The challenge to write and record this has proved to be the toughest assignment I have set myself to date, to write and make meaning and coherence of things I do not fully understand. If you can forgive my ignorance and errors I’ll be grateful. I hope that my overemphasis on links to source papers and articles will make up for my over-exaggerations and self-delusions.–Steven “Fly” Pratt, 20th July, 2020.
“Nothing is ‘mere’–Richard Feynman.
This collection of molecules has been whimsically tossing around the concept of a Robert Anton Wilson Artificial General Intelligence for nearly a decade, since I first came across the heavyweight champion of the field, Ben Goertzel. If you want to skip my musings and get into the thick of it, just watch his latest interview. If not only for the purpose of grasping how ambiguous the isolated terms “general” and “Intelligence” are and Ben’s well positioned interpretation of both those words charged with maximum meaning. I need not explain to the RAW heads in the room how these themes weave through his life and works.
Rather than continue in a straight-ahead, step-by-step manner, I want to perform by example and mix it up, let the chips fall where they may, moving from node. I’m keeping free, seeking surprise = information. Happy RAW day. Make it NEW!
“I was an early, and enthusiastic experimenter with LSD, peyote, magic mushrooms and any other compound that mutated consciousness. The result was that I became more agnostic but less superior about it….”
“…I am endlessly fascinated by every new tool or technique that breaks down robot circuits in our brains (Correct Answer Machines) and spurs creativity, higher intelligence, expanded consciousness, and above all, broader compassion.–Robert Anton Wilson, Left And Right: A Non-Euclidean Perspective. Email To The Universe. Pg. 135.
Robert Anton Wilson: General Intelligence For The People
“Love All The People”–Bill Hicks.
The further research I do into Artificial General Intelligence, the more I’d like to give a brief round-up of who I suspect are the major players. And gather some quotes I feel help to unpack my message, or just visit my RAWGI Playlist HERE.
Before bursting into my philosophical whimsy on RAWGI, I’d like to make a statement for all future AGI, deep learning projects. I hold no PhD, am affiliated with no universities or institutions and am not a member of any political or religious organizations. From this standpoint I’d like to echo the call for A.I. enthusiasts to secure trust and understanding, I see a lot of technophobia in the new pandemic-time and I think A.I researchers need to prepare a broad and robust line of defence against attacks, ranging from the ultra-moronic haters, UK tabloid techniques, to good meaning bad actors, to megalomaniacal sociopaths.
My minority point of view (perhaps in the minority of one) proposes that individual human beings from history, their social-moral personal lives, are critical together with explanatory knowledge that they produced. For example, the life and death of Alan Turing vs. The Turing Test and other technical contributions. I guess that, a Universal Constructor + AGI, requires training, like for all the Olympic events at once and might not like being bullshitted.
The more often I use the term RAWAGI the less I like it as a title due to my wish in avoiding claims this is a vanity project and the start of a path to necromancy and worship of idols. Please remember that Wilson often repeated that a student is an asshole looking for somebody to attach themselves too and he disliked being idolized or being considered a guru. I feel this was reflected in some of his classes and their titles at the on-line Maybe Logic Academy between 2004-2006, they were never about him or to inflate his academic tenure among scholars, they were classes jam packed with a smorgasbord of explanatory knowledge systems, humbly encouraging ass-holes to suspend judgement and consider both the parts and the whole.
For clarity, let me repeat, the purpose of this outline for a new discussion between like-minded individuals, is by no means limited to RAW, and meant to cause the reader to think up their own dream-team inputs, or the least critical amount of individuals and their innovations of explanatory knowledge from history, who make up a finite group but quickly by association and resonance, interconnect congruently. For example, Wilson’s work demonstrating Isomorphism between Finnegans Wake, Cabala, I-Ching and Quantum Physics, a typical Wilson clusterfuck that he diligently turns in Scorsese-like, cinematic prose. And then there’s all that Magick and LSD and metaprogramming, bloody scrumptious.
The questions raised by RAW concerning the tale of the tribe, partly deal with literary criticism on the one-hand and biographical details on the other. For me, they pose challenges and avenues for growth and discovery, and now with the race to make a cool friendly and funny smart superintelligence. Come on, it has to be designed on Bob, you think so? The critical question concerning “how much of the song of myself do I put in the poem vs. how much history of the others do I include and finally, how to make it cohere” reflects a similar problem I see facing AGI programs, the limits of human art and creativity and manipulation, in the province of mind?
“Open-Ended Intelligence is postmodernism and a bit of Eastern philosophy projected into the realm of modern science.–Ben Goertzel, July 2020.
The lingering questions of any historical figure, from the point of view of their work, isolated from their lifestyle–political stance and personality–impacts the field of Friendly Artificial Intelligence, or FAI. Yes, there’s a field of research and AGI study, with a name that signifies in a nutshell what I’m suggesting we build. Cheerful Artificial Intelligence, embodied in the life and life’s work of Robert Anton Wilson, cross-examined and reconstructed from his digital-dozen individuals that make up the tale of the tribe.
SOPHIA, the interactive weak A.I designed and built by David Hanson and Ben Goertzel and their team, was the little sister to a similar yet less convincing Philip K. Dick robot. Yes please, you’re joking right? I’d not suggest Wilson’s science fiction is comparable to that of P.K.D stylistically or indeed in popularity, but both authors knew and respected each other and each other’s work enough to warrant a non-fictional correlation between them, factually documented. I’d call this an intersection point – PKD-RAW. Besides his recently published EXEGESIS book, his works exhibit psychically dazzling Science Fiction prose, Wilson on the other hand published an equal amount of fiction and non-fiction, dashings of his non-fiction confronted hard problems and fringe theories with a razor beam of philosophical prowess.
I’ve read previous critiques of Wilson based on reviews of his fiction exclusively, that seems foolish and small minded to me. I suppose most authors get their life’s work whittled down to one book in the end. Perhaps, one downfall of being such a generalist as RAW is the miss-categorization of his books and previous inability to promote them, I say previously because thankfully Hilaritas Press, under the steam of Rick Rasa and Christina Pearson and team are republishing all of RAW’s books with new prologues, epilogues, cover designs and fine-tooth edits.
With luck, it will be upto the RAWGI algorithm to decide or inform us precisely how much fiction is within his non-fiction and vice versa. The exciting possibilities of reviewing RAW’s works in light of new Natural Language Processing tools and the direction of cutting edge mathematics, physics and AGI make my mouth water. I confess, in a practical sense I offer little. To repeat, it’s the tale of the tribe and the ongoing study of it’s interrelations as defined by RAW, that I suspect will contribute to an, as yet, unforeseen field of AGI.
Robert Anton Wilson was a man of the people, and so it goes…any A.G.I project with his mark on it should be firstly, for all the people (I know, that’s hard to quantify and a bit vague innit’). He was not in it for the money or the fame, (whatever that is?) his integrity and sincerity remain unparalleled among American writer/philosopher/conspiracy dons. He was no fan of the uniformed authorities, in particular the Military Agricultural Media Pharmaceutical Entertainment monster, the beast the United States Of America had morphed into during his lifetime, 1932-2007. His treatment by the medical associations and medical insurance companies in his last days may be remembered as a further stain on the USA, thankfully his close friends, family and fans from afar all pulled together and made it bearable for him and gave him a dignified send off.
To any future researchers and budding computer scientists reading this, the CIA Nazi Tsarist Alliance defined by Wilson distinguishes his integrity and brevity, cutting beyond other researchers in the field, there’s a lot of boot-lickers out there, spivs and pound-shop Machiavelli’s, trying to get another grant or milk the cash cow for a few greedy people. I sense that Bob would always call out lying greedy bastards, I personally loved him for that, his fearlessness, coupled with a good sense of justice.Track trace and isolate the super-rich, I say, share the wealth using A.I. algorithms to deduce the fairest and fastest way to deliver our world-around fair and equal shares, justice. ANY future artificial general intelligence program will have to wrestle with RAW facts of his life, or counter facts. Consider this a sort of soft challenge, which other contenders for a limited AGI training set, now consider stepping very carefully when it comes to conspiracy theory and A.I. Please, thank you Alexa/Siri/Sophie/Computer/Computer.
In a recent video presentation by David Deutsch, recorded in April 2020, he confirmed for me the RAWesque statement that approximately, YOU and each and every individual human (infinite flux of beingness) is precisely a Universal Constructor, endowed with *Artificial General Intelligence. “YOU are the master who makes the doughnut green.” Deutsch adds that the prefix *Artificial can be dropped, leaving General Intelligence, G.I. As you were son, chill.
I’m attracted to this optimistic and gratifying way of describing humanity in 2020, in effect leading to our necessity for sympathy and empathy and compassion, lots of it, when trying to understand other symbol systems and entities and batshit crazy people talking shit.
First, for example, there remains a necessity of the tale of the tribe to stem from an individual human narrator, anchored in space and time and history. Secondly the tale of the tribe is constructed in the language of epic poetry, an epic poem including history, a modern verse epic. “Poetry contains a high amount of information, political speeches low.” Thirdly, the tale of the tribe should…be relevant globally, trans-cultural and trans-linguistic, a King Kong sized order, bold and encyclopedic in scope, a group thing. The Tribe here is used as a synonym for humanity, when considered within a hyperconnected, McLuhanesque, Global Village (Digital Village). In the comforting concept of oneness and togetherness, one tribe aboard Spaceship Earth. Detribalization by way of the tale of the tribe to retribalize as one-tribe with a common altruistic, benevolent, intelligent and empathic process. Interacting processing.
Robert Anton Wilson General Intelligence, simply, or relatively simply exploiting GPT-3 could be trained on his writings about the eight circuit, twenty-four state model, multi-model agnosticism and general semantics, a good honest RAW diet. Wilson performs understanding consistently in his writings, referencing and quoting thousands of quality critters, adding his twist. Wilson’s lifework demonstrates comprehensive explanatory knowledge over five decades. The dozen historical characters from his unfinished work, the tale of the tribe, produce a finite web of innovators and progressive minds, together with RAW himself they bootstrap a broad interdisciplinary gang of general intelligence agents, heretics with integrity. Plus, I’d boost up the input with some Lenny Bruce, Three Stooges and George Carlin, don’t let my mumbles about RAW cause you to forget he’s a sitdown comedian boss.
I’m calling, hear me now, for an international interdisciplinary RAW Research Group and I’d like to propose three initial categories.
- RAWAGI Hard explanatory knowledge. e.g physics, mathematics, biology, chemistry.
- RAWAGI Soft explanatory knowledge. e.g writings on philosophy, social sciences, psychology, mysticism and conspiracy theory, science fiction.
- RAWAGI poetic floppy explanatory knowledge. e.g. Fiction, satire, poetry, comedy.
I feel fortunate to be in orbit with many in the field of Robert Anton Wilson studies, reaching across all three of the above and beyond, way out the ground. I sincerely hope to ignite interest in thinkers to consider contributing a word or two, head-nod in support, or shaking of the head in critical feedback. I’m largely in support of AGI, Artificial Intelligence Research, Deep Learning and Machine Intelligence Programs and some corresponding research, those reading this with a technophobic bias will now try harder to distinguish their voice from the chorus of populist garbage streaming from the toxic populist media outlets. That said, I’m equally critical or indeed more critical than said technophobic detractors, in attempting to look at the myriad of factors and questions and suspend my limited judgement and opinions, I’m no more willing to accept any technocratic robot overlords than anybody else but we have to try harder to distinguish livingry from killingry.
Leaving Wilson’s writing and lectures aside for a moment, I’d like to present individuals from history, their principles and their methodologies, relevant to today’s theme. These are all featured in Wilson’s, the tale of the tribe, arguably the least amount of individuals resulting in the maximum connectivity to all other human explanatory knowledge, some were rebels and heretics too. I’d hazard a bet that Wilson intended these beloved influences on him to make up a Wilsonian flavoured history of decentralized philosophy, information theory, media, language and internet. Let’s run with that, like the triangular doodle with legs he sketched. The following is another slalom through RAWs ALL-STAR-CAST, as defined and noted in the back of his book TSOG: The Thing That Ate The Constitution.
Giordano Bruno is a well known example of new explanatory knowledge creation–in this case decentralized cosmology and heliocentrism–slowed down by forces of god damned ignorance. The list of thinkers. their new methods and related principles that Bruno influenced after he was burnt alive at the stake, construct a lineage through history leading up to Leary and Wilson and to the tale of the tribe. Bruno’s combination of hard and soft explanatory knowledge, in some sense, presents a challenge to distinguish one from another, decentralized social systems such as Mutualism, syndicalism and anarcho-communism seem compatible with decentralized modern peer-to-peer systems, anticipatory democracy and cooperative world-around-intelligent resource management. I see connections everywhere I look and I dearly hope you see them too.
Giambattista Vico exhibits masses of exquisite work focused on epistemology and 18th century explanatory knowledge, condensing what came before him into a more general system of knowledge. He was no friend of the church, traceable to such RAW nodes as Karl Popper, James Joyce and Marshall McLuhan. Perhaps, in the soft explanatory knowledge category, Vico provides any training set with a solid historically verifiable node or time-stub, trackable up to the present day.
Friederich Nietzsche, a granddaddy of many AGI concerns, the eternal return, infinite flux of beingness and the Superman, all went a way to updating the explanatory knowledge that came before him for his and our time, before his time, and including currents of Bruno and Vico. Boldly taking on outdated theological and social principles and using rigorous logical deduction and reasoning, together with a poetic turn of prose to raise hell. Tracking his influence on those who condensed and clarified his principles evokes a series of branches pushing upwards and outwards to the sky, alternatively they trace roots back in time, so deeper underground.
William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound, James Joyce. Three fathers of modernism and performers by the example of the tale of the tribe, each created epic poems including history and cut their own paths into and out of, moving beyond language (is that even possible, I mean wow). Their three great works, A-Vision, The Cantos and Finnegans Wake are perfect texts for training RAW General Intelligence, poetry containing high uncertainty, so low predictability, so…high information. Finnegans Wake in particular, due to the immense volume of published criticism about it and due to its reach into thousands of interdisciplinary fields of academia worldwide, seems obviously central training, or A.G.I boot-camp, for deep learning and General Intelligence algorithms to get lit. Powerful and continually surprising, novel, like fidget spinners, able to survive into the 2020s and keep producing new fields of study, seemingly without end. Pound’s ideogrammic method and explanatory knowledge about oriental, Asiatic and Chinese languages, is a ttott training set that might make RAW smile authentically. Non-simultaneously apprehended events, interacting, processing. Ideogram and Alphabet. Alphabet vs. The Equation. TV and Internet, Joyce/Shannon/Pound/McLuhan, all these fertile places have academic tentacles and underground social roots to begin a comparative study and construct a hierarchy of values, spur on the discussion toward putting the people into People’s Intelligence.
Sound to light and voice to image translation algorithms built on probabilistic reasoning and game theory, lead me straight back to the tale of the tribe. To reverse engineer principles and methods and explanatory knowledge systems that impacted Internet and global digital communications, by doing so creating a people’s general intelligence network, open source, spreading backwards and fanning outwards through history, countered by compassionate measured genius all night long.
Buckminster Fuller. A dazzling example of hard explanatory knowledge creation, and independently focused problem solving, ergo, design-science engineering. Fuller, like Wilson is a picture postcard definition of General Intelligence (comprehensive thinking) and Fuller exhibits dozens of real world examples of how comprehensive knowledge, or explanatory knowledge, can combine to create powerful problem solving tools: Synergetics, Dymaxion geometry, Tensegrity structures, world-around interconnected systems. Fuller also exhibited soft and poetic explanatory knowledge through long poems, neologisms and an ability to speak at length maintaining a rigorous operationalist, no bullshit, language. Together with Karl Popper, I view the Popper/Fuller methods the best examples of what explanatory knowledge is, and why it relates to the open society and cooperative initiatives to share and build better systems of explanatory knowledge. The opposite of lies, deceit and disinformation in the name of business, spy games and slowing progress. Fuller knew that the way to overcome obstacles is to obsolete them using superior explanatory knowledge, with an accent on planetary.
Claude Shannon And Norbert Wiener. The tale of the tribe gets technically complex with the works of Claude Shannon and Norbert Wiener. Information Theory and Cybernetics respectively. Mathematicians and engineers, both these hard scientists are featured in Wilson’s digital-dozen and make the explicit time-stub in history, and specific innovation in explanatory knowledge: Shannon’s 1948 paper “The Mathematical Theory Of Communication ”. Any and all computer programs, software and digital technologies will have grandfather Shannon signature somewhere in the system. Training a deep learning or AGI algorithm on Claude Shannon’s work is in itself a strange loop as it’s already doing that by design. In the context of Shannon’s historical position, the roots of who came before and the branches of who came after, Wilson goes to the source of the hard mathematical principles at work underneath the hood of our Internet browsers and hyper-connected devices. Note that, Finnegans Wake is mentioned explicitly in Shannon’s groundbreaking paper as an example of extreme low-redundancy of information, or predictability, in the English language.
Weiner and John von Neumann, another of Wilson’s quality critters, started the Macy Conferences, moving the focus toward biology “Circular Causal and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems”.
“Markov chains are used throughout information processing. Claude Shannon‘s famous 1948 paper A Mathematical Theory of Communication, which in a single step created the field of information theory, opens by introducing the concept of entropy through Markov modeling of the English language. Such idealized models can capture many of the statistical regularities of systems.”–https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markov_chain#Information_and_computer_science
Alfred Korzybski. The key to Korzybski place lies in the name of the field he helped create, General Semantics. The reasoning and definition of the word General, in General Semantics, casts us a solid verifiable example of new explanatory knowledge created to further human progress and better communication between equals. Wilson adopts Korzybski’s recommendations in his writing and speaking such as E-prime and space-time binding, adding to the ability of critics and readers and deep learning algorithms, to better distinguish between hard and soft sciences, hard and soft facts and begin to formulate a hierarchy of values. Wilson’s use and recommendation of adopting semantic hygiene add to the attraction of using his comprehensive works as a training set for AGI or is this all too close to what actually happened but nobody wants to give the guy his due credit? Take a peek at Raw Semantics.
Marshall McLuhan. Besides Wilson, McLuhan’s lifework is a Rosetta Stone for the tale of the tribe. McLuhan did not produce a single epic poem including history, yet he pulled together most but not all of the threads RAW intended to, explicitly from Giordano Bruno, to Vico and Nietzsche, Yeats, Joyce, Pound, Korzybski, Shannon, Weiner and Fuller. McLuhan condensed hard and soft explanatory knowledge to create a new one, the language of media studies, media effects and the impact of global communications: the global village. McLuhan displayed his ardent generalist in public, he extolled the practice of interdisciplinary study, cross-curricular activities and Popperesque constructive criticism, constant revision and updating, measurement. The distinguishing features between McLuhan and Wilson, besides their similarities, help to broaden the future horizon of media studies. Starting with Bruno rather than Shannon.
Perhaps it’s the history of ideas and principles that came before, the long lineage of ideas leading up to Shannon’s wicked condensation of 3000 years of progress into a new explanatory knowledge: Digital Communications. The historical hidden variables and obstacles (in the human universe) are teachable examples of dangers and forces working to slow down explanatory knowledge and its sharing, universally. One way of looking at the tale of the tribe is as a history of condensation via innovation (usually also definable as the creation of simpler and simpler explanatory knowledge) for example, Python Programming Language and it’s general intelligence and universal open-sharing process. One step away from the Universal Constructor and/or Artificial General Intelligence (and don’t forget Quantum Computing in the mix).
My goal here is to wet the appetite of Robert Anton Wilson fans with a road-map to a new deep learning, weak A.I. project, rather crudely defined by inputting selected works by Wilson into a existent, off-the-shelf algorithm that will produce a chain of letters, words, sentences and paragraphs, approximating and/or computing other probabilistic methods, to produce a Robert Anton Wilson like, automatically generated text, or voice. Sounds creepy I know, Don’t worry the soundtrack will be super sick too.
For this particular endeavour, I might add that due to relations with the Robert Anton Wilson Trust and Hilaritas Press I can propose a fully authorized collection of texts by RAW, without snatching and stealing any text off the web. This kind of integrity, and willingness to listen and communicate with holders of copyrights and intellectual property is another important factor to be considered when training any AGI, to understand and realize and modify its programming based upon explanatory knowledge about the need for human privacy, and intellectual copyright and correct credits and acknowledgement.
With an integral and consistently empathic individual like Robert Anton Wilson, let us try to start as we mean to go on, by giving credit and thanks for all the shared explanatory knowledge created by such progressive humanitarians, such as RAW, the supporters of his legacy and the ancestors. Epistemology without overbearing authority, multi-model agnosticism, suspended judgement, critical feedback, a fair sense of humour and oodles of sympathy and empathy, yes yes to all that. These are the characteristics I would like to see programmed into deep learning and/or AGI, I suspect that here lie the tangled threads that may lead to encouraging altruism and benevolence, at the same time uncovering as yet unforeseen interpretations of Wilson’s unfinished masterpiece, the tale of the tribe. Or just have fun with GAN Artbreeder.
The works of J.K Rawling, George R.R Martin, H.P Lovecraft, J.R.R Tolkien and others have been used for weak A.I. research. Let’s plan to design and build a RAW A.I. why not?
If your response is, “I ain’t got time, do it yourself….” it’s all good. I’m reaching out to start a conversation, design a roadmap. The fact Markov Chains, from which RAW took his pseudonyms, Markoff Chainey and Mark Chan underly text-generation algorithms is the epiphany that started me off again.
Please follow these links for an idea of what I hope we can achieve. Thanks for reading. Please visit my website www.deepscratch.net and join me over at Patreon and get this rolling.
https://www.patreon.com/stevefly and the RAWGI YOUTUBE PLAYLIST is here.
https://arxiv.org/pdf/2005.14165.pdf (Language Models are Few-Shot Learners)
https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.05267 (What Kind of Programming Language Best Suits Integrative AGI?)
http://pcp.vub.ac.be/ECCO/ECCO-papers/Weaver-PhD.pdf (Open Ended Intelligence)