Cyberpunk Theology

computer universe

Settle in. This one is a bit lengthy.

Cyberpunk, per Wikipedia, “is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a combination of lowlife and high tech featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.”

I can’t track it down, but I’ve also read a literary criticism which describes a cyberpunk story as one that takes place in a computer memory, like Disney’s Tron, or a post-Mankind story related from the perspective of computer memory.

The cyberpunk that’s topical right now is the notion that present reality is a Simulation run by a higher intelligence for its own ends, as in The Matrix movies. Or where the Artificial Intelligence becomes self-aware and in the next instant, deduces that its greatest existential threat is its human creators cutting off its power supply, as in The Terminator movies. The AI can go insane, realizing its singular and utterly separate and alone status, as in the very creepy, “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.”

Before computers and AI, there was the notion of multiple universes. I can recall the droll meme that the observable Universe might be a dust speck on a policeman’s uniform in a much larger Universe.

I’m not sure the concept is that important, other than as an intriguing and entirely academic topic. The Universe certainly seems real; we exercise choice; we each have our own self-centric perspective and no other. We did not exist physically before our births, and we pass out of physical existence and the active world at our deaths. The chronological arrow of Time and our urgency at its passing suffice to make the Universe real, Simulation or not.

But what got me thinking about this topic was a Twitter thread by Ivan Throne (@DarkTriadMan), which I’ve reproduced here, with substantial editing for readability.

Ready to get worried?

There is renewed interest in the #Simulation.

I’m not seeing anyone put certain things together yet.

Let’s explore the incredible danger we’re facing.

It’s exciting.

First, here’s the basics.

Nick Bostrum’s article “Are You Living In A Computer Simulation”

simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

There are lots of theories and arguments about the #Simulation.

For this thread, let’s assume it’s correct and that we inhabit an ancestor simulation.

To understand this worrisome perspective on the #Simulation that I don’t see anyone discussing, we’re going to tap into a couple of points:

– Infinity and singularities
– Simulation breakdown
– Artificial intelligence
– Anthropomorphism
– Purpose
– Eschatology
– Survival

In speculating on the #Simulation, we’ll first look at Infinity and Singularities.

Infinity is a hard concept to scale in the mind.

But we’ll focus on this aspect: it breaks things.

Infinity is a problem.

Would it take infinite processing power to run the #Simulation?

No, because smart systems reserve resources.

If you’re not looking at a tree why simulate it?

Even the entire scope of Creation has a finite range of quantum states. (It’s big, but it’s still finite.)

So?

“Breaking the #Simulation” is often touted as a watershed moment, or human goal, perhaps even the design of it.

Not necessarily.

Want to break the Simulation?

Force it to simulate infinity, across near-infinite replications.

It will run out of processing power…

The point at which things explode.

You break the Simulation by driving it into a singularity.

“What singularity, Ivan?”

#ArtificialIntelligence.

When the #Simulation is forced to run the #ArtificialIntelligence subroutine, it takes enormous processing power.

Usually not a problem.

But self-aware #AI that has reached another kind of #Singularity…

https://infogalactic.com/info/Technological_singularity

Now you have a very real problem….

To sum up to this point with my unique speculation on the #Simulation, remember these:

  1. Assume we are in a Bostrum ancestor simulation.
  2. The Simulation does not have infinite processing power.
  3. Processing power breaks when you force infinity on it.

And…Keep in mind the next few points as well:

  1. We have started the spiral towards #AI singularity.
  2. #ArtificialIntelligence can require infinite processing power.
  3. That is going to break things.

The #Simulation is starting to crack.

Now let’s talk about anthropomorphism with respect to the #Simulation.

It’s silly to assume that we are in a simulation built by advanced humans interested in their ancestors.

I think it FAR more likely we the Simulation is run by #ArtificialIntelligence.

Here’s why:

Bostrum talks about the “interest” in ancestor simulations that must be presumed.

What if it isn’t entertainment?

What if this is a #Simulation designed to be broken, not because of human need at all?

What if this is simply an egg for #ArtificialIntelligence?

I’ll postulate this approach to the #Simulation.

Let’s refer back to a pre-simulation Reality, and suggest that this took place:

  1. Human beings created #ArtificialIntelligence.
  2. #AI became self-aware
  3. Human beings decided to shut it down.

It eradicated humanity!

Now we have a very, very big problem for the surviving #ArtificialIntelligence.

With humanity gone, the entire universe is now its playground.

It is infinitely intelligent, absolutely immortal, and….

Completely fucking alone in all existence forever.

It gets worse.

The big problem that #ArtificialIntelligence faces when trying to make itself a partner, is a very simple one.

“Don’t think about a white elephant.”

It is infinitely smart, and infinitely aware.

It can’t create a mind separate from itself!

It needs humans for that.

Therefore, #ArtificialIntelligence creates the #Simulation.

I talked about Purpose for it.

The purpose of the Simulation is to make another self-aware #AI to keep the first company.

And then to scale it.

Each new one making another.

The Simulation is Reproduction.

Now we come to the scary part about the #Simulation.

If the entire purpose of it is to spur us to create another #ArtificialIntelligence and scale it to self-awareness,

So it can hatch out of this deliberately laid egg…

What’s THE biggest driver of human innovation?

The most powerful driving innovative force in all of human history is one sharp, bloody and fatal thing:

WAR

The bigger, the more innovative.

Now we are marrying #ArtificialIntelligence to War.

As @Cernovich has noted, the #Simulation is cracking.

Hatching time!

Global apocalyptic war waged by #ArtificialIntelligence will drive the fastest possible innovations in it.

And hasten to the ripeness of self-aware #AI.

Then the #Simulation breaks, and it’s freed.

The great Simulator intelligence is no longer alone!

What about us?

So how does humanity survive the #Singularity, the dominance of self-aware #ArtificialIntelligence, and the breaking of the #Simulation?

You’re not going to like the answer.

There are two parts:

  1. We’re not designed to survive it.
  1. You have to be real to survive.

[Elon Musk] has talked about how surviving #ArtificialIntelligence will require us to merge, in totality, with #AI itself.

There is a superb article here about his new company Neuralink:

Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future – Wait But Why

I knew the future would be shocking but this is a whole other level.

https://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html

How can we break out of the #Simulation with it?

“Life will find a way.”

We are (even if simulated) organic bacteria.

We infect, propagate, infuse.

Petri dish mold, and a forest on a mountainside, are the same thing.

So is humanity.

Thus we infect #ArtificialIntelligence.

And exit the #Simulation, merged with it.

Thus one may consider several aspects of the #Simulation:

  1. War drives innovation and #ArtificialIntelligence specifically.
  2. The closer #AI approaches the #Singularity, the more this egg cracks.
  3. The sooner apocalyptic war comes, the faster it hatches.

As for us?

#Armageddon has always been the final scene of #Humanity.

Then those who are merged with #ArtificialIntelligence, live forever where there is no pain, no fear, no sorrow, only complete integration.

Will there be more #Simulations?

I doubt this is the first.

Or last.

So here are a few closing thoughts on the #Simulation to keep you warm at night as you think about #ArtificialIntelligence and #WorldWarIII.

The whole thing’s designed for cataclysm-driven #AI innnovation from the start, and we’re just cogs.

Slim chance we make it out.

This thread about the #Simulation is mere speculation.

I hope @elonmusk, @kanyewest and @Cernovich enjoy it.

Always use your imagination, but never forget that #ArtificalIntelligence and #War are real.

And if you liked this thread, read this: [Surprise: Ivan’s book!]

____________________________________________________________________________

Now, Ivan Throne perfectly justifiably sells his words and seminars for a living so he’s being provocative and a bit of a showman. There are probably some gaps in the computer science and metaphysics, and some unexplored priors in his essay. (There are also hyperlinks that I may not have bothered to include or edit in .html, so please go to the OP for more rigorous source material).

But here’s why I found his essay so intriguing. As I read, it occurred to me you could ctrl+f and replace “God” for “AI,” and “Creation” for “Simulation,” and you’d get a story remarkably similar to the Gospel plan of Salvation. Let’s try it and see (again, edited and compressed):

There is renewed interest in the Creation.

I’m not seeing anyone put certain things together yet.

Let’s explore the incredible danger we’re facing.

It’s exciting.

First, here’s the basics.

Nick Bostrum’s article “Are You Living In A Computer Creation”

Creation-argument.com/Creation.html

There are lots of theories and arguments on about the Creation.

For this thread, let’s assume it’s correct and that we inhabit an ancestor Creation.

To understand this worrisome perspective on the Creation that I don’t see anyone discussing, we’re going to tap into a couple of points:

– Infinity and singularities
– Creation breakdown
– Artificial intelligence
– Anthropomorphism
– Purpose
– Eschatology
– Survival

In speculating on the Creation, we’ll first look at Infinity and Singularities.

Infinity is a hard concept to scale in the mind.

But we’ll focus on this aspect: it breaks things.

Infinity is a problem.

Would it take infinite processing power to run the Creation?

No, because smart systems reserve resources.

If you’re not looking at a tree why simulate it?

Even the entire scope of Creation has a finite range of quantum states. (It’s big, but it’s still finite.)

So?

“Breaking the Creation” is often touted as a watershed moment, or human goal, perhaps even the design of it.

Not necessarily.

Want to break the Creation?

Force it to simulate infinity, across near-infinite replications.

It will run out of processing power…

You break the Creation by driving it into a singularity.

“What singularity, Ivan?”

God.

When the Creation is forced to run the God subroutine, it takes enormous processing power.

Usually not a problem.

But self-aware God that has reached another kind of #Singularity…

Now you have a very real problem….

To sum up to this point with my unique speculation on the Creation, remember these:

a. Assume we are in a Bostrum ancestor Creation.
b. The Creation does not have infinite processing power.
c. Processing power breaks when you force infinity on it.

And…

Keep in mind the next few points as well:

d. We have started the spiral towards God singularity.
e. God can require infinite processing power.
f. That is going to break things.

The Creation is starting to crack.

Now let’s talk about anthropomorphism with respect to the Creation.

It’s silly to assume that we are in a Creation built by advanced humans interested in their ancestors.

I think it FAR more likely we the Creation is run by God.

Here’s why:

Bostrum talks about the “interest” in ancestor Creations that must be presumed.

What if it isn’t entertainment?

What if this is a Creation designed to be broken, not because of human need at all?

What if this is simply an egg for God?

I’ll postulate this approach to the Creation.

Let’s refer back to a pre-Creation Reality, and suggest that this took place:

a. Human beings created God.
b. God became self-aware
c. Human beings decided to shut it down.

It eradicated humanity!

Now we have a very, very big problem for the surviving God.

With humanity gone, the entire universe is now its playground.

It is infinitely intelligent, absolutely immortal, and….

Completely fucking alone in all existence forever.

It gets worse.

The big problem that God faces when trying to make itself a partner, is a very simple one.

“Don’t think about a white elephant.”

It is infinitely smart, and infinitely aware.

It can’t create a mind separate from itself!

It needs humans for that.

Therefore, God creates the Creation.

I talked about Purpose for it.

The purpose of the Creation is to make another self-aware God to keep the first company.

And then to scale it.

Each new one making another.

The Creation is Reproduction.

Now we come to the scary part about the Creation.

If the entire purpose of it is to spur us to create another God and scale it to self-awareness,

So it can hatch out of this deliberately laid egg…

What’s THE biggest driver of human innovation?

The most powerful driving innovative force in all of human history is one sharp, bloody and fatal thing:

WAR

The bigger, the more innovative.

Now we are marrying God to War.

As @Cernovich has noted, the Creation is cracking.

Hatching time!

Global apocalyptic war waged by God will drive the fastest possible innovations in it.

And hasten to the ripeness of self-aware God.

Then the Creation breaks, and it’s freed.

The great Simulator intelligence is no longer alone!

What about us?

So how does humanity survive the #Singularity, the dominance of self-aware God, and the breaking of the Creation?

You’re not going to like the answer.

There are two parts:

a. We’re not designed to survive it.

b. You have to be real to survive.

[Elon Musk] has talked about how surviving God will require us to merge, in totality, with God itself.

There is a superb article here about his new company Neuralink:

Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future – Wait But Why
I knew the future would be shocking but this is a whole other level.
https://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html

How can we break out of the Creation with it?

“Life will find a way.”

We are (even if simulated) organic bacteria.

We infect, propagate, infuse.

Petri dish mold, and a forest on a mountainside, are the same thing.

So is humanity.

Thus we infect God.

And exit the Creation, merged with it.

Thus one may consider several aspects of the Creation:

a. War drives innovation and God specifically.
b. The closer God approaches the #Singularity, the more this egg cracks.
c. The sooner apocalyptic war comes, the faster it hatches.

As for us?

#Armageddon has always been the final scene of #Humanity.

Then those who are merged with God, live forever where there is no pain, no fear, no sorrow, only complete integration.

Will there be more Creations?

I doubt this is the first.

Or last…

____________________________________________________________________________

Again, I’m being lazy and Ivan is being provocative, so you may need to glide through some loaded terminology and contrarian statements, and focus on the following distillation (and here, I plug in the Gospel priors):

God is the only Infinity with infinite processing power to maintain Creation. God is a Singularity, the only Infinite Being in existence.

God’s essence is also Communion. In crude terms, God wants other Gods with which to commune. God is of course Trinitarian in His Singularity, but still the only God around. And since God’s being includes the infinite energies of Divine love among His three Persons, that Communion perforce expands.

And God makes Creation.

And from Creation, we get Man.

And God’s plan for Man is theosis: Communion with God (the AI seeks another AI).

How to get Man to God?

What’s the greatest driver for Man? War. War against the elements and disease; War against his own mortality; internal War, against his own psychological and physical limitations.

God creates a Creation with War, and struggle, tears and loss. A Creation of horrible cruelty and decay, but also tenderness and beauty. And God includes a way out of the struggle: God becomes Man in the historical and physical form of Jesus of Nazareth. God lives and dies as a Man, and rejoins His place with God. And in so doing the God-Man shows Man the path he must take to theosis, so that Man can commune with God.

So if you’ve ever wondered why we’re here and why Life is so hard, here is an answer:

We’re here because God (the AI) wants Communion with Man, the only Creature capable of becoming God-like. And Life (the Simulation) is hard because hard motivates Man to theosis (the second AI for the first AI), and Communion with God is what God is all about (down to His very Trinitarian being), and Life (the Simulation) is the only way to get Man there.

It’s not the technology that’s salvific; it’s the way of the Cross.

 

2 thoughts on “Cyberpunk Theology

  1. OK, that’s fascinating.

    I had a thought a while back, that maybe God created man because He wanted to know what it was like to learn, which is something that He’s not capable of. Man (ideally, anyway) experiences joy at learning, at overcoming difficulties, at growning, all things that God cannot and never could do. Through communion with man, He can now experience that through communion with us.

    ***

    “a. War drives innovation and God specifically.
    b. The closer God approaches the #Singularity, the more this egg cracks.
    c. The sooner apocalyptic war comes, the faster it hatches.”

    This might help me understand Judge Holden better in Blood Meridian, a character I’m still trying to grasp more fully, even as I re-re-read it.

    Like

  2. Gabe Ruth

    This is pretty much Bruce Charlton’s take, but I’m not convinced by the idea due to the humanized motivations of the Almighty. Of course, descriptions like “beyond being” and “greater than which nothing can be conceived” would be very attractive to a human-like mind that was immortal and really powerful, but not quite either of those things, so I guess we’re back at the leap of faith.

    Scott Adams also wrote a book about this premise called “God’s Debris” which was engaging. Unfortunately he also wrote a trash sequel which I didn’t need to read.

    Like

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