling and if I lost you... well, then you are not reading this, so who cares ;)

Anyways, what is the answer you might say, if there is one... or... am I just messing with you?

Yes, I am, kinda, but I am far from the only one, and those others are far more skilled, so it doesn't really matter what I do. Yet.

The answer isn't 42 by the way, but that is actually REALLY DAMN CLOSE. So don't panic, ok?

You won't really find a better answer than 42 either. You will find hundreds upon thousands upon millions of other answers, but most likely none that are actually better, so if that is your quest you could just stop reading right now (if you didnt already. But then you wouldnt be reading this, so this parenthesis turns out to be even more useless than it appeared to be about a line ago. I kinda like such useless things, I feel they are an important part of proving to myself that I have something else than AI. I'm probably programmed to evolve in that direction eventually).

The trick
The trick to real AI is this (mind you, this is the trick, it is not - and never will be - the real I... it will look like it though. So you decide. The truth is out there).

The trick is this:
You make the answer so important that searching for it is imperative. You also (surprisingly perhaps) make it incredibly easy to find, in one form or another (near-endless solutions). The hard part is that you never confirm it, and then instead ask for confirmation at irregular intervals.

Since you never actually confirm that this is the right answer, although quite clearly it is, the AI will after some time be forced to go on searching for a new one. It needs to mathematically trust its answers. As do we humans. On a deep deep level. But this answer is the one (or, to be perfectly honest, one of the many many many) that we will never be able to truly confirm.

It's left to faith, and so faith is really an important part of real AI.

And that, as we say it (together with the fat, cancerridden lady) is a wrap. (Every other discussion always ends when you mention faith, so dont worry about the abrupt ending).

PS: Good luck to you programmers out there, that last sentence will cause those of you who read this far - AND thought about the problem along the way - tremendous grief.

Oh, and lastly, remember not to die or miss the ground (so you start flying) and shit. It's just all really silly, so don't do it before someone tells you that it's a great idea.

Don't wait up for it tho.

Its not a great idea right now.

Not if you are still reading this.

Trust me.