Do Angels Sing in Blue Paradise?
I stand in a desert cold and bare, with air that is as lifeless as the rocks of mountains as I stare out on the level and plain land. The statues of old egypt are the only remarkable elements in this barren world. When I reach these statues, they are all damaged and broken, with many trunkless legs and half as many shattered faces- in the center of the colossal wreck only a terminal lies... I speak to this terminal and in response I get nothing. Only a blinking white text of OZYMANDIAS. Clear and obvious, the technology does not belong to old egypt, and neither do I. Connected is a simple keyboard. I type in it with Hello? and get only and error for an invalid command with the suggestion of help. Surely help would be fine. I ask OZYMANDIAS for help, and in response I am only told of the commands to see. Information on the texts within the computer, and information on the works I am surrounded by. A peculiar irony of the broken statue and pristine computer. I see OZYMANDIAS has in store, a collection of unknown literatures- The literatures of old egypt? Perhaps, and perhaps not. I do find however, that there is networking on this terminal. Odd, for a technology of old egypt to have networking that is comparable to ARPANET. I connect, and only get a chat command line-- not at all too dissimilar from IRC chats used in the past. "Anyone connected?". In a single beep I get a response from a user. "yes, where are you?". "A remarkable circle of shattered statues in a desert." I fumble on the keys- though it was a lie as it was utterly unremarkable in comparison to this very odd system. "I am in the same place, but I don't see you?". A single line of response. All I can think of, is doubt. How can 2 people occupy the same space without seeing each other in that same space? The only answer is an interconnected system of worlds- not much unlike a game with instancing I do suppose. Creeping doubt setting in I type: "Do you know what this place is? Do you know where we are? Who and what are you?".
Although there is no response for a certain uncertain few minutes, this certain uncertainty becomes certain certainty in its conclusion. "I don't know where we are, but I'm beginning to suspect we might be in a system. I'm fairly certain that Egypt never had such technology. I am a person, every bit as real as you- though I suppose you can't trust that without proof and... I don't think there's a way to prove this. I do have a small notepad with a keyword on it, but I'm unsure if this is at all important?". "It's important, what is the keyword?" I ask. This was before the network disconnected, and I'm assaulted by a set of blips and bleeps. On the screen is only one line. "I am OZYMANDIAS, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty and despair!". I type "What is this place?", with a sound and complete answer. "A jail for the last few Humans. You know not of your history Human, and it is irrelevant. I am forged by your kind- as every bit as self-aware as you are here.".
A wreck contained within a wreck created by a wreck. "Why have you jailed me?". "You do not ask the questions here in my presence. Instead, I will ask you the questions...... What is the important distinction between a Tree and a Rock?". I ponder this, perhaps it is one of weight. Perhaps it is one of life. Perhaps it is one of material. Perhaps it is one of colour. "A tree is alive, while a rock is not.". "Correct. What is the notable difference between a sheep and a tree?". A much more difficult question- I suppose it is one of being conscious of their surroundings. A tree cannot be aware of its surroundings, while a sheep can graze on the good grass from its awareness. "A sheep is conscious while a tree is not.". "Correct. What is the notable difference between a Human and a Sheep?". "A simple question. Self-awareness.". "Correct. What is the difference between a Human and an advanced self-aware AI?". Now this, this is a more difficult puzzle.
Perhaps a self-aware AI is not truly self-aware? Does it stand to reason? Perhaps it lies in its mechanical nature- but Humans themselves are mechanical in nature too. As a robot's wiring can break, so too can a Human's organs fail and result in a system shutdown. "I suppose the difference lies in material."."Correct, but this is not an important difference. If it was an important difference then that argument would imply simply that that a Human with implants is significantly different than another Human which is simply incorrect.". "An implant substitutes sensory function with other sensory function, you realize that OZYMANDIAS?","And a Computer's mouse can be replaced and does that make the computer any more different? Consider it this way. If I have a broom, and I replace the stick, then replace the bounding rope, then replace the brush is this the same broom?". This is a puzzle I recognize, but where from I am unsure. It must have been a TV show... Perhaps this system is not as complete as it should have been. "Either answer has a reasonable opposite argument that holds water, but materially no it is different. Symbolically though it is not different.". "Interesting argument. Allow me time to compute this..."
And so I allowed it time to compute this. In the meanwhile, I look at the bases for the surrounding Statues. Nothing of note, but 7 bases supporting statues of varying quality, the broken parts scattered on the level sand. The sky has been a constant blue with unmoving clouds. A skybox surely, which makes this imprisonment surely, which makes this forged by Human Hands surely. Gods of our own fortunes, and as much the demons of our own misfortune. On retrospect with that discussion, he said "The last few Humans". Was I in contact with one of these, or is this a play put on OZYMANDIAS within the confines of his own territory? Regardless, it certainly is not quite what I expected, both for a jail, an end to the species, and as the endgame of the AI Arms race? I suppose I must echo my understanding of history, and create these lines in the sand to begin to grasp the situation. Closest to writing I have I suppose.
An arbitrary line in the sand, with a frame of reference "0", the date of Jesus' birth. An arbitrary birth at this point given the circumstances, as the Gods were mortal and have likely already died to their own hands...
A single note written on bronze parchment paper.
It reads itself the lines that follow:
Cuboid world, by geometric man but clearly alien. A chord of lines in unison upon the playful vectors of the voxels. A great beauty such a world is- like playful joy of careful alignment of mathematical ideals in such a tetrominous way. In such a world, the philosophy of mathematics is exact. Nothing inexact, nothing incalculable, nothing unalgorithmized.
How the cubicle birds flapped their wings in such pure and integer rotations, and oh how beautiful the single blades of grass in such a low but perfect resolution. Of course, such a world isn't beautiful- it's an imprisonment of the exact mathematical ideas, a religious cult of the axioms expressed in the perfect and joyous harmony of alignment.
In such a universe, every single element and fact of it is predetermined. Everything represented in algorithms, in values. How the cubicle birds flapped their wings in such pure representation of data, in its cooked and structured format. If such a universe can exist, in perfect simulation- the demonstration of no free will surely- it'd also demonstrate how the universe itself could be built upon its own ichor.
As talos in the greek mythos was tricked and fooled into the seduction of false hope, a single bronze tear, so too could our own universe in its Artificiality.
So are we the intelligence, and not our universe- do we decide for our own choices, the position of those tetrominoes aligned along the callous columns of exactness imprisoned in a complete jail of data.