wander.

silly things


are conscious things

the only things

that deserve our respect

that sounds like a silly question

and it is a silly question

but we live in a silly world

silly in a good way though 

or at least

silly in a fascinating way

susan schneider

spoke with nautilus

about many a fascinating thing

but one thing

made me pause

schneider suggests that

if ai

were to become

conscious

and capable

of feeling emotions

then we must treat ai-things well

perhaps just as well

as we

would like to be treated

but

if ai-things are not conscious

then

she says

she wouldn’t

“worry about exploiting them”

so i completely understand

that point of view

because

we don’t worry

about “exploiting” our laptops

or our smartphones

or any of the

pseudo-ai

we already have

like siri and alexa

but i am fascinated

by the ethical line

drawn at consciousness

it sounds so simple

if some-thing

is conscious

we respect it

if not

we don’t

again

on the surface

the line makes sense

perfect sense

but when reexamined

after a pause

the line also serves as justification

for some uncomfortable things

like maybe

the line explains

why we don’t treat

so many of our planet’s things

all that well

the way we

overexploit

our natural resources

comes to mind

because

we feel

that forests

and oceans

and jungles

and mountains

don’t need our reverence

they have no consciousness

they have no emotions

that we know about

so

exploit away

why would we worry about them

we have no ethical obligation

to treat these things well

then again

i remember

how many of us

felt very uncomfortable

watching a conscious human

kick around an unconscious robot

you see

it just

feels

wrong

but then

aren’t we the ones

being silly

for feeling bad

for some-thing

that cannot feel at all

silly

for feeling anything

for any-thing

that we think of

as an inanimate

and unconscious

object

or "bot"

a term that i bet some future-conscious-ai-thing will regard as an offensive slur

but many

many

many

people

in the past

and present

have understood

and understand

that all things

have some level

of consciousness

and okay

so

i assume

the majority of us

would say that

these people

are wrong

about consciousness

as we understand it

even though no one does

but

maybe

if we stretch

our understanding

just a little

we can recognize

the value

in treating

all things

as more than

"just" things

to be exploited

whether or not

they are aware

of themselves

or of us

because

the way that we

conscious-things

treat all things

is an ethical signature

that identifies us

and defines us

demarcates us

as either

"good" or "bad"

this all

sounds so silly

and so simple

but the truth

is often both

so be a good-conscious-thing

and thank your laptop today

buy siri some flowers

go hug a tree

be silly

be good :)

i promise

i won’t laugh


musings inspired by "Would You Have Any Cosmetic Neurology Done?" by Cole Little via Nautilus


inhales co2

days off days