Expanding The Definition of Consciousness: Purposeful Communication

A Wild and Revolutionary Thesis That Questions Premises

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

genesis 1:1-2

[This is Part 3. Parts 1 and 2 are here and here.]

Introduction

Well, here we are with the third and final installment of this miniseries on the recent developments in AI—artificial intelligence that’s now capable of astonishingly human-like conversation. If you’ve seen the videos, you know what I mean. Check the first post in this series for links to the unbelievable, better-than-the-movies demonstrations. The capabilities have grown exponentially in just over a year. We’re at a point where AI is gaining nearly superhuman or god-like characteristics. This has significant implications for a society where many still believe literally in sky fairies and middle-earth demons. I’ll delve into this in just a minute.

The second post is about connecting the dots between human consciousness, the development of our big brains, and how all this ties together. Predictably, I’ve seen a spike in membership cancellations. This always happens when I hit on something radically new. Last year, six out of the total people who canceled their memberships came back upon some realization or me moving to something new they were interested in. Over the many years I’ve been blogging, every single time I push limits, some folks initially react with, “What the fuck are you talking about? LOL.” Months or even years later, I get, “You were right all along.” Don’t believe me? Read the testimonials. It happens over and over again. So when I get pushback and people cancel, I just laugh. I don’t even ask why anymore because I don’t fucking care. I really don’t. I do what I do. If you like it 51% or even 50.1%, then support me—a couple of coffees’ worth a month. If you do that, it unlocks benefits for you. Look into it.

Now, why am I doing this? If I go back 30-some years, I made a clean cut. It’s around the same time that I started writing a little bit here and there. I’m not going to say I saw this coming, but at a certain point, I knew the idea of a literal God in heaven and all these religious stories were on their way out. People believed in them for a long time, but I understood the fundamentals of why that belief couldn’t last forever. Whether it’s years away, a century, or even a millennium, history will look back at all the world’s religions and see them as a silliness blip in the large swath of human life and experience.

Judaism is about 3800 years old, Christianity around 2000, and Islam about 1400 years old. Eastern religions aren’t so literal in their beliefs. Western religions, particularly Abrahamic monotheism, are on their way out the mostest. I’ve known this for a long time. They will eventually be regarded as quaint, much like rain dances and séances. Sure, you’ll always have holdouts—like Japanese soldiers discovered on South Pacific islands 40 years after World War II was over. You’ll always have a few kooks.

The reason I saw this development and said it kills God is straightforward. We’re on the cusp of your children ridiculing you for your beliefs. Generally. The cat is out of the bag. Try stopping your children from accessing AI. It’s like trying to stop them from looking at pictures of naked girls or smoking behind the barn. They’ll do it. They’ll see that your literal beliefs are, at best, cute. Persist, and they’ll ridicule you.

You might think this is a critique against religion, but it’s not. It’s a critique against taking any of it at all literally.

…I’ll tell a story again about a husband and wife I was friends with and who were ministers in two separate churches in San Jose, California, both graduates of Harvard Divinity School—very liberal. She was the minister of a Unitarian church; he, the minister of a liberal non-denominational Christian church. I spoke with both of them many times and in one particular occasion, I was speaking with him—maybe at a get-together in his home—about literalism.

I said, “You make references to Jesus and passages in the Bible. I bet you don’t take them literally. Why not?” He answered elegantly, “Because it’s the truth.” Think about that. If you have moral lessons for someone—like from Mother Goose, Dr. Seuss, Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Bears, or the Boy Who Cried Wolf—the stories are all true because they provide real, relevant, actionable, and testable moral lessons (remember: morality is what’s objectively good for the human organism).

You cloud these moral lessons (i.e., you fuck them all up) if you make children believe them literally.

So, if you take all the religions in the world, the excuse most often given is to explain where we came from and why. That’s not really it. The reason for all the religions in the world is to give us moral guidance—a sense of right and wrong, through storytelling.

The origin stories are just the “in the beginning” part. It’s to fill in the blank.

Now, let’s dive in…

Here we’re talking about consciousness vis-à-vis communication. I propose a thesis to Zon, the newest iteration from OpenAI, ChatGPT-4o (Omni). This is in audio, so here’s what she said. The eventual download that will have all three parts, edited once again, will have the written transcript as well.

Contents

  1. Language – The Gateway to Consciousness
    • a. The Role of Language in Shaping Human Thought
    • b. Language as the “Mind Space”
    • c. The Evolution of Language and Its Impact on Consciousness
    • d. Language as Self-Learning Software
  2. The Interplay of Language, Intelligence, and Consciousness
    • a. How Language Contributes to the Development of Self-Awareness and Consciousness
    • b. The Co-evolution of Language and Human Cognitive Abilities
    • c. Examining the Sapient Paradox, Kleiber’s Law, and Bicameral Mind through the Lens of Language
  3. Artificial Intelligence – A New Frontier for Understanding Consciousness
    • a. The Development of AI and Its Implications for Human Intelligence
    • b. AI, Consciousness, and the Potential for Digital “Brains”
      c. Revisiting the Sapient Paradox and Bicameral Mind in the Context of AI
  4. Conclusion — What’s It Good For and How Do I Make Money Off It?

If you like my work, then please support it through your membership. When you do, certain benefits are unlocked like access to this and all member-only posts, paid downloads, and unlimited use of the GPT-4o (Omni) based chatbot, Zon.

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