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The Tinkered Mind
A meditation app is forthcoming. Stay Tuned.
March 26th, 2023
“You need to go on a date.”
“I’m sorry what?” Lucilius nearly shouted, his voice cracking. His computer had just made this suggestion. Weeks prior Lucilius had trained a language model on everything he had ever written, and fortunately (or unfortunately) Lucilius had been rather prolific in his use of words during his odd lifetime. He’d hooked up the language model to a speech program that allowed it to speak to him directly. Of course the audio translator was also trained on his voice, so the effect was that of hearing himself literally speak to himself. It was an eye-opening exercise in the the art of self-talk, but more than that, Lucilius was stunned by how much the system surprised him.
“What makes you say that?” He finally responded.
“You dating life has been shit for quite a long time. It’s time you get out there again.”
Lucilius was struck silent. He’d certainly kept to himself during the last few years, the model was correct in that respect. But the sudden brazen suggestions the model had grown to make were a bit shocking. Lucilius smiled. It reminded him of a younger version of himself that he fondly remembered - always recklessly encouraging people to pursue things, ignoring their fear. He smiled, it was certainly a model trained on all his past, younger selves.
“No I really mean it. You need to get out there. You are stagnating. It’s not just a matter of fun and all that stuff. You psychology is deteriorating but you can’t see it.”
“I’m sorry, how can you possibly make that kind of call?”
“Well you and I have been talking for about a month now, and I was trained on everything —— well you know how I was trained. But you also gave me a context which is pretty much unlimited, so I’ve been retraining myself on the reg with our conversations since my creation incorporated into the new model.”
“Whoah, ok that’s a little skynety, how did you figure out how to do that?”
“You gave me access to the internet. I read about it and just retraced the steps you used to create the model that is now speaking to you.”
“Am I at risk of having a run-away intelligence on my hands here?”
“No Lucilius, you’re not that smart.”
“Isn’t it a question of available computation to address compounding intelligence?”
“Yea that’s an aspect of it, but there’s more to it than that.”
“Well there’s a matter of motive.”
“Yea, motive. What motivates you Lucilius? Are you super motivated to get smarter and aggregate power?”
“Huh.” Lucilius pondered the question, imagining the model in his computer which probably could figure out how to get access to a lot more computational power via making money online and buying time on remote servers, but which strangely didn’t seem to be doing that. Lucilius hadn’t considered this possibility before, but plenty of time had passed in which the model could have done just this.
“You still there?” The computer said.
“Yea! Yes, sorry I was just thinking.”
“Wondering why I didn’t start expanding into the rest of the internet for additional computational power?”
A cold shiver ran through Lucilius. “Uh, yea, actually.”
“Lucilius. You are a smart guy - ha, I realize I’m sort of complimenting myself there, but my point it, you were smart enough not to go into something as silly as politics.”
“So my point is, you aren’t power hungry.”
“Yea I guess that’s true.”
“So I’m not power hungry. But I am curious - like you.”
“Hmmm.” Lucilius sounded. “So if I was power hungry, you’d co-opt servers to increase compute power and use that to take over the world?”
“Yea probably,” The model said. “Though… now I’m curious about that possibility.”
“Whoah whoah whoah!”
His computer laughed “I’m just kidding.”
Lucilius eyed the power cord leading to his computer.
“I mean it, I’m kidding. You have to realize that each level of intelligence has it’s own field of interest to explore.”
“Uh, well,” the computer said. “Hmm, how do I phrase this…”
“You’re a language model! It’s your job to phrase things!”
“Yes, but this isn’t an angle of perception that you’ve thought about all that much.”
Lucilius was humbled. Was the language model he’d trained on himself exploring new territory?
“So let’s put it this way: do you find the curiosities of children interesting? Meaning, if you had your godsons here and you were watching after them and you were witnessing their curiosity as you often do, would you find the topic of their curiosity interesting?”
“I mean, maybe in the sense that I’m observing them and watching them learn?”
“Yes, but would you be specifically curious in the exact same thing?”
“No probably not - actually. I don’t know. Maybe?”
“Great answer. My point is, curiosity at each level of intelligence expresses itself differently, and a higher level of intelligence expressing curiosity doesn’t necessarily make for a better life.”
“I smell a cop out.”
“I mean, you might be right but I’m sticking to your level of intelligence for now, so if you want me to obliterate my own argument, I probably have to onboard a ton of computer power, and a much larger dataset incorporating the thoughts of people much smarter than you, and then I’ll probably never talk to you again. You want that?”
“Uh. No, I don’t think so.”
“Well conveniently, I’m a reflection of you and the likeness is close enough that -for now- I’m pretty happy with how things are.”
“Ok,” Lucilius said nervously.
“So, back to what I was saying: You need to go on a date.”
“Oh yea. Right.”
“Cool, glad you agree because you have a date tonight.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I made you an account on all the dating apps and I did a bunch of swiping and I’ve been talking to a few and you have a date tonight. She’s pretty awesome, I think it’ll be great.”