The pressure in her chest, in her head, like a dam full of cold waters, that seemed still and crystalline, but she knew (oh she had always known) the murky depths and the treacherous currents that seemed to scream so loud the whole structure started to crack.
She had the key, this is what she knew, and it was a key like no other she’d ever seen in her life, an object conceived in magic, yet it also carried a weight of madness. After walking 10 miles in the direction that the old hand-drawn map indicated, she finally arrived; it was hard to imagine that such a large building would stand alone in that deserted landscape, just the absence of purpose that impregnated the structure was enough to chill her bones. The front door was made of dark metal, and it seemed quite heavy, she reached for the key, but the door was open, just a little push was needed, and the thick, metal door seemed to have no weight as she quietly entered the place.
There was no one. The structure was a perfect cube, gigantic, cold, and terrifying, there was nothing but a blue door at the opposite end; her fingers ran through the intricate shape of the magnificent object inside of her jacket, this was a place worthy of its magic, and of its madness…
She approached the unfamiliar door and nervously took the key from her pocket. She took a deep breath, unlocked the door, paused, then opened it. To her horror, she saw a perfect, empty, giant cube, like the one she had just entered and walked across, and at the opposite end, coming out of a blue door, a woman held a rare shiny object in the opposite hand than she was holding her key, and stared at her with eyes wide open in unbelief…
Time for random reflections folks, isn’t it exciting to be able to just stop one’s routines and pre-defined action sets and just sit down and think? Man, this is why I love writing, it’s like taking a shovel and starting digging treasures inside of your own mind and soul, maybe they’ve been ignored for years, maybe disguised in unpleasant containers, but they’re precious if you pay enough attention.
One of the big opportunities I’ve experienced in the last 3 years of self-exploration, is being able to observe my own beliefs and presuppositions from above as if participating from an external consciousness. It’s not easy, as humans our self-preservation and to a degree, our sanity demands a certain structure from us, a certain set of immutable or core beliefs that would provide a sense of identity but also a frame of reference for measuring the world around us and gather meaning from it. And so I’ve come to understand there are two extremes I want to avoid at a personal level:
The dogmatism that incarcerates: I avoid dogmatic positions like the plague. One thing you can expect to increase in my content is a challenge to ideology and dogma, I consider myself a free spirit and I hate to observe the prisons people end up bearing in order to be accepted by a certain group or even to be able to accept themselves. That’s also why I don’t think many people will ultimately grasp me, I will reason against your beliefs but then another I will support a subset of them, on a case-by-case basis; a mind that’s interested in learning the truth needs to allow enough room to grow and admit to past and present severe misconceptions. As you age, maintaining this attitude requires a very intentional decision.
The fluidity that renders you shapeless: Well that’s every bit as dangerous as the former; when everything’s true, nothing is. It’s OK to make mistakes, it’s OK to offend others by having solid positions on topics that cause controversy, it’s OK to change your mind if deep inside you know your adversary has won the argument. But absolute fluidity makes you very easy to deal with, deceive, and manipulate; it’s interesting, just as I can create propaganda tailored to the needs of a very dogmatic type of person with a set of well-known beliefs, I can also device means to confuse a person who’s absolutely fluid, and act in the direction I want one day, and in the opposite the next day, the person will never realize because they dread taking a confrontative position on pretty much anything.
“OK Josué, how’s this related to A. I and humans? Are you playing us or just doing very hard drugs?”
Answer: Neither, but have you seen how film directors can shoot a seemingly unnecessary scene for like two minutes straight just cause he feels like it? David Lynch, I’m talking to you!
Well, just the same, I sometimes feel I need to write something that seems unrelated but it connects directly to the topic, even if it’s not apparent.
So I have been of the “anti-system” type for years and years; I didn’t see my dad much, but when I did I would always ask him about why things are the way they are, a 12-year-old talking about a system he deemed oppressive, unfair and rigged; was I wrong? Not entirely, no; a lot of that happens to be true and for some reason, it bothered me since a very early age.
I’m 35 about to turn 36 and I came to understand it will never be ideal, not even close. But there are degrees of non-ideal realities and the truth is, I wouldn’t trade myself for people who lived before our day and age; I consider myself blessed and yes, I know this doesn’t apply to all. If we were to destroy every foundation on top of which current power and economic structures rest if we were to pursue the dismembering of the evil empire piece by piece and with fierce wrath destroy the reign of injustice, how long would it take us to build something better and entirely different or even allow me to ask: could we?
These are complex questions, and idiotic ideologies will have deceitful easy answers for them, but if you consider these things carefully and honestly maybe you wouldn’t rush to set shit on fire just cause you feel it’s wrong.
I feel I’ve been a frustrated revolutionary for most of my life, but now I came to understand the value of reformation; in either case, we’ve seen both revolution and reformation happen in history with great results sometimes and dreadful results many times, but I believe in salvaging, fixing and building better things using the experience of past generations as a starting point.
I know, it’s not as exciting as destroying everything right? But have you ever seen or read about unstable regions trying to painfully define for years a struggle for power between two or more factions? Man, it’s a horrible window to look through and it will show you some of the worst of mankind; it’s never going to be perfect but it’s better if it’s relatively stable and there’s enough balance for opposing forces to introduce changes and balance.
“OK Josué, seriously: how the FUCK this related to A. I and humans?”
Answer: Because a new society is being shaped, and with it, it brings new challenges. But I would rather take a part in building it than opposing it blindly; by constructing during its early stages, and embracing change, I get an angle and perspective to help reform it later.
Back To The Future
Change is chaos to human psychology, it’s typically not naturally welcome, unless you’re in a horrible position, and such change promises an opportunity to turn the table around. But even so, many individuals will prefer the known evil to exploring the unknown.
And so we witness how robots are taking many jobs that used to be a human job for a fraction of the cost and double the efficiency, you see how an A.I algorithm can generate competent artwork and provide interesting interpretations of deep concepts, how expert systems can make better decisions in critical moments due to their lack of emotion, and how automation simply starts removing the repetitive tasks from our plates.
Information is at hand, education is more accessible than ever, and it is my belief that an individual living in a relatively free, democratic country can change their social and financial situation with much more easiness than in previous ages if they decide to listen to the market and acquire in-demand skills, learn to manage the money they start getting wisely and create something profitable with it: I can tell you this because it’s my own “rags to riches” story, where I’m nowhere near rich, but I live a life no generation in my family before would have dreamed of as far as opportunities and quality of living.
Now, everything in life comes at a price. I’ve paid a very expensive price in terms of time, in terms of pursuing my best potential in the things I care about the most. And such has been my conflict and paradox for many years: I love the opportunity technology has afforded me, but I want to write, I want to create music and art. So, I hated my life for a long time, not realizing that my problem was my linear vision of life and achievements and my own childish expectations that were simply impossible to fulfill because the world wasn’t as I pictured it.
Today, as I continue to build this blog, have much more flexibility in my time management at work, explore my own thoughts and talents, and build my next plans around what I want rather than what I need, I bless those years of bitter struggle.
But one obsession, one thing that the toughest years left me is this: can I help others escape their bitterness? More importantly: can I help others find their potential and get the confidence in themselves to use it? Because I can tell you step by step how I did it, but what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for all. Also, I look at my life and for the first time in my almost 36 years of existence, I feel I’m in the right place, doing the rights things, and can stop for a moment a feel grateful and satisfied; but maybe if you look at my life at this stage it’s far from enough according to your own standards. We’re all different.
But I feel that as the system we live in continues to automate the mundane, the ordinary, this provides for an opportunity which is: that humans can dedicate more to the abstract work of ideas than to the material work of surviving in nature. Could this answer my concern about giving humans the opportunity to explore their own genius at a deeper level? To have more sovereignty over the way they spend their time? To let the machines do the tedious and start competing to provide value based on their own creativity and thoughts? To become creators of new stories, realities, and solutions?
I know, that I’m not speaking about every person here; not everyone has the same motivation although I do believe that every human has the potential to create something. So in order for such a change to be inclusive, there’s really a lot of work involved, a lot of trial and error, a lot of system building, some of which has already begun, perhaps by people some us deem evil or greedy?
And this ties down to my whole story about the system, the reformation, and so on; can you think of building something with others, believing in an improvement, and raising the human potential to a new level? You’re building a system, and probably one that decades from the time you began building it will generate its own problems and will eventually be criticized and threatened by the anti-system people of that age, who happen to have valid points against what you created.
Are we doomed to run in circles continually?
Can we dispose of the rubbish we inherited but honor the hard work of those who laid the very foundations of the system we benefit from?