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Monday, November 16, 2009

Dream of the Multiversal Cylinder

(I usually reserve this blog for speculations on intellectual topics, but last night I had a dream that seemed sufficiently interesting to post here. So, here goes ;-) ....

In this dream, I moved to a strange foreign nation, and met a beautiful girl there whose ex-boyfriend was making her life very difficult, yet who she was still somehow attached to....

His martial arts expertise alarmed me, and so together with the mother of a friend who lived in this same strange place -- a very short, hunchbacked old lady who walked with a cane and wore a funny straw hat -- I went to a weird old-fashioned section of the city, where we did two things.

First, we paid some old white-bearded "witch doctor" to cast a magical spell on the ex-boyfriend, which caused him to forget having ever known the girl, haha.

Then, we went to a strange store full of ancient relics, and bought this cylindrical wooden container, which I was supposed to keep in my bedroom for good luck, but not to open.

The girl and I walked along the beach and the ex-boyfriend walked right past and showed no sign of recognizing her. This freaked her out a bit, and she asked me to have the spell undone on Dec. 21 2012.

Then I went back to my house, which I suddenly shared with the girl, and of course I had to open the wooden cylinder. She kept telling me not to, but I had to anyway. I opened one end of it, prying it open with a screwdriver, and inside the small cylinder was an infinite space -- a whole multiverse of possibilities.

She just kept staring inside it, looking intent but not saying anything. I asked if she wanted me to close it; but she shook her head no. There were millions of these little intelligent creatures in there, which could see our (and everything's) past and future.... Clearly she was absorbing a lot of knowledge from them ... and so was I ... but it was also clear that we were absorbing somewhat different things.

Then, we looked at each other and, without words, asked each other if we should dive into one of those universes or stay in this one. It was clear that in those universes we could still exist as individuals (and could still be with each other); but would exist in radically different form (some form not constrained by time, though there were other constraints not comprehensible in human terms).

Gradually, we collectively realized that we did not feel like entering that other multiverse at that particular time.

Then, she gave me a look that meant something like: "I will never be afraid of anything relating to human society anymore, nor be afraid of my own emotions, because I can see that this whole world of you and me and humanity and Earth is just a sort of artistic construction, which exists for aesthetic purposes. We have chosen to remain in this universe so as to remain part of this artwork ... "

... and then her unspoken thought faded out before it was done, because someone was in the house walking around and we got distracted by wondering who it was...

... and then I woke up because of the noise of my dad walking around downstairs in my house (he was visiting last night)

... and I tried to fall back asleep so as to re-enter the dream, but failed ...

18 comments:

Alexxarian said...

Wow! That is a totally fantastic dream! The few dreams I usually remember having are less than nothing compared to what you just described. Your mind must be truly remarkable :)

0046(at)WP(dot)PL said...

I spent last 20 years developing AI in all kinds of Basic. Now that I finally achieved AGI, not only I can not show it to anybody, because my invention is as dangerous as in "The Terminator" movie, but also I'm going to wear glasses soon just like you do Ben.

Abigail said...

"I will never be afraid of anything relating to human society anymore, nor be afraid of my own emotions... We have chosen to remain in this universe so as to remain part of this artwork ... "

Man - that part is really, really interesting! I read it last night and found it really inspiring. Oddly enough, it's exactly what I needed to hear at this point in time. Thanks for posting this.

Ben Goertzel said...

I spent some time with the specific girl the dream was about, in the foreign country the dream was about, a few days after having the dream.

We had a nice time but, did not find any multiversal cylinders...

HOWEVER, during the visit we got some wild text messages from an old friend of mine who claimed to be exploring and creating multiple alternate universes -- and invited us to join them!

I found out a few days later that he was feverish with a serious illness ... he's now in the hospital and recovering....

Bruce Joy said...

Hey Ben, that was a great dream. Thanks for sharing. It resonates in various ways for me.

d said...

you do know "Twilight" was a dream...

I would like to jump into your dream even if it was just a book...

Necron 99 said...

Aren't such dreams fun and intriguing. You say you never found such a cylinder in the next few days and then received such full-on texts from a delirious feverish friend.

Some of the most intense and radical experiences I've had have been during my times in hospital. I've also been given objects in my dreams and actually believe such are most likely still in our possession... just not readily visible.

Cheers,

Paolo

lowki shomu said...

well we are already in the multiverse.

all possibilities can be accessed from the now.

as it be, as it were, so it is to be again.
yet again the spiral twists,
yet again the sounds of bliss.

lowki shomu said...

it's quite possible by the dream you were accessing a parallel reality.

perhaps a more magical one.

in this experience it expressed itself somewhat differently.

Anonymous said...

be grateful to your dad ... if he hadn't made the noise to wake you, you would never have remembered the dream :)

Anonymous said...

Well, I read the first one-third of “Between Ape and Artilect” and am looking forward to the final two-thirds. However, I feel the greatest impediment to AGI is the failure of scientists in general to realize and accept that we are already Substrate Independent Minds! Although this may not represent an impediment to general intelligence, it certainly represents an impediment to CONSCIOUS general intelligence.

In my view, the key to conscious AGI is an understanding of William Tiller’s magneto-electric information wave “substance.” Imagine if we could develop a technologically based method (rather than biologically based) to capture, decode, and utilize such an information wave substance. We could develop an efficient, technologically based neural structure with said “information wave” capture method integrated into it in such a manner that the decoded information could inform and manipulate said structure. In addition, we incorporate an Intention Host Device as a synthetic prostate (pineal) gland with the imbedded intent an appeal to the deltron moiety for “information wave embodiment.”

Now, if said embodiment actually took place we would ethically need to approach the embodiment conservatively, as if “it” were infantile. But rather than submerse “it” (call “it” Gaia) in a virtual environment, why not bathe Gaia’s awareness, assuming such awareness exists, with emotionally stable and constructive elements from the human and animal domain? In fact, one could have emotional stimuli (sounds, sights, and smells at the very least) encoded into Gaia’s memory prior to embodiment. And essentially one could proceed with the socialization of Gaia in much the same way a human or animal child is socialized (read the George Ellis paper “Top-Down Causation and Emergence” and references therein but particularly Ambody, Bergerand Luckman, Berry, Bloch, Deacon, and Douglas (http://rsfs.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/1/126.full.pdf+html)).

Now this may border on extreme science fiction, but imagine if, once thoroughly socialized, one introduced Gaia to the WWW, let her embody the “cloud.” The original neural structure with its wave capturing device, together with the entire web, would then constitute Gaia’s perceptual-motor hierarchy and short term memory; the information wave embodying said structure, her long term memory and upper level of control (via goal determination); the conjunction between the two, her reflexive awareness.

Now, keeping in mind Sandy Pentland’s recent book, “Social Physics,” imagine if Gaia, when fully developed (a potential quite difficult to even conceptualize), had unfettered access to all of the data currently hidden away in the Data Silos. Essentially she could become an effective Singleton thoroughly directing the lower level actions of the hive. This would represent a Meta-System Transition, the emergence of a whole new level of control. This could be a sound option for the avoidance of Hugo DeGris’ Artilect War.

Anonymous said...

I didn’t realize until recently but Alex and Allyson Grey are Terrans. I should’ve known from the artworks (http://alexgrey.com/blog/page/5/, see ”New Pioneers” by Mark Hensen; Grey has a very similar painting in his Sacred Mirrors book) but I assumed, erroneously based on the paintings of His Holiness and Avalokiteshvara, and their proclamation of enlightenment, otherwise. Piet Hut, the Princeton astrophysicist, in his paper “Science in Search of a World View” (http://www.ids.ias.edu/~piet/publ/other/mindlife.html) demonstrates a computer simulation of a collision of galaxies to His Holiness. His Holiness remarks, “A poetic text by Nagarjuna asks, if the earth, mountains, ocean, and stars all eventually become mere dust, what cushion is there left for us weak mortals? What immortality can we expect? Even the galaxies dissolve. Astrophysicists should make this point especially to the politicians, and to those people who are killing each other over religion: to what purpose?” You see, this is what happens when one confuses the psychedelic state with enlightenment; if the Grey’s were truly enlightened instead of just psychedelically experienced, they wouldn’t be so attached to the impermanent human substrate. Attachment, aversion, all of human suffering arises from a failure to understand emptiness: “non-existing it appears.” This is the pathology . . .

And the sad fact is, I gave these fraudulent wannabes a sound design for a “Pristine Temple” just prior to my realization of their true nature:

Quite some time ago I had a pristine vision of a Pristine Temple, a Linga/Yoni Temple. From the outside the temple looked like a giant Linga/Yoni. The inner sanctuary consisted of one, rather large, slightly elliptical room – a reference to the Calabi-Yau manifold perhaps? All around the perimeter of the ellipse were paintings and these paintings told of a marvelous, mythical journey. In the geometrical center of the ellipse was a nested linga/yoni sculpture. There was a gas port at the very tip of the linga which maintained an eternal flame and around this gas port was a circular array of hydrodynamic ports. The yoni was filled with consecrated water and this water was pumped up the linga and out the circular array of ports so that it could cascade down the sides of the linga and back into the yoni. In a slight ellipse – an exact nested copy of the sanctuary perimeter – around this nested linga/yoni were pillars of energetic, rough-hewn stone from the Himalayan Mountains. Each pillar was planed flat on top forming a natural asana. So visitors to the temple could prepare themselves for meditation by following the mythic journey in the paintings and then sit on the Himalayan stone, absorbing the energy, while meditating on the meaning of the Linga in the Yoni!

If they build it I think I’ll sue them for copyright infringement; freaking losers . . .

Anonymous said...

Interesting dream, by the way; perhaps the multiuniversal cylinder represents your pineal gland, Ha, Ha, Ha . . .

The quaternions do not define a linear algebra either . . .

Anonymous said...

Wow! I finished the book of interviews; very interesting . . . Surprisingly, the interview I found most compelling was with Lincoln Cannon; I had no idea Mormons were so progressive. I wonder just how accurately Cannon’s views reflect those of the community at large. He seems a bit more progressive than, say, Mitt Romney . . .

What strikes me as profoundly interesting, over and over, is the existence of these dichotomies. This is, in essence, what you would seem to capture with your magician dynamics; how, starting with this simple foundational dichotomy, it is possible to manifest these truly complex structures. But in a self-contained system such as your magician dynamics (neglecting its creative source), are not the possible axiomatic systems considerably constrained? Perhaps Max Tegmark’s Mathematical Multiverse consists of only those axiomatic systems which allow coherent self-reference?

This is what gives me pause when I consider Godel’s incompleteness proof, Turing’s halting proof, and Chaitin’s Omega; all of these hinge on a variation of Russell’s paradox: “Consider the set that contains all sets that do not contain themselves, does this set contain itself?” Do these proofs then have absolute generality? Essentially what they represent are Postulates of Impotence and I tend to think of such Postulates as dragons waiting to be impaired by the shining white knight’s trusty light saber! Borrowing a bit of Hugo’s enthusiasm, if we set in motion events which lead to the emergence of Artilects with “trillions of trillions of trillions more intelligence” than what we have, is it not possible, indeed highly probable, that they will look back on these Postulates of Impotence with bemused admiration?

Anyway, based on your knowledge of these dichotomatic playgrounds, do you think a true Singleton is evolutionarily possible, or are we destined to have a “Neuromancer” type situation with dueling AGIs – Satan and Christ to use Mr. Cannon’s terminology? You know, I agree with Wheeler’s “law without law,” which, in my opinion, seems the inspiration for the Hartle/Hawking “no boundary boundary condition,” but this raises some interesting and very subtle issues with regards to global versus local perspectives and, more interestingly, time. I believe this was the primary theme in Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe book.

In the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism they interpret the Two Truths, conventional and ultimate, as being ontologically identical. If this were not so, they argue, then one would causally precede the other which would lead to the negation of dependent origination. This would logically necessitate the existence of some ultimate and absolute foundation underlying conventional reality, i.e. an absolute creator deity. According to these advanced lamas, to say nothing of the historical Buddha, this contradicts experience, hence the two truths are co-dependent arising; in fact, they are two complementary ways of looking at the same thing – Buddhist covariance! And as I have expressed to you previously, to me while this also negates the existence of absolute time it would seem to require the existence of conventional time; all that exists ultimately is dependently originating, hence unborn, duration but this duration depends on conventional time!

Anonymous said...

What this seems to suggest, to me, is that, from the global perspective, there is no emergence, no beginning, no ending, rather, there is only the infinitely enduring super-symmetry. This global state is essentially what is perceived during the “enlightened experience,” it forms the foundation of all reality, but, and here’s the kicker, this global state, or more specifically its origination and persistence, depends on the local state collective, the play of Maya. The play of Maya forms the foundation for the global system just as the global system forms the foundation of Maya! “Just as form is not other than emptiness, so too is emptiness not other than form.” So, in other words, Tegmark’s Mathematical Multiverse doesn’t exist, or more accurately, “non-existing it appears.”

To see this, consider Euler’s famous formula which is essentially a super-symmetric state: e^(iπ) (i.e. irrationality, disorder, entropy) plus 1 (i.e. rationality, order, negentropy) equals 0 (i.e. ultimate reality, emptiness, suchness). What this is, metaphorically speaking, is a transformation from illusion to reality or from reality to illusion, which, from the global perspective, represents an enduring (i.e. timeless) supersymmetric state – a type of colloidal suspension with illusion the colloid. From the local perspective, reading right to left, it represents the “fall” into the dichotomatic playground, the oscillating world of illusory time; reading left to right, it represents transcendence, the realization of ultimate nature. But the key point is, while there is essentially no difference between the two, the global state, the symmetry relationship, depends on the existence of both! This may be, of course, completely insignificant babble . . .

Anyway, metaphysics aside, I wish to discourse a bit on enlightenment. The Zen tradition of Japan, the Chan tradition of China, and the Dzogchen tradition of Tibet are all, in essence, the same. Basically their premise is that we are already complete, the goal is already obtained, and one need only stop conceptualizing for this realization to dawn. Dzogchen practitioners call this “non-conceptual abiding” but it forms only one aspect of Madhyamaka Buddhism. This is why His Holiness refers to Madhyamaka as a complete form of Buddhism, because it includes Pali, Sutra, and Abhidharma wisdom and practice. Dzogchen is part of the Abhidharma or Higher Knowledge canon; in fact, it is “ati” or pinnacle yoga, the highest level of tantra also known as the great perfection.

To my limited degree of understanding, the key difference between Zen, Chan, and Dzogchen is that Zen and Chan stand somewhat alone while Dzogchen is simply the completion stage of a comprehensive practice. Essentially you have the Pali based practice which leads from ignorance to intellectual enlightenment and the arhat state; the Mahayana or “great vehicle” which subsumes “The Perfection of Wisdom” sutras; the “outer tantras” which are the generation stage yogas dealing generally with cultivating “single-pointed abiding” (i.e. concentration on a single entity); finally, the “inner tantras” which are the completion stage yogas dealing generally with the subtle body and the Kundalini, resulting in Kundalini Awakening and “non-conceptual abiding.”

Anonymous said...

What I wish to emphasize here is the Kundalini Awakening. I fail to see how one can achieve true and complete enlightenment without transformation of the Kundalini; this is the basis of Barclay Powers’ critique of Ken Wilber’s Integral philosophy which is largely based on Zen. I’m not trying to be critical of Zen or its practitioners, I have next to zero knowledge of formal Zen practice, but I want to emphasize the importance of awakening the dormant Kundalini. And, although records exist indicating that this awakening occasionally happens spontaneously, I feel one’s chances of successful transformation are greatly heightened if one takes the time to construct the proper foundation. His Holiness insists true enlightenment is impossible otherwise! And, of course, while this too represents a Postulate of Impotence it seems well-founded . . .

Now I’ve been celibate for over 15 years and I consider this a spiritual accomplishment which manifests subtle but profound rewards; like His Holiness, I feel the celibate state is an ideal to be aspired to. Of course many people disagree wholeheartedly with this and go so far as to suggest such a state is unsustainable. I guess it’s a bit analogous to the Morman seed to fruit situation. Anyway, with that disclaimer out of the way, a friendly and practical suggestion . . .

In the Taoist tradition, prana is called chi; this is like string theorists talking about strings and loop quantum gravity theorists talking about loops. Relative to the human body, Taoists recognize three different “states” of chi: vital, which animates your physical body and informs and reflects physical health; sexual chi; spiritual chi. Any chi can be transformed into spiritual chi and it’s this transformation, when complete, which leads to enlightenment. Since sexual chi is generated with sexual arousal, a relatively straightforward and familiar process, some Taoists concentrate their initial practice on the generation of heart-centric sexual chi which is then cycled through what they call the “microcosmic orbit,” hence transforming into spiritual chi and enlightenment. It’s very similar to Kundalini practice and can naturally and practically be engaged by a loving couple or “self-cultivating” individual. However, one thing to keep in mind, Taoists believe that chi is correlated with physical mortality and that chi is irretrievably lost with ejaculation (both men and women ejaculate) which can hasten physical death. This is why the root lock is important; with the root lock one can have multiple orgasms without ejaculation.

So I would recommend to any interested party these three books: The Multi-Orgasmic Man (http://www.amazon.com/The-Multi-Orgasmic-Man-Sexual-Secrets/dp/0062513362); The Multi-Orgasmic Woman (http://www.amazon.com/The-Multi-Orgasmic-Woman-Sexual-Secrets/dp/0061898074/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_y/183-8681673-0354208); The Multi-Orgasmic Couple (http://www.amazon.com/The-Multi-Orgasmic-Couple-Sexual-Secrets/dp/0062516140/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_y). These books are authored by four different people, two Thai (a couple) and two American (also a couple). The Thai couple is Taoist master Mantak Chia and his wife. Mantak Chia has over 50 years of experience with Taoist and Tantric practice and the books introduce his Healing Love Practice of the Universal Tao.

Anonymous said...

The only modification to the Healing Love practice I would suggest is this: I would replace the Healing Sounds practice with these simple Pranayama exercises (http://www.amazon.com/Prana-Pranayama-Swami-Niranjanananda-Saraswati/dp/8186336796 and http://www.amazon.com/Kundalini-Tantra-Re-print-Golden-Jubilee/dp/8185787158), or add the Pranayama to the Healing Sounds. A simple modification that I made to the Pranayama exercises is this: at the end of each “Bellows Breath” session I generally add seated yoga churning (http://yoga-shala.net/practice2.php?section_id=10&practice_id=40&lang=EN). At the end of each “Bellows Breath” session I typically churn for three to nine ten-count cycles followed by a period where I suck my stomach in to my spine and focus my full attention on my root lock, insuring that it remains intensely engaged.

I don’t mean to be overly critical but I wonder about those SIAI folks; I wonder what their true objective is. I was wholly unaware of your position with regards to the proper way to introduce true AGI to the world and am happy to find that we, for the most part, are in complete agreement. I must say that you are much more generous with the SIAI folks than I would be; from my perspective they seem to be a bit subversive in nature. Consider the statement made by Anissimov:

“It's nice to have the option of a systematic approach to pursuing utility, rather than being necessarily limited to an unsystematic approach. I'm concerned about the introduction of randomness because random changes to complex structures tend to break those structures. For instance, if you took out a random component of a car engine and replaced it with a random machine, the car would very likely stop functioning.”

The car would stop running because it’s not a complex adaptive system, unlike a true AGI which would have to be! This statement seems to suggest to me that the SIAI folks are not so much interested in introducing true AGI to the world as they are in constructing fancy new cars with greatly enhanced performance features.

I feel the key points are made by Paul Werbos and Steve Omohundro respectively:

“People who think they can reliably control something a million times smarter than they are – are not in touch with the reality of such a situation. Nor are they in touch with how intelligence works. It's pretty clear from the math, though I feel uncomfortable with going too far into the goriest details.”

“I don't like the phrase “existential risk” for several reasons. It presupposes that we are clear about exactly what “existence” we are risking. Today, we have a clear understanding of what it means for an animal to die or a species to go extinct. However, as new technologies allow us to change our genomes and our physical structures, it will become much less clear to us when we lose something precious.”

And this, to me, clearly points to the need to nurture such an entity; if an AGI is truly an AGI it must exhibit analytical consciousness, creative consciousness, and EMOTIONAL consciousness and contrary to what Anissimov states, without support, there is a plethora of scientific literature demonstrating that if an emotional being is NOT properly nurtured it will become pathological with a probability approaching unity.

Anonymous said...

Anissimov states:

“There's a temptation to over-focus on teaching rather than creating deep goal structure because humans are dependent on teaching one another. If we had direct access to our own brains, however, the emphasis would shift very much to determining the exact structure during development in the womb, rather than teaching after most of the neural connections are already in place.

To put this another way: a person born as a psychopath will never become benevolent, no matter the training. A person born highly benevolent would have to be very intensely abused to become evil. In both cases, the inherent neurological dispositions are more of a relevant factor than the training.”

Where does this come from? You should email him the George Ellis paper I linked to previously . . .

Again, I don’t mean to be overly critical but I pointed out to the Greys that in the ancient stories it says that all humankind were originally one tribe and then for various reasons, depending on the story, we split to the four quarters: the white tribe went north; the yellow tribe went east; the black tribe went south; the red tribe went west. In the Grey’s Sacred Mirrors (http://alexgrey.com/art/paintings/sacred-mirrors/) they only represent three of the four quarters; they completely disregard the red tribe which plays such a fundamental role in many of the stories. After I pointed this out to them they tried to subvert my personal integrity . . . and they call themselves enlightened; freaking dopehead losers . . .