AI, creativity, and self worth

I’ve been messing around with the Stable Diffusion AI image generator via Dream Studio. It’s quite mind-blowing. The image above was generated with the keywords, “One red eye cyborg concept art.” It creeps me out a bit, and I don’t actually like using it here that much. For better sci-fi pieces, check this algorithm-generated art. Anyway, after spending half an hour feeding keywords into this beast, I started to view my own impulses and thought patterns more objectively. I also began to think differently about my kids’ development, as they are clearly building experiential datasets and learn how to process them.

Seeing visual experience being generated to order, in a matter of seconds, raises the question of what is authentically real?… Continue reading...

Mindfulness of ruined worlds

Contemplating the beauty and serenity of Sable’s ruined world gave me some comfort. On one level, if and when Earth is finally desolate it might at least be peaceful, mysterious, and interesting to its surviving scavenger tribes. There’s something awe-inspiring about thinking on that timescale.

Would the denizens of a post-apocalyptic world be awake to the strange beauty of their situation? Probably no more than we are here and now. But if we could relate to our environment as we do such Ozymandian science fiction, with curiosity and fascination, accepting the world on its own terms, we’d probably be a lot happier.

This might be one of the things mindfulness can do for us. We take notice at the level of simple sensory experience—seeing a crumbling building, hearing a seagull, feeling a cool breeze—all without bending these perceptions into a story about me.… Continue reading...

Technicalities: a sci-fi story

I’d like to offer something different for your reading pleasure: a sci-fi short set in a bleak colonial future. Merry Christmas!


Technicalities

I joined the mechanised division in 2505 after graduating with a 412.3/1 kill average. My first co-pilot was a greyhair named Johnson. She’d been planetside for too long. She mumbled to herself and her kill ratio had dropped to 214.9/1.

Our assignment was cleaning up a regressed colony in a spiral arm of Andromeda. It was dull – like pouring boiling water over ants every day. We’re supposed to supervise the targeting systems, select the lethality of response, and make decisions about terrain and weather. The AI was programmed on a peacekeeping routine but Sarge taught us you could complete the mission faster if you maxed out the damage detectors’ sensitivity.… Continue reading...