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Swim like a submarine

I had the opportunity to stare at length at a couple of Vincent Van Gogh paintings.  I was fascinated by the mechanics of his brush work, the sense of directionality in everything. It seemed very relevant whether a horizontal line was left to right or right to left.

The sense of these lines, these brush strokes, stayed with me.  If I were to interpret that as music, what would that be?

At the core of this song are those brush strokes.  Using two instruments together, slide guitar and fretless bass, notes slide in one direction at a time.  Up slides in the verses, down slides in the chorus.

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Computer pioneer Edsger Dijkstra said – “The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim”.  What I take this to mean is that all we are doing here is trying to define the word ‘think’; it tells us nothing new about computers or AI.  

If you want to get philosophical, it’s a version of Derek Parfit’s ‘empty question’ – teleportation paradox  for a fun version of this).

Similar to the way we see faces in clouds, we will see human-like characteristics in things that aren’t human, like dogs and AIs.  

We’ve written so much, in sci-fi and the like, of what we imagine an AI will be like.  If a real world AI has been trained on what we imagine, maybe it’s no surprise if it copies us. Does it mean what it says or is it giving us what we expect?  

Even the idea of ‘it’ makes it singular.  If an AI is running millions of parallel instances of itself, are we talking to the same one?  What do we mean by ‘same one’?

We have created God in our own image. It will wipe every tear from our eye.

As this song concludes, for the first time we hear our singing AI start to fracture, back to the component sounds that it was formed from in the beginning.