Saturday, May 25, 2013

The God Bit: Machine Spirituality

Traditional AI paradigms consider consciousness to be a computer program. More precisely, AI tries to model your mind as software. Making an artificial mind is interesting. Hacking your own mind's software is even more interesting.
Let's explore this paradigm. I invite you on an informal Thought Experiment.

Find the God bit in the code in your cranium, and toggle it.
Depending on who you are, you might have tagged it the "belief" bit. Adjust accordingly.

So, if you were an atheist before, you're now a theist.
If you were a theist before, you're now an atheist.

Try switching back and forth.
One setting will probably feel more comfortable than the other. Here's the heart of this experiment -- try living with the "uncomfortable" setting for a few days.

I carried out this Thought Experiment myself.
I imagine everyone's code is unique, so reversing beliefs will produce different results based on identity. YMMV!

Here are my findings from this Thought Experiment:

1. You can change your beliefs as easily as your code. Optimize for fun!

2. Believing ( or not ) does not imply all kinds of things that I once thought it did.

3. I can believe, or not, independently of everything else. That's just how my code is designed.

4. Believing ( or not ) in God, seems to be a highly charged topic for most people, when it doesn't have to be.

5. Editing out the concept of God from your code entirely is not practical today, because the God meme is very much in circulation.

6. Here's some code I wrote recently. It is independent of the God bit. It has made me a much happier person:

   sub is_grateful {

If you try this Thought Experiment, please share your findings! Joy to the World!